As of 11 a.m., two of three main power generating units at the Holyrood power plant are in operation, with Newfoundland and Labrador Hydro’s large back-up generator at the site also providing power.
The power system was suddenly down two large units this morning.
One unit, Unit 1, has been offline since Friday for required maintenance. Another generating unit inside the plant, Unit 3, tripped shortly after 7 a.m. The exact trigger is still under investigation, although it is known to be voltage related.
The loss of the large Unit 3 generator resulted in sudden and widespread power outages on the island’s main grid, with about 30,000 Newfoundland Power customers affected.
Those customers are now seeing their power restored, as Unit 3 comes back online and is distributed by Newfoundland Power to end rolling blackouts.
The large, generating Unit 3 needs to be incrementally ramped up and will take about an hour from start to get near capacity, according to Dawn Dalley, spokeswoman for Nalcor Energy, Hydro’s parent company.
Meanwhile, the English School District has decided to keep schools in the St. John’s metro region closed today due to the power troubles.
Unit down for maintenance
As for the large power generating unit taken offline on Friday, Unit 1, it required repairs due to an oil leak, Dalley said.
“That’s not uncommon at all in a big thermal fire plant like Holyrood,” she said, adding not addressing the oil leak ultimately runs the risk of fire, with potential for more extensive damage to the equipment. And there is the human safety risk.
The leak was noticed and, then, evaluating demand and the state of the leak, a decision made to take the unit offline.
“We got to the point on Friday where it was absolutely essential,” she said.
Hydro staff were set on the repair work, working throughout the weekend to address the issue.
Unit 1 was scheduled to be brought back online today and, Hydro stated at about 9:15 a.m., it is expected to be online mid-afternoon.