This means it is not clear whether electricity from Muskrat Falls will be available for the Newfoundland power grid this winter, although NL Hydro officials say the Holyrood oil-fired power plant is available to respond. on demand, with the plan to keep the aging and carbon emissions facility in service until 2023. In an October 7 letter to the Public Utilities Board of Newfoundland and Labrador, NL Hydro confirmed that the long-established completion date of November 26 is “not achievable”.
The delay is blamed on GE Canada, which continues to have problems with the computer software required to operate the transmission line from Muskrat Falls to the Avalon Peninsula.
It’s called control and protection software, and it’s an essential part of the Labrador-Island link, the 1,100 kilometer high voltage direct current transmission line from central Labrador to Soldiers. Pond on the Avalon Peninsula.
GE Canada has developed and tested the software, which is required to operate the two power lines that will transmit up to 824 megawatts of electricity to Newfoundland.
Repeated deadlines for software completion have passed due to ongoing software bugs, and now NL Hydro is awaiting a new timeline from GE as to when the software will be ready.
“A revised date will be determined once a new schedule is received from GE,” wrote a spokesperson for NL Hydro in an email to CBC News.
CBC News has requested an interview with NL Hydro President and CEO Jennifer Williams.
It’s unclear what this latest delay means for the cost of the project, which rose to $ 13.1 billion when financing and interest charges are included. When the project was sanctioned in 2012, the price tag was estimated at $ 7.4 billion.
Construction of the Labrador-Island link, which includes an undersea cable crossing the Strait of Belle Isle, was completed in 2017, and limited amounts of electricity began flowing on the line a year later.
However, a confluence of problems hampered the transmission system, ranging from synchronous condensers at Soldiers Pond that vibrated and stuck, to replacing hundreds of faulty fiberglass insulation beams at the Muskrat Falls and Soldiers Pond converter stations.
NL Hydro officials say the Muskrat Falls power plant’s completion schedule is unaffected by this latest setback, with all four generating units due to be completed by a company called Andritz in November.
This is the latest setback of a project that dominated public debate in the province for more than a decade and was the subject of a public inquiry that found Muskrat a misguided project.
The government-owned energy company that ran Muskrat, Nalcor, is in the process of being integrated into NL Hydro and will be phased out completely once all legal and legislative changes are completed.
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