Company files request for approval of billion-dollar Maritime Link

HALIFAX – A subsidiary of Nova Scotia’s private utility filed an application with a provincial regulator Monday seeking approval of the subsea cable portion of the $7.7-billion Muskrat Falls hydroelectric project.

NSP Maritime Link Inc. — a subsidiary of Emera Inc. (TSX:EMA) and an affiliate of Nova Scotia Power — has asked the Nova Scotia Utility and Review Board to approve $1.52 billion in capital spending with a variance of up to $60 million for the entire project.

The company says the project to bring hydroelectricity from Labrador to Nova Scotia is the lowest-cost option for long-term electricity for the province.

It says the Maritime Link project strengthens Nova Scotia’s connection to the North American grid and would prepare the province to take advantage of future energy projects.

The application also said the project would provide renewable electricity for at least 50 years and supports the development of other renewable energy resources, such as wind and tidal.

Under the deal, Emera would build a 180-kilometre subsea cable, which would ship power from Cape Ray in southwestern Newfoundland to Lingan, N.S., in Cape Breton.

Emera would be responsible for 20 per cent of the cost of the overall project while Newfoundland Crown utility Nalcor would be responsible for the remaining 80 per cent.

Emera will get 20 per cent of the project’s energy, or about one terawatt.

Last week, Nova Scotia Premier Darrell Dexter said the cost of the Muskrat Falls subsea cable will raise power rates for people in the province by less than one per cent.

Progressive Conservative leader Jamie Baillie said Dexter has endorsed the project without knowing how much it will cost in the end.

“The PC Caucus will intervene at the hearing, seeking answers to the many questions Nova Scotians have about this massive project,” said Baillie in a statement.

Utility and Review Board spokesman Paul Allen said dates for a hearing have not been set. It has six months from the date of the filing to complete the hearing process, he said.