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Newfoundland to go it alone

The Canadian province of Newfoundland and Labrador is considering the possibility of undertaking a scaled down version of the 3200MW Lower Churchill Falls hydroelectric power project, without the participation of the province of Quebec. If Newfoundland undertakes the project without Quebec, the scope of the project is to be reduced by about 50%. Newfoundland’s Minister for Energy, Paul Dicks, has confirmed that the province was examining the option of developing a 1700MW version of the project that does not require diverting water from rivers in Quebec, as was originally proposed.

Current plans for the multi-billion dollar project are based on developing the project with Quebec’s participation. The project, revived in 1998 by Quebec Premier Lucien Bouchard and former Newfoundland Premier Brian Tobin, is in limbo due to differences between the two provinces on establishing long term pricing arrangements, as well as opposition from native groups in the area.

Native groups say that they have not been adequately compensated for the Upper Churchill project built over thirty years ago. Upper Churchill Falls has an installed capacity of 5200MW and is the largest hydro project in Canada.