A new law that outlines how the provincial regulator reviews theMuskrat Falls project will help boost Emera"s standing with credit rating agencies, thecompany"s president and CEO says. Chris Huskilson said Friday the proposed legislation, which givesthe New Democrat government the power to set the rules for thestudy, is helpful. "The rating agencies are looking at a little bit of certaintyat this moment while the project is in a very, very earlystage," Huskilson told an analysts" call. "It"s not really all that surprising that there"sa bit of certainty. |
What the provincial government has just done inthe past week relative to legislation, I think, is helpful." Credit rating agencies have indicated they will be keeping a closeeye on Emera and its subsidiary, Nova Scotia Power. The agencies are concerned about whether the energy companies willhave the money to support the capital spending needed to fulfil theprovince"s aggressive timeline for meeting renewable energytargets. Huskilson was referring to the Maritime Link Act, which was tabledWednesday by Energy Minster Charlie Parker to ensure the NovaScotia Utility and Review Board looks at the project. "The legislation is consistent with the provincialgovernment"s past expressions of support and the legislationprovides additional certainty about the regulatory process in NovaScotia," the CEO said. The link is the $1.2-billion subsea cable that will bring hydroelectricity from Labrador to Nova Scotia and on to markets inEastern Canada and the United States.
Huskilson said finalizing a federal loan guarantee for the overall$6.2-billion project will also be reassuring to the agencies. "We"re hopeful that it can come to fruition over thenext little while," he said of the guarantee. The CEO said Emera is also "very close" to having afinal project agreement with Nalcor Energy, Newfoundland andLabrador"s Crown utility, but couldn"t give a timeline. An environment assessment of the link is underway and Huskilsonsaid changes in how Ottawa handles such reviews "are notexpected to have any significant effect on our schedule." Emera expects to spend $110 million on the project this year. The CEO said the company has picked a preferred transmission routefor the line and released a request for proposals to supply thecable.
Engineering of the design phase is also underway. ( firstname.lastname@example.org ).
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