take long for the Nova Scotia UARB to approve the Energy Access Agreement (EAA) in its Supplemental Decision on the Maritime Link (ML). Its blessing is needed by the Dunderdale Government to trigger the Federal Loan Guarantee
(FLG) for Muskrat Falls.
just one week to digest the evidence presented at both the Technical Conference
and Hearings and write a Report. They ought to feel a little foolish for the
rush knowing it was unnecessary to create more CO₂ than a Sydney coal by burning all that mid-night
oil; the Dunderdale Government is concerned with saving face. It would have
agreed to anything.
the matter is that UARB declared, in its July Decision, (para 216, page 70) the Maritime
Link is $706 million to $1.422 billion more expensive than the alternative
lowest cost option. It stated that its
approval depended upon Emera’s success at closing this large financial
gap. It said the gulf could be bridged if
Nalcor guaranteed to Nova Scotia sufficient surplus or “Market-priced” energy from
about price as long as the power was valued against the super competitive New
England market. A bigger fear was that Labrador mines or domestic growth might
absorb the available surplus.
facilities, to ensure the power is delivered.
Nalcor didn’t just commit most of NL’s surplus power; it
guaranteed the supply in a manner that is so legally binding that the word “surplus”
is actually now a misnomer. The only
wiggle room the deal affords NL is, if we run into problems with supply, Emera
has agreed to find 25% of our minimum commitment (subject to other conditions). Nalcor has to come up with the balance; otherwise,
it is hit with financial penalties.
neither domestic power growth (Native Load), Labrador Mines, nor even drought
to free Nalcor from the undertaking. If
more power is needed Nalcor has agreed to build more.
In short, we have agreed to sell
power cheaply but keep building the expensive kind. Little wonder Richard Cashin would invoke ‘Alice in Wonderland’ to describe the Dunderdale Government’s mentality.
For more details on what NL committed in the Energy Access Agreement:
This is not
the Muskrat Falls Project that the Government presented to the PUB. It is certainly not the one the Dunderdale
Government told the public it ought to support.
often been said that, by sanctioning prematurely, Emera and the UARB had the NL
Government by the throat. The Dunderdale
Government, consciously and in full view of the public, exposed itself to that
risk. The UARB performed its job and protected the interests of Nova Scotians. Our
Government did not protect our interests.
reason, the Government of Danny Williams determined three years ago Muskrat
Falls would be constructed ‘come hell or high water’. The Dunderdale Administration put on the same
blinkers. Though it boasted it would go
it alone, if the FLG failed to materialize, everyone knew NL could not raise
the billions of dollars the Project required.
money flew out the door to SNC Lavalin and others, even as the market price for
energy in the northeastern U.S. worsened in the face of the shale gas
revolution, it was not within the capability of the Government to change
reason, in spite of the huge cost overruns on every other mega project and significant
outstanding legal issues, too, the Government steadfastly maintained its obliviousness
to the risks of this Project.
outcome on water management, in the Quebec Superior Court, could diminish
Muskrat’s power output from 824 MWs to 170 MWs. But, given the manner which the EAA is drafted,
just like cost overruns, the Water Management Agreement is our problem.
Scotia ratepayer is fully protected. The
NL ratepayer is fully exposed and will have no idea of the cost until the
Project is completed.
eight demands that the new Liberal Government of Nova Scotia crafted, as prerequisite
to its support, were added to the EAA by the UARB; Emera and Nalcor were informed
these conditions must not place additional costs on Nova Scotia ratepayers. You
heard Ed Martin and Premier Dunderdale on Thursday. It’s all fine with them.
understand Governments can make mistakes.
I understand that there will always be disagreements over public policy.
understand is why the Dunderdale Government would expose this Province to so
many risks, ostensibly just to shutter Holyrood.
at war and our freedom at stake, just as we did in an earlier time, we would
break open the bank, punch above our weight and ensure we had performed our
duty. But, to undertake so much risk to access only 325 MW capacity, the insanity of it is mind boggling.
is the secrecy, shutting out the PUB, the double speak and outright dishonesty.
Government disallow its own Department of Finance to check Nalcor’s
assumptions, modelling and cost estimates denying itself the opportunity for
second opinion from the very people on whom they depend year in, year out?
the CEO of Nalcor not want them involved or to share responsibility if there is
serious miscalculation? (Perhaps Jerome
Kennedy will tell, all in due course, though his opportunity for absolution in these
matters is becoming very limited.)
Why would the Minister of Natural Resources, with the approval of the Premier, stand and inform the House of Assembly that the ‘surplus’ power, committed to Nova Scotia, could be “recalled at any time”, knowing, as he must have, that Nalcor has placed the power beyond our reach?
Indeed, why would Nalcor be permitted to proceed without first resolving the North Spur stability problem?
badly informed public will be forced to consider how it was possible, in the
midst of wealth, education and good fortune that it installed a government that
cared not a whit about the role of our institutions, like the PUB, or for the
fundamental requirements of governance.
wonder how it was possible so many people were prepared to place their faith in
the most incompetent government, since Confederation, to undertake the largest
publicly financed project in our history.
the final chapter on Muskrat Falls say about the Dunderdale Administration? I
believe it will speak to its lack of integrity.
that cannot tell the truth; one that distorts and hides important information. Whether the issue is Bill 29 restricting information access, Bill 60 and 61,
confirming its power monopoly, or Muskrat Falls, it is willing to place our
fundamental interests in harm’s way.
Government is arrogant, unwise and undeserving of our trust.
Administration that deceives its citizens should not hold public office.