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Ball pitches green N.L. power to American governors

Dwight Ball at Governors-Premiers meeting

Newfoundland and Labrador Premier Dwight Ball speaks during a conference of New England's governors and eastern Canada's premiers on Monday, Aug. 29, 2016, in Boston. (AP Photo/Elise Amendola)

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Dwight Ball used his first meetings with American governors this week to pitch the province's green energy production — though the premier says upcoming power from the Muskrat Falls megaproject could be too expensive to compete in the American marketplace on its own.

Ball was in Boston on Sunday and Monday to take part in his first conference of New England Governors and Eastern Canadian Premiers. Ball says climate change and green energy "dominated" the discussion, and he took the opportunity to lay out what the province had to offer potential customers.

"What we have to offer, both in hydro and in windpower, can be part of [a green energy] solution," Ball said Monday evening.

Dwight Ball Charlie Baker ew England Governors and Eastern Canadian Premiers 2016

Newfoundland and Labrador Premier Dwight Ball meets with Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker at the New England Governors and Eastern Canadian Premiers meeting in Boston on Sunday. (Twitter/@MassGovernor)

"They're keenly interested in all of this but there's one thing that also came out loud and clear, is that you could be part of the solution but the solution has to be affordable."

Cost coming in high

The premier says hydroelectric power from Muskrat Falls is currently forecast to be more expensive than the rate that U.S. customers are looking to pay to import green energy.

"I've asked this question, [about] where prices would be in New England right now," Ball said. "The prices that you would see to the consumer...would not be where you would see the Muskrat Falls power today."

Nalcor has said that about 40 per cent of Muskrat's output would be put up for sale in other Canadian or American markets.

Ball says Muskrat's power could be made more attractive in a long contract, or exported in a package with other Newfoundland power sources — like the future Gull Island project or wind energy — as hydroelectric power generation is particularly stable.

However, he says the priorities right now are to complete Muskrat Falls on the newly-defined budget and schedule, and to simply make sure that potential customers know of Newfoundland and Labrador.

"This is really too early be having that kind of [cost] discussion yet," he said. "Eventually we can get there, but first of all we've got to position ourselves...so then what we have available to others, to potential customers is widely known."

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