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LETTER: Hydro development in Newfoundland and Labrador

The Muskrat Falls generation dam's spillway and powerhouse are shown in this in this October 2017 photo supplied by Nalcor Energy. Auditors testified Friday that Nalcor Energy didn’t adequately investigate energy alternatives before going ahead with the Muskrat Falls option.
The Muskrat Falls spillway - Contributed

In the wake of the Muskrat Falls Inquiry several things are worth considering. Hydro power is one of Newfoundland and Labrador’s great resources and should be developed for the benefit of Newfoundland and Labrador in the main. 

The way this has been developed in the past has been one disaster after another. 

We need a new approach to the remaining development.

This approach has at least three essential components. 

Firstly, Hydro Power is a national resource and one which is an essential part of Canada’s climate change strategy. The federal Government of Canada, therefore, has to be a major participant and I would suggest a 50 per cent partner.

This means getting involved in the financing and high-level oversight of a national corporation put in place to develop the resource.

The Canada Pension Plan fund should also be encouraged to take part in the financing since it is without a doubt the largest and best managed fund of capital in this country. 

Secondly, there needs to be a National Corridor for energy across Canada to feed the needs of Canadian corporations to move energy resources from province to province without encumbrance. 

This means the development of a national grid for electricity that well-managed companies can develop and run in a technically superior fashion on a country-wide basis. 

Thirdly, there needs to be a National Energy policy adopted by the Government of Canada that sets out the clear objectives and rules and puts in place the necessary organization to carry out the policy.

This policy must include all traditional sources of energy, and new sources of energy including wind, solar and thermal, based on a new Energy Resource Research Division of the National Research Council. 

We do have an opportunity to improve our performance in this critical area at a very critical time. 

Now is the time to act and now is the time to get it right.

Jack OKeefe,
C.B.S.


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