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Newfoundland and Nova Scotia link up for massive hydro development

In what's being called a "historic" and nation-building pact, the power company of Newfoundland and Labrador has struck a deal with its equivalent in Nova Scotia to develop a hydroelectric site on the Lower Churchill River.


In what’s being called a “historic” and nation-building pact, the power company of Newfoundland and Labrador has struck a deal with its equivalent in Nova Scotia to develop a hydroelectric site on the Lower Churchill River.

The $6.2-billion deal between Newfoundland’s Nalcor and Nova Scotia’s Emera Inc. will see a $834-MW power plant built at Muskrat Falls in central Labrador. The power would be transmitted via underground cables across the Strait of Belle Isle  to Newfoundland, and from there across the Cabot Strait into Lingan, Nova Scotia  — bypassing Quebec.

According to a CBC report, Nalcor’s chief executive officer, Ed Martin, said they would be issuing a contract for engineering and construction management for the Muskrat Falls plant in December. A press release on Nalcor’s site indicated that “all engineering for the generation and the Labrador-Island link will be done in the province.” The release says that the project will create 8,600 person years of work on the project between 2011 and 2017.

Phase 2 will be to develop an even larger hydropower site on the Churchill River, at Gull Island. It is estimated that site could provide 2250 MW.

The 35-year agreement was signed on November 18. The development will require ratification of an Innu Nation land claim and the proponents are seeking federal help to the tune of $375 million.