Nova Scotia

Energy talks with Hydro-Québec failed in 2009: Emera

Emera officials met with Hydro-Quebec in 2009 but gave up on negotiating a long-term supply of renewable electricity.

Officials from Emera Inc., Nova Scotia Power’s parent company, gave up on negotiating a long-term supply of renewable electricity from Hydro-Québec as early as 2009, according to a regulatory response filed this week.

Before the Nova Scotia Utility and Review board decides if power from Labrador was the lowest cost long term option, it wanted to know if Emera contacted Hydro-Québec to gauge its interest in making a similar agreement to supply Nova Scotia.

According to information contained in the written response to one of thousands of questions about the proposed Maritime Link, Emera said it had discussions with the Quebec in April 2009.

Emera said it needed to displace electricity from coal-fired plants.

"Nova Scotia Power concluded there was no long-term, fixed price energy available from Hydro-Québec," wrote Emera.

The reasons behind that are likely to be the subject of a cross examination at a public hearing this May Hydro-Québec could be called as a witness.

Emera said no further discussions took place while Hydro-Québec tried to buy NB Power.

Discussions between Nova Scotia and Newfoundland and Labrador began almost three years ago after Quebec’s provincial regulator refused to allow Quebec transmission lines to move energy from Muskrat Falls.

Emera signed a deal with Newfoundland for 35 years of power at a fixed cost.

As for Hydro Quebec, Emera says executives with Nova Scotia Power have met with the utility this year to discuss the potential of Quebec imports, in addition to what is already contracted from Labrador.

The subsea cable wills cost ratepayers an estimated $1.5 billion to import energy from Labrador to Nova Scotia.

The 180-kilometre cable, could see as much as 40 per cent of the electricity from the 824-megawatt project in Newfoundland and Labrador moved to Cape Breton. It's the largest investment Emera has ever made.

Muskrat Falls is expected to produce power by late 2017.