$5 billion hydro plant proceeding in Quebec (February 01, 2007)

QUEBEC – Hydro-Quebec is going forward on the controversial $5-billion hydroelectric project in Northern Quebec that will divert the Rupert River. The project, dubbed the Eastmain-1-A powerhouse, will be located near the Eastmain-1 powerhouse and will provide 768 megawatts of power when completed in 2010-2011. The Sarcelle powerhouse, another project planned nearby, will produce an additional 120 megawatts. Hydro-Quebec expects the projects to increase its average annual output by approximately 8.5 terrawatt-hours, allowing Quebec to increase its electricity exports to neighbouring markets.

The Eastmain-1-A translates into building contracts for local companies and thousands of related jobs. Hydro-Quebec says it is estimated to generate $2 billion in economic spinoffs for Quebec companies.

The Cree Nation in northern Quebec is split on whether to support the project. Some worry about the long-term impact of the flooding that will cover up to 400 sq. km of land. Cree Grand Council Chief Matthew Mukash has lent his support but admits the project will have a major impact on the traditional Cree way of life.

The diversion of Rupert River is scheduled for next summer. For more information www.hydroquebec.com.

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