The coalition says that Eastmain 1, a hydroelectric project under construction by provincially owned utility Hydro Quebec will have a bigger impact than its Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) says it will. It’s 100-page ‘Conformity Assessment’ report condemns the project by project approach used by the utility to assess the environmental impact of the hydro projects in northern Quebec.
The NTK report says the project’s EIS is incomplete because it takes a narrow look at the impacts of the proposed project, which involves the Rupert and Eastmain rivers. The construction of the project will alter the rivers’ flow, changing and increasing the amount of freshwater that pours into Hudson and James Bay.
The Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency has said the concerns of the NTK group will be seriously considered during public hearings. The timing and location of these public hearings, scheduled for the fall, will be announced shortly.
The main components of the Eastmain-1 development are the 3x160MW power house on the left bank of the Eastmain river, the 890m long 70m high main dam across the river, the 5500m3/sec capacity spillway on the right bank of the river, and 33 dikes required for reservoir closure.
A 315kV transmission line will link the power house to Nemiscau substation. An 80km permanent access road has been built from the substation to the work site. The generating station will have an average annual output of 2.7TWh. The design flow will be about 840m3/sec and the rated head will be 63m.A minimum flow of 140m3/sec will be maintained at all times at the power house outlet.
Work on the project began in spring 2002 and is expected to be completed in 2007.