Canada Reducing Reliance on Diesel for Mary’s Harbour, Labrador

News release

August 29, 2019                        Mary’s Harbour, Newfoundland and Labrador            Natural Resources Canada                   

To generate electricity, many of Canada’s rural and remote communities rely on diesel fuel — an energy source that comes with environmental, social and economic disadvantages. Reducing diesel use reduces our carbon footprint, creates healthier communities and provides opportunities for economic development.

Member of Parliament for Labrador, Yvonne Jones, on behalf of Canada’s Minister of Natural Resources, the Honourable Amarjeet Sohi, today announced a $2.5-million investment to refurbish a dormant hydroelectric plant in Mary’s Harbour and integrate renewable energy sources into the existing diesel–electric grid.

The project will integrate hydro, solar and lithium-ion battery storage capacity into the grid, reducing diesel consumption by 30 percent per year. This means Mary’s Harbour will use and store the sun’s free energy to produce electricity for its homes and businesses. The project will also significantly reduce pollution — and costs — for the community.

Funding for this clean power project, which will be managed by St. Mary’s River Energy LP in collaboration with Newfoundland and Labrador Hydro, comes from the Clean Energy for Rural and Remote Communities Program, which provides up to $220 million to reduce reliance on diesel fuel for heat and power.

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“Many rural and remote Canadian communities rely on inefficient and expensive diesel generators to produce electricity for their homes and businesses. The Government of Canada is proud to support and empower these communities as they transition to clean, renewable and sustainable sources of energy that generate local jobs and community benefits.”

Yvonne Jones\
Member of Parliament for Labrador

“We are extremely excited to be working with CERRC as part of this effort to significantly reduce the use of diesel fuel to generate energy for the residents of the Town of Mary's Harbour. Re-development of the small hydro project built in 1987 along with installation of solar panels and battery storage will place Mary's Harbour in the vanguard of utilizing renewable resources to reduce diesel fuel consumption by 300,000 to 400,000 litres annually. It is possible to foresee a future where Mary's Harbour could largely eliminate electrical generation from diesel fuel by optimizing the available wind, solar and hydro resources. Lessons learned here would enable government to apply the technology to other remote communities in the province and Canada. We believe that when communities in other jurisdictions look at similar possibilities, they will be able to say, ‘It worked in Mary's Harbour.’ We would like to acknowledge the active support of Newfoundland and Labrador Hydro (NLH) and the Town of Mary's Harbour. We intend to make every effort to work with NLH to continue to supply safe and reliable power to the town and contribute to the town's growth and employment.”

Al Green
President, St. Mary’s River Energy

“At Newfoundland and Labrador Hydro, we know our customers are counting on us to provide reliable power that balances costs; but it's also important to us to ensure we operate in an environmentally responsible manner. That's why we remain committed to reducing reliance on diesel generation in the isolated diesel communities we serve where possible and are very pleased to see support for this project from the Government of Canada.”

Jennifer Williams
President, Newfoundland and Labrador Hydro

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Natural Resources Canada
Media Relations

Vanessa Adams
Press Secretary
Office of the Minister of Natural Resources

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