In the first day back in the House of Assembly after the Nova Scotia energy regulator gave the green light to the Maritime Link portion of the Muskrat Falls project, Premier Kathy Dunderdale and Liberal Leader Dwight Ball had very different takes on what it all meant.
© — Telegram file photo
Muskrat Falls on the Churchill River in Labrador.
“The (Utilities and Review Board) in Nova Scotia confirmed that residents of Nova Scotia are protected from any risk of the Muskrat Falls Project. Nova Scotia’s energy minister specifically said that Emera and Nalcor will bear the project risk,” Ball said. “I ask the Premier: Why have you opened up our province to yet more risk so that Nova Scotians can be better protected?”
Dunderdale had a different take on it.
“Mr. Speaker, Friday was a great day for Atlantic Canada,” she said, amid cheers from members of her caucus. “The UARB completed its work in Nova Scotia, Mr. Speaker, and resoundingly approved the plan between Nalcor and Emera to supply Nova Scotia and Newfoundland and Labrador with the cheapest possible power available to its residents. This is a really good thing supported by the federal government in the term — in the loan guarantee.”
Ball argued that by protecting the Nova Scotia ratepayer, the UARB had only barely accepted a scheme that was “marginally” better than the alternatives, while simultaneously opening up Newfoundlanders to added risk.
But Dunderdale said that was part of the genius of the deal.
“The UARB certainly did not describe the project as marginal. What they did say was that Nova Scotians’ price that they would be paying for the power from Muskrat was only marginally better than they could get elsewhere,” Dunderdale said. “That must be a surprise to our friends opposite who have been trying to convince Newfoundlanders and Labradorians that we have been giving them free power. In fact, we are giving them just less than they could have bought the power from any other market.”