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A minister suggests that construction of such a line could begin in two years.

Labrador West calls for electricity transmission line

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At least 1,000 megawatts of power is needed for Labrador West to enter the green steel industry, according to the local MP. (Archive photo)

Radio-Canada

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Members of Labrador's business community and politicians are calling for an additional power line, an essential infrastructure for the region to contribute to the provincial economy.

The provincial government appears receptive to the idea, and one minister suggests construction of such a line could begin in two years.

More than 1,000 megawatts of power are needed for Labrador West to enter the green steel industry. We have to move in this direction, because otherwise we will be pushed out of the iron ore market, said Jordan Brown, the NDP MPP for Labrador West.

Green steel is steel whose production generates few greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions.

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Jordan Brown, NDP MP for Labrador West, at the recent summit.

At the top The Future of Lab West— organized by the Labrador West Chamber of Commerce and held in Wabush from February 26 to 28 — MP Brown said the region's economy was no better than dead if this transmission line was not built .

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Without this, Labrador-West will not be able to develop further, he insisted.

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Mike McCann, CEO of the Iron Ore Company of Canada, at the summit held in late February.

During the summit, Business leader Mike McCann cited economic analysis that suggests Labrador West has an opportunity to grow the entire province's gross domestic product (GDP) by 2% if these projects are realized.

Mr. McCann, CEO of the Iron Ore Company of Canada (IOC), owner of the Labrador City iron ore mine, said decarbonizing the company was key to its future. The way to achieve this in Labrador is through a greater supply of electricity, he argued.

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A truck near the IOC mine in Labrador City in 2022.

He says he is working closely with Hydro Newfoundland and Labrador to move this issue forward.

Andrew Parsons, Minister of Industry, Energy and Technology of Newfoundland and Labrador, said he is hopeful that the situation will change soon. Construction of a new transmission line could begin as early as 2026, he said.

We have to find a way to move forward, but we have to know with whom, what they need, and bring all these elements together, because these are big, big decisions, he declared at the summit of the February 27. We are talking about decisions and costs that will have an impact on several generations. I can tell you that we must find a partner and move forward.

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Andrew Parsons is Minister of Industry, Energy and Technology for Newfoundland and Labrador. (File photo)

Jennifer Williams, CEO of Hydro Newfoundland and Labrador, believes it is possible, but tempers ambitions of the industry.

From an economic development point of view, these companies are talking about a huge increase in energy. We have been working with these companies for years, to listen to their ideas and bring them down to an acceptable scale, she said.

Hydro Terre- Neuve-et-Labrador supplies Labrador through a network connected to the Churchill Falls hydroelectric station, which has a capacity of 5,428 megawatts.

The two lines transmission line between Muskrat Falls in Labrador and Soldiers Pond in Newfoundland can carry about 900 megawatts.

During the summit in late February, several speakers also highlighted the need for more housing in the region, which will inevitably increase energy needs in the coming years.

Based on reporting by Alex Kennedy, fromCBC

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