Environmental statement supports Quebec’s 1,550-MW Romaine

Hydro-Quebec has filed an environmental impact statement for the proposed 1,550-MW Romaine hydroelectric complex that finds the project’s environmental effects can be successfully mitigated.

The province-owned utility, which initiated the environmental review process for the project in 2004, filed the environmental impact statement Jan. 24 with Quebec’s Ministry of Sustainable Development, Environment and Parks, and the Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency.

The filing of the EIS enables government authorities to begin an impact assessment and compliance analysis. Public hearings also are planned and could be held in September.

Hydro-Quebec plans to build the project on the Romaine River, north of the North Shore municipality of Havre-Saint-Pierre. The project would consist of four powerhouses expected to generate a total of 8 terawatt-hours annually: 270-MW Romaine 1; 640-MW Romaine 2; 395-MW Romaine 3; and 245-MW Romaine 4. (HNN 3/15/07)

Construction of the C$6.5 billion (US$6.5 billion) power project will proceed once government permits are obtained, the utility said. The C$6.5 billion figure for the power stations, which includes mitigation measures, is lower than previous estimates. However, an estimate for transmission lines to connect the powerhouses to Hydro-Quebec’s grid remains C$1.5 billion (US$1.5 billion), utility spokesman Sylvain Theberge said.

If construction begins in mid-2009, the project would be completed in 2020. Commissioning would begin in 2014.

Agreement provides payments to municipality

Hydro-Quebec signed a partnering agreement with the regional county municipality of Minganie for development of the Romaine project. The agreement, signed Jan. 24, provides for C$2.5 million (US$2.5 million) to be paid to the municipality on commissioning of the first generating facility in 2014, C$6.2 million (US$6.2 million) on commissioning of the last generating facility in 2020.

The agreement provides for subsequent annual amounts to be indexed and paid until the end of the agreement in 2070. The agreement also provides for funds to be established for regional economic, environmental, social, and cultural initiatives. Minganie will manage the funds.

Richard Cacchione, president of Hydro-Quebec Production, said he is satisfied with the results of the discussions with regional representatives that led to the agreement.

�This agreement attests to the regional acceptability of a project that is extremely important for Hydro-Quebec,� Cacchione said.

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