Quebec coalition urges Canada to approve 888-MW Eastmain 1A

A coalition of Quebec business groups is urging the Canadian government to approve construction of the 888-MW Eastmain 1A and Rupert Diversion hydroelectric project in northern Quebec before the ground freezes.

Quebec’s Ministry of Sustainable Development, Environment, and Parks issued a certificate of authorization in November for utility Hydro-Quebec to proceed with construction of the C$4 billion (US$3.4 billion) project. (HNN 11/29/06)

Federal agencies, Fisheries and Oceans Canada and Transport Canada, still must approve before construction can begin in Quebec’s James Bay region. Hydro-Quebec hopes to commission the project in 2010-2011.

Hydro-Quebec wants to start construction in January 2007 before the ground freezes. If construction does not start in January, the work will have to wait several months until the late spring when the ground thaws, said President Pierre Fortin of the Canadian Hydropower Association.

CHA, along with engineering and manufacturing groups, is in the coalition urging the federal government to act quickly.

The project would include the 768-MW Eastmain 1A and 120-MW Sarcelle powerhouses, four dams, 51 dikes, and diversion of part of the Rupert into the reservoir of 480-MW Eastmain 1. Water from the Rupert also would increase generation at Hydro-Qu�bec’s La Grande Complex — 5,328-MW Robert Bourassa (formerly La Grande 2), 1,998-MW La Grande 2A, and 1,368-MW La Grande 1.

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