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Manitoba premier: New U.S. power sales require added hydropower capacity

Manitoba Premier Greg Selinger announced that provincially-owned hydropower producer Manitoba Hydro has signed agreements for a 250 MW sale of electricity to Minnesota Power and a 100-MW sale to Wisconsin Public Service.

Combined with a previously completed 125-MW sale to Northern States Power, these sales total 475 MW, with an estimated value of $4 billion, Selinger said.

The premier said these sales will require the construction of new hydroelectric generating capacity in Manitoba. They will trigger the development of the 695-MW Keeyask Generating Station, located on the lower Nelson River 175 km northeast of Thompson in the Split Lake Resource Management Area, reports indicate.

The Keeyask hydropower station is to be developed by a partnership consisting of Manitoba Hydro and the Keeyask Cree Nations-Tataskweyak Cree Nation, War Lake First Nation, Fox Lake Cree Nation and York Factory First Nation. The $5.6-billion project will provide some 4,500 person-years of construction employment, Selinger said.

The 250-MW power sale to Minnesota Power over a 15-year period from 2020 to 2035 requires an additional interconnection between Manitoba and the United States, which will provide increased export capability and reliability benefits for Manitoba.

The 100-MW power sale agreement to Wisconsin Public Service covers the 2021-2027 period. Negotiations are continuing to expand the Wisconsin sale to 500 MW, which would require construction of the Conawapa Generating Station, the premier said.

Manitoba Hydro's construction program also includes the Bipole III transmission line, being developed for a 2017 in-service date to provide reliability for Manitoba customers, a press release states.

Bipole III will also be utilized to transmit power from Keeyask and the 1,485-MW Conawapa Generating Station, supporting expanded electricity export sales outside of Manitoba's borders. The Conawapa site is located in the Fox Lake Cree Nation Resource Management Area.

Sale agreements with Minnesota Power and Wisconsin Public Service will require regulatory approval in Canada and the United States.

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