The principle purposes of a regional power pool in Atlantic Canada would be to increase reliability of the power system at the least cost and to provide to customers the benefit of the lowest cost energy mix during any hour.
This commentary, Regional Cooperation in Electricity Exchanges in Atlantic Canada:Steps Toward the Creation of an Atlantic Power Pool, written by Gordon L. Weil and Ross McEacharn, both of whom played key roles relating to the New England Power Pool, finds that such an agreement could bring significant benefits to all four provinces.
Weil and McEacharn note that Atlantic Canada has discussed for many years how to operate their electric utilities to achieve greater efficiency. Talks have focused on the current U.S. market model, in which utilities may lose control of their generators but have not produced a result.
A regional approach “must limit change from the current structure as far as practicable, while ensuring increased opportunities for greater economy and efficiency,” the authors say. They find that a power pool model, which predated today’s U.S. markets, could work well.
With a pool, “economy energy” could flow among provinces, while utilities would operate virtually the same as they do today. Fewer generators would be needed to be kept in reserve. The result would be savings that could be passed on to customers.
If the Muskrat Falls project is undertaken with new transmission lines linking both parts of Newfoundland and Labrador to the North American grid, the authors find the power pool could help assure short-term power sales from the proposed hydropower resource.