17 July 2014

La Romaine: on or off? #nlpoli

On Monday,  Quebec premier Philippe Couillard left the impression that the third and fourth dams on the La Romaine river were in doubt. 

Couillard told reporters as he headed to the meeting of New England Governors and Eastern Canadian Premiers that Hydro-Quebec would finish the first two dams, currently under construction, and then make a decision:

“We will evaluate them and we will see exactly what is needed. [translation of “On va les √©valuer et on va voir justement quel est le besoin.”

According to La Presse, Couillard said that HQ would assess electricity needs for industrial use within Quebec as well as for export before determining whether to build the last two dams of a four dam project.

A report commissioned for the short-lived Parti Quebecois administration last year concluded that continued development of La Romaine would not be profitable,  given the large surplus of electricity currently available to Hydro-Quebec.

The entire cost of the the La Romaine development is pegged at $6.5 billion for approximately 1500 megawatts of electricity.  If HQ proceeds with the remaining dams, the current schedule will see the third on line by 2017 and the fourth producing electricity by 2020.

A statement issued by Couillard’s office on Tuesday changed the story.  The statement said that planning was already underway for the third and fourth dams.  It also repeated Couillard’s comment from Monday that the surplus generating capacity would be an asset for Hydro-Quebec in the marketplace.



bouchecl said...

Philippe Couillard has put his foot in his mouth. The deadline to make a decision regarding Ro-3 and Ro-4 was probably in 2013.

Thierry Vandal probably showed Couillard the pictures on HQ's web site, showing the dikes and river bypass already up at the Ro-3 worksite. http://www.hydroquebec.com/romaine/travaux-romaine-3/photos.html

Brett D'Amelio said...

27 years away for Churchill Falls to come back to NL is a long long time, but I have to wonder what Quebec's electricity situation would be like without Upper Churchill?

If Quebec doesn't need the electricity it will put them in a much stronger bargaining position with NL in 2041.

If NL doesn't have the ability to transfer and sell electricity to anyone other than Quebec, they will be in a much weaker position to bargain.

If you consider that these projects take close to a decade to go from start to finish, 27 years isn't that far off. I imagine that renegotiating any churchill falls contract and any judicial or political input will easily take years to wade through.