29 October 2009

Lower Churchill “unviable for the foreseeable future”: analyst

Energy analyst Tom Adams had this to say about the Lower Churchill project in a recent commentary on the NB Power sale:

Premier Williams has attacked Quebec’s interest in NB Power as a threat to Newfoundland’s prospects for developing the Lower Churchill’s hydro‐electric potential. Charged with emotion arising from historic Churchill Falls grievances – a contract that Newfoundland’s then Premier Smallwood sought out and willingly signed and that has been twice confirmed by the Supreme Court – Premier Williams imagines inter‐provincial intrigues to be Quebec’s motivation. This emotionalism blinds some Newfoundlanders to the real commercial challenges to the Lower Churchill’s development. Just as natural gas from the Mackenzie delta is now recognized as uneconomic in light of foreseeable market conditions, the factors that have driven down power prices in Northeastern North America make the economics of Lower Churchill development unviable for the foreseeable future. Newfoundlanders are lucky that Nalcor, their Crown energy company, is not out in the market the trying to sell high cost power right now. [Emphasis added.]

Unfortunately, NALCOR and Danny Williams didn’t get Adams’ memo. Premier Danny Williams revealed yesterday that NALCOR is out there trying to flog high cost power from an economically unviable project.