"We can't allow things that are inaccurate to stand." — The Word of Our Dan, February 19, 2008.

Thursday, July 05, 2007

Any day now... any day

Another week, another press release from the Premier — and not the Minister of Natural Resources — pumping up the latest prosperity-inflicting Lower Churchill plan.

Did you need any reminding that this is an election year?

If you think you have seen this movie before — undersea cables, “go it alone”, attracting industry like flies, construction is right around the corner — you have.

Many, many, many times:

Newfoundland is planning a $2,000,000 hydro-electric power development on Labrador’s Hamilton River, 150 miles downstream from the proposed 6,000,000 horsepower Hamilton Falls project. In a preparation statement presented following a meeting of the cabinet, Mr. Smallwood said his Government had notified the British Newfoundland Corp. (Brinco) of its decision to bring large blocks of electric power from the lower Hamilton to the island of Newfoundland. “Our plan is to bring this power to Fortune Bay and Hermitage Bay and Bay D’Espoir on the south coast of Newfoundland.” – Globe and Mail, March 20, 1964

It now appears economically feasible to transmit power from Hamilton Falls in Labrador to the United States by submarine and overland cables, Attorney General Leslie R. Curtis of Newfoundland said…. Mr. Curtis said in a statement the Newfoundland government has been studying for some time the transmission, distribution and marketing of the low-cost power to be generated at Hamilton Falls… Mr. Curtis said that under the new plan, the Hamilton Falls project would develop 6,000,000 horsepower compared with 2,000,000 horsepower under the previous proposal. A further 3,000,000 horsepower may be obtained from the same sites [sic]. – Toronto Star, July 15, 1964

Smallwood said development of the potential of the upper Churchill River by the British Newfoundland Co., mostly for sale to Hydro-Quebec, will take until 1975. But development of the other 3,000,000 horsepower further downstream and on another 6,000,000 on other Labrador rivers would take a second decade. – Toronto Star, November 4, 1966

…field work and site investigations for feasibility studies on the development of the Gull Island hydro site on the lower Churchill River are continuing on schedule. – CP, November 25, 1969

Below [Churchill Falls], on the lower Churchill River, there is an additional power potential of 3,500,000 horsepower. Ontario’s Premier John Robarts has indicated that his province might be in the market for some of that power in the 1970s. There are suggestions that an old scheme might be revived to route Labrador power through Newfoundland and the Maritimes to the U.S. via undersea cables. – Toronto Star, November 2, 1970

The Brinco report said that Gull Island will be the next site for development of power on the Churchill River. Located 130 miles downstream from Churchill Falls, Gull Island could provided 1.8 million kilowatts or 2.4 million horsepower of installed capacity. Expenditures on this project now exceed $3 million. Should arrangements be completed by the end of 1972, power may be available in 1977. – CP, April 4, 1972

Power from a proposed development of the lower Churchill River in Labrador is to be used solely for the benefit of Newfoundlanders and will not be exported, Premier Frank Moores told a news conference… all the energy from the lower Churchill will be retained in Newfoundland – Globe and Mail, August 1, 1973

[Frank Moores] said many industries are likely to want to establish in Newfoundland when power from the Lower Churchill River [sic] in Labrador becomes available on the island. Some “trigger industries” would be needed to make the Lower Churchill project feasible, especially in view of the cost of transmitting power to the island form [sic] Labrador by undersea cable across the Strait of Belle Isle, a distance of between 10 and 15 miles. None of the power from the Lower Churchill, which has a potential of three million horsepower, would be sold outside the province… “We are developing the Lower Churchill to bring power here… people in Newfoundland will have cheap power, unlimited power, in 20 or 50 years when in the United States they’ll be rationed or paying for expensive solar energy.” A trigger industry for Lower Churchill power could be a third newsprint mill, possibly built on Newfoundland’s east coast, perhaps at Come by Chance. – CP, November 23, 1973

Some site preparation work is being done on the Lower Churchill power development, a program that will cost more than $1-billion… The Lower Churchill project is to develop 1.8 billion kilowatt hours a year, tripling the province’s present capacity. Newfoundland’s hope is that the power will attract new forms of industry, giving the province a more diversified economic base. Mr. Crosbie estimates the transmission facilities to connect the Lower and Upper Churchill projects with Newfoundland will cost about $500-million. The province wants the federal Government to finance that and recover the money through user charges. A provincial Crown corporation is going to develop the Lower Churchill generating plant and other facilities at an estimated cost of $650-million. Negotiations are under way with Ottawa and the earliest Newfoundland can expect Churchill power is 1979 or 1980. – Globe and Mail, July 27, 1974

Development of the lower Churchill River hydro-electric project will continue with or without financial assistance from the federal government, Premier Frank Moores has pledged. But Mr. Moores added he believes that Ottawa will lend the province the $550-million needed to build a transmission line and a tunnel across the Strait of Belle Isle from Labrador to the island of Newfoundland. The province intends to finance construction of the power site 50 miles west of Goose Bay at Gull Island on the lower Churchill River… “We should have the final word by the end of the year. And if Ottawa doesn’t come through, we’ll have to look elsewhere.” He declined to elaborate. The provincial Government, which has already committed $14-million of its own money for preliminary work on the project this year, hopes to have power from the lower Churchil on stream in 1979. – Globe and Mail, August 24, 1974

Although [Newfoundland] has deferred construction at Gull Island for one year it is proceeding with the under-sea tunnel across the Strait of Belle Isle which is intended to bring Churchill River power from mainland Labordor [sic] to the island of Newfoundland. – Toronto Star, December 26, 1975

The Newfoundland Government has begun preliminary discussions with the Ontario Government in an attempt to sell Lower Churchill power directly to that province, Premier Frank Moores says. Mr. Moores said Newfoundland would be “ready to go” with the proposed $2.3-billion hydro development in Labrador if Ontario or another customer could be persuaded to pay competitive rates for surplus power from the project… Mr. Moores said Newfoundland would need only about half the 11.65 billion kilowatt hours of electricity to be generated annually by the Lower Churchill. He added that the province desperately needs a viable market such as Ontario for the surplus power to finance the venture. “We obviously can’t borrow the money on spec.” The federal Government is committed to providing 50 per cent of the transmission costs for the project, but has refused so far to pay anything towards the cost of the generating plant itself. But the Premier said there is a possibility Ottawa will agree to a 50-50 cost-sharing arrangement on the generating station. – Globe and Mail, July 10, 1976

Newfoundland Energy Minister Brian Beckford says he is optimistic that a start can be made this year on the Lower Churchill River hydro-electric power development. He said the Lower Churchill situation is more optimistic than it has been for the past two years. Fairly intense negotiations are proceeding with Quebec, and negotiations are also continuing with the federal Government. Premier Frank Moores will talk to the Prime Minister and other federal ministers about the project during the first ministers’ conference in Ottawa next week. – Globe and Mail, February 11, 1978

The investment picture looks somewhat more promising for next year, however, as the Government hopes to renew construction on a giant hydro-electric development in Labrador and is also banking on concluding a multi-million dollar agreement with the federal Government for reconstruction of the Trans-Canada Highway across the province. About $80-million has already been spent on the $2.3-billion Lower Churchill power project, but further work has been held up pending an agreement with Ottawa for help in financing the deal. A federal-provincial committee has been working on a joint proposal for the past several months, and provincial sources expect an agreement to be reached in time for work to begin next spring. – Globe and Mail, July 22, 1978

The federal and Newfoundland governments have agreed to establish and jointly fund a Lower Churchill Development Corp., setting the stage for development of a second, large-scale hydro-electric project on the Churchill River in Labrador. Under the agreement, Ottawa initially will provide up to $5-million for completing economic, marketing and financing studies on the hydro-electric potential of the Gull Island and Muskrat Falls sites, as well as on transmission facilities and long term financing. – Globe and Mail, November 29, 1978

The [throne] speech said a year-round, deep water port is needed in Labrador because of potential heavy demand from industry that is expected to take advantage of hydro-electric power from the harnessing of the lower Churchill River. A federal-Newfoundland corporation has been established to supervise development, expected to start at two sites on the river within two years. – December 5, 1978

The Newfoundland Government is turning its attention to a costly and complex alternative to transporting Labrador power through Quebec, a spokesman for Premier Brian Peckford says. The so-called Anglo-Saxon route would carry power from Labrador hydro-electric developments by underwater cable across the Strait of Belle Isle, through Newfoundland, across Cabot Strait, and into Cape Breton Island, where it would join an existing power grid for distribution to other parts of Canada and the United States. – Globe and Mail, April 29, 1980

Early development of two hydro-electric power projects in Labrador has been recommended by the board of directors of Lower Churchill Developments Corp., a joint venture of the federal and Newfoundland governments. The directors said in a report that two hydro-electric sites at Gull Island and Muskrat Falls could produce the energy equivalent of 27 million barrels of oil annually. A decision on whether to proceed with the projects is still several months away and will require joint consultation between the two governments. – Globe and Mail, July 4, 1980

Because of the difficulties and delays the Lower Churchill Development Corp. seems to be experiencing in developing Gull Island’s 1,700 megawatts, it seems likely the Muskrat Falls site will be the first project started, but no date has been set for the start of construction. If development could start next year, the project might be generating power by 1986, and would eventually be able to put out about 600 megawatts at a cost of $3.2-billion. Barring a breakthrough with Quebec, or a change of heart by the federal Government, which has refused to step into the Churchill Falls dispute, the only hope for Newfoundland appears to be striking a deal for exporting surplus power from other projects. This is complicated by the need to use submarine cables to transmit the electricity under the Cabot Strait, since Quebec will only approve land lines if it can buy the power at the border and act as a broker. – Globe and Mail, September 22, 1980

A five-year economic development plan being prepared by the Newfoundland Government is expected to show whether the province sees the New York State Power Authority as the financial and marketing key to harnessing the hydro-electric potential of the Lower Churchill River. The plan is expected to cover all potential markets for untapped power. A decision on whether to develop the 2,300-megawatt potential of the Lower Churchill is to be made by the end of the year. Gull Island, capable of producing 1,700 megawatts would cost $4.5-billion. Muskrat Falls, with a potential of 618 megawatts, would cost $3.2-billion and would supply the province’s domestic power needs well into the future. – September 30, 1980

Thursday, Newfoundland Premier Brian Peckford released a letter from the head of the Power Authority of the State of New York agreeing in principle to buy 600 megawatts of electricity from the undeveloped Lower Churchill Falls. At a press conference, Mr. Peckford said Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau had told him at the constitutional conference the federal Government would intervene with Quebec if Newfoundland came up with a contract to sell its power. – Globe and Mail, October 4, 1980

Despite major uncertainties about Newfoundland’s future hydro-electricity developments, the province and the federal Government have agreed to invest $10-million in equity in the Lower Churchill Development Corp. The corporation, set up by the two governments in 1978 to develop hydro-electric power from the lower Churchill River in Labrador, will use the money to finance an engineering study of a proposed underwater transmission-cable crossing of the Strait of Belle Isle. The crossing is a key element in the potential transmission of power from two proposed hydro sites at Gull Island and Muskrat Falls to Newfoundland and the existing Churchill Falls station. Officials said that, by approving funds for a study this year, they hope to maintain momentum for power development of the lower Churchill from either of the two proposed hydro sites by 1987. – Globe and Mail, July 18, 1981

Quebec, in the past, has been unwilling to alter the Upper Churchill contract and wanted to develop the Lower Churchill co-operatively. Newfoundland insists on revision of the Upper Churchill contract before proceeding with the new project. Mr. Peckford told reporters yesterday he is optimistic a deal may be arrived at because there is a new Premier at the helm and a new mood in Quebec. – Globe and Mail, June 17, 1986

Quebec and Newfoundland are making real progress in resolving their dispute over development of hydro power from the Upper Churchill River in Labrador, Premier Brian Peckford said yesterday… Peckford said he discussed the project with Mulroney yesterday. “He is very keen on it,” Peckford said of the PM. “He said: ‘I think we’ve got an opportunity over the next couple of years to put together a big deal.’ “ – Globe and Mail, August 28, 1986

Quebec and Newfoundland officials will meet in the next few weeks to discuss possible joint development of hydroelectric projects in Labrador, the premiers of the two provinces said yesterday… Earlier in the day, Peckford said his province wants joint development projects to give Newfoundland more electricity for itself and for export to New England. The profits from the exports “would tend to rectify the other inequity,” which is the word Newfoundland uses to describe the 1969 Churchill Falls contract. Peckford said any projects would have “to recognize some of the unfairness that is inherent in the present situation.” But he wouldn’t say what kind of deal would be acceptable to Newfoundland or whether the province would demand more than a 50-per-cent share of profits. – Globe and Mail, June 15, 1988

The Quebec and Newfoundland governments already are discussing a second joint power development on the Lower Churchill and other rivers straddling the Labrador border. – Globe and Mail, August 5, 1988

Talks between Quebec and Newfoundland officials about development of two hydroelectric sites on Labrador’s Lower Churchill River are going well, Quebec Energy Minister John Ciaccia says… Frank Petten, spokesman for Newfoundland Premier Brian Peckford, said Newfoundland expects an agreement will be reached by next spring. He also said the premier has been hinting at a spring election. Newfoundland Energy Minister Neil Windsor insists that concessions by Quebec on the Churchill Falls agreement must be part of any new deal to develop additional sites. He described what was on the table as a “framework for negotiations.” Newfoundland would tap about 500 megawatts from the two projects, by way of a tunnel to be built under the Strait of Belle Isle, with the remainder sold to Hydro-Quebec. – Financial Post, November 29, 1988

Mr. Wells’ plan is to go to Ottawa, hopefully with an Ontario purchase contract in his pocket, and demand that the federal government help finance part of the Labrador development and also force a hydro corridor across Quebec. – Globe and Mail, August 28, 1989

Ontario Hydro is negotiating the possible purchase of substantial amounts of power over a long term from both Manitoba and Newfoundland, Energy Minister Lyn McLeod confirmed yesterday…She also confirmed that negotiations are underway with Newfoundland and Quebec for a scheme to develop power resources on the Lower Churchill Falls in Newfoundland and transmit it through Quebec to Ontario. – Globe and Mail, November 9, 1989

Since the demise of the Meech Lake constitutional accord, the Newfoundland Premier has become, for Quebeckers, a symbol of the intransigence and pettifogging that is English Canada at its worst. Barely a week goes by without Premier Robert Bourassa or one of his ministers taking Mr. Wells’ name in vain or uttering in his direction that most Gallic of dismissives: “pfff. . .” Yet throughout all this, senior representatives of Hydro-Quebec and a negotiating team from Mr. Wells’ own electrical utility have been meeting a couple of times a month to discuss further joint development of the tremendous power potential of the lower Churchill River in Labrador… The negotiations are too secretive at this point to get a true handle on them. But in broad strokes, they can mean only two things: that the lower Churchill project is so financially attractive it can withstand even the rigours of Canadian federalism in the nineties, and that Hydro- Quebec’s own grand plans for the second phase of James Bay hydro development are hitting some rough waters. – Globe and Mail, March 8, 1991

Hydro-Quebec and Newfoundland are close to reaching an agreement to develop two major hydroelectric sites in Labrador jointly, says a Hydro executive. Pierre Bolduc, Hydro-Quebec’s vice-president in charge of external markets, said that an agreement could be reached within six to 12 months. The first power from the dams could come on stream in the year 2000. – Ottawa Citizen, August 27, 1991

After years of humiliation over the pittance Quebec pays for electricity from Churchill Falls in Labrador, Newfoundland is poised to extract some revenge… Just over a week ago, representatives of both provinces met in Montreal, trying to smooth the last wrinkles out of a contract that could provide Quebec with almost three-quarters of the power that Great Whale would produce - without flooding an acre of Cree land. An official at Newfoundland and Labrador Hydro said in a recent interview that after almost two years of negotiations, the two sides are close to a deal. “We are cautiously optimistic that over the next two or three months we are going to get an agreement,” Donald Barrett, manager of corporate affairs for the Newfoundland utility, said from St. John’s. – Montreal Gazette, December 4, 1991

Hydro-Quebec executives are optimistic they will soon strike a deal to purchase a massive amount of hydroelectric power from Newfoundland. The deal concerns the proposed Lower Churchill project in Labrador, scheduled to begin generating electricity around the year 2000. Newfoundland needs a contract with Quebec so it can go to the money markets and borrow $10-billion needed for this second development on the Churchill River. The first, Churchill Falls, began production in the early 1970s. “We are very close to a deal,” said Claude Dube, Hydro-Quebec’s vice- president for external markets. “This is not a game here; we want to buy that power. We’ve been negotiating with Newfoundland for two years and have finally put a comprehensive offer on the table.” In St. John’s, Newfoundland Energy Minister Rex Gibbons said his negotiating team is studying the offer and hopes to get back to Hydro- Quebec “within a couple of weeks.” – Globe and Mail, January 16, 1992

…Quebec controls the fate of an ambitious $11.4- billion scheme to develop the long-awaited second phase of Churchill Falls - two dam sites downstream at Gull Island and Muskrat Falls. A letter of intent that would commit Quebec to buy power from the project well into the next century could be signed within months, officials in Quebec and Newfoundland say. That vote of confidence would allow construction to begin in 1995 or 1996 with the first power deliveries around the year 2000... Although still not a reality, prospects for the Lower Churchill project appear brighter than at any time since 1976 thanks to hurdles facing Hydro-Quebec’s own dam projects and Newfoundland’s crying need for the jobs that come with a megaproject. – Globe and Mail, June 22, 1992

Parizeau likes to pretend the vote in Quebec is already won. He talked repeatedly about ``Quebec and the provinces,” as if he leads a nation and the rest are provincial pols. His real audience was undecided Quebec voters, to whom he offered reassurance that he’ll cultivate continuing good relations with the Rest of Canada.

In Quebec city, [Jacques Parizeau had] already announced he’d amend Quebec law to permit Ontario construction companies to bid on an equal footing for building jobs in Quebec. Here, he snuggled with Premier Clyde Wells and held out hope for a solution to the 20-year impasse which prevents Newfoundland from shipping power from the lower Churchill Falls in Labrador across Quebec to potential customers in the United States. – Toronto Star, August 25, 1995

Newfoundland Premier Brian Tobin and Quebec Premier Lucien Bouchard have agreed to bury the hatchet in hopes of settling a bitter 28-year-old fight over the Churchill Falls hydroelectric project in Labrador. Mr. Bouchard and Mr. Tobin, both travelling on a Canadian trade mission in Asia, announced yesterday in Bangkok that they have directed senior officials to open “exploratory talks” on resolving the Churchill Falls standoff… “We have to work together on eventual developments,” Mr. Bouchard said. “There are rivers, on both sides of the Quebec-Labrador boundary, that haven’t been developed. There are projects to develop. There are things we can do together. There is a lot of [potential] economic development and jobs to be created.” – Globe and Mail, January 18, 1997

Quebec and Newfoundland are in intensive negotiations over the Churchill Falls hydroelectric contract, a source of acrimony between the two provinces for more than a decade. Quebec, which has refused to renegotiate the Upper Churchill Falls contract, now appears willing to reverse its position. The new climate of co-operation is the direct result of deregulation in the U.S. electricity market, which has opened new opportunities for the development of the Lower Churchill Falls project in Labrador. Quebec is seeking a major stake in that project… “The negotiations are going smoothly; they are quite harmonious,” Hydro-Québec CEO André Caillé said at a news conference yesterday. On Tuesday, the working groups tabled a joint report to the premiers, who decided during a private meeting to pursue the talks. Mr. Bouchard said recommendations “on the energy situation” between the two provinces will be made in September. – Globe and Mail, June 5, 1997
A $12-billion plan to develop hydro-electric power at Churchill Falls is quietly taking shape as the Newfoundland, Quebec and federal governments discuss the financial and technical details of the megaproject… Furey estimates the backroom discussions could lead to formal negotiations between the provinces within one or two weeks. Over five to seven years, the project would mean thousands of construction jobs - 60,000 person-years of work - for Quebec and Newfoundland, which both need new employment growth. As well, Quebec Premier Lucien Bouchard would like to announce the Churchill project as a springboard to an early election in the province, sources say. – Financial Post, February 18, 1998

Quebec Premier Lucien Bouchard will meet Newfoundland Premier Brian Tobin in Labrador on Monday to announce that negotiations are set to begin for a major hydroelectricity project between the two provinces. Bouchard said yesterday that work isn’t set to start right away at Churchill Falls, but progress has been made to help make the project a reality. “We will announce that formal negotiations will begin,” the premier said at a Parti Quebecois caucus meeting. “I think that we have done good work until now but a lot of work remains to be done. I’m quite hopeful.” The agreement is for development of a $12-billion hydroelectric project on the Lower Churchill River. Tobin said Monday an agreement of such importance should be subject to public scrutiny. He said a Newfoundland election would allow the public to adequately scrutinize the project between the two provinces. “Ultimately, one of the real tests to find out whether the public wants it or not is to put it to the people,” Tobin said. The deal is believed to include the construction of two dams and a $2-billion, 800-megawatt transmission line to the island portion of the province. Power would flow by 2007. – CP, March 4, 1998

Quebec and Newfoundland will end more than 20 years of bitter dispute today, signing a $12-billion pact that Newfoundland Premier Brian Tobin says demonstrates “an agreed vision for the future of hydroelectric development.” Mr. Tobin and Quebec Premier Lucien Bouchard are scheduled to meet in the isolated Labrador community of Churchill Falls to give the go-ahead for formal negotiations toward a jointly owned, 3,500-megawatt power project. – Globe and Mail, March 9, 1998

Newfoundland Premier Brian Tobin scored a major triumph Monday with his sweetheart deal from Quebec’s Lucien Bouchard to build a new hydro megaproject on Labrador’s Churchill River… The proposed $12-billion project -- the largest in the world after China’s Three Gorges dam if it goes ahead -- was agreed to in broad outline by the two premiers in the expectation that all the details can be worked out over the next nine months to produce an agreement-in-principle and a formal go-ahead… Thanks to very favorable financial terms from Quebec, the proposed project goes a long way towards righting the wrongs of the original Churchill Falls project. That hydro project which saw Hydro Quebec benefit massively at Newfoundland’s expense, soured relations between the two provinces for 20 years… In return for putting up 35 per cent of the project’s equity capital, Newfoundland will reap between 65 per cent and possibly as much as 80 per cent of the profits over the project’s 30-year life, worth billions of dollars. And the province will also win the lion’s share of the project’s construction jobs -- estimated to peak at 6,400 in 2004 -- thanks to the ready availability of workers coming off the Hibernia offshore oil project. – Southam News, March 10, 1998

The starting gun has been fired in the nine-month countdown to a final deal between Newfoundland and Quebec for a hydroelectric project in Labrador. Now some observers wonder if negotiators have legs long enough to leap the hurdles that could be put on the course by aboriginals, the federal government and the unpredictable marketplace… Newfoundland and Quebec broke through a 25-year impasse in energy talks this week with the beginning of formal negotiations to develop 3,200 megawatts of new power from the Churchill River system. The $10-billion deal, if finalized by a target date of Dec. 15, would include a $3.2-billion dam on the Lower Churchill, the diversion of water from two Quebec rivers into a new generating station on the Upper Churchill and $3 billion in new transmission lines in the two provinces. – CP, March 11, 1998

Hydro-Québec says it can finance most of its share of the proposed $11.8-billion Churchill Falls hydroelectric development through its cash flow, eliminating any need for new borrowing. In fact, the provincial government-owned utility maintains that its long-term debt-to-equity ratio, which stands at about three to one, will improve during the project’s five-year construction phase that begins in 2002. That’s because higher profit will allow Hydro-Québec to repay borrowings while financing new investments in transmission and generating capacity… Hydro-Québec and Newfoundland and Labrador Hydro-Electric Corp. last month received the go-ahead from their respective governments, under a framework agreement signed by Premier Lucien Bouchard and Newfoundland Premier Brian Tobin, to reach an agreement on building new generating stations on Labrador’s Churchill River. – Globe and Mail, April 10, 1998

Newfoundland and Quebec announced a framework agreement in March that would see hydro development at Gull Island on the Lower Churchill River and expansion of the Upper Churchill River. Both sides want to strike a final deal by Dec. 15. – CP, May 20, 1998

[Brian Tobin’s] other asset is that, like all premiers, he can do things. Say No to Inco over Voisey’s Bay. Says Yes to Quebec Premier Lucien Bouchard over development of the lower Churchill Falls, on which, provided all continues to go well, the two provinces will sign a memorandum of understanding before year’s end. – Richard Gwyn, September 11, 1998

Mr. Tobin said he wants to finish what his government started in 1996 -- turning Newfoundland into an economic “have” province. To him, that means negotiating the best possible deals on projects such as the Lower Churchill River, the Voisey’s Bay nickel development, and Innu and Inuit land claims. – Globe and Mail, May 15, 1999

Newfoundland and Quebec continue to make progress in their efforts to reach a deal to develop hydroelectricity in Labrador, despite recent threats by Quebec Innu leaders to halt the project, Brian Tobin, Newfoundland Premier, said yesterday. “I believe very strongly there is going to be a Lower Churchill development,” said Mr. Tobin, admittedly buoyed following a meeting on Tuesday with Lucien Bouchard, Quebec Premier, to discuss the status of the $10-billion project. – National Post, October 14, 1999

A private meeting between premiers has kick-started the multi-billion dollar Lower Churchill Falls power project in Labrador. Brian Tobin of Newfoundland and Lucien Bouchard of Quebec met Thursday in Montreal and agreed to restart talks to develop the massive hydro development jointly, Heidi Bonnell, Mr. Tobin’s spokeswoman, confirmed yesterday… The Lower Churchill Falls project would likely proceed in three stages, but the question is how quickly to move on each of them and when to begin. The two sides have been in discussions for two years. Thursday’s meeting grew out of an encounter at the recent premiers’ meeting in Winnipeg between the two men. Mr. Tobin, in characteristic fashion, softened the ground ahead of the Thursday meeting with a comment, reported the morning of the get-together, that a number of U.S. partners are interested in participating if Quebec is not. – National Post, September 2, 2000

The Newfoundland government has quietly scaled down its long-promised Churchill Falls power megaproject, Mines and Energy Minister Paul Dicks confirmed yesterday. The project is now proposed to cost $3.7-billion, less than a third of the $12-billion for the scheme that was originally proposed by former Newfoundland premier Brian Tobin during negotiations with the Quebec government over the past two and a half years. The smaller project will produce 1,700 megawatts of power and would be financed by the province of Newfoundland and Labrador. – Globe and Mail, November 10, 2000

Quebec and Newfoundland still plan to salvage a drastically scaled-back version of the Churchill River power project, the provinces’ premiers said Tuesday. One subject left to tackle is whether Quebec would help build -- or simply buy energy from -- the proposed Gull Island generator on the Lower Churchill River, the two premiers said. After his first meeting with Quebec’s Bernard Landry, Premier Roger Grimes gave mixed signals on who might build the generator and how much of it would actually belong to Newfoundland. On one hand, he suggested that building it without Quebec’s help could be more “viable” if American investors come forward. In the same sentence, he talked about “a stand-alone entity, 100- per-cent owned by Newfoundland and Labrador.” – CP, June 6, 2001

Newfoundland and U.S. aluminum giant Alcoa Inc. said yesterday they would conduct a feasibility study into reviving the stalled Lower Churchill hydroelectric project in Labrador. – Globe and Mail, July 27, 2001

The world’s largest aluminum producer will hold further talks with Newfoundland’s government before deciding if it will help build a Labrador hydroelectric project. Energy Minister Lloyd Matthews said Alcoa officials want to discuss the costs of building a transmission line from the Lower Churchill River to the island. Matthews said provincial officials will take between 30 and 45 days to consider a $1-million feasibility study done by the company on the project. – Montreal Gazette, December 19, 2001

Newfoundland and Quebec have laid the groundwork for a new deal to build a $4-billion, 2000-megawatt hydroelectric project on the Lower Churchill River in Labrador. The project is expected to bring an estimated 8,300 person-years of employment, but the provinces must first win the agreement of Innu communities. – Globe and Mail, August 2, 2002

Newfoundland and Quebec are finalizing a multibillion-dollar deal to build a 2,000-megawatt hydroelectrical project that should be signed by October. Roger Grimes, premier of Newfoundland and Labrador, said yesterday his negotiators worked through the summer - without vacation - on the agreement with Quebec and Hydro-Quebec, adding that the power would be exported to the United States. Grimes said the announcement would be made in “ six, seven or eight weeks.” – Southam News, August 27, 2002

There is much speculation that the current round of negotiations with Quebec over the proposed Lower Churchill project will have to take a new tack. The next move would see Newfoundland Premier Roger Grimes approaching the federal government for support for the power plant as part of Ottawa’s commitment to produce clean energy in honouring its Kyoto commitments. That could reopen discussions about construction of a transmission tunnel to move electricity from Labrador to the island of Newfoundland… Quebec leaders, including Premier Bernard Landry, insist they are ready to sign an agreement for the Lower Churchill Falls development. But the deal that Mr. Grimes said was only days away in mid-November has been held up as he and other senior government officials try to appease political and business leaders who fear the Lower Churchill development will be yet another giveaway of the province’s natural resources. – Globe and Mail, December 10, 2002

The blackout that recently rattled much of North America has sparked new optimism for the Lower Churchill Falls electricity project between Newfoundland and Quebec that has been on and off for two decades. Untapped hydroelectric potential in Labrador could provide Ontario and the northeastern United States with a much needed reliable new source of energy, according to Newfoundland and Labrador Premier Roger Grimes. – CP, August 27, 2003

The Newfoundland government will issue an official call for expressions of interest next month to develop a Labrador hydroelectric project that has eluded the province for decades. Facing a crushing debt and a decline in offshore oil revenues, Premier Danny Williams made it clear Monday a hydro development on the Lower Churchill River is a priority for his government. – CP, September 21, 2004

Newfoundland’s government has received 25 proposals to develop Labrador’s Lower Churchill hydroelectric project, including an offer from the Ontario and Quebec governments partnered with engineering giant SNC Lavalin, the report said. Details of the other offers have been kept secret, but at least 10 are serious enough to kickstart the $3.3-billion project, TD economists Derek Burleton and Priscila Kalevar wrote in their report. Building a new hydroelectric facility down river from the Churchill Falls dam in central Labrador has been bandied about since the early 1970’s. Numerous delays hampered work on the project. “Despite encountering storm clouds since the mid-1970s, the lower Churchill development’s day in the sun may have finally arrived,” the economists wrote. – Financial Post, June 17, 2005

Earlier this year, Newfoundland’s government sought expressions of interest to develop the Lower Churchill hydroelectric project and there has been no shortage of parties willing to toss their hat into the ring. The government heard from about 25 suitors, including a partnership struck between the governments of Ontario and Quebec and SNC Lavalin Inc., a Montreal engineering giant. Danny Williams, Newfoundland and Labrador’s Premier, is keeping a tight lid on the names of interested parties and didn’t want to discuss the project. But there is speculation U.S., European and even Chinese interests are all eyeing Lower Churchill. In the next few weeks, Newfoundland is expected to whittle that list down to a handful of names, the first step in a process that could see Lower Churchill built over the next decade at a cost of between $5-billion and $9-billion. (Quebec has agreed to supply power to Ontario from its other hydroelectric sites until Lower Churchill is finished.) – Financial Post, July 15, 2005

With a midsummer heat wave pushing North America’s electrical demand to record highs, Newfoundland Premier Danny Williams says his province is considering going ahead on its own to develop a massive hydroelectric project in Labrador. Williams said the time is right for the Lower Churchill development, and that an in-house proposal will be among four possible developments that will be under close consideration in the coming months. “Our financial situation is starting to improve,” Williams said Monday. With $2 billion from the federal government under a renegotiated offshore accord, he said the province’s financial capability has improved greatly. “We’re in a position to seriously consider it,” Williams told reporters. – CP, August 9, 2005


At 3:11 AM, July 05, 2007 , Blogger Mark said...

sorry dude,

At 7:26 PM, July 06, 2007 , Blogger C. Parrot said...

Interesting chronology, Wallace.

The more things change . . .




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