New connections and more power to Newfoundland
In 1497, Italian navigator John Cabot became the first European – since Norse settlers 400 years before – to set foot in Newfoundland. He claimed the island, whose waters teemed with fish, for England. And, in fact, it remained a British colony until joining Canada as the province of Newfoundland and Labrador in 1949.
Newfoundland’s history and geography have often made for an isolated existence from the rest of Canada and North America. Even its electrical connection to the continent has been unique. That changed late last year when, for the first time, Newfoundland was joined to the North American transmission system by the Maritime Link submarine cable connection – the continent’s longest submarine cable.
The US$1.3 billion Maritime Link Project will transport clean, renewable and reliable electricity from Newfoundland and Labrador to Nova Scotia and other energy markets in Canada and the Northeastern United States. It will also provide Nova Scotia with new access to clean renewable energy to offset coal-fired generation – allowing the province to achieve its 40 per cent renewable energy target by 2020. In all, the Maritime Link will transport up to 500 MW of renewable energy to the region, enough to power over 350,000 households.
The complex, state-of-the-art project, which took seven years to complete, includes two high voltage transmission cables delivered after nearly four years of engineering and manufacturing at Nexans factories around the globe. The cables, installed in Cabot Straight down to a 1,500-foot (470-meter) depth, are 105 miles (170 km) long, the width of a 2-liter soft drink bottle and weigh approximately 6,000 tons (5,500 metric tonnes).
Nexans know-how was also responsible for manufacturing and installing over 2.5 miles (4 km) of underground high voltage cable as part of the required upgrades to two power substations.
The Maritime Link, which won a 2017 Canadian Electrical Award, became commercially operational on January 1.