18 September 2012

Come again, b’ys #nlpoli

Two things about the provincial government’s new website devoted to climate change and energy conservation:

First, they could have used an editor.  This big chart has a rather glaring error in it.  Can you spot it?

screwed up chart

This seems to be a pretty simple problem with the layout.  Strange that no one noticed it given that it is such a big picture on the middle of a page.

Second, you’ll have a hard time figuring out how this promotion of energy conservation helps the government’s plan to build Muskrat Falls.

Take, for example, the list on the page about the benefits of energy efficiency.  Look at the first bullet:

  • Lowering household energy bills – Energy efficiency is the easiest, most affordable and most effective way for families to use energy more wisely and save money on both household expenses and transportation costs.

According to the Muskrat Falls crowd, their project will lower energy costs to consumers.  Now that claim is sheer nonsense but still, it’s one they are running on. 

If conservation will lower electricity bills with very little spending by consumers, then it seems unwise to force those same consumers to borrow $10 billion to accomplish the same purpose.

And then there’s this bullet:

  • Increasing energy available for export – Energy exports are an important pillar of economic activity and employment in Newfoundland and Labrador. By using energy more wisely, energy exporters like Newfoundland and Labrador will have additional power to sell into global markets and the resulting revenue can be invested in our schools, hospitals and infrastructure.

Given the going prices for electricity are so low outside the province thanks to natural gas,  there really aren’t any markets for electricity from super-expensive projects like Muskrat Falls.  Heck, Nalcor has been having problems making any money off electricity they already own outright, like the stuff from Churchill Falls they sell to Emera in New York.  So making money from exports isn’t realistic.

Like isn’t realistic as in it makes no sense.

But it’s a nice looking website and conservation is the way to go.

It just doesn’t seem to match up with government’s pet Muskrat.



bouchecl said...

The chart seems ok, but the labels are mismatched (every label applies to the next category if you rotate them clockwise). It shows poor Excel skills :)

As for your argument on exports, I couldn't agree more on the short and medium term. The glut of natural in the US Northeast is there for a while and is forcing utilities to reassess their supply-plans. This is why I think Hydro-Quebec execs won't be terribly sorry about the upcoming order to shut down the plant.

Edward Hollett said...

That's exactly what is wrong with the chart, Claude. It's just sloppy.