That, in the opinion of the House, a government loan guarantee to the Lower Churchill hydroelectric project is: (a) an important part of a clean energy agenda; (b) an economically viable project that will create thousands of jobs and billions in economic growth; (c) regionally significant for the Atlantic region, which will benefit from a stable and sustainable electricity source for decades to come; and (d) environmentally-friendly, with substantial greenhouse gas emission reductions through the displacement of power from coal-fired and oil electricity sources.
Mr. Speaker, in the 2011 Speech from the Throne, our Conservative government committed to developing Canada's extraordinary resource wealth for the benefit of all Canadians. Our desire to foster the development of major new clean energy projects of national or regional significance and to create long-term economic growth and energy security for all Canadians was outlined at the outset of our majority Conservative mandate.
With these goals in mind, we are very pleased to see that the provinces of Newfoundland and Labrador and Nova Scotia are moving forward with the Lower Churchill River projects, which are being undertaken by Newfoundland and Labrador's Crown-owned energy corporation, Nalcor Energy, and by Emera Inc. of Nova Scotia.
As members know, the Lower Churchill River projects comprise the Muskrat Falls hydroelectric generating station and three transmission lines: one between Muskrat Falls and Churchill Falls, another between Labrador and the Island of Newfoundland, and a sub-sea transmission line connecting Newfoundland and Nova Scotia.
These projects offer substantial economic and environmental benefits to the entire Atlantic region. The clean, renewable hydroelectricity that will be generated by the Muskrat Falls could reduce carbon emissions by up to 4.5 megatonnes every year. In fact, once the projects are fully operational, the Newfoundland and Labrador electricity supply will be 98% emissions-free.
This will further contribute to Canada's already impressive supply of non-emitting electricity. As all members know, three-quarters of our current electricity supply is produced by non-emitting sources, and much of it comes from hydroelectric projects. Indeed, the projects will allow Newfoundland and Labrador to achieve complete energy independence using a clean and renewable source.
As well, the power generated from Muskrat Falls will contribute to Nova Scotia meeting its renewable energy targets and displace coal-fired electricity generation in that province.
In addition to reducing greenhouse gas emissions by up to 4.5 million tonnes annually, which according to estimates is the equivalent of approximately 1 million cars off the road, the Lower Churchill project will also generate $1.9 billion in revenue for the people of Newfoundland and Labrador.
This brings me to the motion that we are debating today. Clean energy is an important issue to my constituents, as it is to all Canadians across the country. In my role as the chair of the all-party clean tech caucus, I feel that a motion affirming our government's support for these renewable projects is appropriate.
Private member's Motion No. 412 offers all members of the House an opportunity to express their support for the Lower Churchill River projects, both in terms of what they mean for greenhouse gas reductions in the provinces of Newfoundland and Labrador and Nova Scotia, and in terms of their enormous economic potential.
The benefits of these specific projects include energy self-sufficiency; a clean, renewable and reliable source of electricity that will lead to substantial reductions in greenhouse gas emissions as coal- and oil-fired power generation are displaced; stable electricity rates for the people of Newfoundland and Labrador and Nova Scotia; thousands of jobs created during the construction phase; economic spinoffs for other industrial sectors; and a maritime transmission link that will provide stable, sustainable energy throughout the region.
The Government of Canada has agreed on the terms and conditions for a federal loan guarantee, giving these vital energy projects a solid endorsement, and today we stand by this endorsement. Muskrat Falls will help meet the energy needs of the people of Newfoundland and Labrador and the electricity needs of many Nova Scotians.
The Government of Canada believes that the Lower Churchill River projects are fully justified for the following fundamental reasons. They will provide enormous economic and environmental benefits as they are truly in the best interests of Newfoundlanders and Labradorians, Nova Scotians and in fact all Canadians.
Unfortunately, in yet another attempt by the opposition to stop development of any kind, the leader of the Green Party has spoken out against this project saying that it should be reconsidered because renewable forms of energy other than a large hydroelectric plant should be pursued.
The Province of Newfoundland and Labrador has looked at other options for new sources of energy. They carefully considered the potential for wind power and they looked at the possibility of natural gas generation. However, every analysis of these options favoured the development of hydro power. It is reliable. It is a steady and secure source of clean energy and is available at an affordable cost, which is exactly what the lower Churchill River projects will deliver.
Furthermore, the member should know that her statements have been contradicted by the findings of several independent third-party analyses commissioned by the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador and by Nalcor. Numerous analyses indicated that the projects are economically viable, even with the increased cost estimates, that they will substantially reduce greenhouse gas emissions and that they will create jobs across Atlantic Canada. Specifically, the lower Churchill project will result in an average of 1,500 jobs during each year of construction, with a peak employment during construction of approximately 3,100 people.
For these reasons, on November 30, 2012, the Government of Canada announced an agreement with the governments of Newfoundland and Labrador, and Nova Scotia, on the terms and conditions for a federal loan guarantee for the lower Churchill River projects. This project will further benefit all of Atlantic Canada.
Nalcor intends to use 2 million megawatt hours of renewable energy from Muskrat Falls to replace the 490 megawatt Holyrood oil-fired plant. In addition, the connection to the North American grid, coupled with the increased backup capacity resulting from the projects could strengthen opportunities to further develop other renewable energy sources, such as wind or solar. These projects will certainly contribute to the Government of Canada's objective to reduce Canada's greenhouse gases by 17% below 2005 levels by 2020, comparable to U.S. efforts.
It is well-known that Canada is halfway to meeting our goal due to the measures and regulations implemented by our Conservative government. The project will also bolster Canada's good standing internationally as a world leader when it comes to energy. In fact, the International Energy Agency recently called for a doubling of the world's hydro power by 2050 in order to reduce emissions of greenhouse gases. Canada, with operations such as the lower Churchill River projects and other hydro developments in Manitoba, Quebec and B.C., is in a very strong position to help support this ambitious environmental goal.
In conclusion, there is no question that renewable energy is a large part of Canada's economic advantage in the global economy. There is no question that Canada's status as the world's third largest producer of hydroelectricity puts us in a position to continue to lead in the development of hydroelectricity. With this in mind, and with the many benefits that it will bring to Canadians, I strongly support private member's Motion No. 412 and our government's commitment to these projects. I look forward to the day when the ribbon is cut on the Muskrat Falls hydroelectric power generating station and I look forward to all members of the House supporting Motion No. 412.