Thursday, 20 December 2018

MUSKRAT ENERGY COST – ANOTHER MEASURE OF FAILURE

Guest Post by PlanetNL

PlanetNL22: Muskrat Energy Cost – Another Measure of Failure
Several leading electricity industry research organizations compile annual estimates of utility scale generation options.  These reports roll up the expected lifecycle costs relative to energy output to provide a single energy cost figure known as a Levelized Cost of Energy (LCOE).   LCOE allows alternatives with high capital cost but low operating cost to be directly compared to options with low capital cost but high operating cost.

The energy industry consistently selects projects that can deliver competitively low LCOE numbers, however, Nalcor avoided this technique in favour of a customized and burdensome Cumulative Present Worth analysis that avoided illustrating the true economic merit of Muskrat Falls.  Although the LCOE metric was front and center in the Nova Scotia regulatory hearing for the Maritime Link, it was avoided by Nalcor and Government here.  Little wonder, as Muskrat’s LCOE is nothing to be proud of. 

Reference data for this post is sourced from Lazard, an international consulting firm widely trusted for their annual LCOE reports.  Their full 2018 report is available here.

Hydro projects are not reviewed by Lazard because they are so rarely an option for utilities.  Capital cost wise, hydro tends to way up with the most expensive category, nuclear power plants.  At sanction, Muskrat was at Lazard’s low-end of the nuclear cost range but with Muskrat’s updated costs, it is now at the very high end for nuclear.  This is not a promising beginning but LCOE factors in the capital cost and all other operating and maintenance costs.  As water flows are considered a free energy source, could Muskrat’s LCOE look better than nuclear?


Below is the Lazard chart for expected LCOE in $ per MWh for a variety of generation solutions.  Underlying assumptions include reasonably competitive bidding, ordinary construction challenges, and conditions that are presumed suitable for the solar and wind renewables.  Onshore wind and utility solar lead the pack, closely trailed by natural gas combined cycle thermal: unsurprisingly these are project types most frequently built by utilities in recent years.  Lazard probably isn’t being overoptimistic on their cost projections either: consider both Alberta and Saskatchewan where recent bids for wind projects achieved costs of only around CDN$30/MWh (3 c/kWh), considerably bettering Lazard’s numbers. 

At the PUB Muskrat Review in 2012, Nalcor offered no LCOE guidance until they were compelled to respond to a request to do so from the Consumer Advocate.  Based on the project’s total capital estimate of $5.0B at that time and the energy forecast of the day, Ed Martin’s Nalcor projected Muskrat LCOE to be $208/MWh (20.8 c/kWh).

Reviewing the chart above, Muskrat energy cost is higher than nuclear and the only possible comparable is the “gas peaking” plant.  Such a facility is presumed to utilize inefficient combustion turbines to meet peak loads during high demand seasons, likely running just hours per day.  Peaking plants are standby facilities that deliver relatively little power for their costs: as a result, they are a last resort option within the utility industry. 

Conservation measures to reduce high demand peaks would normally be mandated before investing in peaking facilities.  As shown in PlanetNL21, conservation measures would have been ideal to address the Island’s highly seasonal winter electric heating demand.
Nalcor chose to ignore Government’s own Energy Policy objective to pursue conservation, and instead embraced the volatile seasonal electric heating needs: Muskrat is a peaker plant.  This is blatantly confirmed in NL Hydro’s new Cost of Service Study submitted to the Public Utilities Board on November 15, 2018, where the utility has classified Muskrat as a peaker equivalent.  

Recalibrating Muskrat LCOE Since Pre-Sanction
Nalcor’s one attempt at offering Muskrat’s LCOE needs some fine-tuning to reflect changes to Nalcor’s failed assumptions.    

First, given capital cost escalation from $5.0B to $12.7B, Nalcor’s LCOE estimate must be scaled up to over $500/MWh (50 c/kWh).  This is much worse than Lazard’s estimate for nuclear or a gas peaker – industry analysts who’ve never heard of Muskrat would no doubt be shocked at this result for a hydro project. 

The next problem is Nalcor’s overly optimistic energy forecast.  Stan Marshall’s Nalcor, in 2016/17, officially slashed the total Island energy forecast, removing most of the new load growth his predecessor had banked on.  If Stan Marshall’s Nalcor were to offer a revised LCOE estimate it would likely exceed $1000/MWh ($1.00/kWh).  That’s nearly 10 times that of a nuclear plant and at least 5 times that of a gas peaker.

That’s not the last issue though.  Marshall’s load forecast remains unrealistically high as presented in PlanetNL20.  Given the big cost increases about to be hurled on ratepayers, those who can dramatically cut their seasonal electric heating usage through substitution will cause a significant drop in total energy sales.  Those who can’t afford to go the substitution route are condemned to energy poverty.  This troubling socio-economic inequality, facilitated by Nalcor and Government’s refusal to sponsor conservation, creates a scenario where some limited usage of Muskrat energy could remain necessary.

Should the long term sustained usage of Muskrat energy on the Island be no more than 750 GWh, the LCOE is likely $2000/MWh ($2.00/kWh) or $3000/kWh ($3.00/kWh) if requirements fall to 500 GWh.

At next year’s Muskrat rate mitigation hearings at the Public Utilities Board, Nalcor will presumably be once more asked to formally present LCOE costs to the public.  Despite efforts to keep such numbers very quiet, it’s apparent that Marshall and Premier Dwight Ball already understand the situation.  They have appealed to ratepayers to not abandon electric heat and are encouraging more electric heating on the island, worsening the seasonality problems that spawned Muskrat in the first place.  Even in the unlikely chance Marshall’s energy forecast could be realized, the best-case $1000/MWh supply cost is a disastrous outcome when other Provinces are expanding their electricity supply at just $30/MWh.

Emera LCOE – Nova Scotia Regulator Succeeds in Examining LCOE
While Nalcor and the NL Government exempted Muskrat from a full regulatory review and approval process, Emera was required to have its Maritime Link project approved by the Nova Scotia Utility and Review Board (NSUARB).  LCOE featured prominently in the regulatory hearings and initially the project was rejected by the NSUARB for not being the lowest cost option. 

Based on the allotment of 980 GWh of firm supply from Muskrat, as agreed in the 2010 Term Sheet between Nalcor and Emera, and despite the energy being supplied by Nalcor at zero cost of energy, the Maritime Link’s LCOE exceeded $150/MWh (15 c/kWh) and this simply was not competitive enough in the determination of the Board.  The final decision document from the NSUARB contained the chart below where the dotted line at the represents the rejected scenario.



The whole Muskrat project was in jeopardy until Nalcor delivered the Energy Access Agreement, an add-on deal allowing Emera to buy 1200 GWh of surplus power at no higher than New England wholesale auction rates as represented by the dashed line.  The expected average LCOE of the two energy contracts, shown as the solid line in the chart, was then under $100/MWh (10 c/kWh), an improvement that delivered NSUARB approval.
 
Since then, two additional factors have lowered Emera’s likely cost.  First, New England energy prices have fallen considerably thanks to the effect of increased wind penetration renewables and effective conservation efforts in this key US market.  Second, due to falling demand at home and diminishing export prospects, Nalcor will have way more surplus energy to offer.  Emera’s LCOE could easily fall to $80/MWh (8 c/kWh) or less – a level that competes very favourably with coal-fired plants in NS and will result in rate stability and potential rate reduction for Nova Scotia ratepayers. 

While Emera’s LCOE goes from good to better, the LCOE of Muskrat energy sold to NL Hydro for Island ratepayers will be at least 10-20 times higher.    
 
What if the PUB had Been Allowed to Decide on Sanction?
The initial rejection by the NSUARB justifies concerns of critics who decried Government’s refusal to allow the PUB to do a full and proper review of Muskrat.  Surely the PUB would have demanded an LCOE analysis and clued in to how uncompetitive and undesirable Muskrat costs were.  If $150/MWh was too much for the NSUARB, then surely Nalcor’s estimate of $208/MWh using the preliminary DG2 estimates showed Muskrat to be a rather poor value project.  Had updated DG3 estimates been prepared, the revised LCOE would have been close to $300/MWh. 

The PUB would also compare Holyrood’s marginal cost of operation to the Muskrat LCOE.  In many jurisdictions, utilities are closing fossil fuel plants because their fuel cost per unit energy exceeds the all-in LCOE of new generation options.  Even in the years of very high oil prices, Holyrood cost no more than $200/MWh (20 c/kWh).  Now that is a very bad number by itself that deserved action, but the right action couldn’t possibly be to replace Holyrood with a project that would cost significantly more.

It is only logical to assume the PUB would have directed Nalcor to devise a strategy to lower the average cost of energy production, not increase it.  Unfortunately, the PUB was not allowed an opportunity to do so.  

The Muskrat Inquiry called an expert witness in utility regulatory process, Dr. Guy Holburn, who not surprisingly gave Government and Nalcor an overwhelmingly negative grade for not allowing best practices in utility regulation to be followed as seen in the graphic below summarizing his presentation.  Nova Scotia and NSUARB, however, received an excellent grade.


Source: Guy Holburn presentation at Muskrat Inquiry, Oct.17,2018  

Had the regulatory review process been allowed to occur, Muskrat’s LCOE would have been just one of many red flag issues.  Independent consultants hired by the PUB would surely have taken issue with the massively overestimated energy forecast as well.  Exploration of just these two issues would have shelved Muskrat permanently.

An Expert Witness in Energy Planning is Needed for the Inquiry
Inquiry expert witnesses have offered exceptional insight but none have yet been engaged in the energy planning field.  The near-expert testimony of Philip Raphals and Jim Feehan should make the Commission keenly aware that Nalcor’s strictly internal planning was heavily biased toward justifying Muskrat and impairing the viability of alternatives.  The Commission needs to go the next step.

In brief, the Commission should engage an independent firm expert in supporting utilities and regulators in long-range forecasting, conservation and generation planning with instruction to evaluate the Isolated Island System and to recommend and rank strategies to achieve reliable least cost supply of electricity.  Secondly, the firm should be directed to provide a critique of the two-alternative CPW analysis.

Only by having an independently prepared assessment will the Commission have a baseline to determine the magnitude of Nalcor’s technical error.  While it would have been useful to have this presented prior to this point in proceedings, it is by no means too late.

The effort is simultaneously valuable to the Public Utilities Board and the cost may be more appropriately borne by the PUB.  The Board is likewise improperly informed moving forward without this analysis.  Potentially the Commission and the Board can jointly develop the Terms of Reference so that it fully meets the need of both.

Government – or any future Government – should also be keenly interested to obtain clarity on what the issues and opportunities truly were in 2012.  Democracy and governance will be poorly served if an independent expert technical analysis should never be completed.  Government also needs to realize it needs a solid backup energy plan as Muskrat hasn’t finished creating havoc yet – not by a longshot.

84 comments:

  1. This province has 3 utilities now, NL Hydro, NF Power, and now Emera. Our current system has failed consumers, and taxpayers. It is difficult to determine how this could have been any worse scenario than what we face today.

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  2. '$3000/kWh ($3.00/kWh) if requirements fall to 500 GWh' Wow.

    At these kind of prices,with residential rooftop solar averaging $151/kWh , there is a business case for everyone to borrow the money and go off-grid, or for some large business to build/finance off-grid conversions. It would probably be cheaper to just get a nice honda generator and treat your city home like a cabin.

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    Replies
    1. correction; $151/MWh from the chart in the article, not kWh.

      All then numbers regarding the cost of Muskrat Falls power are just insane. No way we will ever be paying these rates because the province will collapse / depopulate / bankrupt.

      Delete
  3. CATHY AND CABINET SANCTION DOCUMENT:
    The sanction document shown at the inquiry again yesterday, with her signature and the entire cabinets signatures, as representing the worst decision ever made in the provincial legislature. It should be displayed at a prominent location in the House of Assembly, and at the Rooms to remind future generations to never allow these kinds of decisions to be ever made again. If the inquire can be of any value this should be the least it can do . And the commissioner and the coalition of concerned citizens should ensure that, and maybe others. As PF said the worst decision ever made since 1916, and thank God we did not make that decision, but was made by others. Thanks, average Joe.

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  4. Excellent, clear, informative article, and sound recommendations.

    ReplyDelete
  5. So it looks like Jerome Kennedy's prediction of $1 per kwh could prove true but only in NL.

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  6. The "worst decision ever made" is an understatement. This might be one of the top five worst decisions ever made by any government municipal, provincial or state, in North America. Perhaps rivalled only by some nuclear projects and Boston's "Big Dig". The big differance being most of these projects were undertaken by regions with greater populations and more diversified economies. Hence greater capacity to weather historic miscalculations. For us, with a small population and minimal industry, the project "risk" was much higher. This should have been clear to anyone in government or for that matter Nalcor. We simply had no capacity to undertake this risk as it would ultimately bankrupt our economy or cripple it for decades to come. That it appears this was not considered or apparently understood by Nalcor and our leaders is unbelievable. In fact after hearing more and more of the testimony, from our so called experts, I find it almost incomprehensible they remain employed!
    A natural gas plant on the avalon would have been far cheaper, with minimal project risk. Why this was not considered is beyond frustrating. Churchill Falls was one mistake, but Muskrat Falls is in an entirely different ball game!

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    Replies
    1. Or was it? The banks get to loan billions, charge interest and get it back from the federal government with no risk. Fortis and Hydro Quebec might pick up cheap assets. Many local business people made a few million. SNC and Valard probably did well. Someone got all the bad transmission wire as aluminum scrap. It was a masterful plunder.

      Delete
    2. Aye Mateee masterful plunder indeed!

      Delete
  7. What did I miss in early 2011 when I responded to a query from a CBC reporter that "we don't need it, we can't afford it, and it's too high a risk"?

    And I as no expert.

    So what does that say about Dunderdale's reliance on all those 'expert' reports? Or what does it say about such reliance period?

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    Replies
    1. Printed on your badge of courage, (subtext), Don't rock the boat! You'r a good citizen Mister Adams. I appreciate your services. Stay the course as Tories often repeat:-)

      Delete
    2. One thing you missed MA.
      If asked again, say "We don't need it, can't afford it, risk is too high, and not reliable power" So 3 out of 4 ain't bad. Non reliable I have occassionally harped on for years, Liberty confirmed maybe 2 years ago and now Nfld Power says the same.
      Having been responsible for issues of outages on the GNP, I was aware of much more severe outages problems there on 69 and 138Kv lines that will apply to 230 kw or the DC line. Other at Nfld Hydro would know that(Fred Martin, Fred Wilcox, and a dozen others, past and present) as well as Nfld Power, presanction. Notice KD was upset at F Martin for not playing along to her satisfaction (Andy Well's note) Imagine 14 days or more to repair in winter. Our present standard is 2.8 hrs per year, so rotating outages for 14 days or more will a shocker, and this was the plan!
      Winston

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    3. 3 of 4 now well proven Winston, the fourth will soon be when the (un)reliability is proven shortly (no electrical pun intended).

      Delete
    4. "Reliability" was included when I said "too high a risk". So 4 out of 4

      Delete
  8. In 2015 the Atlantic Pilotage Authority hired an 'expert' consultant to advise the Authority as to whether or not it was 'prudent' to establish an inner pilot boarding station in the narrow channel well north of the existing oil tanker pilot boarding station in Placentia Bay (leading to the oil refinery).

    I reviewed the consultant's Pilotage Risk Management Methodology Report (PRMM) and provided the Authority an 18-page Review and Comment of the consultant's report.

    This is the Executive Summary of my review:
    QUOTE
    • a Reference Question that asks whether it is 'prudent' to establish an inner pilot boarding station does not satisfy the broader requirements of the authority's enabling legislation (which requires the provision of a service to be both in the interest of safety and efficient)

    • the PRMM report is in error with respect to the VTS reporting requirements of fishing vessels between 20m and 24m in length

    • the PRMM report is in error with respect to the application of the Collision Regulations to fishing vessels in and near the two-way route leading to the proposed location of an inner pilot station

    • the PRMM report is in error when it states that there has been no traffic conflict incidents leading to the existing pilot station

    • the PRMM is in error with respect to the effectiveness of what it describes as two MCTS radar sites over-lapping the proposed route to an inner pilot station

    • the PRMM report is in error when it compares Placentia Bay to Prince Rupert and when it simplistically considers and assigns a risk reduction effectiveness measure to MCTS without any significant consideration and analyses of how MCTS services can differ, how MCTS effectiveness can differ from one area to another (due to staffing, training, equipment, procedural differences, etc.)

    • the PRMM report is in error when it uses an international norm as the basic measure of risk, modified to apply to Prince Rupert, which in turn is modified to apply to Placentia Bay and thereby to arrive at risk assessment "K" factor for Placentia Bay. Such a methodology averages down real risk for high risk areas such as Placentia Bay and differs little in principle from when a 1984 National VTS Study averaged down real risk for high risk areas by using traffic density as its basic measure of risk (real, high risk factors such as frequent storms, dense fog, etc. were assessed simplistically, assigned low, constant numbers that had only a marginal modifying affect on the real risk for high risk areas such as Placentia Bay)

    • accordingly, the PRMM report does not constitute a sound basis from which the Authority should approve an inner pilot station at some future date, nor does it constitute a sound basis for applying a more flexible pilotage service based on already existing legislative and regulatory requirements

    UNQUOTE

    Were the 'expert' consultant reports relied on by Dunderdale/government objectively, independently reviewed/validated?

    ReplyDelete
  9. The goddamned horse left the barn with the sanctioning with phony data. You might say the phony pony left the barn.

    One need not be an expert to quickly conclude MF is a scam of epic proportion. Just reviewing the EIS one can't help concluding:
    1. This is the most expensive power ever produced, bar none.
    2. MF was unneeded with modest DSM
    3. Politics, not any need for power, drove this project from the outset

    Why was this not obvious to all the Monday morning quarterbacks? Another study at this point to conclude what we already know is useless. Where were all the MMQ's when a few critics were screaming bloody murder, informing the curious and getting sued (some of us) for our troubles?

    Another study to slake the neurotic guilt of those that did not act in time to stop this travesty is useless. We know the results. MF is the most expensive power yet conceived and politics was the sole driving force. You might say the phony pony left the barn while you dithered and failed to defend your democracy.

    Screaming bloody murder now is useless, your democracy needed you pre sanction.

    ReplyDelete
  10. We menfolk seem to pay little attention to the importance of style over substance.
    At this Inquiry male witnesses attend for multiple days wearing the same suit and tie. Has Commissioner Leblanc made any change at all in his wardrobe this past 2 months?
    Today we have KD on her 3rd day, and third outfit.
    I cannot help but complement her for style: a black and beige top of excellent taste, with a black blouse. Her jewelry choice for today's hearing consists of a double necklace,of synthetic material, black in color supporting a large madalion type ornament, of beige color, with perimeter black. The selection was an excellent choice, matching her garment colors. Her loop earrings, platimum color, again closely matching her necklace and garments. Her choice of lipstick, a neutral color, carefully chosen, not too brash. It suited her light hearted jovial character, facial expressions and smiles, unlike what we witnessed from Gilbert Bennett and Ed Martin, typical of alpha males personalities.
    Not to be overlooked, her nailpolish, again of neutral color, matching the the beige dominant shades of garments.
    Of course her video screen blocked one from some observations of her attire. Her nail polish color had to be gleamed as she made gestures to her head, when commenting on what was "going on in the back of my head" as to her complex analysis of Muskrat leading up to sanction.
    One should not overlook the importance of style. Trump and Melania brought style to a new height, sufficient to threaten the the US constitution and the democratic freedoms hard won by Washington, Adams,and Jefferson. Here we now struggle on our way forward, whether to be dominated by style or substance.
    Winston Adams

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Substance Maurice, substance!

      I hate to disagree but it is substance, not style that is relevant. Ms Dunderdale had an opportunity pre sanctioning to show her style with neutral colors, she chose instead to be danny's dupe.

      Delete
    2. While the 'substance' of my previous post Bruno was not directly energy/MF related, my post was intended to show how an 'expert' report in and of itself, unless independently validated, can very much reach erroneous conclusions, provide improper recommendations, be improperly relied on/used, be superficial in its analyses, etc.

      In short, and in many respects, my post is just one example of how the recipient of such an analyses/report can be misled and moved to reach a wrong conclusion.

      I think in many respects this happened with MF.

      Delete
  11. "The expected average LCOE of the two energy contracts was then under $100/MWh (now 10 c/kWh, down from 15 cents), an improvement that delivered NSUARB approval"

    FWIW, even at 10 cents, that was not the least cost option to Emera... At that time, HQ was already exporting firm power at way below those rates. (Even if we add the req'd additional Qc-NB-NS interconnections)

    It seems NS was also subscribing to DW's agenda; NS ratepayers will also foot useless costs. (nothing compared to NL, I agree)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Somewhat firm, somewhat reliable power for 5 cents a KwH from the MF boondoggle, is the best NS can do. NS was required to build transmission through NB into NS to get power from PQ.

      When MF goes down it will be NL's problem, not NS. They will be insulated from the problems by the contract signed by Emera. Emera will get the contracted power NL will have to pay exorbitant rates to supply the power. More good news to come in the future:<(

      Delete
    2. Bruno; does your 5 cents average LCOE cost includes the Maritime link costs (and transmission losses, higher than overland 735kv)?

      Delete
    3. Emera paid for the link but please your rabbit holes do not interest me. You did not respond to my point so please mr bunny, no distractions.

      Delete
    4. Like Nalcor, Emera was of the opinion that HQ firm power was not available to allow them to develop that alternative.

      Bruno is correct, infrastructure upgrading through NB and NS would have to be added to the energy cost.

      Delete
  12. I indeed mentionned that additional Qc-NB-NS interconnections was required. (But don't believe overall costs would have gone above that 10c which triggered NSUARB's approval)

    So Bruno, from which "rabbit hole" did you pick that (total?) 5 cents costs? ;-) I'm just curious.

    Unless you are spitting absurd numbers again. Like when you repeatedly pretended Nalcor was "losing" (hundreds?) $Ms exporting CF recall power due to HQ "steep" wheeling fees... :-)

    I however still really enjoy reading your colorfull comments (well, for FWIW)

    ReplyDelete
  13. Guys, stay with the concept of the partially constructed Atlantic Grid, defined as that section which is interconnected with Maine and QC. Consider a 25 year build out, expansion. Assume for the moment that distributed generation , (redundancy), can be achieved, most all of which will consist of renewable form. Setting political infighting aside. Scope out the most efficient structural demand centred transmission setup. Is any organization actually planning and working on such a concept? It seems apparent to me that NALCOR did do something right, the island link.

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    Replies
    1. At who's cost --- and benefit?

      Delete
    2. MA:

      That reaction is the root cause of MF. By very definition, a Win - Win project involves Win for everyone, not --one--'s benefit as you asked.

      The NL mentality requires a Looser, so can not understands a Win - Win. For Newfoundlanders like UG and yourself, the moment someone outside NL wins something, it means NL lost as much.

      So because HQ won cash return with their part of the UC project, NL must be the looser of an equal amount. That prevents people to see the free and no risk power plant as a positive return. Here, you are asking because you imagine HQ selling at a profit. For you, a profit on HQ side equals a lost on your side, so you see yourself again as a victim.

      Stop looking for any rational in that fiasco. There is none. There is only poorly managed emotions and yourself like UG still refuse to manage yours.

      Delete
    3. The Atlantic Grid concept, would serve approximately 2million souls and industry, with relatively slow growth, according to statistics and foreseeable growth, say 15% over 25 year study period. What other assumptions do you want?

      Delete
    4. The root cause of MF is the lack of rational/strategic planning and the lack of a NL mentality that requires AND ENSURES that NL is the principle beneficiary of its own resources --- PERIOD.

      Delete
    5. The root cause for MF was revenge against Qc for them knowing how to do Win - Win business.

      Delete
    6. If so, ---same diff.

      Delete
    7. You did it again here MA: "If so, same diff". For you, a Win - Win is the same as NL not ensuring being the principle beneficiary of its own resources. Learn the difference or repeat the fiasco. you are doomed to go through one or the other. Your choice now.

      Delete
    8. I see the PQ trolls are back setting up false equivalencies and stirring up hate. This is exactly what the Russian trolls did to dirty the US election.

      Give it up!

      Delete
    9. Bruno, Russians can be nice neighbours also:-)

      Delete
    10. Most importantly, ignore them, it is the only way to make them go away!

      Delete
    11. Russian trolls are nice Robert G?

      Delete
    12. You show warped logic Anon.

      Delete
    13. Ok, I'll join that fray.

      The notion that we must ensure that NL is the principle beneficiary of its own resources seems common sense indeed. And politicians drums similar music continously.

      But in reality, you get projects done when entities/utilities find win - win agreements to settle on. And their respective gains (losses) are directly related to their respective contributions and the risks they took upon. (OK, CF again).

      The ownership of the ressources is definitely a driving factor, but if it's excessively expensive to extract it, then you might end up not the "principle beneficiary of your ressources" (if you don't contribute anything else).

      Under Duplessis, Quebec gave away its iron for 1 cent/ton.

      It doesn't not make sense at first glance. But it was probably the right decision to get things moving and have all that infrastructure built.

      Delete
    14. Maurice, you engage with PQ trolls at your peril! Logic does not drive them, only perverse hate does.

      Delete
    15. Hahaha Bruno, just WOW!

      I guess you included me in you definition of "PQ Trolls / perverse hate"

      By seeing your personnal definition of trolls and "perverse hate", I'm really curious Bruno, how you would described yourself then?

      A virtuous, respectfull/non-vulgar, loving/caring outsider that's not forcing his twisted/absurd bias on everyone's troat's maybe???? :-)

      I love you too Bruno! And thanks for elevating this blog to an even higher standard! :-)

      Delete
    16. Point about trolls taken Bruno.

      Merry Christmas all.
      Maurice

      Delete
    17. Thanks Maurice.

      Seasons greetings to you and yours.

      Delete
    18. Maurice and Robert G, The issue is the naked ratepayer must be protected from disabling the regulatory system as was systematically disabled around MF.

      It as we all know allowed a certain politician with narcissistic tendencies to overwhelm political opposition. Regulations are a minimal check on political power.

      Delete
    19. The season, Bruno, is that of Christmas. Jefferson wrote that the teachings of Christ was the most perfect moral teachings by any human being. Despite this, Jefferson owned some 600 slaves. Enlightened John Adams from near Boston refused to support slavery, and ploughed his own fields.
      Now of those moral teachings is the one, hardest to practise, and seems illogical, about "Love your enemy", So Robert Holmes says Russians are good, so seems illogical to some.
      Ex- military extends to you an olive branch, but you suggest PQ commenters are motivated by hate, and some PQ comments suggest NLers are motivated by hate .
      I have read that many highly intelligent people, even at genius level, are held back from achievement by emotional immaturity.
      It seems to me that what seems logical to one is illogical to another. MFs seems logical as a great project by most witnesses at this inquiry, but likely driven by some negative emotions.
      While, as Ex, and MA says, that provinces should be the prime beneficiary of resources, this is a complex issue to determine that, and requires sound and significant input by its people to achieve maximum benefit. So we see the difference between Quebec and NL. HQ invests into research, such as the 750kv transmission system that permitted CFs, as one example.
      On a personal level, I have supplied most all hydronic heaters in Nfld for 40 years. These are made form steel and copper. Both steel and copper is mined and produced in NL, and then, with PQ mfg, turned into heaters. I have input for their applications here. Both PQ and NL profits, a win-win. I do not know who profits the most, and neither complains. Products are consistently high quality. If more mfg was done in NL, we could maybe do even better on our resources, but too, you need economics of scale, and good governance.
      So win- win is a sound principle, but as to the percentage being fair, you need the wisdom of Solomon.
      Trump learned from his father there are only two types of people: winners and losers he says. What seem a win today may seem a loss later and vice versa. This Japan realised after Pearl Harbour, and the Japanese military commander Tojo, immediately could foresee.
      So, in the spirit of this season, Merry Christmas , even to Ed Martin, K Dunderdale, Gil Bennett,and even Tommy, that hate not dictate my emotions, and Merry Christmas to you too Bruno, and all UG readers. Perhaps the UG Shadow Inquiry will continue to enlighten, courtesy of the UNCLE.
      Winston

      Delete
    20. You miss the point Winston. It is trolls not Russians I object to. You can engage with the trolls and bots all you want but you do so at your peril.

      Delete
    21. Some should “update” their definitions of “trolls and bots”. When you don’t agree with a message (however ever articulated it could be), automatically calling it “trolls, bots or perverse hate” doesn’t improve your credibility. It rather shows you are hiding your ignorance on a specific subject.

      Debating arguments is preferable than spitting absurdities, or worst, unwarranted vulgar attacks. It definitely kills the likelihood of further intelligent exchanges.

      I personally “object” to vulgarities, offensive comments, unwarranted personal attacks and bullies that strictly believe in their own bias. You have to 100% to agree with them - otherwise it’s at “your own peril” (I liked that last one!)

      By the way, I applaud Winston for having kindly and smartly summarized the last few exchanges.

      We should consider ourselves lucky that this blog exists. I want to thank UG for having the ability to attract so many high caliber Guest writers. Knowledge is power.

      Sincerely merry Christmas to everyone.

      Delete
  14. Soooooooooooooo------- Dunderdale never met with Martin alone, yet ???? she may have had a side conversation with Martin about the 50/50 chance of an overrun and about that $500 million risk that was NOT (apparently) presented to cabinet.

    Also, a nod to Leblanc for his questions, especially his focus on the difference between the legislated requirement to provide "lowest possible cost power consistent with reliable service" AND "least-cost power" (between 2 pre-packaged options).

    Reason for hope??? I hope so.

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  15. Dwight must step up his Energy Plan; I don't believe that Pembina yet knows that Ches is the son of John

    https://www.pembina.org/blog/2018-climate-review

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  16. If anything at all has been revealed by the Commission of Inquiry into the Muskrat Falls Debacle... it is that the legacy of KATHY DUNDERDALE and EDMUND MARTIN will go down in history as COLOSSAL SCREW-UPS who have... by their reckless, hubristic, devil-may-care incompetence... inflicted irreparable harm and financial hardship upon NL society for generations to come.

    These scheming, surreptitious bastards should be bloody-well ashamed of themselves.

    To gaol with those who would deceive the public into penury.

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  17. The best thing one can do right now is not thump on your keyboard with anger, but rather talk to your family about moving elsewhere. The beauty about all of this is we're not tied on here and can leave. Now if DumbBAll would tell us what the plan is and the mitigation plan seems reasonable we may think twice, but since his silence means he has no clue, its time to take matters into our own hands.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. As an after thought, he may have a plan but it's not pretty, and will slam us hard with it after he wins by default in 2019. Now if that don't convince you to consider leaving, nothing will. Dwight until 2023 or longer.

      Delete
  18. I turned off all my electric baseboard heaters last night and lo and behold, nothing happened. Turns out, the massive power demand of my large screen TVs were heating the whole place. I figure they must be putting out 9,000 Watts each with the volume turned up. Thanks to former premier Kathy Dunderdale for ratting out out these enormous energy users.

    ReplyDelete
  19. Interesting how when a detailed PlanetNL piece appears the comments here turn to nastiness towards each other instead of a cogent discussion of the facts as presented.

    Move away is NOT an option for a majority of Newfoundlanders and therefore, Mr. Levy Payer, doesn't make a sound plan of how to survive the future. Agree with you that Dwight, Ches and the rest of them appear clueless about how to do it, which leaves us only one more opportunity to elect someone with a plan, should someone with a plan step forward. If there is no one like that next year, don't vote. At some level of voter turnout (say less than 10%) an election would be invalid and cause all sorts of ructions, perhaps dis-assembly and bankruptcy (which many of you feel is inevitable anyway). It will get a lot worse before it gets better.

    The best and so far only plans seem to be as individuals to cut back on our consumption so costs remain steady under the higher rates (there will be higher rates we assume).

    Other things that can indicate our displeasure might be refusing to pay any extra, for example, when your account is in arrears all you have to do to fend off the courts and collection agencies is make a minimum payment regularly. Refusing to pay the extra has to be all across the users to work, a form of civil disobedience, a general strike approach to light bills. Cutting off the cash flow of the energy companies will bring them to their knees fairly quickly I think.

    Finally, until there are leaders who can make a plan and stick to it, there is little left for us ordinaries but more mewling and puking and sacrifice on individual levels. Anticipate having your damp feet stick to the linoleum when you get up in the morning and invest in sweaters and long underwear.

    Bah humbug.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Maybe it is time to crowd source a balanced budget and figure out where money should and should not be spent. The purpose of the exercise would be to confirm weather it is possible to pay muskrat falls off, or whether default is inevitable. If default is in our future (because of the mathematics) then we need to back a political organization that will negotiate a solution.

      It it is possible to not go bankrupt, then we still need to find a political party to rebuild a functional public service (merit based, professional, competent). One common complaint I hear from gov management in multiple departments is "there is no direction". The ship is rudderless.

      While most of us can cut expenses (like living in colder homes), jobs are disappearing and it will be unemployment that forces most people to leave.

      Delete
  20. Going back to Mr. Vardy's wonky economic post, we have from table 2, an annual MF financial deficit of 500 million dollars in 2010 rising to 700 million over time, and that is assuming nothing else goes wrong. It also assumes they up our power rates, manage to sell excess electricity and doesn't include additional major expenses like upgrading Holyrood or spare parts or the North Spur failing etc.

    http://unclegnarley.blogspot.com/2018/11/the-wonky-economics-of-muskrat-unveiled.html

    In the 2018 fiscal update, everything is going bad. https://www.fin.gov.nl.ca/fin/publications/2018_Fiscal_Overview_Presentation.pdf

    We are currently running a budget deficit of $550 million. If we were to add another $500 million to pay for the MF debacle, it means we would have to cut the budget by a billion dollars to break even. The 2018 expense budget is 8.4 billion.

    Is it possible to permanently cut the budget by 12 percent? Even that wouldn't be enough with a declining population, lopsided age distribution (with boomers retiring), health costs going up due the ever aging population, MF asset write-downs resulting in higher borrowing rates, and oil prices staying low.

    I'd guess we would have to shoot for a 20% permanent reduction in expenses in order to have a balanced budget and small cash reserve. I don't think I could stomach that without seeing several of those responsible in the penitentiary.

    ReplyDelete
  21. A 12 percent cut to budgets would mean we live like our grandparents, health and education pared to the bone, suffer in silence while praying someone can work a stunt and save us.

    Reducing all social expectations to less than at status can result in anarchy and the rise of warlords and bandits, surely there is another way? I can’t think of such a limited future but there are already signs of post-apocalyptic type reactions in the bays.

    To top it all off, the moose are disappearing, the fish are gone, the trees cut down. Anyone who can’t see shades of Frodo’s return to the Shire in our current situation isn’t looking.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. We could kill all the capital budgets and only do emergency repairs. No updating things for accessibility, newer building codes, abating asbestos, demolishing old buildings, new road paving, new hospitals and we just keep patching up what we have. We already have a few billion dollars in deferred maintenance, so it would only slowly get worse. There was a time when a roof leak in a government building might be addressed with a bucket in the ceiling area or draping plastic so that it drained into a janitor closet sink.

      There are many uncessary and/or useless government departments that could be elimiated. Much of MUN's administrators could be fired. This would put a huge dent in the middle class and many of these families would have to leave the province for work. We could have 30 children in every classroom and get rid of hundreds of school teachers. Schools with single digit enrollment could be closed and parents expected to home school. Most ferry services could end, forcing resettlements.

      Rural dwellers could burn peat moss and start digging up bogs if trees get scarce. The underground economy would thrive since it bypasses the 15% sales tax and reduces income tax.

      The only hope I see is that it will force those who remain to become more self-reliant on family and brutally hard work, well into old age. Perhaps that isn't so bad.

      Delete
    2. Someone mention Russians. Think you are describing Russia, or Siberia. Maybe you will emmigrate there. Yes, underground economy and all. Putin will take good care of you.

      Delete
  22. Merry Christmas everyone, one more circle 'round the sun...its been a pleasant journey conversing with you all.... The average distance to the sun is 93 million miles, an eleptical orbit, actually nearest at the winter solstice. Distance=2pieR = 584 million miles. In addition to that the sun is moving around a galactic center at 514 mph. Rather smooth ride. Cheers average Joe. Lol.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The same to you and family Joe. Just think, there is probably sufficient solar energy wasted in one day over the Avalon, to heat half of North America for one Winter. Happy Solstice:-)

      Delete
    2. Yes indeed, now the days start getting longer, January will whip by, February drags a little slower, but come March the daylight hours are stacking up, peak snow is behind us and there's only a few more storms left, and it'll soon be time start getting the cabin ready for May 24 again... yyyaayyy!!

      Life is good!!!

      Delete
    3. Meanwhile, climate change mitigation is as effective as MFs power rate mitigation, and Ed Martin's risk mitigation.
      After about 30 years, zilch of climate change mitigation, and emission increasing. By Oct this year, we know know of about a dozen tipping points that can soon void any human mitigation. Yesterday the latest is that 45 % of those tipping points can be inter-related, to reinforce each other. Science has seriously underestimated the destructive forces we unleash.
      On the positive, the Poland summit last week, both Norway and Germany committed 100 billion dollars each to help poor countries to mitigate and prepare, whole most rich oil and coal resource nations want to continue as usual. Norway has amassed about 1 trillion from its oil resources. So what can NL do to help the poor countries form Nalcor's oil legacy fund? And how is our carbon tax to help average citizens here?
      Other most interesting: discovery and photos of water on Mars. It used to be that they thought maybe a little, if any, somewhere below the surface. Now pictures of a crater 50 miles across and ice 1 mile thick in that crater.
      Meanwhile we are on tract to destroy our own planet, to be uninhabitable for many species, and not so good for humans.
      Christmas for future generations may not be so pleasant. Seasons may not exist as we know them. We see at times warmer at the North Pole in winter than at mid latitudes. As Robert says, where is our Energy Plan? And where is our money for an energy plan?
      The winter solstice used to have fears that the sun would not return and disappear. We now know that more than 1.5 C rise in average planet temperature is very dangerous. We are already up 1.0 C. So not much to play with, something like Nalcor forecast. We could have gone m=negative growth and saved 10 billion, instead Nalcor wanted 0.8 % growth. Small changes makes a huge difference.
      Perhaps a New Years change will occur, and we all turn Green. Yes, there is such things as miracles, but very rare.
      Winston

      Delete
  23. Merry Christmas Joe, Kepler would be proud of you..

    ReplyDelete
  24. There are many nuggets in exhibits, many likely not displayed. Example
    Winter power available to Nfld from CFs, which seem to apply now, is only 60 MW, (our few wind units deliver 54 MW with a good breeze).Last figures I heard is we now get 45 MW over the DC line.
    HQ proposal with NB in 2009 was a value of 10 billion. Rates to customers there would drop 20-40 % and industrial rates same as in PQ
    So, I guess, Danny started to twitch and lamb blasted HQ to stir up trouble which ended that proposal.
    Various Comments to avoid aggressive conservation and demand management for the Isolated Option here. So, now no surprise Stratton, the forecaster, never considered it, this being suggested form high up.
    I just wonder what documents exist that are not made public?
    Winston

    ReplyDelete
  25. If everyone was convicted of whatever criminal charges and all their assets seized it is still a small percentage of the 13 thousand million.

    Buddy in the Ponzi scheme got 150 years but small comfort to the people who lost everything.

    Put them all in prison and, irony, we all pay hundreds of thousands for each per year to keep them in prison for whatever term they get, and the money will still be squirrrlled away In their offshore accounts or trusts for their families.

    This talk of criminality, while understandable, isn’t very conducive to how our futures will look or be.

    What goes around comes around.

    They did it.
    They are getting away with it.
    We can naught but continue to suffer.

    Emma Goldman, again, “The mass are true to their masters, love the whip, and are the first to cry Crucify.”

    Welcome to the mass.

    ReplyDelete
  26. And here we have yet another colossal dupe... one more amongst many, many, many NLers eagerly looking to blame anyone but themselves for their wretched plight... thus both susceptible and willing to be suckered in over the years by decades of non-stop propagandist bullshit from legions of NL politicians looking to deflect and distract from their own colossal ineptitudes, incompetence, and corruption... by blaming any convenient outsider, be it Quebec, the feds, or whomever would suit their political expediency of the day... by blaming any convenient outsider for the chronically wretched state NL society finds itself in.

    Of course the tragedy for the NLers of today is that the stars aligned so that THIS particular dupe... KATHY DUNDERDALE... found herself in a position where she was enabled to wreak economic and societal havoc on generations of NLers for decades to come... with her disastrously naive, financially-illiterate approach to recklessly managing the affairs of a small province with a vulnerable resource-based economy, sparsely populated with an insular, gullible people.

    Of course the rest is history.

    Talk about being in the wrong place at the wrong time...

    https://www.thetelegram.com/news/local/hydro-quebec-power-wasnt-an-option-kathy-dunderdale-tells-muskrat-falls-inquiry-269877/


    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I think they thought oil was going to keep rising and who needs a brain, or break a sweat when oil will be $300/barrel by 2018? Todays Telegram article can be used as LeBlancs final report and save us the expense. But i'd like to know who signed off on the "dome" and the SNC warning to Nalcor never got "transmitted" to Martin. Those two Zingers should be worth the price of phase 2.

      Delete
    2. Levi, Nalcor used an orb to intuit oil would be 120 bbl by now climbing steadily to 260! by 2070.

      I will be riding my mule before I pay for gasoline at 260!

      Delete
    3. Bruno, by 2070, both you and your mule will be pushing up daisies, unless you have some secret to very long life.

      Delete
    4. You don't plan on being around in 2070 Anon?

      Some of us have a stake in the future whether we are here or not.

      Delete
  27. I wonder how many have read the referenced Nfld Hydro application of Nov 2018, in this UG piece? and if so,the implications?
    As we suffer through the Inquiry disclosure, another scam to fool the residents, middle class and poor, to the benefit of the well off is taking place via that Nfld Hydro document.
    As PlanetNL says, MFs is a peaker plant, to meet high winter electric heat loads for 3-4 months, and very high loads for about 6 days. MFs now needs over 650 million of extra revenue from ratepayers per year to save 100 million in fuel at Holyrood, so net over 550 million to be added on power bills.
    The document discusses if costs are transmission or generation related, and so if to be assessed mainly as energy or demand charges. Hydro is proposing about 80/20, so only 20 percent for demand. What does this imply? While essentially to meet winter demand, and so a peaker plant,it will be charged mostly to customers as energy related, though it will supply the island with little energy. The result is to stick it to low and middle income people with small or modest houses, while large houses will get away very cheaply as to their fair share. Large houses use about 4 times more demand in winter, than other houses, yet will be assessed if only 20% of MFs project is power demand related.
    Customers should raise hell over this favouritism for the rich, many of whom benefit from this boondoggle. This is adding insult to injury.
    Winston Adams

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Another insight: for rural rates, fron that document
      Now it appears, whether a diesel plant serves southern Nfld or coastal Labrador, the power rate is the same, the rationale being fairness. However, because of Labrador's colder climate, they use more power for heating. So there is a subsidy for all such rural areas, as rates down't cover full costs.
      This is now proposed to be changed to increase coastal Labrador rates. the rationale is a more straightforward simplified method. Coastal Labrador already 3rd world living conditions, many with food shortage concerns and food costs 3 times St John's, and porr medical facilities and service, now to get squeezed again. Vast wealth of resource extraction from Labrador, iron, copper, nickel hydro power and yet coastal Labrador being put into deeper poverty and neglect by the power brokers in St John's.
      WA

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    2. And this document gives insight into CDM. About 3 lines from Nfld Hydro, but several pages in the attached consultant report.
      Unlike most jurisdictions, wher Conservation is used to reduce power grid demand, in Nfld it has been used only to consider energy savings ( fuel reduction at Holyrood). So the cost of Holyrood plant, maintenance, transmission losses etc has not been factored.
      To avoid expensive new generation supply is the prudent use of CDM to reduce peak grid demand. Instead, nalcor did the opposite: ignore CDM for grid demand reduction and go for the boondoggle, whether at 6.2 or 12.7 billion, it was 5 to 10 times more costly then necessary.
      This document points out the advantages of CDM and that Nfld Hydro ignored it, but may or ma not now use it for demand reduction. Like all recent so called independent consultants, they are on board with Nfld Hydro and Nfld Power to again ignore reasonable CDM, and ignore the demand reduction potential.
      So, this logic suggests we keep encouraging higher peak demand, and we can soon justify Gull sanction for the island peak demand needs, just need to forget elasticity effects and dropping energy sales.
      So all the same people with the same logic, that proudly says MFs, nothing was done wrong. Most smiled their way through the inquiry
      WA

      Delete
  28. Anyone who thinks there aren't options to Baseboard Heating, Hydro Dams and Oil Fired Generators really should read this article:

    https://www.renewableenergymagazine.com/pv_solar/swedish-housing-block-powered-100-percent-by-20181221

    ReplyDelete
  29. I assume this part of sweden does not have the rain , drizzle , fog and snow that impairs our solar optons. Climate influences the best options, so here island hydro and wind with CDM including efficient electric heat Hps) out perform solar. Here they have experimented with wind and hydrogen, but doubt if worthwhile.
    No need to look at Sweden, look at what works best here, I suggest
    WA

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    Replies
    1. Sweden is a winter country and further north in Latitude. They receive less sunlight in winter than we do. They store excess electricity as H2 gas and retrieve it latter in the night etc and produce it as electricity.

      The concept is simple but a little more elaborate than in the engineering. if it can be done for a block of 172 apartments it can be done for other structures. It just goes to show how backward we are in NL. While we were wasting $13 Billion on a dame that may not even be able to meet our needs if the grid fails, the Swedes were reinventing electricity production and storage. We need to start rethinking how we train our engineers.

      Delete
    2. Stockholm has more yearly hrs of sunshine than London or Dublin,but less in Dec, and probably matches London or Dublin for some winter months. It is also dryer than the others. But also much further north. So surprising that this works so well. THey may get more sun in winter than the Avalon, not sure. But this is new housing, and can be very low on heating needs, like Flatrock Passive house. But shows what is possible with new construction.
      90 % of Nfld houses are older stock and not so easily heated as new efficient houses. But as you say, 13 billion wasted could do wonders. Where is MUN or other research and model efficient houses?
      Our govn Conservation dept could only see MFs as the future.
      WA

      Delete
  30. A report as stated by PlanetNL to inform the Inquiry what was possible as lowest cost power is essential to see the scale of this fiasco. Likely 11 or more billion,including interest of waste, so not just 0.5 billion hidden risk and construction escalation.
    Leblanc buts emphasis on P factor, but seems to ignore no CDM, poor wind analysis and small hydro not fully identified. To so ignore is to repeat the false analysis of Nalcor and their consultants. Recall Leblanc's praise of the NFld Hydro trio,including forecaster Stratton and system planning engineer, and compare what we have heard since that discredits them.
    Put them up against experts properly assessing CDM, wind and small hydro and best thermal backup and see the true scale of this disaster. Also it can assist with our way forward, and if MFs proves unreliable, or never operates, we have Plan B, or even with lower or erratic water fall from climate change,and and as to future sustainable power rates.
    Bruno says more studies is a waste as we know what the lowest cost was. Not true. We have a sense, but not enough sound analysis to reasonably pin down. As PENG2 says, and I agree, reasonableness should be the test. And not by a consultant unduly influenced for a biased result and recommendation, as Nalcor and our power companies do.
    Without such a expert report , this Inquiry will whitewash much of the manipulation, and many billion of dollars waste for having sanctioning the worst cost power option.
    Since 2012 , wind has gone from 7 to 4 cent per kwh cost. MFs, was to be 20 cent and then blended, now may reach 3 dollars per kwh with very low energy sales.
    Never in the annals of history has so much harm been done to so many by so few, as Churchill would say. We need to quantify the financial harm done, with real expertise, as PlanetNL suggests. That can be done based on knowledge and reasonable assumptions that existed pre sanction.
    Perhaps PlanetNL can suggest a list of such consultants?
    Winston Adams

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    Replies
    1. Anyone who ignored the high costs and inefficiencies of baseboard heating and ignoring the efficiencies and lower costs of air to air (or ground to air for large structures) was simply being biased in favor of wasting our tax paying dollars on a $13 Billion dam.

      Delete
    2. Smart money in NL will stick with low capital cost, low maintenance cost baseboard heaters until the government decides what it will do with rate design to recover Muskrat costs, before deciding upon high capital cost, high maintenance cost heat pumps.

      Delete
    3. Anon@ 11:18
      With HPs saving 1000.00 a year typical on power bills at 11 cent rates, and actually little maintenance (clean filters 4 times a year), and AC and dehumidificaation, and better quality heat, a good investment, so why is this not smart? Mine now operating trouble free for 8 years.




      Anon 11;18
      Agree many will rate for rate design, but wonder of sticking with baseboard heat is smart?
      low capital cost , low capital maintenance, yes, but HPs with 300% efficiency offer savings of about 1000.00 per year on power bills, so a smart investment, and why many do it now at 11 cent power rates. Mine now needing no maintenance for 8 years. If a grid power failure , I can run HP off a small generator and stay warm. And I have summer cooling and dehumidifiaction, and better quality heat. So why is that not smart?







      Delete