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Muskrat Falls. — Telegram file photo
Muskrat Falls. — Telegram file photo

Though a New Englander, I have followed and written about the Muskrat Falls project. Recent developments here suggested an alternative that could mitigate its cost for provincial customers.

Massachusetts has been attempting to arrange a major, long-term hydro purchase. While Hydro-Québec seems an obvious choice, its supply of hydro power would require new transmission. The New Hampshire route has been rejected on environmental grounds and the second-choice Maine route has just recently encountered similar and unanticipated opposition.

The transmission path connecting Labrador with New England is coming into existence in connection with Muskrat Falls. Suppose Muskrat Falls power was sold long-term to Massachusetts. The newly constructed and existing lines would transfer its output, and the existing power corridor could be enlarged with minimal environmental impact to allow for larger transfers from Hydro-Québec.

Nalcor and Emera would own the transmission and derive revenues from its use, which would cost Massachusetts less than a new line from Hydro-Québec. Nalcor’s revenues could offset some Muskrat Falls costs as would the power sales, probably at a premium price. In-province customers should benefit from these offsets to Muskrat Falls costs.

A major advantage is that this arrangement could take place sooner than the pure New England alternatives. And it would provide long-term relief to ratepayers. I suggest its worth consideration by Newfoundland and Labrador.

Gordon L. Weil

Harpswell, Maine

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