27 September 2012

Labrador Mining and Muskrat Falls #nlpoli

Premier Kathy Dunderdale is bothered enough by his detailed critical analysis of Muskrat Falls that she has been known to single him out in fundraising speeches in the province and in the House of Assembly.

Journalists like CBC’s David Cochrane are tweeting requests for the guy to get in touch.

Yet so far Nalcor hasn’t challenged any of his commentaries at the Public Utilities Board or previously here at SRBP.

Today, they have another reason to pull at their hair.

JM is back with a new paper Labrador Mining – a reason to rethink?

This time, the subject is the impact of mining development in Labrador on the Muskrat Falls project.

Among the conclusions is this timely bit:

Both Emera and Labrador mining also have the possibility of increasing rates to the island consumer. Yet there has been no discussion on this issue. The mandate of the Joint Review Panel, Navigant, Manitoba Hydro and the Public Utilities Board all excluded this integrated view of demand, and the associated impacts to the Island consumer. As we are about to embark on the DG3 debate within the House of Assembly it is unclear if government will produce just an updated version of the DG2 numbers, and associated Power Purchase Agreement (Figure 1). I hope that this essay demonstrates that this deliverable will not be sufficient to make an informed decision.

Rather, an integrated demand forecast is required, which includes the Nova Scotia block, and any obligations for Labrador mining. This is important as they will not be “spot market” sales, and will be firm commitments of Nalcor. Any deficiencies will likely have to be accommodated by the island consumer. The Electrical Power Control Act of 1994 is very clear that that the
Newfoundland rate payer deserve and should expect to have visibility on such factors that will affect our rates in the long term. The PUB does not have the opportunity to fulfill its legislative mandate. In addition, the other third party reviews did not consider the current inputs.
Therefore, it is now up to the Members of the House of Assembly and the general public to ask questions. [Emphasis added]

And for good measure, JM raises a series of new questions that Nalcor and the provincial government are sure to ignore. That just means that the questions go right to the core of the provincial government’s justification for the megaproject.