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Wednesday 22 January 2014


Nalcor V-P Gilbert Bennett's second response to the questions raised in two recent Articles posted on this Blog, regarding operational issues at the Muskrat Falls Site, has been posted. Mr. Bennett's reply is available on this Link.  

I acknowledge the clarity of his comments and I will be paying particular attention to how this matter unfolds especially in relation to the Project’s schedule.

That said, now that I have Mr. Bennett’s attention, perhaps he might respond to some additional questions to which this Blogger and others have been attempting to obtain answers.

These questions relate especially to the Province’s ability to avoid ‘black-outs’ in the future.

The maximum output available to the Province, in the winter months will be a maximum of 824 MW from Muskrat Falls, in addition to the 80 MW remaining of Recall power from the Upper Churchill. 

Once transmission losses are accounted for, and the deliveries to Emera are made, the Labrador Island Link will contribute 645 MW to the island grid at Soldiers Pond.  If Nalcor commits 80 MW to Alderon, this will be reduced to about ~580 MW peak winter delivery at Soldiers Pond.  Following the decommissioning of Holyrood there will only be a net increase of about 120 MW available to the island grid.

During the Muskrat Falls hearings the Maritime Link and subsequent deliveries were omitted from the Terms of Reference.  It is unclear if the Muskrat Falls review included the 167 MW peak delivery to Emera.  Let me address the following questions directly to Mr. Bennett:

Could you provide clarification on the following issues:

1)    What Capacity (in terms of MW) will be available to Newfoundland and Labrador Hydro (NLH) at Soldiers Pond in the months of January – May respectfully, and how does this compare to the Strategist calculations performed by Nalcor in support of the Muskrat Falls decision as the lowest cost option for ratepayers? 
2)    Does Nalcor’s obligations to Emera (the peak delivery of 167 MW, or sales of any surplus energy) potentially compromise the delivery to NLH? 
3)    What recourse (i.e. damages) does NLH have against Nalcor in the event of non-delivery?  Would any such damages be used to offset the rates payable by the NL rate payer? 
4)   Contractually, does Nalcor have a priority to deliver the 167 MW to Emera, or to NLH in the event of a shortfall in island capacity?
5)    What is the true impact in the event that Hydro Quebec is successful in their court case in terms of peak deliveries in the periods of Jan, February and March?  Can 900 MW be guaranteed over the Labrador Island Link, which served as the basis of Nalcor’s analysis in support of the Muskrat Falls sanctioning?
6)      Is the firm winter capacity of Muskrat as a run of the river plant 824 MW?
7)      Can Nalcor provide a status regarding the supply of backup power from Nova Scotia?  In the 15 legal agreements between Nalcor and Emera, has the access and rate been agreed for this back up power?

With the departure of Premier Dunderdale we hope a new era of transparency will unfold; one that includes the Provincial Government and Nalcor, too.  Let’s begin right here, right now.

Your prompt reply is anticipated.