"We like to think of it as Manitoba's oil, but more sustainable and certainly greener as well," said Manitoba Premier Greg Selinger, following the recent announcement of more power export deal with the United States.
Hydro export deals are estimated to generate $21 billion over the next 20 years, but will require Manitoba Hydro spend $20 billion over the next decade to build the Keeyask dam, Conawapa dam, Bipole III transmission and transmission systems for new dams. Manitoba currently exports about 40 per cent of its hydro energy – 2,000 megawatts. Recent deals with Minnesota and Wisconsin could boost that by another 20 per cent.
Manitoba Hydro CEO Bob Brennan admitted Hydro faces challenges due to competition from American wind farms and biomass energy and opposition from U.S. environmental groups. "They want to protect their own sources of generation. We're harming that by selling what we deem to be clean power."
Many U.S. states have passed laws mandating local renewable energy targets and standards, but large-scale Canadian hydro often does not qualify. Wisconsin recently passed a bill that would qualify hydroelectric power from large dams as "renewable" under the state's green power mandate. The bill is awaiting final passage in the state Assembly. Minnesota's renewable energy mandate, passed by the state Legislature in 2007, excludes large-scale Canadian hydropower from being counted as renewable.
View May 26, 2011 and May 27, 2011 Winnipeg Free Press articles
View May 26, 2011 Duluth News Tribune article
View May 26, 2011 Minnesota Public Radio article
View May 25, 2011 Manitoba Hydro, "Electricity Exports" webpage
View May 25, 2011 Journal Sentinel article
Winnipeg Free Press, Duluth News Tribune, Journal Sentinel