Muskrat Falls hydroelectric project gets regulatory assurances from N.S.

The Canadian Press
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Nova Scotia Premier Darrell Dexter talks with reporters Nov. 23. The government of Nova Scotia says it will not make any regulatory or legislative amendments while the province’s Utility and Review Board is looking at the Muskrat Falls project.
— Canadian Press file photo

The Nova Scotia government has agreed to make no regulatory or legislative changes that would have an effect on the Muskrat Falls hydroelectric project while it is being reviewed by the province’s Utility and Review Board.

The agreement with Emera Inc. allows the company that owns Nova Scotia Power to continue its plans for a subsea link from Newfoundland with some financial certainty.

The so-called stability agreement was a requirement of a federal loan guarantee for the Nova Scotia portion of the project, which is expected to save about $100 million in borrowing costs.

The Utility and Review Board must still conduct its reviews of the subsea cable, known as the Maritime Link.

Its final decision is not subject to the stability agreement.

Earlier this week, the government of Newfoundland and Labrador and Emera gave their official approval to the $7.7-billion hydroelectric project in Labrador.

The Nova Scotia government says the loan guarantee also requires a similar stability agreement between the provinces and the federal government, which is expected to be completed by late winter.

Agreement always planned: Dexter

Nova Scotia Premier Darrell Dexter says the stability agreement with Emera was always planned for the project.

“This agreement ensures that stability while respecting the Utility and Review Board’s transparent review and independent decision on whether the Maritime Link is the right choice for Nova Scotia ratepayers,” he said Thursday.

“We continue to believe that this is the lowest-cost option to reduce Nova Scotia’s dependence on expensive coal and build a cleaner energy future.”

In addition to the stability agreement, Nova Scotia has also agreed with Emera, the government of Newfoundland and Labrador, and its Crown utility, Nalcor Energy, to create a joint committee to oversee the project.

The committee is tasked with making sure the project meets all the conditions of the federal loan guarantee.

Organizations: Utility and Review Board, Nova Scotia Power

Geographic location: Nova Scotia, Muskrat Falls, Newfoundland and Labrador

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Recent comments

  • Cyril Rogers
    December 30, 2012 - 09:02

    Why are proponents of this project continuing to push the idea of the Maritime Link giving us easy access to power to the mainland? It is correct that EMERA will finance and build the line but they DO get free power for 35 years. That is quite the deal...for them. Any other power that might be available will cost us about four times to make and transmit over that line than it will fetch on the open market. How can that possibly be a good deal for us? Further, this "link" is a joke when it comes to us accessing the mainland grid. Churchill Falls produces 5000 MW so realistically what impact will a 500 MW line like that have on our future ability to sell power to the NA grid? The short term thinking is in the minds of both government and proponents who continue to perpetuate this myth. Like so much else about the merits of Muskrat Falls, it is a fantasy that will come back to haunt us financially.

  • Cold Future
    December 21, 2012 - 06:53

    Nova Scotians are no fools. Its not every day a province comes along and gives you 170 MW of power free and all you have to do is install the means to take it away. Merry Xmas Nova Scotia and you thought Quebec was the only province we would give power to.

    • Casey
      December 24, 2012 - 16:45

      Try to see the big picture and don't be so negative. This deal will be just the beginning for NL as a supplier of electricity to the maritimes and beyond. Merry Xmas!

    • Claude DeRoche
      December 25, 2012 - 19:05

      How true, am from NB living in Alberta. Bad deal for the people of Newfoundland very sad day. Québec déja vu. When will politicians start adding basic numbers before making decisions like this. This cost of this electricity will ruin the province. Nice deal for NS.

    • Fred Penner
      December 27, 2012 - 21:42

      Good example of short term thinking....they can own the line but further into the future they will have to pay for the power. The line is a conduit to the North American power the way, the power is not free. I can see why your future is "cold".