Eastmain-1-A-Sarcelle-Rupert hydropower project: Hydro-Québec denounces falsehoods circulated by certain groups



    MONTREAL, Sept. 12 /CNW Telbec/ - Hydro-Québec 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
Québec 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-Québec 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 Québec 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 Québec 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-Québec 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 Québec City
    - Capital spending: $5 billion
    - Duration of public hearings on the project: Three months (2006)
    - Renewable energy project, a major asset for Québec in the fight against
    climate change and greenhouse gases.




For further information:

For further information: Sylvain Théberge, Media and Public Affairs,
(514) 289-3612, théberge.sylvain@hydro.qc.ca


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