Eastmain-1-A-Sarcelle-Rupert hydropower project: Hydro-Quebec denounces falsehoods circulated by certain groups
MONTREAL, Sept. 12 /PRNewswire/ - Hydro-Quebec wishes to set the record straight regarding numerous falsehoods now being circulated by U.S. and Canadian groups (Rupert Reverence, Sierra Club of Canada, etc.) regarding the Eastmain-1-A/Sarcelle/Rupert hydropower project, the construction of which has been underway since January 2007. Regarding the justification of the project, independent environmental review bodies gave the go-ahead, namely the Federal Review Panel and the Quebec Review Committee (COMEX). The Federal Review Panel concluded that "to date there is no one alternative solution, nor any combination of solutions, that could provide all of the project's (...) benefits. As regards wind power, that technology would be an interesting adjunct to the proposed project and would benefit from its implementation, but can in no way replace it." (Federal Review Panel Report, p. 272). It is false to claim that the project is "destroying the Rupert River". Thanks to a series of hydraulic structures that Hydro-Quebec will build, navigation, fishing and snowmobiling will continue, fish habitat will be preserved and the free movement of fish will be maintained. Once in effect, the partial diversion will change the flow of the Rupert while respecting the life cycle of fish. The river will still offer all the diversity it is noted for and will remain a unique location for traditional Cree activities. Eastmain-1-A/Sarcelle/Rupert is a singular example of Cree cooperation and involvement in a project on Cree territory. The project is at the heart of the Paix des Braves agreement signed in 2002 between the Quebec government and the Cree Nation of James Bay. A referendum on the agreement was held beforehand by the Crees in each of their communities. Over two-thirds (70%) of Crees participating in the referendum voted in favor of the agreement, which specifically provided for the Eastmain-1-A/Sarcelle/Rupert project. Since then, the Crees have been project stakeholders and have participated in all stages of the project, from design to environmental follow-up. It is also false to claim that the project will serve only to supply the electricity needs of the U.S. Northeast. Rather, it will ensure a supply of renewable energy for Quebec by optimizing output from existing generating stations, and it will displace thermal generation in neighboring markets through sales to those markets when appropriate. It is thus undeniable that the project will help reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Hydro-Quebec deplores that certain groups, the vast majority of which have not participated in or even followed the environmental review process, now seek to cast aspersions on a project that is exemplary in the area of sustainable development. Facts about the Eastmain-1-A/Sarcelle/Rupert project - Installed capacity: 893 MW - Annual output: 8.5 TWh - Scheduled commissioning: 2011-2012 - Will supply the equivalent of 500,000 homes or Quebec City - Capital spending: $5 billion - Duration of public hearings on the project: Three months (2006) - Renewable energy project, a major asset for Quebec in the fight against climate change and greenhouse gases.
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