Jacques Boissinot The Canadian Press Prime Minister François Legault, during the period questions in the National Assembly, February 21
Premier François Legault does not rule out granting certain financial benefits to Newfoundland and Labrador regarding the current provisions of the electricity supply agreement for Churchill Falls Generating Station, which is due in 2041.
Mr. Legault pointed out on Wednesday that the courts upheld the integrity of the current contract, following challenges from the Saint-Jean government.
“We won in court, so on this side- there it is clear, he said in a press scrum. Are there any adjustments to be made by 2041 to, in the balance, say: there are some for Newfoundland? It has to be win-win.
On the eve of his departure for the island where he will begin negotiations with his counterpart Andrew Furey, Mr. Legault did not rule out certain adjustments to improve the current situation.
< p>“It will depend on the price he offers us from 2041, he explained. But if he offers us a very advantageous price from 2041, are we ready to pay amounts before 2041? That's going to be part of what's probably going to be asked. But it is too early to answer the question.
Before heading to Newfoundland, where he will stay until Friday, Mr. Legault wanted to lower expectations.
“It will not be easy, the negotiation, we know that Quebec has a very advantageous contract until 2041”, he specified.
Since 1969, Hydro-Québec has been buying almost all of the energy produced by the Churchill Falls Generating Station, rated over 5,400 megawatts, at 0.2¢ per kilowatt hour (kWh).
Mr. Legault affirmed that despite the deadline which may seem far away, negotiations must begin now to find out if Quebec can continue to count on this important supply or if new dams are necessary.
“Building a dam, if we include negotiations with Indigenous communities, on average in Quebec it has always taken between 12 and 15 years. So by doing a little calculation, we are getting closer to 15 years in the coming term. »
Mr. Legault indicated that the outcome of the negotiations, which could include the joint development of a new power plant in Labrador, will be decisive in determining whether Hydro-Québec will still have the means to export more.
“We are working with Hydro-Quebec to see what capacity we are able to add at Hydro-Quebec,” he explained. But you have to know what is coming from the Churchill Falls side and possibly from Gull Island. »
In Montreal, where she unveiled the results of Hydro-Quebec, the president and CEO, Sophie Brochu, pointed out that Churchill Falls provides the corporation with a third of its profits.< /p>
“There's one thing that's for sure, it's going to cost a lot more,” she said of the contract renewal.
Interim Liberal Leader Marc Tanguay has argued that making concessions before 2041 would be justified if it leads to gains beyond that deadline.
“I think that saying: we have an agreement that is already signed until 2041, we are ready to open this agreement to go beyond 2041 on new bases, I think, that's the approach to have,” he said.
As for the future of electricity exports, Mr. Tanguay was cautious. He recalled that the energy needs by 2050 already require an addition of more than 100TWh to the capacity of Hydro-Québec, which is currently 200 TWh.
“I think that, until on further notice, it is important to see how, for our own needs, we are going to get this before signing other agreements, “he said.
The co-porter Words from Québec solidaire Gabriel Nadeau-Dubois underlined that the contribution of Churchill Falls is important for the energy transition.
“It would be a setback to lose this energy contribution, he said. That is why we expect an agreement that is satisfactory to Quebecers. »
PQ MP Pascal Bérubé for his part suggested that the government explore the possibility of a partnership whereby Quebec would own energy production assets in Newfoundland.
With Jean-Louis Bordeleau