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April 9, 1999
(Mines and Energy)

Churchill River Power Project on track

Mines and Energy Minister Roger Grimes today announced that negotiations between the province, Quebec and the utilities are continuing based on the framework outlined on March 9, 1998 and that no decisions have been made that would vary the configuration of the Churchill River Power Project from the March 9 announcement.

"We are working towards the optimum project configuration, one that is environmentally acceptable, cost-efficient, and that maximizes value for its shareholders," said Minister Grimes. "No decisions have been made on any project components at this point."

Recent media coverage has questioned the status of the project and suggested changes to the project description. There have also been references to an internal CF(L)Co. memo that we have confirmed does not exist.

"The option being evaluated is using the existing power plant in Churchill Falls to generate electricity from the water diverted out of Quebec instead of building a new plant," explains Grimes. "This may be possible by increasing the utilization rate of the existing 11 generators to about 82 per cent from 70 per cent. If this is feasible, it would reduce the cost of the project and increase the profits for Newfoundland and Labrador and Quebec.

Work continues on the other project components: Gull Island, transmission lines, the infeed to the island of Newfoundland, and Muskrat Falls. The final inter-utility Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) will follow after further engineering work has been evaluated, and changes, if any, agreed to by all the parties.

Media contact: Carl Cooper, Director of Communications, (709) 729-4890.

1999 04 09 2:45 p.m.

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