[HALIFAX, NS] – Energy Minister Charlie Parker was singing the praises of the $6.2 billion Muskrat Falls hydroelectricity project in St. John's Tuesday.
Speaking to reporters in Newfoundland, Parker said the deal – which will provide 10 per cent of Nova Scotia's annual electricity needs beginning in 2017 – will mean stability for ever-increasing power rates.
"Right now, Nova Scotia relies heavily on coal imported at volatile world prices for its electricity generation," Parker says. "The Lower Churchill project is an important component in ensuring Nova Scotia meets federal coal reduction regulations, as well as our provinces greenhouse gas emissions targets."
But Liberal energy critic Andrew Younger says Newfoundland's public energy utility, Nalcor, stands to gain much more than Nova Scotia ratepayers.
"Basically, Nalcor will use our energy grid... to their benefit, for their profits, and Nova Scotians, at the end of 35 years, will have nothing to show for it," Younger says.
Younger was referring to the subsea cable required to transmit the power between Newfoundland and Nova Scotia, a $1.2 billion project that will be paid for by Emera. At the end of the 35 year deal, Nalcor will assume possession of that asset.
The project still needs to be approved by the Utility and Review Board. But Younger says he believes the parameters of that review are so narrow the URB has no choice but to approve it.
Progressive Conservative energy critic Chuck Porter says he's concerned the final cost for ratepayers is not known.
"We don't even know what the price is. How can we be smiling and happy about a plan where the premier appears to have written a blank check," Porter says.