The Canadian government is delaying debt and financing payments associated with the Lower Churchill Projects and is moving forward on a process for a renewed financial structure to help ensure that the projects are financially stable.

In a statement, Canada’s Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau, and the Premier of Newfoundland and Labrador, Andrew Furey, said that investing in infrastructure and clean energy is key to building strong communities, and a more sustainable and resilient economy. As an important part of Atlantic Canada’s clean energy future, they said that the Lower Churchill Projects will provide a reliable and long-term source of clean power for people in the Atlantic region, and especially in Newfoundland and Labrador.

Recognizing that the COVID-19 pandemic has further exacerbated construction challenges, measures were announced to aid the project, including:

Delaying debt and financing payments: The Government of Canada has temporarily waived certain financial obligations faced by the provincial Crown corporation Nalcor Energy, to help reduce immediate financial pressures on Newfoundland and Labrador.

Moving forward on a process for a renewed financial structure: The Government of Canada and the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador will continue to work together on options to ensure a financially sustainable long-term solution for the Lower Churchill Projects, and identify opportunities to support electrification efforts in Newfoundland and Labrador.

Collaborating to study other clean energy projects: The Government of Canada will work with provinces to identify opportunities to support the Clean Power Roadmap for Atlantic Canada, including the Atlantic Loop.

Appointing a Senior Executive Advisor on the Lower Churchill Projects in Newfoundland and Labrador and electrification in the Atlantic region: In this role, Serge Dupont will help support, and develop recommendations on, the financial restructuring of the Lower Churchill Projects, and make progress on major electrification priorities to advance the Atlantic Loop.

“We are working with Newfoundland and Labrador to ensure the financial sustainability and successful completion of the Lower Churchill Projects, and to advancing the Atlantic Loop. When we invest in clean, renewable energy, we are also making an investment in our environment, our people, and our economy,” said the Rt. Hon. Justin Trudeau.

“Working in partnership with the federal government, today we are ensuring that Newfoundland and Labrador is at the heart of delivering clean, renewable energy to other parts of Canada,” added The Hon. Andrew Furey. “Our collective actions are also easing the financial pressures on Newfoundlanders and Labradorians, and putting our province on a solid path towards a sustainable future.”

The Lower Churchill Projects are a set of hydroelectric generation and transmission projects that includes the Muskrat Falls Generating Station on the Churchill River in Labrador, the Labrador Transmission Assets, the Labrador–Island Link that connects to the island of Newfoundland, and the Maritime Link that connects to Nova Scotia.

Since the announcement of the Lower Churchill Projects in 2010, the Government of Canada has guaranteed a total of $7.9 billion in debt related to the projects for the benefit of Newfoundland and Labrador.