31 August 2016

Who does he think he is fooling? #nlpoli

New England states need electricity.  They have a preference for green sources of energy,

"What we have to offer, both in hydro and in windpower, can be part of [a green energy] solution," Premier Dwight Ball told his eastern Canadian counterparts and the governors of the New England states at their annual international meeting.  CBC reported Ball's comments, which is where that quote came from.

Wonderful words.  

All wonderful.

Except for one teensy problem.

Ball's comment is a gigantic pile of crap.

And the governors know it.

You see, they have heard it before.

Probably a dozen times or more just in this past decade alone.

They also know that the Lower Churchill was always too expensive for them to think twice about. That's why Danny Williams and Ed Martin decided to change the project entirely in 2010 so Ed could build something and Danny could bugger off out of open politics.  They figured it was a great idea to force taxpayers in Newfoundland and Labrador to foot the entire bill and then subsidise electricity sales everywhere else.

Then they sold it to folks in 2010 based on a lie, telling the punters that this would screw Quebec by letting Nalcor sell the power to the Americans through Nova Scotia. There was another lie in there too,  that we needed the power in Newfoundland, but in 2010 that was just a side story.  The big thing was those export markets that had - unreported by the conventional media in Newfoundland and Labrador - already rejected the Lower Churchill as too expensive.

None of this is a secret.  SRBP told you about the outcome of a study done with Rhode Island in 2007.   Natural resources minister Kathy Dunderdale misled the House of Assembly and the people of Newfoundland and Labrador about it in 2009.  Dunderdale said the whole thing fell apart because Rhode Island lacked the legal ability.

Specifically, she told the House:
They found out that they did not have the capacity to negotiate a long-term power purchase agreement with Nalcor on behalf of the Province. Nor were they able, in their Legislature, to do the regulatory changes that were required in order to wheel electricity into the state.
Not one word of that was true.

Here's what SRBP got from the Rhode Island governor's office:  "As far as we can determine, there is no legislative hold up here in Rhode Island, it is more of a question of cost.  While the power generation is inexpensive, the cost of transmission adds to the final price."

The late Jim Thistle was fond of explain the problem very simply.  To get from Labrador to places like Rhode Island - especially along the Nova Scotia route - you had to go through three Canadian provinces and five US states.  Jim would hold up the appropriate number of fingers at strategic points in his comment to drive home the point that each eight jurisdictions added cost to transmission.

There was nothing knew in any of this.  Pricing was the same problem BRINCO found with Churchill Falls. There was no way they could get the electricity to the United States at a price anyone would pay for it.  The story about the federal government not delivering a power corridor to New York is just nonsense.  Even if BRINCO had a power corridor of its own in 1969,  the long distance transmission cost priced Churchill Falls out of the market.  

So if Dwight Ball had never got the chance to sell the unsaleable, pitch the unpitchable,  until now, be assured the governors had sure heard it all before.  They also had their reply ready, as Ball told CBC. While the governors are "keenly interested in all of this,...there's one thing that also came out loud and clear."  The governors pointed out to Ball what they have pointed out to every Premier since Danny Williams:  "you could be part of the solution but the solution has to be affordable."  Yours isn't.

So the governors aren't really keenly interested "in all of this" if you mean Muskrat Falls.  They are not interested at all. The governors have already had their own briefings about the mess at Muskrat.  They also know of the recent legal decisions that make it likely the Danny's puny little erection at Muskrat Falls will be a dud, unable to spurt anything at all let alone what Danny and every premier since him has claimed.

Nor are they interested in "all this" if Ball really meant to include wind power which doesn't even exist, at all.  Ball knows we don't have any.  Ball knows - or certainly should know -  that Nalcor has been so obsessed with the ridiculous project on the Lower Churchill that they ignored any possible competition for it. They actually worked against wind power before the Muskrat project got started.   And Ball should certainly understand that there's no way we could install wind turbines and suddenly make Muskrat Falls less of a financial disaster than it is.

You can understand why Danny, Kathy, Tom and Paul talked up Muskrat Falls. It was their project. The facts were in plain sight but no one in the conventional media,  politics,  consultants, or the business community wanted to talk about them.  

But these days,  everyone in Newfoundland and Labrador knows that Muskrat Falls is nothing but a boondoggle.  That's why there is no sensible explanation for Ball's comments.  It just leaves you scratching your head in bewilderment.