03 February 2012

Inadvertent humour, the MHI report edition #nlpoli

The Telegram editorial on the Manitoba Hydro review of Muskrat Falls is a tidy bit of work with some sound advice:

The bottom line? Anyone who wants to say anything — either for or against — about this project should read the whole report carefully, and with an open mind.

Read the whole editorial, though.  It also notes a key point missed by so many reporters in the past 48 hours.  They are the ones who say that the report concluded Muskrat Falls is, indeed, the “least-cost” option to meet the power needs.  Even accomplished writers buggered up the simple logic behind the grammar.

Least-cost suggests the Muskrat Falls bested more than one alternative.  It hasn’t. it is the lower of the two choices, based, as the Telegram notes, on the parameters and assumptions MH got from Nalcor.

Then there was a “but”.  It’s the stuff after the “but” you need to pay particular attention to.

What’s funny about that?  Well, nothing, actually.

What’s funny are comments under the editorial in the online version.  A few government agents using pen names or pseudonyms proclaim their support for the project.  One even says he read it;  after all the MHI report was short.  Evidently he confused the e-mail from his boss with the talking points for the actual report.

If the report had condemned the project those fellows would not have read it or cared.  They’d simply be cranking out the same drivel they are handed.

Another commenter, a critic of the project, goes on at length challenging the demand forecasts.  That’s pretty much a mugs game.  We will need power just as we need air.  We need to replace Holyrood with something.

The question is what we do (how much generation and what mix of types) and when we do it.

The MHI report makes it plain that the current proposal – a big hydro plant built first coupled with more thermal generation than we currently have – ain’t really all it’s cracked up to be. it has plenty of big risks, some really faulty assumptions and way too many serious  management shortcomings in the project thus far.

Of course, to even get that bit about what the project really entails (about more thermal than we currently have) you’d have to read the report, something that too many people evidently haven’t done.

- srbp -