30 January 2012

Nalcor will have problems supplying MF power to Nova Scotia? #nlpoli #cdnpoli

Energy analyst Tom Adams has an interesting observation on why Nalcor and Emera are having a hard time finishing their agreement.

Adams believes that a detailed analysis of Muskrat Falls generating capacity and electricity demand will create a situation where “Nova Scotia gets nothing or close to nothing when customers there need it most.”  [Emphasis in original]

As Adams lays it out:

During the times of the year when Holyrood would have been running near capacity, all on-island generation [in Newfoundland] will be running flat-out (as it does today) and Muskrat Falls will not be able to supply enough power to move any significant amount of power to Nova Scotia. This is because in Jan./Feb./Mar. the maximum output of Muskrat Falls will be about 500 MW due to the seasonality of water flow. This maximum output is after taking into account the operation of the Upper Churchill facility upstream which is contractually bound to maximize winter production for sales to Quebec.

Hang on, some of you will be saying.  Adams has left out 324 megawatts.  He mentions 500 MW but the Muskrat Falls dam is supposed to produce 824 MW.

Yeah, well, not really according to Adams.

Adams took a closer look at information Nalcor supplied to the public utilities board.  Adams believes that the Nalcor information presents an ideal scenario.  In actual operation,  Adams believes the plant will crank out 577 MW.  According to Adams, “this corresponds to 5.05 TWh of production — i.e. pretty close to the [official] project estimate of 4.9 TWh of production.”

In the summer months,  Nalcor won’t have any trouble meeting its commitments to ship free electricity to Nova Scotia.  There’s plenty readily available on the island from the surplus generating capacity in central Newfoundland. 

Interesting idea.

Would explain a lot, too.

- srbp -