Still problems at the Muskrat Falls hydroelectric project

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Encore problems at the Muskrat Falls hydroelectric project

The Muskrat Falls hydroelectric dam on the Churchill River in Labrador in January 2023.

The controversial Muskrat Falls hydroelectric project in Newfoundland and Labrador is sealed by further trouble as a final round of testing is due to take place during the colder months of the year.

Newfoundland and Labrador Hydro reports that these troubles led to the postponement of high-power testing to late March or early April.

The latest report from the state-owned company says the new glitch was discovered in the software that runs the undersea cable stretching across the Strait of Belle Isle from West Island to Newfoundland and Eastern Labrador.

The report to the province's public utilities commission says freezing temperatures in February have delayed troubleshooting work because the power company cannot risk outages in extreme cold.

Testing in November caused crashes. (File photo)

According to Rob Collett, Vice President of Hydro Engineering, the high-power tests will determine if Muskrat Falls can deliver 700 megawatts of electricity to the province's grid without problems. He clarifies that this is the last set of tests the project needs to pass, but it can only be done in the winter when electricity consumption increases and demand is higher.< /p>

Rob Collett says if the high power tests fail he and his team will likely have to wait until October or November for the power demand to be high enough again.

An attempt at high-power testing failed last November, leaving around 58,000 people in the dark for 25 minutes.

The commissioning of Muskrat Falls has been overdue for years and its cost to complete has soared to over $13 billion, almost double what it was supposed to cost when it first came to fruition, in 2012.

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