For the first time, the two utilities will jointly optimize their generation fleets, improving efficiency and providing long-term cost savings for customers in both provinces.
"This is a significant agreement for our utilities to work together in this way" said NB Power President and CEO GaÃ«tan Thomas. "We're two small provinces and close neighbours with a long history of cooperation. Working together to find ways to benefit New Brunswickers and Nova Scotians Â– to save them money in their homes and businesses Â– is the right thing to do for our region. We're pleased to continue working closely with our friends in Nova Scotia to find new and innovative ways to help our customers."
The two utilities will pilot a model of cooperative dispatch between the two provinces, enabling optimization of their power plants while ensuring both provinces continue to meet their renewable energy and emissions standards. The 12-month pilot will see New Brunswick and Nova Scotia generating stations dispatched as one fleet using the current tie-line capacity with no additional investment.
The project builds on a very valuable reserve sharing agreement already in place between the two utilities whereby the required "back-up" generation for both provinces is a shared responsibility resulting in significant regional cost savings.
"This is the next step in a cooperative relationship between our two utilities to find common sense ways to benefit our region," said Bob Hanf, CEO of Nova Scotia Power. "In the early 1970s, our two provinces were among the first to interconnect their electrical grids with a tie-line. This project is a logical next step that will improve our systems and provide long-term cost savings to customers in both provinces."
The cooperative dispatch pilot began early testing in January, has recently expanded successfully, and is planned for the next 12 months. The time-frame for cost savings has been studied and has an estimated value of up to $20 million per year shared between the two utilities between 2015 and 2022 depending on a variety of factors including weather and fuel costs.