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Opposition Demands Answers as Nalcor Extends Delay
Opposition natural resources critic Dave Brazil says it appears as if this is just another attempt to cover up the gross mismanagement of this project.
Friday, January 31, 2020

Office of the Official Opposition
For Immediate Release

 

St. John’s, NL (January 31, 2020) – Opposition natural resources critic Dave Brazil is demanding answers now that Nalcor has just announced that critical work to bring Muskrat Falls power on stream is going “slower than they planned” and may delay the project for months.

Brazil said, “Nalcor calls this disappointing, but in fact it’s disturbing. What are the implications of this delay? What are the costs? What are the alternatives? Where is the minister to answer questions about this latest news release?”

Brazil said this is not the first piece of news to raise doubts about project management. Apart from the software delays, there are serious concerns about the synchronous condensers at the Soldiers Pond substation.

“Both issues may have serious consequences for the cost and timeline of the project. But the government is not telling people what impact these issues will have on first power, full power, or the ability to export power to the North American grid.”

In December, NL Hydro admitted that there was a vibration found in one of the condensers. An official with NL Hydro wrote: “Pending the outcome of the root-cause investigations and resolution of the issues, there is risk that the schedule may extend beyond May 2020.”

However, Minister Siobhan Coady and the Liberal government have not updated the public on how long of a delay could be caused, how much an investigation into the issue will cost, or how it will impact the province’s power supply. Brazil said the Minister should immediately update the public and indicate how many units are impacted, the timeline for a solution and how the people of the province will be impacted.

Brazil noted that various experts are suggesting there could be upwards of a two-year delay. “It has been suggested to me by various individuals, and it has been written by an independent engineer, that this issue could extend the power supply delay for two years. If this is the case and the Minister is not being transparent, then it is simply unacceptable. It has also been suggested that Nalcor has ignored expert advice. If this is true, it is also unacceptable.”

“The issues with the synchronous condensers are in addition to the longstanding issue with the Labrador-Island Link software,” said Brazil. “It’s time for the Minister to provide a full update on both issues, the fixes and the impacts.”

Brazil questions if the government is trying to mislead the public into believing that “first power” means “full power”. He says it appears as if this is just another attempt to cover up the gross mismanagement of this project.

-30-

Contacts:

Bradley Russell

Director of Policy and Research

(p) 1.709.729.3668

BradleyRussell@gov.nl.ca

 

Backgrounder

On January 31, Nalcor issued the following “Labrador-Island Link Project Update”:

“Here’s an update on how things are going on the software and equipment for the Labrador-Island Link (LIL). GE is getting closer to fixing the issues with the three synchronous condensers at Soldiers Pond – these are essentially large motors that help maintain the reliability of the electricity grid once LIL is online. GE expects the three units will be in service in June 2020. The units do not need to be in service to flow power over LIL for testing. GE is progressing through their testing process for LIL software; however, their progress is slower than they planned. While it’s disappointing they’re not progressing as quickly as scheduled, they are working towards delivery of software in 2020. We’ll continue to share information on their progress.”

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