Premier Kathy Dunderdale expressed her approval Wednesday of the finalization of a term sheet to develop the Lower Churchill.
The term sheet is a collection of 13 contracts, 1,500 pages, detailing the construction of the Muskrat Falls hydroelectric dam in Labrador and the transmission lines to get the power to market.
Dunderdale made the comments in response to a reporter’s question at the 194th Royal St. John’s Regatta.
“I’m delighted. It’s one more milestone. It’s not anything we had any concern about,” said Dunderdale.
“It’s important for the province, when we’re doing any kind of agreement with anybody, that we extract every ounce of value we can find in our arrangements. If that takes six months, 10 months, 18 months, then so be it. We’re satisfied we’ve done that. It’s a good deal, a really good deal for the people of Newfoundland and Labrador and it’s a good deal for the people of Nova Scotia,” she added.
The basics of the deal are that Emera will pay to build a subsea cable from Newfoundland to Nova Scotia; in exchange, it will receive roughly 20 per cent of the electricity generated by Muskrat Falls.
During the first five years of the agreement, it will get close to 25 per cent of the electricity.
After 35 years, ownership of the maritime link will revert to Nalcor.
Nalcor will be able to transmit electricity to sell in the Maritimes, and will have access to Emera's transmission capacity to sell electricity in the northeastern U.S.
But the finalization of the deal still has some significant stepping-stones before it gets final approval.
The province still has to finalize cost estimates, which then need to be scrutinized by Manitoba Hydro Inc.
There is also going to be a debate in the House of Assembly this fall.
That is something Dunderdale said she is looking forward to.
“There has been quite a bit of spin about the development of Muskrat Falls, and my goal in this is to make sure that the facts, not the spin, are before the people of the province and that they are extremely well informed before we make a decision as to whether or not we are going to move ahead,” she said.
With files from The Telegram