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Nova Scotia drafts rules to review subsea link from 3,074-MW Lower Churchill

The government of Nova Scotia is drafting regulations to govern the province's regulatory review of the proposed Maritime Link, a subsea transmission line to deliver power to the province from the 3,074-MW Lower Churchill hydroelectric project in Newfoundland and Labrador.

The C$6.2 billion (US$6.1 billion) Lower Churchill project includes the 824-MW Muskrat Falls hydro plant and the eventual 2,250-MW Gull Island plant on the Churchill River in Labrador, plus transmission links to Newfoundland Island, Nova Scotia, and New England. The governments of Newfoundland and Labrador and of Nova Scotia agreed in 2011 to divide up business and employment opportunities from construction of Muskrat Falls and the transmission links.

Nova Scotia's Utility and Review Board is to examine the Maritime Link to ensure it is the best long-term option for Nova Scotians and to help meet future renewable energy targets. Provincial legislation passed earlier this year calls for the board to review costs to determine if the project is in the best interest of ratepayers.

"This project will create jobs, grow the economy, give us access to more energy options, and help us achieve energy diversity, security, and stability," Nova Scotia Energy Minister Charlie Parker said July 16. "It's a key component in ensuring we meet our greenhouse gas emission targets while bringing stability to electricity rates and reducing our reliance on coal."

The Nova Scotia Department of Energy seeks comments by Aug. 3 from citizens on draft regulations for the board review. The regulations may be obtained from the Department of Energy Internet site under www.gov.ns.ca/energy/public-consultation.

Sierra Club Canada and Grand Riverkeeper Labrador Inc. filed a judicial review application against the Lower Churchill project in March arguing its initial environmental assessment is incomplete. Only days before, the Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency issued approval of the first stage of the project, the Muskrat Falls plant.

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