Believe It When we See It Department: Labrador Wind Farm
Labrador Ventus, a partnership of the Labrador Metis Nation and Ventus Energy, has announced a $2.5 Billion, 1,000 megawatt wind park to be built in Churchill Falls, Labrador- enough to power 500,000 homes. That's a lot of money and a lot of power for Labrador, which has a population of less than 30,000 people.
Churchill Falls is the site of one of the most contentious problems in interprovincial relationships- the Churchill Falls power deal with Hydro Quebec, made in 1969. This deal set the rate that would be paid to Newfoundland-Labrador at a price that declines over the 65 year term of the deal- it is now a quarter of a cent per Kilowatt hour, the equivalent of gasoline at four cents per gallon. (Read what the former Premier said) so, power from Churchill Falls is politically as well as electrically charged. Yes, it is windy and near a major power line infrastructure, but are those lines not owned by Hydro-Quebec?
The province does not seem to be fulsome about it: Ed Byrne, the province's minister of natural resources, said it's premature to suggest the government or the Crown-owned utility will support the project. Byrne said the Tory government is still contemplating whether it will have the Crown-owned power utility operate its own wind farms in Labrador. "This is not a project we're supporting," he said. "Hydro met with them as a matter of courtesy and I met with them as matter of courtesy." He added: "We haven't ruled out doing projects like this ourselves, as the Newfoundland and Labrador Hydro power corporation."
We are neither experts on wind power nor political scientists, but we read the newspapers. We love wind power and cheer them on, but suspect that finding $ 2.5 Billion dollars with no government financial support and no reference to where the power is going is just spinning in the wind. ::Labrador Ventus