A new company created to oversee Nova Scotia's portion of the Muskrat Falls hydroelectric project will file an application with the Nova Scotia Utility and Review Board to approve its share of the costs of the Maritime Link.
NSP Maritime Link Inc. — a subsidiary of Emera Inc. and an affiliate of Nova Scotia Power Inc. — is set to ask the regulator on Monday to approve $1.52 billion in capital spending to bring hydroelectricity from Labrador to Nova Scotia.
As much as 30 per cent of the province's total energy requirements could be imported over the Maritime Link if the Utility and Review Board concludes it is the lowest cost option to replace coal.
Under the terms of reference for the Muskrat Falls hydroelectric project, the Utility and Review Board has until July to make its decision about the Maritime Link, a 180-kilometre subsea cable which may see as much as 40 per cent of the electricity from the 824-megawatt project moved to Cape Breton.
An additional application for ratepayers to cover the cost of the project will not be made until the transmission system is finished, which is expected to be in late 2017.
Emera Inc. has said the project would add $1.50 per month to the average household's power bill over the first five years.
Construction of the Maritime Link is expected to begin in late 2013 or early 2014, with Muskrat Falls expected to produce power by late 2017.
If the Utility and Review Board decides the Maritime Link is not in the interests of ratepayers, Emera Inc. will have several choices: its shareholders can finance the entire Maritime Link, it can look for partners or it can walk away from the project.
If Emera Inc. walks away from the project, it will have to pay the federal government a $60-million penalty.