Bitter legacy hangs over today’s energy discussions between Quebec and N.L. premiers

st. Johns, NL-

Quebec Prime Minister Francois Legault is in St. John’s today to discuss with the prime ministers of Newfoundland and Labrador what will happen after the violently fragmented hydroelectric energy contract ends in 2041.

Legault faces the public in Newfoundland and Labrador hurt by the legacy of two hydropower projects deemed failures in the Atlantic state.

Memorial University historian Jeff Webb notes that animosity from a deal with Quebec at Churchill Falls in 1969 led many people in Newfoundland and Labrador to join the Muskrat Falls hydroelectric project decades later. He said he led me to accept it.

So far both have been disastrous for Newfoundland and Labrador. The Churchill Falls agreement has yielded overwhelming returns to Quebec, and the Muskrat Falls project has been delayed and drained the state’s budget.

Webb says that when Muskrat Falls was authorized in 2012, it was developed as a way for Newfoundland and Labrador to separate Quebec’s hydropower projects from their energy futures and address their unique needs.

Under the Churchill Falls contract, Hydro-Québec will be able to purchase 85% of the electricity generated by the Labrador Dam at a fixed rate of just 0.2 cents per kilowatt-hour.

On Wednesday, Mr Legault said Quebec will pay for electricity generated from Churchill Falls before 2041 in exchange for a “very favorable” price for electricity when existing contracts expire in 18 years. , said it was open to paying more.

This report by the Canadian Press was first published on February 24, 2023.

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