Nova Scotia

Emera says Muskrat Falls announcement coming

The chief executive of Emera says an announcement will be made on Friday on whether a deal is in place with Newfoundland and Labrador's Crown energy company to build the Muskrat Falls hydroelectric project.
Muskrat Falls is seen at the Churchill River in central Labrador in this undated file photograph. It is the site of the proposed Lower Churchill Hydro Project.

The chief executive of Emera says an announcement will be made on Friday on whether a deal is in place with Newfoundland and Labrador's Crown energy company to build the Muskrat Falls hydroelectric project.

Chris Huskilson praised the proposed $6.2-billion Muskrat Falls project during a speech to the Maritimes Energy Association in Halifax.

He said it is part of his Emera's focus on bring renewable energy to Nova Scotia and New England through its utility subsidiaries.

However, he gave no indication if a legal agreement with Nalcor was facing further delays and refused to say whether an agreement had been reached.

"We'll have something to say about that tomorrow," Huskilson told reporters on Thursday.

"The term sheet for the agreement was something like a 30-page document. There are tens of agreements to actually be put in place in order to do that deal, which is a very complex deal."

Under conditions of a term sheet announced a year ago, the Nova Scotia company would fund a 180-kilometre subsea link between Cape Ray, N.L., and Lingan, N.S., at a cost of $1.2 billion.

A further $2.1 billion would be spent to build a transmission link from Labrador to Newfoundland, $600 million of which would be provided by Emera.

Nalcor would spend $2.9 billion to build a power generating facility at Muskrat Falls on Labrador's lower Churchill River capable of producing 824 megawatts of electricity.

Under the agreement, Nova Scotia would get 170 megawatts of power a year, about 10 per cent of the province's total energy needs, for 35 years. Emera owns the province's main electricity utility, Nova Scotia Power.

Opposition politicians in Newfoundland and Labrador raised questions about whether the project was on track when a November deadline for an agreement was shifted to Jan. 31.

"From a project schedule perspective, we're just in the process of working through the federal loan guarantee. The federal government has been extremely supportive. Nova Scotia, Newfoundland, New Brunswick and P.E.I. have all been very much behind this project," said Huskilson.

"We've already registered the project for environmental review. It will be before the regulator in Nova Scotia in 2012. And we expect to get a final sanction for this project in 2013 with first power in 2017."

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