A Joint Review Panel (“Panel“) composed of the federal Minister of Environment and Newfoundland and Labrador Minister of the Environment released a report recommending an assessment of alternatives to Phase I of the Lower Churchill hydroelectric project.

The proposed 3,074-MW Lower Churchill project would entail an 824-MW Muskrat Falls hydro plant built as Phase I, followed by a 2,250-MW Gull Island hydro plant. Both plants would be located on mainland Labrador with transmission lines connected to Newfoundland and to export markets.

The Panel did not agree that development of the Lower Churchill’s hydroelectric potential was a ‘need,’ and recommended that the project be compared to other alternatives to address the province’s future electricity and renewable energy demand. The Panel recommended an independent analysis determining the best way to meet domestic demand under a “no project” option, and to review the projected cash flow for the Muskrat Falls and Gull Island plants separately in the approval process.