11/09/2012 02:24 EST | Updated 01/09/2013 05:12 EST

Newfoundland and Labrador government releases more Muskrat Falls studies

ST. JOHN'S, N.L. - Newfoundland and Labrador has released new studies in its latest effort to persuade the public that the Muskrat Falls hydroelectric project is in the province's best interests.

One study examined whether it would be better for the province to develop Gull Island, another hydroelectric development in Labrador, but it says that is not feasible.

The paper says Gull Island — which would be capable of generating 2,250 megawatts of electricity — is too large for the province's needs and would therefore require export sales to Quebec.

The government says it hasn't been able to obtain transmission access through that province.

Another study looked at whether Newfoundland and Labrador should refurbish the oil-burning plant in Holyrood and wait until 2041, when the Upper Churchill power contract expires.

But that report concludes that it's inappropriate to assume the province would receive cheap or free power once that deal expires.

Muskrat Falls would be capable of generating 824 megawatts if it proceeds.

The government, which is expected to decide later this year whether to go ahead with the development, has released a series of reports in recent days in efforts to show that Muskrat Falls is a viable project that would stabilize energy rates.

But critics say the government has not proven that case and have called for more thorough debate before sanctioning the project, which is estimated to cost at least $7.4 billion.