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 évaluer 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.