PRESS RELEASE ON THE APPLICATION
TO ABANDON THE DIESEL PLANT IN RODDICKTON
The Public Utilities Board today released its decision with respect to an application from Newfoundland and Labrador Hydro (Hydro) to abandon its diesel generating plant located in the Town of Roddickton. Hydro had applied to the Board on November 16, 1999 to abandon both the woodchip fired thermal generating plant (the “thermal plant”) and the diesel generating plant (the “diesel plant”) both located in the Town of Roddickton. The Board held a hearing on February 3, 2000 in the Town of Roddickton to hear evidence on these matters. On February 18, 2000 the Board issued an Order authorizing Hydro to abandon the Roddickton thermal plant. The Board deferred a decision with respect to the diesel plant pending a further hearing, which was held in St. John’s on March 14, 2000.
The position taken by Hydro was that substantial upgrading has been undertaken to the transmission lines which serve the Great Northern Peninsula and this will reduce the requirement for emergency power. Hydro said that the full emergency power supply for the St. Anthony-Roddickton region should be located in St. Anthony and that there is no need to leave an emergency supply in the Town of Roddickton. Hydro pointed to the reliability of the transmission lines between St. Anthony and Roddickton as support for its position that an emergency power supply in St. Anthony would be well positioned to meet the needs of the region, without designating an emergency power supply to be located specifically in the Town of Roddickton. Hydro also said that the emergency generators located at the existing diesel plant in the center of the Town cannot be relied upon because of their age and mechanical condition. Because of the deteriorated condition of the building itself as well as the generating plants the cost associated with refurbishing the existing plant is higher than the cost of moving to another site.
The Town of Roddickton opposed the application to abandon the diesel plant and was supported by the Towns of Conche, St. Anthony and Bide Arm. The Town of Roddickton took the view that the reliability of power at Roddickton is inadequate and they consider the risk of relying exclusively upon emergency power from the St. Anthony diesel plant to be unacceptable. The Town took the position that Hydro should not be allowed to abandon the diesel plant unless they provide an alternative emergency source of power. Their first preference was that this emergency supply of power should be located at the site of the thermal plant. The Town would agree to abandon the existing diesel plant if an alternative emergency supply of power were available on an alternative site.
The engineering advisor retained by the Board, Dr. Wallace Read, supported the position of Hydro that refurbishment of the existing diesel plant should be rejected in favour of locating emergency capacity at the thermal plant. However, Dr. Read argued that the emergency power supply should be strategically positioned so that there would be enough capacity in the Roddickton area to meet the immediate needs of the area, which is roughly one-third, with two-thirds of the region’s emergency capacity to be based in St. Anthony.
The Order of the Board issued today authorized Hydro to abandon the Roddickton diesel plant, subject to a number of conditions. These conditions are as follows:
(a) Hydro is to put in place a supply of emergency power by November 1, 2000 in the amount of 1500 – 2000 kW, with any further discontinuance of service to be authorized by the Board pursuant to an application by Hydro to be filed on or after July 1, 2003.
(b) Hydro will also decide on the staffing it deems necessary in accordance with good management practice to make emergency power available on a timely basis.
(c) Outages in the area are to be monitored and a quarterly report submitted to the Board.
(d) Hydro is to conduct a study into the reliability of the transmission line serving the Great Northern Peninsula to identify the amount of emergency power required. This study will be conducted by an independent consultant and the report will be submitted to the Board no later than July 1, 2003.
In its Reasons for Decision the Board indicated that by July 1, 2003 the experience of three additional years will provide a more comprehensive record of the historical performance of the transmission lines in the region in order for the Board to assess their reliability. The reliability of transmission line 257, from St. Anthony Airport to Roddickton, appears to be well documented from 1992 to the present and the performance has been good. However, the history of transmission line 261, from St. Anthony Airport to St. Anthony, covers a period of only three years and its reliability falls somewhat short of the performance of transmission line 257. The Board believes that there should be a longer history of performance available before the Board agrees to authorize the abandonment of all emergency power in the Roddickton area. It is for this reason that the Board has ordered that a supply of emergency power in the amount of 1500 – 2000 kW should be maintained for at least the next three years.
The Order will be posted on our website,on Monday, May 15, 2000.
Copies of the Order may be obtained today at 3:30 p.m. in the following manner:
From the Board’s Main Offices, 120 Torbay Road, St. John’s
By contacting the office of the Board Secretary at 709-726-8600
By contacting the Board Secretary at firstname.lastname@example.org.