New England Governors calling for fast development of Lower Churchill

New England governors are calling for a swift resolution to transmission and financial issues associated with the potential development of Labrador’s Lower Churchill hydroelectric project, with one warning that Canada is “running out of time” to sell power south of the border. The governors met Monday with Atlantic Canadian premiers in Halifax, where they discussed the proposed $6.2-billion development at Muskrat Falls in central Labrador. Vermont Gov. Peter Shumlin said the most pressing question that needs to be resolved is how to get Canadian power to northern U.S. markets without boosting transmission capacity. “There is no universal plan to get it there,” Shumlin said. “So you’re building hydro, spending billions of dollars to do it and we haven’t adequately addressed how we get it to the market.”

A quick Lower Churchill deal refresher:

  • Nalcor Energy would spend $2.9 billion to build a power generating facility at Muskrat Falls capable of producing 824 megawatts of electricity
  • A transmission link from Labrador to Newfoundland would cost $2.1 billion, $600 million of which would be provided by Emera, Nova Scotia’s private utility. That link would span 1,100 kilometres, including a 30-km subsea connection across the Strait of Bell Isle.
  • A 180-km subsea link between Cape Ray, N.L., to Lingan, N.S., would cost $1.2 billion, all funded by Emera.
  • Nova Scotia would receive 170 megawatts of energy annually — about eight to 10 per cent of the province’s total power needs — for 35 years.

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