ARCHIVED - The Lower Churchill River Projects

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Backgrounder


The Government of Canada is committed to developing Canada’s extraordinary resource wealth in a way that protects the environment. In the June 2011 Speech from the Throne, the Government committed to supporting major new clean energy projects of national or regional significance, including the Lower Churchill Hydroelectricity Projects.

On November 30, 2012, Prime Minister Harper announced that the federal government reached an agreement with the governments of Newfoundland and Labrador and Nova Scotia, as well as the utilities Nalcor Energy and Emera Inc., on the terms and conditions for the federal loan guarantee for the Lower Churchill Hydroelectricity Projects.

OVERVIEW OF THE PROJECTS

Muskrat Falls Hydroelectric Generation Facility
Nalcor Energy is developing the Muskrat Falls Hydroelectric Generation facility, with a generating capacity of 824 megawatts on the Churchill River, downstream from the existing Churchill Falls facility in Labrador.

The Muskrat Falls facility is expected to generate 4.9 million megawatt-hours (MWh) annually, with first power expected to flow in mid-2017.

Transmission Lines
Labrador Transmission Internconnection: The Labrador Transmission Interconnection will be a 345-kilovolt, high-voltage alternating current transmission interconnection between the proposed Muskrat Falls Hydroelectric Generating Station and the existing Churchill Falls Hydroelectric Generating Station.

The Labrador–Island Transmission Link: The Labrador–Island Transmission Link will be an estimated 1,135-km, 900-megawatt high-voltage direct current transmission line between Labrador and the Island of Newfoundland.

The Maritime Transmission Link: The Maritime Transmission Link will be a 500-megawatt high-voltage direct current and high-voltage alternating current transmission line to bring power from the Island of Newfoundland to Cape Breton, Nova Scotia.

PROJECT PROPONENTS

In November 2010, Nalcor Energy, Newfoundland and Labrador’s Crown-owned energy corporation, and Emera Inc. of Nova Scotia announced plans to develop the Lower Churchill River Hydroelectric Projects, comprising the Muskrat Falls Hydroelectric Generating Station and the three transmission lines.

Nalcor Energy and Emera Inc. estimate the total projected cost of the Lower Churchill River projects at approximately $7.7 billion. Nalcor Energy will construct and own 100 percent of the Muskrat Falls Hydroelectric Generating Station and will also build the Labrador–Island Transmission Link through a joint venture with Emera Inc. (with Emera Inc. having an option to take a stake in this transmission line). Emera Inc. will also build, operate and own the Maritime Transmission Link for 35 years, after which the ownership of the Maritime Transmission Link will revert to Nalcor Energy.

AGREEMENT FOR THE FEDERAL LOAN GUARANTEE

The Government of Canada has committed, through the signing of a term sheet agreement, to guarantee project-related debt of up to $6.3 billion for the Lower Churchill River Projects for a period of 35 to 40 years from the time project debt is raised, which will apply to the construction and operating phases of the projects. By backing the projects with Canada’s credit rating, the loan guarantee will significantly reduce borrowing costs.

It is estimated that the loan guarantee will save over $1 billion for the projects and, correspondingly, for ratepayers in Newfoundland and Labrador and Nova Scotia. Once all of the conditions outlined in the term sheet of November 30, 2012, are completed and all of the components of the Lower Churchill River projects have secured required environmental assessment approvals, the loan guarantee agreements can be finalized and financing may be obtained. The loan guarantee will be managed by Natural Resources Canada.

Media may contact: 

David Provencher
Press Secretary
Office of Canada's Minister of Natural Resources
613-996-2007

Or

Media Relations
Natural Resources Canada
Ottawa
613-992-4447

The general public may contact:

Mon.–Fri., 8:30 a.m.–4:30 p.m. EST
Telephone: 613-995-0947
TTY: 613-996-4397
(teletype for the hearing-impaired)
E-mail: questions@nrcan.gc.ca