22 November 2010

No US market for Lower Churchill power: NL deputy premier

A VOCM news story running this weekend contains the following comments attributed to the province’s deputy premier, Kathy Dunderdale:

Dunderdale says the power Nova Scotia is buying from Newfoundland will be used domestically and nowhere else.

Dunderdale says the price that Nova Scotia is paying for the power is higher than market prices in the United States. She says there is no market for Nova Scotia to take our power and sell it elsewhere.

Dunderdale says the power will be used in Nova Scotia to replace coal-fire generation and to meet their energy targets.

Of course, if there is no market for Nova Scotia’s Emera to sell Muskrat Falls power in the United States, there’d be no market for this province to do it either.

That’s pretty much what your humble e-scribbler’s been saying about the Lower Churchill as well.

Meanwhile, from a PostMedia News story on last week’s Muskrat Falls announcement, comes an assessment by energy analyst Tom Adams:

However , Tom Adams , a Toronto-based energy consultant, says the once-rich markets of the Northeastern U.S. are now awash in cheap natural gas and demand there is also depressed by U.S. economic woes -- making it difficult, if not impossible, to sell much of the power from the Lower Churchill at feasible prices.

As a result, Adams says the economics of shipping electricity from the remote reaches of Labrador south by sub-sea cable simply won't work. He says Thursday's announcement wasn't a firm deal at all, but merely a "lobbying campaign" by Newfoundland and Nova Scotia for a "federal handout."

"There is a lot less here than meets the eye," he says.

Turns out Newfoundland and Labrador’s provincial government had the same thought.

- srbp -

Unpublish update:  Good thing the copy is here because VOCM disappeared that story from its website. See the comments section for more.