Newfoundland and Labrador Premier Danny Williams has announced the shortlist of developers for the Canadian province's Lower Churchill hydroelectric project.

Williams, joined by Newfoundland and Labrador Hydro’s (NLH) chair of the board Dean MacDonald and NLH president and executive officer Edmund Martin, declared that phase one for Expression of Interests and Proposals (EOI) for the 2824MW project was complete, and phase two will now begin.

The premier announced that, after careful assessment and evaluation of the original 25 submissions recieved, the Government has selected three full development proponents from the EOI process to move onto phase two, although Williams said the option still remains for the province and NLH to develop the project independently.

The shortlisted potential developers are:

• TransCanada.

• Tshiaskueshish Group – a consortium comprised of Macquarie North America, Innu Development Limited Partnership, Peter Kiewit Sons and Innu Kiewit Constructors.

• Hydro Quebec, Ontario Energy Financing Company and SNC-Lavalin.

An additional three proposals for potential financing options will also move to phase two, as the Government continues to explore the best option for developing this resources.

Once the development concept is further defined, Newfoundland and Labrador will consider options for equity participation, including Cheung Kong Infrastructure Holdings and Borealis Infrastructure Management. A financing option in the form of a royalty trust has been proposed by Altius, and will be explored later in the process.

The Government has directed NLH to immediately initiate a process whereby the short-listed proponents will be invited to enter into feasibility agreements. Phase two will involve a feasibility review of the concepts and related alternatives, and discussion of the commercial principles. Negotiations with the proponents of the most viable development concepts would follow in phase three. Phase four will involve detailed negotiations with the successful proponent. The final objective is the successful negotiation of a development arrangement for the Gull Island and/or Muskrat Falls hydro project.

Lower Churchill hydroelectric project will generate electricity from Gull Island and Muskrat Falls on the Churchill river, and will power 1.4M households a year. The province hopes to have the scheme fully operational by 2014.

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