Muskrat Falls is on schedule

Derek Montague
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Nalcor president champions ’clean’ energy at Expo Labrador; says Gull Island is inevitable

Speaking to a packed dining hall at the Royal Canadian Legion branch in Happy Valley-Goose Bay, Nalcor Energy president and CEO Ed Martin proclaimed that the controversial Muskrat Falls project is on schedule.

This statement came despite recent media speculation that final cost of the project has ballooned to more than $10 billion.

“Overall, construction is progressing as planned. We’re on schedule,” said Martin.

In a media scrum after his speech, Martin added to his statement, saying he is “certain” that the construction is on schedule, and that a financial update will be ready before the beginning of July.

“So, what we’re seeing is that the project remains on schedule for first power in 2017,” said Martin.  “And from a cost perspective, I’m committed to providing a cost update to the people of the province prior to month-end, and I’m still on track to do that.”

Martin’s speech on June 23 was part of Expo Labrador, a large trade show that takes place annually in Happy Valley-Goose Bay. The Nalcor president and CEO was one of several keynote speakers to attend the event.

Much of Martin’s speech addressed the issue of clean energy, and how Muskrat Falls and other potential hydro projects could help reduce the world’s reliance on oil and gas.

“Let’s consider the impacts of these two clean energy projects — Muskrat and Gull — in light of what’s happening in the world today,” said Martin.

“The demand for clean energy is growing. President Obama recently announced the U.S. targets for greenhouse gas emissions … a 30 per cent reduction from 2005 levels within 15 years.”

Based on future electricity needs of Newfoundland and Labrador, Canada, and the United States, Martin believes there will be markets available for the Big Land’s hydro resources, across the continent.

“The sanction and start of construction at Muskrat Falls is probably the most significant change in the Labrador region over the last few years,” said Martin.

“This project is a game changer for the electricity industry, not only in Newfoundland and Labrador, but in Eastern North America, and it ill generate benefits in every corner of our province.

“Newfoundland and Labrador has a portfolio of untapped hydro resources with a generation potential of over 5,000 megawatts. The Lower Churchill forms part of that and the Lower Churchill is one of the greater resources on the continent today.”

Martin also mentioned the potential hydropower that can be developed at Gull Island in Labrador. In fact, according to the president and CEO, Nalcor still has high hopes for a future Gull Island development.

“With Muskrat Falls now underway, we have not lost sight, at all, of the potential wealth creation, the development of Gull Island will bring,” said Martin.

In the media scrum, Martin furthered his comments, stating his believe that hydro development at Gull Island is inevitable.

“I think Gull Island is absolutely inevitable,” said Martin. “You look at the demand throughout Canada and the United States, it’s huge; for green energy, for replacement energy, Gull Island is these best untapped hydro resource in North America today.”

derek.montague@thelabradorian.ca

Geographic location: Gull Island, Newfoundland and Labrador, United States Canada Happy Valley Goose Bay North America

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