Wednesday, July 8, 2020
May 28, 2020

Muskrat Falls costs could climb by $400 million as construction gets back on track

The head of Nalcor Energy says the delay in resuming construction at the Muskrat Falls site could end up costing an extra $400 million.

Work at the Muskrat Falls hydroelectric megaproject in Labrador will resume at the end of the month, after the COVID-19 pandemic brought construction to a standstill in March. CEO Stan Marshall told CBC News the Crown corporation has a duty to finish the project as quickly as possible.

“COVID has certainly significantly delayed the project, so the delay will increase the costs, and we have cash flow things coming up,” said Marshall.

He says there’s still a lot of uncertainty about how quickly work will move ahead and how much the delay — Nalcor estimates the project will be four months’ behind schedule when work resumes — will add to the bill.

He estimates that the capital cost of the project will go up by $150 million to $200 million. The interest on the billions of dollars borrowed is also adding up, and could easily be another $200 million, he said. That could bring the total cost of the project from $12.7 billion to $13.1 billion.

The delays will also affect the province’s finances. Marshall said there’s a $200-million payment due in December, and since the project won’t be finished, the province, not ratepayers, will have to find the money to pay that.

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