So, as the Williams, Dunderdale, Kennedy story goes, Hydro Quebec is holding us in a stranglehold. Not only are they denying us access to their power distribution system, but they are holding hostage our ability to develop Labrador's resources. When they say resources, or, industrial development they mean mines.
May 15, 2012, Jerome Kennedy: " Mr. Speaker...there is no dealing with Quebec on the issue of hydro-electricity power in Labrador...We need power for the island, so we buy power back from Quebec, if we could...".
Kathy Dunderdale: "Is all of the development in Labrador going to be hostage to Hydro-Quebec in terms of energy for development? ...That's a big part of the debate that needs to take place over the next few months."
Food for thought. Is Hydro Quebec holding Labrador development hostage? Is it so bad that we must nearly double our gross debt to free ourselves by building Muskrat Falls? Is Hydro Quebec denying us power for that purpose? Have we approached them to supply us the 1000 plus mw possibly needed in Labrador for mining development? Are they willing to talk? Would it save us 5-6 billion dollars if we could make a deal? I had to try and find out. The Newfoundland and Labrador government has been notoriously closed mouthed about any deals that would weaken, perhaps fatally, their case for Muskrat Falls. So where to turn? So, in a shot in the dark, I decided to ask the bad old b'ys themselves - Hydro Quebec.
Here is my email to Hydro Quebec:
" Much of the discussion here on the proposed Muskrat Falls project has painted Hydro Quebec in a very negative light - as uncooperative, a menace, and a major factor in thwarting development in Labrador. It occurs to me that Hydro Quebec has not been given a chance to address these charges. Therefore, I would like to write a story on the validity of these claims. Specifically, the following questions:
1. Does Hydro Quebec have the excess capacity to sell electric power to this province via the Upper Churchill facility and transmission system?
2. If yes, would Hydro Quebec be prepared to enter into a power purchase agreement with this province's utility to supply between 800 - 1200 mw of power at a fair rate?
3. Has the Newfoundland and Labrador government, or its utility Nalcor, approached Hydro Quebec as to the feasibility of such a PPA?
4. If yes, was there a formal request and if so was it turned down?
5. Any other comments you may have to put forward Hydro Quebec's position on these matters."
I was surprised and bewildered at the one sentence response I received :
"Dear Mr Cabana, Hydro Quebec is always willing to explore new business opportunities."
In other words, 800-1200 mw of power to this province from the Upper Churchill is open to exploration. In other words, they are not blocking industrial development in Labrador, and, to the contrary, appear to be willing to sell us all we could need. The Premier and her government have been selling us a line that is quite simply false. They've put it out to the media. They've said it in the House of Assembly. Purchasing cheap power from Quebec, even if it was ours to begin with, is not an option, and Quebec is blocking industrial development of Labrador. Now we know, that is simply not true. It is a serious misleading of the people of Newfoundland and Labrador. Now you have it, right from the source: " Hydro Quebec is always willing to explore new business opportunities.".....NOTE: To Danny Williams, this reply was requested and answered in one day - the first day of a separatist victory in Quebec.
Here's to the crazy ones, the misfits, the rebels, the troublemakers, the
round pegs in the square holes... the ones who see things differently -- they're
not fond of rules... You can quote them, disagree with them, glorify or vilify
them, but the only thing you can't do is ignore them because they change
things... they push the human race forward, and while some may see them as the
crazy ones, we see genius, because the ones who are crazy enough to think that
they can change the world, are the ones who do.
US computer engineer & industrialist (1955 - 2011)