Governor Lincoln D. Chafee will travel to Canada today to review the operations of Nalcor Energy's Churchill River hydroelectric energy production facilities. The Governor will be hosted by the Honourable Darrell Dexter, Premier of Nova Scotia, and the Honourable Kathy Dunderdale, Premier of Newfoundland and Labrador. Among the features of Governor Chafee's tour will be Nalcor's Churchill Falls Generating Station, one of the largest underground hydroelectric plants in the world.
Joining Governor Chafee will be Vermont Governor Peter Shumlin and John Eustis, Senior Director, Corporate Procurement & Logistics for Toray Plastics (America), Inc., which employs 600 people at its North Kingstown, Rhode Island facility.
"This visit is about exploring the tremendous potential of hydroelectric projects to produce clean, affordable, reliable energy," Governor Chafee said. "Rhode Island has some of the highest energy costs in the country, and if we are going to be a competitive place to do business and provide electricity to consumers at a reasonable rate, we must look at alternatives. Lower energy costs will bolster Rhode Island's economy and help us foster a climate of job creation and growth."
The impetus for the trip came during the New England Governors & Eastern Canadian Premiers Annual Conference in July, which both Governor Chafee and Governor Shumlin attended. The Governors share an interest in the potential of hydroelectric power as a clean, renewable, and affordable energy source. Governor Chafee invited Mr. Eustis of Toray Plastics (America) following a meeting with the Governor in which Toray executives expressed concern over rising energy costs in Rhode Island. Toray is one of the state's largest energy consumers.
Governor Chafee and Mr. Eustis will depart this afternoon and will arrive, along with Governor Shumlin, in Halifax, Novia Scotia this evening.
Tomorrow morning, the group will travel to Churchill Falls, Labrador. There, they will view the Churchill River, which fuels Nalcor's Churchill Falls and Lower Churchill hydroelectric projects. The Lower Churchill Project, an in-development generation and transmission center, has been described as "the most attractive undeveloped hydroelectric project in North America." The group will then meet with Nalcor representatives and descend 1,000 feet underground for a tour of the Churchill Falls powerhouse. Following the tour, the group will depart in the early evening. Governor Chafee and Mr. Eustis will return to Rhode Island Saturday evening.