Cost estimate for Muskrat Falls grows beyond $11 billion

Stan Marshall said last month that there was little chance the project would be cancelled

ST. JOHN’S, N.L. — Estimated costs for the troubled Muskrat Falls hydro megaproject in Labrador have now hit $11.4 billion including financing.

That’s up from an original estimate of $7.4 billion — including the cost of borrowing — when the development was sanctioned in 2012.

First power from the dam and hydro station under construction on the lower Churchill River was expected next year.

But Nalcor Energy CEO Stan Marshall now says first power is delayed until the fall of 2019.

Full power from Muskrat Falls to the island of Newfoundland and on to Nova Scotia through subsea cables is expected in mid-2020.

Marshall says original cost estimates were optimistic or overly aggressive.

He also says some contractors lacked experience working in harsh environments and that early execution by some “was poor.”

About $6.7 billion has been spent or is already committed to the project.

Marshall says most problems are happening around construction of the power plant and that talks continue with contractor Astaldi Canada to get work on track.

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