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REF NO.: 100

SUBJECT: Harris Centre event to explore Muskrat Falls project
DATE: Jan. 12, 2012

              Newfoundland and Labrador needs a stable and dependable source of energy in the future to meet the expected residential, commercial and industrial growth into the middle of the 21st century. Nalcor, the province’s energy corporation, has proposed the construction of a dam at Muskrat Falls, but public questions have arisen concerning Muskrat Falls as the best future option.
            On Tuesday, Jan. 17, at 7:30 p.m., at Innovation Hall, in the Bruneau Centre for Innovation and Research (the former Inco Innovation Centre), Dr. Wade Locke, professor in Memorial’s Department of Economics and noted public commentator, will offer his analysis of the project as part of a Memorial Presents public forum.
            All members of the public are invited to attend and participate in the live
Q & A session. The event will also be webcast on the Harris Centre website (www.mun.ca/harriscentre) to ensure that citizens outside St. John’s have the opportunity to participate.
            According to Mike Clair, the Harris Centre’s associate director of public policy, energy is a complex issue due to its technical nature and its geopolitical context. 
            “The issues which have been raised by the Muskrat Falls proposal include predicting the long-term future demand for electricity in the province, predicting the expected cost of energy alternatives (such as oil) and identifying the most efficient manner of generating and transmitting electricity. These are clearly complicated issues, which – individually or in combination – are challenging for many voters and ratepayers,” he said.
            The mandate of the Harris Centre is to help the public understand such complex issues in a non-partisan, informed and respectful manner.
            “We are therefore delighted to provide a platform to Dr. Locke, a well-known and well-respected economist who, in the past, has addressed such other complex issues as equalization and oil and gas royalties,” added Mr. Clair.
            Over the past couple of years, the centre has helped publicize the results of several energy-related research projects, ranging from a technical assessment of the potential of wind-power in this province co-authored by Andy Fisher of the Faculty of Engineering and Applied Science, to a report that questioned the Muskrat Falls project by Dr. David Vardy, a Harris Centre associate and former chair of the province’s Public Utilities Board.
            “The Harris Centre stands prepared to organize other events in the future as more information becomes available about the Muskrat Falls project or about alternative means of providing stable and sustainable energy to meet the province’s anticipated needs,” said Mr. Clair.
            The event is free to all, and parking is available in area 15B. A reception will follow the event

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