Synergy Session: Increasing the Profitability and Reliability of our Electrical System

With Dr. Gordon L. Weil

Friday, September 12, 2014, 12:00 pm
McCann Centre (ED-2030B), Education Building, Memorial University  

About this Session

The construction of the Muskrat Falls hydroelectric dam and the connection of the Island of Newfoundland to the North American energy grid are game changers for the province. On the one hand, these developments stand to provide export revenues for the province and to improve the reliability of the electricity supply on the Island. On the other hand, the megaproject is very expensive and exposes ratepayers (and taxpayers) to high energy costs in the future.

Given that the project’s capital costs are fixed, is there a way to increase and ensure export revenues so as to keep electricity rates as low as possible? And given that the Island will soon be connected to the continental grid, are there new standards and practices that Nalcor will need to adopt? Is there a way to optimize our connection to the continental grid to maximize profitability and reliability?

This session will argue in favour of an “Atlantic Provinces Power Pool” to provide the lowest cost electrical energy throughout the four provinces and a more economical way to supply reliable service to customers.

Dr. Gordon L. Weil headed the Maine energy agency, the Northeast International Committee on Energy (eastern Canada and New England), the National Governors’ Association committee of state energy agencies, and the multi-party negotiations to create a single New England transmission system. As a consultant, he represented large customers, including consumer-owned utilities and paper companies in New England and the Maritimes. He was responsible for the first major open access deal in the United States under the 1992 Energy Policy Act. As contributor to the Atlantic Institute for Market Studies (Halifax), he has authored several publications on the electric sector in all four provinces and on regional and regulatory issues. He is Senior Fellow in Electricity Policy for AIMS and for the Northern Policy Institute (Thunder Bay and Sudbury). He is the author of a 2006 book on the electric industry and has contributed to Public Utilities Fortnightly. He is a newspaper columnist, and author or editor of 16 books. A.B., Bowdoin College; Diploma, College of Europe (Belgium); Ph.D. Columbia; L.H.D. Niagara. Phi Beta Kappa (served as senator).