The Newfoundland blackouts have revealed, as if a reminder were necessary, that it is always the customers who pay for utility problems, whether in the form of outages or higher bills.

So it is sensible to replace Holyrood with a new, more reliable source like Muskrat Falls. While it may be a stretch to believe that the outage was planned as a way of selling skeptical people on the value of Muskrat Falls, it should do just that.

But if connecting Muskrat Falls to the Newfoundland grid were all the project entailed, it would not solve the problem of overreliance on a single, large resource. It would merely be a matter of replacing an old supply with a new one. And that sounds like the current message. In short, the notion of what is technically called an “islanded” utility seems to be surviving into the new era that Muskrat Falls will offer.

As important as the generating station at Muskrat Falls are the high-voltage transmission lines integral to the project. Of course, Labrador will be connected to Newfoundland so power can reach its prime market. But the more important element of the project for ending Newfoundland’s electric vulnerability will be the Maritime Link with Nova Scotia and, through New Brunswick, with the northeastern U.S. grid.

Read AIMS Senior Fellow in Electricity Policy Gordon Weil’s piece here