September 20, 2012
Manitoba Hydro mega-projects need scrutiny says opposition
Manitoba’s NDP government rejected opposition accusations Monday that $18 billion in planned hydroelectric mega-projects is a risk to taxpayers that needs more scrutiny.
“We’ve got contracts in the United States, we’re talking to Saskatchewan and Ontario and most provinces would love to be in the position that Manitoba is in order to expand their clean, green energy,’’ Dave Chomiak, the minister responsible for Manitoba Hydro, told reporters. The Progressive Conservatives are raising red flags over lower energy prices on the world market.
Natural gas prices have dropped, due in part to shale gas development, making it harder for Manitoba to sell electricity at a profit.
PC leader Brian Pallister said a thorough examination of what future prices may look like needs to be done before Crown-owned Manitoba Hydro proceeds with plans to build two generating stations — Keyask and Conawapa — and a lengthy transmission line that will bring power from the northern dams to consumers in the south.
“Manitobans deserve honest information. This is a mega-project of the greatest magnitude and we’re talking about future generations as well as ourselves that will be impacted,’’ Pallister said.
The province’s Public Utilities Board warned last year that low export prices could see Manitoba consumers facing soaring electricity rates over the next two decades and subsidizing Hydro’s export sales.
The board suggested in an 111-page report that instead of power rates going up by 70 per cent over the next 20 years, as the utility has planned, the increase might have to be twice that to cover construction costs and low sales prices.
The government, however, appears confident that export prices will rebound.
“Energy demand is going up,’’ Chomiak said.
“We know that the hydro that we’re building for 10 and 20 years out, both for our children and our grandchildren, will be an asset to them in a world that will require energy.’’
The planned projects will undergo separate environmental and economic reviews by provincial regulators.
But Pallister said the scope of the economic review will be limited — its mandate does not include an examination of world energy prices that Hydro must compete with for sales.
Manitoba Hydro already exports hydro to Wisconsin, Minnesota, northwestern Ontario and other jurisdictions. In its most recent quarterly financial report, the utility reported a $14-million loss in its electricity division.
News from © Canadian Press Enterprises Inc., 2012
|MOST POPULAR STORIES|
- Concrete parking building repairs could save costs
- New Pickering airport to help move growing population
- Man fined in construction site death of 12 year old Nova Scotia boy
- SNC-Lavalin hopes Algeria police raid will help to shed light on wrong
- New venue in St. Catharines to be the city’s first Gold-Seal project
- 20 Most Popular Stories
|TODAY’S TOP CONSTRUCTION PROJECTS|
These projects have been selected from 544 projects with a total value of $1,665,691,502 that Reed Construction Data Building Reports reported on Tuesday.
$44,000,000 Sault Ste Marie ON Tenders
$40,000,000 Toronto ON Negotiated
$35,000,000 Newmarket ON Prebid
- Infrastructure funding will boost economy: RCCAO
- Plant, Prep and Serve
- McManus to increase interaction in new OSWCA role
- Trade infrastructure funding study could grow economy
- U.S. housing starts remain on the upswing after strong May
- First set of arches installed on precast network arch bridge
- Toronto and Hamilton area roads make up half of CAA's worst roads list
- Crystal Clear
- Regina looking to annex adjacent land
- Pipeline oil spill highlighted during twinning debate
- Consulting engineers gathering in Lake Louise, Alberta
- Biased specs grounds for RFP redraft
- Incoming chair looks to the future
- Foreign worker court case led to reforms
- Shell Canada gets approvals for pipelines and gas well
- B.C. building permits rise, but Alberta declines
- Electronic migration
- Unauthorized water system shut down in Alberta
|ALEX’S ECONOMICS BLOG|
Reed Construction Data Canada’s Chief Economist Alex Carrick discusses current developments in the North American economic environment with emphasis on the construction industry.
- An Overview of Prices and Sales in the Diverging U.S. and Canadian Housing Markets (April 25, 2013)
- Canada’s Precarious Dependence on the Commodity Price Super-Cycle (April 22, 2013)
- Twenty major upcoming residential and transportation terminal construction projects - April 2013 (April 15, 2013)