Nova Scotia’s premier says he’s confident a new study on the Muskrat Falls hydroelectric facility will reveal the project has the lowest, fairest rates to meet the province's power needs.
Boston-based Power Advisory is studying Muskrat Falls for $85,000. It began working on the study in September 2012 and expects to have it completed in early 2013.
The Lower Churchill Project is a planned hydroelectric project to develop the remaining 35 per cent of the Churchill River that has not already been developed by the Churchill Falls Generating Station. The Lower Churchill's two installations at Gull Island and Muskrat Falls will have a combined capacity of over 3,074 megawatts and have the ability to provide 16.7 terrawatt hours of electricity per year.
"Ratepayers in this province rightly want to know what the bottom line for them is," announced Premier Darrell Dexter in a December 5, 2012 State of the Province address. "That is why, right now, the province is completing an independent comparison of the Lower Churchill project with all the other options available."
Word of the study came on the heels of federal financing news about the $7-billion-plus Muskrat Falls project, which now involves a loan guarantee agreement. The deal requires Nova Scotia, as well as Newfoundland and Labrador, to sign a contract with the federal government ensuring they won’t make legislative or policy changes that could affect the project once it has been sanctioned by the Utility and Review Board.
On December 4, 2012, Nova Scotia Power's parent company, Emera, announced it won't wait for approval from the province's Utility and Review Board before going ahead with the $1.5 billion subsea cable known as the Maritime Link, which is a key part of the Muskrat Falls hydroelectric proposal.
Emera is partnering with Nalcor, Newfoundland and Labrador’s Crown energy corporation, to work on the lower Churchill River in Labrador.
The Newfoundland and Labrador Legislature passed a motion in support of Muskrat Falls on December 5, 2012.