The grand plan for Nalcor

Ashley Fitzpatrick
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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).

afitzpatrick@thetelegram.com

Organizations: Newfoundland and Labrador Hydro, Holiday Inn

Geographic location: North America, Ontario, United States

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Recent comments

  • St John's
    June 04, 2012 - 12:31

    We don't need this power brought to the island. If it is developed, Labrador power should stay in Labrador and be used for manufacturing energy intensive products in Labrador -- not exported raw. http://nlcpr.com/AvalonPowerDemand.php

  • Cold Future
    June 04, 2012 - 06:53

    Selling electricity at one quarter to half the price and less has been shamefully accepted for the Upper Churchill giveaway. You would think we would build on that lesson and try to do something where we could gain a few cents to the benefit of our own consumers-looks like the fool me twice shame is repeating itself. The question for the day is: will we shell out the big subsidy for Corner Brook Pulp when Kruger comes with cap in hand today or will we let the mill sink, avoid another ecomomic disaster at Muskrat, and let the consumer in this province benefit?-God knows we deserve it as much or more than the folks on the mainland and in the US.

  • David, I believe you are right on the mark with your opinion
    June 02, 2012 - 22:08

    I have a feeling that David's opinion is correct. This is very scary for all of us Newfoundlanders and Labradorians who have witnessed so much corruption over the years surrounding the development of our natural resources. We want honesty to reign in our governments so that our province and its people can attain the economic status it should have attained from the development of their natural resource base. Our resources do not belong to the politicians, whether they are reigning MHAs, MPs , Senators or ex politicians who have been appointed to arms length government organizations by either the Federal or Provincial Governments from the "Political Patronage" toolkit for being obedient in toeing the party line.

    • David
      June 03, 2012 - 09:31

      Newfoundlanders do not elect governments. We elect emperors, and predictably, we get governed exactly as emperors govern. After so many elections where this pattern has held, it is safe to say we get exactly what we want and deserve. But in an era of never-before (and never-again) windfall government revenues, this 'habit' is simply insane. But there it is.....Newfoundland.

  • David
    June 02, 2012 - 10:52

    The "grand plan" for Nalcor is simple....use the windfall of offshore oil money; 1) to provide very lucrative, high profile jobs for slick talking shysters and politically connected lackies 2) as a giant piggybank for everything from dubious mega projects to useless consultant reports, and 3) as a slushfund for outright embezzlement.....until it's all gone.

  • saelcove
    June 02, 2012 - 09:03

    Do we have a government or does nalcor call the shots,If i were a betting man i would bet on nalcor

  • Maurice E. Adams
    June 02, 2012 - 08:30

    In the Telegram's other Nalcor article today it was mentioned that Nalcor is receiving about $70 million for the outside sale of 1.5 terawatts of Upper Churchill energy. At that rate, if the total output of Muskrat Falls were sold outside the province it would only be worth about $140-190 million, even though (not including an additional $1.1 billion for interest costs during construction and cost overruns) Muskrat Falls will cost about $300 million a year in debt servicing and operating costs for the next 50 years ..... great investment.