New appointees named to Manitoba Hydro board

WINNIPEG - - On a day the Selinger government named a new Manitoba Hydro chairman and six new board members to the province’s biggest Crown corporation, a Minnesota utility launched the process of building a huge transmission line from Winnipeg to deliver power to their customers and beyond.

The proposal by Minnesota Power for the 500 kilovolt line — more than double the load first planned — will extend to Duluth and connect to a line to Wisconsin by 2020.

"It means we’ll have increased export capability into the United States," Manitoba Hydro president and CEO Bob Brennan said Thursday.

"They’re looking at an in-service date of 2020.

That way we have another option for the power coming out of Keeyask."

The province says the deal is worth $1 billion to the province, with the construction of the 695 megawatt, $5.6-billion Keeyask generating station. The Minnesota state regulator approved the power purchase agreement last month.

Green Bay-based Wisconsin Public Service Corp. has also signed deals with Manitoba Hydro to import hydroelectric power from new dams.

A new law in Wisconsin recognizes large hydroelectric dams, including new dams in Manitoba’s north, as a renewable energy source to help meet the state’s green-energy mandate. It says by 2015, 10 per cent of all power sold by state utilities must come from a renewable source.

Bill Fraser has been appointed the new board chair of Manitoba Hydro and will join six new Manitobans on the board, Innovation, Energy and Mines Minister Dave Chomiak announced Thursday.

"Bill Fraser brings a wealth management experience to the table for his many years of public service," Chomiak said.

Fraser has served on the board of Manitoba Hydro since 2006.

The six new board members are David Crate, chief of the Fisher River Cree Nation Tina Keeper, actress and former Liberal Churchill MP Eugene Kostyra, former Manitoba finance minister Dudley Thompson, principal architect of Prairie Architects Larry Vickar, president of Vickar Community Chevrolet and head of Vickar Automotive Group and Frank Whitehead, NDP MLA for The Pas.

They replace four outgoing board members of Manitoba Hydro.

Chomiak also noted that Scott Thomson, the former chief financial officer for FortisBC will start as the new CEO of Manitoba Hydro later this month.


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