Nfld. & Labrador

Ball talks with Quebec about getting N.L. power to other markets

It's too early to put any agreements in place, but N.L. power could help reduce greenhouse gas emissions in Atlantic Canada, says Dwight Ball.

No agreements in place, but N.L. power could help reduce emissions in Atlantic Canada, says Ball

Premier Dwight Ball says the province's power could help reduce greenhouse gas emissions in the rest of Atlantic Canada, as long as there's a benefit to Newfoundland and Labrador.

Newfoundland and Labrador Premier Dwight Ball says the province is exploring the possibility of teaming up with Quebec to find markets for power in neighbouring jurisdictions, but there are no concrete plans or agreements in the works just yet.

Ball had met with Quebec Premier François Legault on Thursday for discussions that touched on mining, a fixed link from Newfoundland to the mainland and, especially, clean energy.

"If you're looking for a solution to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, which fits the narrative of the federal government, well, then, you need to actually need to negotiate with a customer to buy that clean energy," Ball told reporters Friday.

"We have stranded resources. We know that. There're stranded resources at the Upper Churchill, we have surplus power from Muskrat Falls in the short term, and indeed, of course, we have a big asset in Gull Island up there," he said.

Power from the overbudget, long-delayed Muskrat Falls megaproject is expected to come onstream next year. A larger potential hydroelectric project at the Gull Island site — also on Labrador's Churchill River — remains undeveloped. 

The province's assets can help other Atlantic provinces reduce their carbon emissions, said Ball, but there are "transmission bottlenecks" between the region and Quebec.

"No matter what the project is you must have a customer. You must have a customer that can afford the power."

Asked if any arrangement with Quebec might help with the Muskrat Falls bill, the premier said that's not what the discussions were about.

"The only discussions that we're having would be around rate mitigation, and that would be with the federal government, and primarily those discussions are around financial restructuring," he said.

"But I will tell you that Quebec hasn't been a stumbling block in terms of dealing with the federal government on rate mitigation."

No talks on extending Upper Churchill contract 

There were no discussions on extending the notorious Upper Churchill contract beyond its expiry in 2041. At that time, energy from the Upper Churchill becomes available for either domestic and export use, said Ball.

"What we're looking for now is trying to find a solution to the greenhouse gas emissions in Atlantic Canada and the role that I know that Newfoundland and Labrador can play in reducing the carbon footprint of New Brunswick and Nova Scotia," said the premier.

"We have a significant resource here. My responsibility is find the customer and find a way and see that we can actually be a part of that solution, at affordable rates for those customers but yet increase benefits for Newfoundland and Labrador."

Read more from CBC Newfoundland and Labrador

With files from Mark Quinn

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