Electric discussion

It’s interesting that my column this week on using the electricity produced by Lepreau II to power economic development in New Brunswick and not New England got probably the most feedback I received to date. Several colleagues called and emailed to debate the issue and one guy tracked me down at home. He took issue with my term ‘low cost power’ regarding nuclear energy.

The truth is that I have been told that nuclear – over a long time horizon – is still one of the cheapest (and cleanest) forms of electricity generation. I don’t have personal knowledge of this but I have been told it by folks who should know.

Regardless, the assumption of my column was more simple than that. Simply, if you can produce power that you can sell into the U.S. that is competitive price wise with other forms of electricity production – my thinking is that if you back off your expected profit margin that must, by definition, make it cheaper here. Unless you plan on selling all the surplus power on the spot market to fulfil short term needs. My assumption, and it is only an assumption, would be that NB Power would want to negotiate stable, fixed term agreements for the power – at a lower rate than they would get on the spot market.

But, I don’t claim to be an energy expert – not in any sense of that term.