CORNER BROOK — With the Muskrat Falls project expected to create an estimated $1.2 billion in economic activity throughout the province, Ed Martin is encouraging west coast businesses, who want a piece of that, to start the process now.
“Now is the time to get in and get the introductions done,” Martin, the president and chief executive officer of Nalcor Energy, told business people in Corner Brook Tuesday.
Martin was the guest speaker for a Greater Corner Brook Board of Trade Small Business Week luncheon at the Pepsi Centre. About 80 members and guests attended to hear Martin talk about the Muskrat Falls Development and its impact on western Newfoundland.
The latter of which was highlighted when Martin answered questions from the floor.
Nalcor is directly handling the sub-sea link part of the project and SNC-Lavalin is handling the actual overhead transmission, and Martin said both companies have sections on their websites outlining the contract and procurement packages.
He encouraged business owners to look at that and noted there are opportunities for all businesses.
“If you’re a smaller company, don’t feel excluded, get in contact with those larger contractors.”
He said the five-year project is a big opportunity for businesses.
“I suspect there’s companies here that will be able to compete for contracts both in Labrador and on the transmission line,” said Martin. “There’s other companies here who will be able to participate more locally because there will be transmission construction going on here.”
Following his speech Martin said “there’s going to be a huge amount of opportunity coming out of this for business and workers in this particular area.”
He said the transmission will come across at the narrowest area between Labrador and Newfoundland and dips into the Long Range Mountains on the Northern Peninsula.
“We generally follow roughly the transmission corridors that we have in place right now, so you’re going to see transmission certainly passing around this area and visible.”
That means some activity will be seen near communities along the Northern Peninsula and the west coast. Martin said Nalcor is carefully mapping out where the line is to minimize any types of disruption environmentally or with communities.
Information on the project and the communities impacted is available on the Nalcor website and Martin said Nalcor has also done multiple consultations with communities over the past year.
As for a timeframe on when work will begin, Martin said that will come once the project is sanctioned. He said the federal loan guarantee still has to be finalized and that the project will be debated in the house.
He said once everything is in place work will begin and expects that moving into next summer activity will start on preparing and getting ready for the transmission build. As with most construction projects, he said, activity will be low at the start and at the end and peak in the middle.
Martin said one significant benefit of the project is that it will provide residents of the province with long-term, lower stable electricity rates that will benefit generations to come.
Martin said environmentally the electricity coming out of Muskrat Falls will be 100 per cent emissions free.