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Monday 25 April 2022


 Guest Post by PlanetNL

PlanetNL44: Holyrood Air Pollutants Surprisingly Low

Need for Pollution Abatement Equipment Was Another Muskrat Fraud

 As Uncle Gnarley properly pointed out in his post last week, the vilification of the Holyrood Thermal Generating Station was a central tactic of Nalcor and Government’s communications strategy for proceeding with the Muskrat Falls project.  Tremendous tales of woe were repeated ad nauseum about the risks of using the Holyrood plant by the shameless promoters of Muskrat. 

They were all untrue.

This post sums them all up with particular emphasis on the topic of pollutant emissions, a problem that had ceased to exist.  Not that Government or Nalcor could ever let something as simple as the facts stand in their way of building Muskrat.

Thursday 21 April 2022


“The Provincial Government, through NLH (Hydro), has investigated the long-term options to address Holyrood emissions and decided to replace Holyrood generation with electricity from the Lower Churchill through a transmission link to the Island”.

Thus ran the 2007 energy plan of the Danny Williams Administration.

The die was cast for energy policy in NL. It meant Gull Island, Muskrat Falls or bust!

In that pursuit for more than a decade, deception, half-truths, outright lies and delusion all played a role in the sanction and construction of Muskrat Falls. Integral to the decision, was the disparagement of the Holyrood Thermal Generating Station (HTGS).

Monday 18 April 2022


 Guest Post by PlanetNL

PlanetNL43: Assessing the Holyrood Life Extension Report

Dispelling Lies and Half Truths

On March 31, NL Hydro provided the Public Utilities Board with a consultant report assessing the Holyrood plant with a focus on continuing to use it for potentially decades more as a backup facility in the event of a major loss of power to the Island grid.  The report considers just one of several options being considered in a major Reliability Assessment hearing before the PUB started in 2018 and seems as though it may never conclude.

The new report provides a favorable review of the suitability of the plant, maintained as a backup facility.  To what should be no one’s surprise, the plant is not in an awful and unreliable condition and way past its prime.  It just needs what should be considered ordinary upkeep for any industrial facility.

What we don’t know, however, is what exactly Hydro asked the consultant to study or if the report accurately describes the way the Holyrood plant must be used to provide an acceptable level of utility reliability.  It appears Hydro has guided their consultant to the wrong scenario. 

Monday 11 April 2022


Finance Minister Siobhan Coady delivered the 2022-23 Provincial Budget last week, enshrouded in the kind of rhetoric that suggests the Government is prudently managing our finances.

Let’s take a look at the 2022-23 Budget Estimates to see if what she is selling is in line with the reality that the PERT Report described only one year ago.

PERT stated: “The Government of Newfoundland and Labrador is facing an unsustainable fiscal situation that requires immediate action. Spending is out of control and the Provincial Government is paying out far more than its revenue allows…This untenable situation must be addressed.” The Report also noted that “Cash deficits in the last five years have averaged $1.9 billion annually.” (P.10)

If, as Minister Coady suggests, she is close to Budget balance, how did Moya Greene get her stark analysis so wrong?

Thursday 7 April 2022


NL may have dodged one offshore bullet, but well-informed sources in the Nation’s capital advise that the public were given only one part of the story.

The Federal Cabinet has agreed, over objections from Environment Minister Steven Guibeault, to allow Bay du Nord to proceed. But so far unannounced is that Ottawa has extracted from Premier Andrew Furey an agreement that in return, no other offshore oil development licenses will be issued. Ottawa does not want to be seen doing the killing alone.

This compromise was the cost of the Fed’s $2 billion loan for “rate mitigation”. A more mature, savvy, politician would have told Ottawa to stuff it. Furey has agreed to the price.

The “noise” that you are hearing from local media, over the past few days, revolves around climate friendly wind power and hydrogen.

What you are hearing is a structured campaign giving the impression that your future is connected with these energy sources rather than oil – though the globe needs oil and we have some of the lowest carbon emitting stuff. It is a more important industry than many people, including our own, fully understand.

Monday 4 April 2022

WAITING, WAITING – for Bay du Nord Sanity to Break Out

Guest Post by Cabot Martin

Welcome, perhaps, to the age of Climate Change Sanity? 

My words, I fear, will not match danger of the hour or the honour of filling the highly regarded Uncle Gnarley Monday morning slot. Only last night, I was on the phone with the man himself, dodging and weaseling, trying to get out of it. 

But Uncle Gnarley, with his big white beard and all, is not to be trifled with and he soon laid down the law – 

“How can I run a Blog if you are going to get on like that, changing your mind at the last minute?” he asked sternly, after raining down fire and brimstone, or at least the threat of such. 

So I, whimpering , slung off in my chastised state to ponder with nothing more than a few fragments of an idea to work on. 

Of course, my present confused condition is totally Bay de Nord induced. 

Thursday 31 March 2022


Guest Post by PlanetNL 

PlanetNL42: Electrification at MUN + Broken LIL

A Formula For Political and Academic Stupidity

Government announcements issued on Friday afternoons are almost certainly bad news disguised as good.  Government will try to spin only the positives while the media and public must figure out the negatives.

So it was this past Friday when much enthusiasm was fawned over the planned conversion of Memorial University’s central heating plant from oil to electricity.  Provincial, Federal, and Memorial representatives lauded the emissions reduction that would result from 10.5 million liters less fuel consumption at Memorial. The $10.5M project will be funded 50/50 by Federal and Provincial programs specific to reduction of greenhouse gas emissions.  All that sounds great - there couldn’t possibly be any downside, could there?

Well, what if reducing 10.5 million liters of diesel consumption at Memorial requires the Holyrood Thermal Generating Station to burn 30 million more liters of heavy fuel oil, resulting in far worse provincial emissions and increased cost to ratepayers?  That’s the kind of info that does not get mentioned at these cheerleading events. 

Monday 28 March 2022


No matter which side of the issue you find yourself, one thing is clear: there has never been an occasion when the Government of Canada has told a Province to shut down a critical part of its economy, as the Prime Minister Trudeau is attempting, in the case of the offshore oil industry.

An arbitrary 40-day extentsion to the Bay du Nord decsion and a 90-day freeze on new land sales, the the Prime Minister has put a gun to Premier Andrew Furey's head. Furey has neither chastised the PM for his insult, admonished the GoC’s discard of the Atlantic Accord, or asserted our interests. The whole spectacle constitutes a new low point in Canadian and NL politics.

The public needs to be aware of how they are being undercut.

Wednesday 23 March 2022


There are only 21 days left. The Prime Minister will decide the future of the NL oil industry, our economic future.

The noise gets louder. 

Is it Andrew? Has he returned from Ottawa? The decision on Bay du Nord?

No, its NOIA changing its name.

They have found another ass to kiss.

But Bay du Nord?

Furey says: Prime Minister, thy will be done.

People think its (just) Bay du Nord, when at stake is the whole offshore oil industry; Bay du Nord just the beginning.

Monday 14 March 2022

Will Critical Minerals be a critical component of the future NL economy?

 Guest Post by Dr. Derek Wilton, PGeo.

Dr. Derek Wilton, PGeo. is an Honorary Research Professor, Earth Science, Memorial University, and Part-time Faculty Researcher College of the North Atlantic.

These are certainly fraught times. As bluesman Jimmy Rogers sang at the start of the last Cold War,  “World’s in a tangle”. Before the Russian invasion of Ukraine, the Covid-19 pandemic caused disastrous effects to human health and the global economy. 

Aside from the ravages of the illness itself, Covid exposed glaring weaknesses in global supply chains, not only in finished goods, but also in primary mineral commodities. Before Covid-19, and progressing unrelentingly through the pandemic, human-induced climate change has been causing serious, cascading, calamities. And locally of course, as this Blog has been delineating all too well, the provincial economy is in a mess with little but dark clouds on the horizon.