30 July 2009

Hydro Quebec intervenes on Lower Churchill

Hydro Quebec has taken a shot at the Lower Churchill project as part of the environmental review, saying the environmental documents do not contain the amount and the quality of information normally required within the framework of the environmental evaluation of major hydroelectric projects, according to le soleil.

The HQ submission said that unless deficiencies are corrected, the project shouldn’t be approved.  Newfoundland and Labrador Hydro has until September to respond to the HQ submission, as part of the environmental review process for the project.

One of the issues highlighted by HQ was water resource management between the Churchill falls power plant and the Lower Churchill. 

That may be a valid objection and could be the reason why the provincial government made changes to the Electrical Power Control Act two years ago but still hasn’t implemented them.  Under the changes, two energy producers on the same river would have to come to an agreement to ensure both projects worked to the maximum.  In the absence of an agreement the province’s public utilities board could impose one.

But, the revisions are in limbo.  Incidentally, the only part of the province the section applies to would be the Churchill River.  It would have applied to any developments on the island but any potential issues there were eliminated when the provincial government wiped out most private sector electricity generation on the island with its December expropriation.