Nova Scotia won’t be getting nuclear power from New Brunswick, even though the two provinces have just hitched their electrical grids together, an NB Power official says.

Keith Cronkhite, vice-president of business development and generation, said last week that Point Lepreau’s electricity is part of the province’s base load because it has the lowest fuel cost.

What would be available to Nova Scotia under the new joint dispatch system is oil-fired generation from Coleson Cove, near Saint John, or coal-fired power from Belledune, near Bathurst, he said. New Brunswick may also have some hydro power available from the Saint John River system during part of the year, he added.

Nova Scotia Power won’t say what generation it expects to provide to New Brunswick under the one-year pilot project, which began in January. A spokeswoman would only say that the utility is making all of its generation fleet part of the joint grid.

A Maine energy expert said he thinks joint dispatch will save money and end up being expanded to include Newfoundland and Labrador.

“At the point that the Maritime Link is completed, the capacity on the Nova Scotia-New Brunswick line automatically increases without any new hardware,” Gordon Weil said from Harpswell, Maine.

“That will improve the operation of an agreement like this.”

Prince Edward Island benefits indirectly from the pilot now because it relies on electricity imports via New Brunswick, he said.

Weil, a senior fellow on electricity policy for the Atlantic Institute for Market Studies in Halifax, said co-op dispatch is similar to the regional power pool for which he’s advocated.

He said it makes sense for relatively small neighbouring provinces to work together on electrical generation and dispatch, especially given their aging fleets.

“There is no reason why this shouldn’t work and continue to work. And, eventually, I think there will be incentives to increase the ties among the provinces so that more power can be shared.” Article originally published in the Chronicle Herald; also published in 4-Traders