Coady says her goal at national energy meetings ‘not to sell Muskrat’

Nalcor responsible for power sales, minister says

James McLeod jmcleod@thetelegram.com
Published on February 12, 2016
An artist’s rendition of Muskrat Falls when the hydroelectric dam is completed.
Submitted photo

Natural Resources Minister Siobhan Coady says it’s not her job to negotiate power contracts for Newfoundland and Labrador hydroelectricity.

Coady just got back from provincial-territorial meetings of energy ministers from across the country, where politicians are following up on the nitty gritty of the National Energy Strategy drafted by Canada’s premiers at the Council of the Federation meetings in St. John’s last year.

In recent years, Tory politicians would return home from any sort of big multi-jurisdictional meetings — whether it had anything to do with electricity or not — and eagerly tell reporters about whose ears they were bending, which provinces and states were desperate for energy, and what it all might mean for Muskrat Falls, and the proposed Gull Island project, which is even bigger.

But it’s a Liberal government now, and with a new government comes a new message from Coady.

“The point of the meeting is not to sell Muskrat Falls at all, actually. The point of the meeting is to deal with the Canadian energy strategy, and one of the key points in that is to deliver energy to people — oil and gas infrastructure as well as the (electricity) transmission,” she said.

Coady said she has no intention of personally meddling into power purchase contracts.

“Nalcor is responsible for the energy sales, and they do it daily,” she said.

“They’re involved in the day-to-day activity. Certainly when we’re discussing with our colleagues what are their requirements, what are their needs, we absolutely refer to the fact that we have clean energy available, and I would certainly never get into the negotiation on that.”

When it comes to the national meetings, Coady said the real value to Newfoundland and Labrador just comes from the fact that everybody will have a better sense of what’s on the go.

“We’ll now know the interprovincial and international scope of projects. We’ll know what the infrastructure is in our country. We’ll know what the planned infrastructure is in our country. We'll know what the supply and demand forecast is for each province, and we’ll also start to identify ways to maximize our exports,” she said.

“So all that is very positive when you have all of your colleagues — provincial and territorial — sitting at the table and discussing it,”

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