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Provincial utilities agree on hydro deal

MANITOBA Hydro has inked a deal to sell more power to Saskatchewan.

The Crown utility said in a statement Tuesday it will supply 25 megawatts of electricity to SaskPower from November 2015 to May 2022.

When combined with a previously announced short-term sale, the export deals are now worth more than $100 million, Hydro said.

"This 25-megawatt deal represents the first long-term firm sale between the two provinces in recent memory," Scott Thomson, president and CEO of Manitoba Hydro, said in a news release. "It demonstrates that the demand for renewable hydroelectricity from Manitoba--demand that we are working to convert into long-term export sales--is growing, not just in the United States, but in Canada as well."

Hydro also said it and SaskPower signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) a year ago to discuss the additional purchase of up to 500 MW of power starting in approximately 2020. That power would come from the estimated $6.5-billion Keeyask generating station, now under construction on the Nelson River.

"We want to ensure that we are able to meet the growing demand for power across the province, and keep power reliable, affordable and sustainable," Robert Watson, SaskPower president and CEO, said in a statement.

SaskPower serves more than 500,000 customers in Saskatchewan through three coal-fired plants, seven hydroelectric and six natural-gas generating stations and two wind farms.

Energy purchased under the 25-MW contract will be sent to SaskPower over existing transmission lines between the two utilities.

Manitoba Hydro says since 2003, its export sales have totalled $5.6 billion and the utility forecasts its total export revenues, mostly to the U.S. utilities, will be $16 billion over the next 20 years and $29 billion over the next 30 years.

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