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Nova Scotia regulator approves $1.5-billion Muskrat Falls hydro subsea cable

Muskrat Falls is seen at the Churchill River in central Labrador in this undated file photograph.

GREG LOCKE/REUTERS

Nova Scotia's Utility and Review Board has approved a proposal to build a subsea cable to ship hydroelectricity from Muskrat Falls in Labrador to Nova Scotia.

The board made its decision conditional on the the project obtaining from Nalcor Energy the right to access the Newfoundland and Labrador Crown utility's market-priced energy.

The board was asked to decide whether constructing the cable, known as the Maritime Link, was the cheapest long-term alternative for the province's electricity users and whether it meets requirements on the release of air pollutants.

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During hearings earlier this year, consumer and small business advocates in Nova Scotia questioned whether the proposal by a subsidiary of Emera Inc. would benefit electricity customers, who would foot the bill for the $1.5-billion project.

Opponents also doubted assertions from Emera and Premier Darrell Dexter that the project would stabilize electricity rates in the future.

But Emera has argued that Muskrat Falls would serve about 10 per cent of Nova Scotia's power needs, bringing clean energy into the province.

Nova Scotia's opposition parties have also voiced their objections to the proposal, saying it warranted greater scrutiny by the government.

Construction of Muskrat Falls is underway in Labrador with the $7.7-billion venture scheduled to generate power by 2017.

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