The head of the Crown corporation wanting to generate power at Muskrat Falls on Labrador's Churchill River has told a review hearing that the time is right for the megaproject.  


Nalcor CEO Ed Martin says the time is right for the Muskrat Falls proposal. (CBC)

Nalcor CEO told Newfoundland and Labrador's Public Utilities Board that the necessary elements are converging for the $6.2-billion proposal, including low interest rates and a commitment for a federal loan guarantee to defray costs.

"You start adding all of these pieces up - we've also completed arrangements with the Innu Nation, we've also put in place a water management agreement, a water management legislation, you have a series of things coming together here," Martin told the PUB on Monday, during the opening of a series of public consultations.

"Really, the stars are lining up  .... With all these other factors, I believe this is the right time to move ahead with this project."

The PUB has been asked to decide whether Muskrat Falls is the lowest cost option for Newfoundland and Labrador's domestic energy needs in the decades ahead, particularly compared to thermal generation options on the island.

Nalcor's presentation to the PUB also highlighted large construction benefits and the ability of Muskrat Falls to handle electricity needs well into the future.

But consumer advocate Tom Johnson grilled Nalcor executives about financing, particularly whether Muskrat Falls can be brought in on budget. Nalcor executives said they were confident they can meet their budget targets.

The hearings will continue for the next two weeks.

PUB chair Andy Wells told Monday's session that he is working under a time crunch, in a reference to a March 31 deadline that the provincial government would not extend.

Wells said the PUB may hold sessions at night, if necessary, to finish the hearings on time.