Emera claims a huge increase in Muskrat Falls hydropower supply


Halifax-based Emera reports a dramatic and timely increase in the amount of hydropower from Muskrat Falls flowing from Newfoundland to Nova Scotia via Maritime Link.

The energy conglomerate says deliveries of the so-called “Nova Scotia Block” were between 70 and 100 percent of the contracted quantities from mid-December to early January.

The news of the “greatly improved situation” came in Emera’s latest submission to regulators, who heard its application to recover $ 1.7 billion in final costs from Nova Scotia Power taxpayers for Maritime Link.

During hearings in the Nova Scotia Utility and Review Board in December, Emera admitted that only 19 percent of the Nova Scotia Block was delivered between August and November 2021.

It was the result of ongoing software issues on the Newfoundland and Labrador part of the project, which is owned by Nalcor.

Nova Scotia Power customer groups complained that taxpayers were asked to pay the full cost of Maritime Link as only a fraction of the promised electricity was supplied.

Accelerated deliveries

In December testimony, Nova Scotia Power executive David Landigran expected deliveries were increasing.

In her last post, Emera said it has happened.

Emera says it has received ‘full and sustained supply’ of Muskrat Falls hydropower since the Nova Scotia Utility and Review Board hearings held in December. (Paul Withers / CBC)

“In recent weeks, the full Nova Scotia block has been delivered as scheduled only subject to limited scheduled interruptions in light of reduced staff over the holidays,” Emera said in an application on January 7.

Nova Scotia Power spokeswoman Jacqueline Foster said Tuesday that currents continue at levels similar to those mentioned in the January 7 filing.

Muskrat Falls years behind

Maritime Link was built by Emera subsidiary Nova Scotia Power Maritime Link to bring Muskrat Falls hydropower into the province via a 177-kilometer submarine cable across Cabot Strait.

While Emera’s transmission system was built on time and on budget, the Muskrat Falls mega-project is years behind.

It was supposed to send 20 percent of its production and some additional electricity – called the Nova Scotia Block – into the province starts in 2018.

The Nova Scotia block only began to float in August 2021 under “an acceleration agreement” between Emera and Nalcor that gained some momentum with a promise from Nalcor to make up the rest later.

Output was limited by persistent software problems on the Labrador Island Link – a 1,100-kilometer high-voltage DC transmission line from Muskrat Falls in central Labrador, the site of the 824-megawatt power plant, to Soldiers Pond on the Avalon Peninsula.

Consumer groups say the final bill should wait until Labrador Island Link – which is still being commissioned – is fully operational.

$ 205 million in additional fuel costs

Since 2018, Nova Scotia Power customers have paid $ 205 million in additional fuel costs to generate replacement electricity due to failed deliveries from Muskrat Falls.

But with electricity now flowing, Emera is urging regulators to approve its application.

“Since the acquisition in December of full and continuous delivery of the Nova Scotia block in accordance with the 2013 agreements, Nova Scotia Power Maritime Link believes it has achieved the appropriate milestone for full cost recovery,” it said.

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