A big, fat price tag on a pipeline through Nova Scotia doesn’t kill the idea, Darrell Dexter said Thursday.

An underwater power line running from Newfoundland through Nova Scotia down to New England would cost somewhere between $2 billion and $3 billion, according to a report released Wednesday through the province’s Department of Environment.

Such a pipeline would allow hydro power from Newfoundland’s Lower Churchill facility, as well as wind and hydro power in Nova Scotia, to be exported to customer-rich New England.

It would also provide an alternative route if NB Power is sold to Quebec.

Premier Dexter has said for months there is private interest in building such a gateway, and denied the high cost pushes it off the table.

“These kinds of projects aren’t based on a 10- or even 20-year payback. I mean, they look at amortizing costs over 60 years,” he told reporters.

“We’re at $80-a-barrel oil now. If we get into triple digits and the costs continue to rise, projects that might not seem economic today might seem economic in the future.”

Dexter said the province would not build the pipeline and it would be up to Nova Scotia Power or other private interests.