Lower Churchill Project
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Lower Churchill Project

The hydroelectric potential of Muskrat Falls and Gull Island make the lower Churchill River in Labrador the best undeveloped hydroelectric source in North America. Together, they have a combined capacity of more than 3,000 megawatts, will be able to provide 16.7 terawatt hours of electricity a year and reduce greenhouse gas emissions equivalent to taking 3.2 million vehicles off the road each year.

The hydroelectric potential of Muskrat Falls and Gull Island make the lower Churchill River in Labrador the best undeveloped hydroelectric source in North America. Together, they have a combined capacity of more than 3,000 megawatts, will be able to provide 16.7 terawatt hours of electricity a year and significantly reduce greenhouse gas emissions - equivalent to taking 3.2 million vehicles off the road each year.

The Lower Churchill Project will be developed in two phases: first, Muskrat Falls and then Gull Island.

Muskrat Falls
Phase 1 - Muskrat Falls
Gull Island
Phase 2 - Gull Island
Muskrat Falls
Phase one of the Lower Churchill Project is referred to as the Muskrat Falls Project. This includes an 824 megawatt hydroelectric generating facility at Muskrat Falls, the Labrador-Island Link that will transmit power from Muskrat Falls to Soldiers Pond on the Avalon Peninsula, and the Maritime Link connecting Newfoundland and Nova Scotia, which is being constructed by Emera Inc. of Nova Scotia.

The Muskrat Falls project was sanctioned by the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador in December 2012, and construction is expected to take five years to complete.

For detailed information about the Muskrat Falls Project, visit our new website at muskratfalls.nalcorenergy.com

Gull Island
Phase Two of the Lower Churchill Project will consist of the development of the 2,250 MW Gull Island generation facility and associated transmission to markets. The proposed development of Gull Island would follow no earlier than three years after the sanction of Muskrat Falls.

Nalcor and its subsidiary Newfoundland and Labrador Hydro (Hydro), have a responsibility to meet increasing power needs by recommending the lowest-cost generating supply option.

To meet the growing demand for energy on the island, Nalcor considered a broad portfolio of supply options. Two optimized generation scenarios emerged: 1) Isolated Island (upgrades to the current system) and 2) Interconnected Island (Muskrat Falls). Muskrat Falls, with a transmission link from Labrador to the island is the least-cost alternative over remaining isolated by a preference of $2.2 billion (2010$).

The province is presently dependent on oil and global oil markets for electricity generation at the Holyrood plant. Oil prices are far from stable and over the next few years, electricity rates on the island are expected to increase. By investing in hydropower, Hydro will secure stable electricity rates for consumers in the short and long term.

When Muskrat Falls power is brought to the island, rates for consumers will stabilize with minimal increases of less than one per cent per year into the future.

When Muskrat Falls is operational, expected in 2017, 40 per cent of the power will be needed for the island and 40 per cent will be available to support future industrial growth in Newfoundland and Labrador. The remaining 20 per cent will go to Nova Scotia's Emera Inc. for 35 years in exchange for their $1.2 billion investment in the Maritime Link. During that 35-year period, Nalcor will have access to about 70 per cent of the link's capacity - at no cost. Nalcor can use the link to transmit any Muskrat Falls power not needed in the province, as well as energy from any new generation sources in the province. The project will also provide significant employment and economic benefits throughout Newfoundland and Labrador. At peak, it will employ 2,700 people, and deliver $1.4 billion in labour and employment income and $212 million in taxes to the province.

Muskrat Falls is being built to meet the island's electricity needs. We'll use 40 per cent of the power on the island immediately and 20 per cent will go to Emera Inc. for use in Nova Scotia for 35 years in exchange for their $1.2 billion investment in the Maritime Link. We'll export the remaining 40 per cent into Atlantic Canadian and New England markets with the ability to recall it for our own provincial use at any time. This power can be used to support future industrial growth in this province. NL currently has very competitive industrial rates and they will continue to be strong as a result of our stable electricity base.