New study suggests Atlantic Loop needed as part of energy mix as coal is phased out
New study suggests Atlantic Loop needed as part of energy mix as coal is phased out
The proposed energy corridor to connect the four Atlantic provinces to hydroelectricity from Quebec and Labrador is important for helping the region reach zero carbon emissions, but the project isn't enough, a new study suggests.
When coal is phased out, demand for electricity will increase, according to the study released last week by Enviroeconomics and Navius Research, on behalf of the Halifax-based Ecology Action Centre. The Atlantic region will need more than the proposed $5-billion Atlantic Loop corridor to meet future demand and keep the region off fossil fuels, said the study, titled "Assessing Net-Zero Electricity Supply and Demand Models in the Atlantic Loop."
"The modelling suggests that Atlantic Loop scenarios that supply low-emitting hydro from Newfoundland and Labrador or Quebec are important to meeting future demand," the study said. "Several uncertainties, however, suggest that a balanced approach to the (energy) supply mix is likely the prudent path forward."
It will be particularly important for Nova Scotia and New Brunswick to find sources of electricity to complement the future Atlantic Loop, the study said, noting that those two provinces are the only ones in the region that still have coal-fired generating plants.
The study said that in New Brunswick, the federal government has not agreed to extend the life of the Belledune generating station beyond 2030, while Nova Scotia continues to operate four coal and petroleum coke-generation plants. The largest, in Lingan, N.S., has a 620-megawatt capacity.
Both provinces have committed to phasing out their coal-fired generation by 2030, while Nova Scotia has enshrined in law its goals to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to at least 53 per cent below 2005 levels by 2030 and to achieve net-zero emissions by 2050. There is also a pledge to have 80 per cent of the province's energy supplied by renewable sources by 2030.
The study warns the modelling it uses to measure the costs of the Atlantic Loop is uncertain because the price tags of large projects are "typically" underestimated while the costs of renewable energy sources could fall faster than anticipated.
It also points out that future electrical supply from Quebec and Newfoundland and Labrador to feed into the Atlantic Loop "may be a question" given the competition for low-emitting power from the United States and Ontario.
"We conclude a portfolio approach that includes developing more domestic renewable generation while exploring Atlantic Loop opportunities is a prudent approach to meeting future electricity needs under a net-zero and fossil-free future," the study said.
In a recent interview, Gurprasad Gurumurthy with the Ecology Action Centre said energy costs will be high in the future if more renewable energy such as wind and solar isn't brought online. And while electricity rates will rise initially when coal is phased out, consumer bills will drop over time as more energy is transferred into the grid, Gurumurthy said.
He says improving Atlantic Canada's electricity system in the short term will help make residential and commercial buildings and electricity transportation more efficient.
"It has to be done," Gurumurthy said about launching the Atlantic Loop or installing a second sub-sea connection to the delayed Muskrat Falls hydroelectric project in Labrador. "The solution is going to be complete collaboration between our institutions, the government and utilities."
Gurumurthy said the Atlantic Loop project is technically feasible, adding that all that's left is the political will and negotiations between the provinces.
"There is the potential for the establishment of this loop," he said.
The Atlantic premiers have had discussions in recent months with Ottawa about funding for the Atlantic Loop, but there has been no federal commitment to date.
Following a cabinet meeting last week, Tory Rushton, Nova Scotia's minister of natural resources and renewables, said "conversations" continue to take place.
"But as of right now there has been no formal request from our government to the federal government," Rushton said. "We are finalizing some initiatives to assess the actual total cost."
Rushton admitted that if something is to happen, it will have to be sooner rather than later.
"We have some pretty ambitious (climate) targets and 2030 is not that far away, so we do realize there are going to have to be some decisions made very shortly," he said.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published May 22, 2022.
Atlantic Top Stories
CTVNews.ca Top Stories
Conservative leadership candidate Pierre Poilievre joined the final leg of a march led by a Canadian soldier charged for speaking out against COVID-19 vaccine requirements that has sparked promises -- and fears -- of a new wave of protests in the capital.
Ottawa protest organizer Tamara Lich will spend at least five more nights in custody in Ottawa after she was arrested in Alberta for allegedly breaching bail conditions.
The Conservative Party of Canada says approximately 675,000 members will be eligible to vote in this year's leadership race.
Researchers examining the threat of emerging COVID-19 strains predict Omicron BA.5 will account for nearly 70 per cent of cases in much of the country by Canada Day.
The Supreme Court of Canada says the expanded rules to further prevent a sexual assault complainant's past from being used against them in a trial are 'constitutional in their entirety.'
As stocks continue to slump, it can be easy to let your emotions take over if you've got money invested in the market. But experts agree that there's no need to panic if you're invested in the right type of portfolio with the right level of risk.
More than a month after Canada reported a shortage of baby formula for allergic infants, Health Canada says supplies will continue to be limited during the summer even with new shipments on the horizon.
Animal rescue groups are criticizing a new policy by the Canadian Food Inspection Agency that will ban the import of dogs from more than 100 countries.
An emergency room physician in Toronto is warning that COVID-19 variants will continue to 'mutate endlessly' as the Omicron subvariants BA.4 and BA.5 are poised to become the dominant strains of the virus.
Ontario gas prices are about to take a huge drop and one expert says it will be 'well worth waiting' if drivers can hold off on filling up.
If you are staying in the city for the Canada Day long weekend, there are several road closures to keep in mind.
Police are investigating after a man was killed while trapped under garage door at a Caledon workplace Thursday.
Thousands of Calgarians are ready to ring in Canada’s 155th birthday as festivities are set to be held across the city, but not everyone is calling this a ‘celebration.’
Calgary-based WestJet says it is taking a 'very measured' strategy in order to maintain services this summer, which includes a lighter summer travel schedule that the company introduced earlier this year.
At a time when the cost of everything seems to be climbing, the producers of Hamilton are offering Calgary musical lovers the deal of a lifetime.
Consumer rights advocates are demanding Air Canada provide compensation to many of the hundreds of thousands of passengers whose summer flights it cancelled.
Organizers of a Montreal Caribbean festival are looking for clarity from police as to why a large group of officers interrupted their pre-festival barbecue on Saint-Jean Baptiste Day.
Two people have been reported dead and one person is in critical condition after a fire broke out in a home in Longueuil on Montreal's South Shore.
A damning new report from Alberta's auditor general finds government ministries failed to include understandable, relevant and comparable data on COVID-19 in year-end reporting.
A man is facing multiple charges in connection with a rash of arsons in the Alberta Avenue area, and police are calling him a key suspect in a complex investigation.
Some of the world's best track and field athletes will be in Edmonton Sunday to participate in an international warm-up competition before the world championships.
While the main suspect still hasn’t been caught, two people have been charged in connection with a murder that took place June 24 on Manitoulin Island.
Sudbury police are releasing few details, but they have charged a 56-year-old male teacher at St. Charles College with sexually assaulting students under the age of 16.
Work is underway cleaning up Memorial Park after damage and contamination from an encampment on the city property that was closed April 1.
If you were one of the thousands of Londoners who bought gas on Thursday— you overpaid.
Police continue to investigate after a fatal collision involving a cyclist claimed the life of a 17-year-old from Crediton.
'A weight has been lifted off our shoulders': Grand Bend business owners relieved construction phase is over
It’s the first long weekend in weeks without construction and traffic delays along the main strip in Grand Bend.
AMC working to remove Arlen Dumas after probe found his conduct amounted to 'workplace sexual harassment'
The Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs is working to remove Arlen Dumas as Grand Chief of the organization.
After working for more than two decades, Manitoba firefighters say the world's governing body on cancer research and prevention is finally acknowledging firefighters' cancer risk.
A crash involving a Transit bus that appears to have smashed into a home has shut down a road near Osborne Village.
Canadian Forces veteran James Topp marched through Ottawa on Thursday on the final leg of his cross-country march, and was joined by Conservative Party leader Pierre Poilievre for part of the walk.
Mayor Jim Watson also faced questions about a private WhatsApp chat with senior staff and members of his office, and the fact there were no city committee meetings for councillors to ask questions and receive information during the trial-running period.
The traditional Canada Day fly-past over Ottawa by the Canadian Forces Snowbirds has been cancelled, following a problem with the aircraft's emergency ejection parachute that grounded the fleet.
Saskatchewan's social services minister announced plans to cut funding to Saskatoon's permanent downtown shelter during a talk radio appearance.
A video captured by a Saskatchewan man shows a kayaker paddling away from a developing tornado.
It’s been 25 years since Saskatchewan’s last residential school closed, but some are still healing.
Multiple crashes involving bears in a B.C. national park earlier this month prompted a crackdown on drivers in the area, according to the B.C. Highway Patrol and Parks Canada.
An officer with the Vancouver Police Department has been charged with assault in connection with an on-duty incident last year, prosecutors announced Thursday.
Dedication benches are a familiar sight for visitors in Vancouver's parks, with plaques that most often pay touching tribute to a lost loved one – but the space is also available to companies and organizations willing to make a large enough donation to the city.
Foam Lake is typically a quiet, small Saskatchewan community, but early Wednesday evening, the skies turned dark and the community was faced with a nasty twister.
City council has approved a motion that will shift tourism responsibilities to Regina Exhibition Association Limited (REAL).
Three more COVID-19 related deaths were reported in Saskatchewan for the week of June 19-25 as the province now moves from weekly updates to monthly ones.
Saanich police will hold another update on a deadly shooting that took place on Tuesday afternoon, leaving two suspects dead and six officers with gunshot wounds.
Mounties on Vancouver Island are warning of a recent spike in catalytic converter thefts, with more than 50 thefts of the devices reported to police in the Oceanside, B.C., area this year.
BC Ferries is cancelling several sailings between Vancouver Island and the Lower Mainland ahead of the Canada Day long weekend.