Making N.L. an energy production and sales powerhouse
Transformers at the Upper Churchill power plant. — Transcontinental Media file photo
Sifting through Nalcor Energy’s annual report, president and CEO Ed Martin points to positive numbers relating to health and safety, environmental protection initiatives, staff volunteer time in the community and corporation finances.
If the cards fall into place as Martin sees them, a big part of the numbers in the future will be power exports and sales.
For now, “I think we’re focused on the right things and that’s what the annual report’s showing,” he said, in a one-on-one with The Telegram Friday.
In the corporation’s report, Nalcor’s five main business arms — Newfoundland and Labrador Hydro, Churchill Falls, the Lower Churchill, the Bull Arm Fabrication Facility, and oil and gas — are discussed.
The company is also involved in energy marketing — selling a block of recall power from the Upper Churchill into markets in Ontario and the United States.
“Nalcor’s current energy marketing portfolio includes recall power not required by Hydro and will continue to grow over the coming years,” the report states.
Martin said he wants to see growth in energy marketing and sales.
“Right now we’re using Emera, in some capacity, for help in marketing. In other cases, we’re using some of the oil companies. Suncor and others are doing some of our oil and gas stuff. We’re with them, but my vision is — now that we know the business and are learning, I want to pull that in-house and I want to be one of the best energy marketing entities in North America,” he said.
“And why shouldn’t we be? We are going to be one of the largest producing entities in North America — from an electricity perspective and from an oil and gas perspective. Why would we have someone else do it for us?”
A “small team” now performs the energy marketing work, but “we’re looking to expand,” Martin said.
“We’re going to be a very large marketer of energy and of electricity and oil and gas.”
Lower Churchill project
Martin’s vision might be stifled, for a time at least, if the Lower Churchill project meets with disapproval when the so-called “decision gate three” (DG3) numbers are released. These are the up-to-date numbers on the project, including final cost estimates.
Martin refused to share any of the final numbers already available to him.
He also would not offer any thoughts on whether the project might go or not, “because you need the whole package,” he said, adding not all of the project numbers were ready yet.
“I’m not saying we’re going to call it ‘yes,’ or call it ‘no,’ but we will have the information here shortly to make a call,” he said.
The president and CEO said the decision will not be made on a straight look at the estimated cost of the project, but will take into account the cost of an alternative and a look at where the money for each option would go.
He said a decision on the project would be made this year and he would be pressing to deliver all the information to government as soon as possible, to allow for review and debate.
“It’s summer, into early fall, we’ve got to get this thing nailed down.”
Meanwhile, the release of the report comes ahead of Nalcor Energy’s annual general meeting, being held Tuesday, June 5 from 9-11 a.m. at the Holiday Inn in St. John’s. The meeting is scheduled to be webcast (www.nalcorenergy.com).