New regulations recently released allow the Nova Scotia Utility and Review Board, or UARB, to fully and transparently review the Maritime Link project to ensure it is the best option to bring clean energy, good jobs and lower, more stable electricity rates over 35 years.
"The Maritime Link would ensure a cleaner energy future for Nova Scotia," said Energy Minister Charlie Parker. "It also gives the province the opportunity for lower, more stable electricity rates as compared to a future where Nova Scotia continued to depend on costly imported coal--or is forced into higher cost alternatives by federal regulations.
"The project is a key component of the Lower Churchill development and will help ensure Nova Scotia has the renewable energy needed to meet the targets set out in the Renewable Electricity Plan, as well as the new federal coal reduction regulations."
The cost of coal has increased 75 per cent in the last seven years, which is reflected on Nova Scotians' power bills.
The province's Renewable Electricity Plan, including the Lower Churchill project and the Maritime Link, will bring greater stability to electricity prices by building a more local, diverse and secure energy mix.
The regulations guiding the review reflect feedback from the UARB and the consumer and small business advocates.
The UARB has the authority to do a full review, including comparing the project to alternative options. The regulations also state that:
-- the UARB has 180 days from the date it receives Emera's application to review the project and make a decision
-- Emera must provide the best information and evidence available to support its application
-- the UARB may add terms and conditions to its approval, if necessary -- the UARB must, if required, determine a range of approved costs for the Maritime Link project, with any costs that exceed that requiring UARB approval
-- Emera must file a project report with the UARB by Dec. 21, 2013, detailing the engineering and design, and updating cost estimates or any other material changes to the project
Under the deal reached between Newfoundland and Labrador's Crown energy corporation, Nalcor Energy, and Nova Scotia Power's parent company, Emera, Nova Scotia will receive 20 percent of the power for 35 years for 20 per cent of the cost of the Lower Churchill project, including the Maritime Link.