WHO TAKES ED MARTIN SERIOUSLY, ANYWAY?

When journalists interview Ed Martin, as CBC’s Terry Roberts
did a few days ago, it is right to wonder if they go away laughing. 

Unfortunately, the reporter’s interview with Martin is found only on
the CBC website, so images of him uproariously slapping his sides can only be
imagined.

Terry Robert’s story is about Ed Martin dissing Astaldi. Martin
thinks that the Company is “largely to blame for the massive cost and schedule
overruns” experienced on the Muskrat Falls project.


The context, of course, is the just-released Grant Thornton
Report, a Forensic Audit prepared for the Construction Phase of the Muskrat
Falls Inquiry. The Audit informs us that, within the first four months
following project sanction, Martin had already blown through the low-balled
contingency allowance, having issued contracts which exceeded the project
estimate by 25% ($600 million). 



Included in the figure is the Astaldi contract which was 31% over Nalcor’s budget. The $1.1
billion award to the Italian firm eventually saw the cost balloon to $1.959 billion as of March 28, 2018:
nearly $900 million over the bid price. Nalcor and Astaldi are now in
arbitration talks over claims amounting to several hundred million dollars
more.

The fact that they had no experience working in the sub-Arctic
conditions of Labrador didn’t even earn the publicly-owned corporation a frown. 


Martin took not a clue from having received bids from two
Canadian companies whose prices were almost double that of Astaldi.  Nalcor’s own labour estimate was lower than
Astaldi’s by over 3 million hours. In fact, all the labour estimates exceeded
Nalcor’s, according to Grant Thornton, by an amount ranging from “60% to 160%.”
Experienced Managers would have thrown out the ridiculously low Astaldi bid; the outfit
more familiar with flies than frostbite. 



But the Astaldi bid served as cover for a “Base Estimate” ill-conceived and so Astaldi was selected with foreseen consequences.

Nalcor watched Astaldi struggle for nearly a year trying to ramp
up, giving it cash advances to stay afloat. Yes, the Company was stupid, but as much as Martin? 



Related:
Reporters Should Remember the Ones Who Lie

The project Schedule only had a 3% chance of success prior to
Sanction. When the Astaldi contract was awarded, after Sanction, it was already six months behind schedule. Nalcor’s failure to re-calculate the project — ignoring the cascading effect on sub-contractors — was a very costly error. But that is only a small part of what makes Ed Martin’s CBC
interview, placing all the blame on Astaldi, laughable.

There’s also the ill-fated “Dome”, upon which Astaldi relied
to achieve planned productivity. The ICS, or integrated cover system, was supposed to “allow the workers to
work comfortably… during the winter season resulting in no loss of labour
productivity due to the climate.”

Nalcor, in evaluating the Astaldi bid, didn’t as much as consider
if the Dome made sense. Williams Engineering, a Consultant to Grant Thornton,
noted that with so much combined activity expected to occur under the
enclosure, it “warranted detailed scrutiny.”

Knowing that Astaldi and the
Muskrat Falls project were failing badly, Ed Martin gave reporters a project
update on June 26, 2014 in which he pushed project costs to $6.99 billion. He also stated with
characteristic bravado: “We’re well within a comfortable envelope of where we
expected to be… I believe that we have narrowed down the risk of additional
cost increases very, very, very significantly.



In contrast to Martin’s assertions, the Forensic Audit
confirms that, when he engaged in that interview in 2014, the Nalcor Executive knew
that the actual forecast to complete the project was $7.5 billion not $6.99
billion. Martin knew, too, that the costs were going far higher (p. 19).

Martin failed to tell reporters – and hence, the public – that the contingency had been blown months earlier.  He even went so far as tell them that the
project was on schedule to be completed in 2017, when he knew that any such prospect had
no chance at all. 

Martin should have stayed away from megaprojects and joined
the comedy business.  


Except that comedians usually know when they’re not being taken seriously. 

Des Sullivan
Des Sullivan
St. John's, Newfoundland and Labrador, Canada Uncle Gnarley is hosted by Des Sullivan, of St. John's. He is a businessman engaged over three decades in real estate management and development companies and in retail. He is currently a Director of Dorset Investments Limited and Donovan Holdings Limited. During his early career he served as Executive Assistant to Premier's Frank D. Moores (1975-1979) and Brian Peckford (1979-1985). He also served as a Part-Time Board Member on the Canada-Newfoundland Labrador Offshore Petroleum Board (C-NLOPB). Uncle Gnarley appears on the masthead representing serious and unambiguous positions on NL politics and public policy. Uncle Gnarley is a fiscal conservative possessing distinctly liberal values and a non-partisan persusasion. Those values and opinions underlie this writer's views on NL's politics, economy and society. Uncle Gnarley publishes Monday mornings and more often when events warrant.

OPINION POLL OVER-RATES INEFFECTIVE TORY OPPOSITION

Having survived in spite of themselves, in Opposition the Tories have been lazy and uninspiring.  The fact that it is summer, and the House of Assembly is closed, admittedly makes their job tougher, except that the Party’s manifest weakness is not a seasonal problem.

REMEMBERING CABOT MARTIN (1944-2022)

He was an exceptional person. A gifted intellect for sure; irascible and argumentative, too. What endeared him to many was not just that he was analytical and insightful, but that he was honest and forthright. He was a public policy wonk; resource policy interested him most. He loved to travel and read; people, with something to say, were always important.

GNL RUSHING INTO ANOTHER “SCHEME”: CABOT MARTIN

I must say that after the Muskrat Falls fiasco, I thought our government had finally learnt its lesson and would not to rush into another such scheme where calling it “green” was enough to suspend all critical analysis.

88 COMMENTS

  1. Poor Teflon Ed. My impression of him at the televised AGM meetings, taking all questions with ease, was that he is as slick as Donald Trump. There were few pointed hard questions from the media, so he could act the competent world class CEO.
    He reminded me of a turtle, little neck to be seen, his head turning slowly back and forth. I had the expectation that, if asked a difficult question that he could not lie his way through, that, like a turtle, his head would just disappear down into his chest. But that never happened, not even on the Inquiry stand for days.
    His Teflon armour is better that the hard shell of the turtle. Unbelievable, almost, that he could be slapping his sides laughing, as UG says, while putting all the blame on Astaldi or SNC. Also that GT cites Astaldi for blame more than Nalcor.
    Following DarkNl I managed to get a online question to Ed saying it was not accurate to say that feeding St John's on one 230kv line had no impact. He took the question, and corrected his error saying there was no significant impact, which I knew was false. More than a year later we learn from Liberty that it in fact added about 35 MW of loss on that single line, a very significant impact when half the Avalon is blacked out with rotating outages. And Hydro officials, engineers, who monitor this was aware of this lie. We have had years of lies told by Martin, and he continued to be successful in defining the story to the media of who was at fault, and laughing all the way.
    A friend reading the CBC piece asked if he should be allowed to make such statements which seem to counter the court evidence. It reminds me of Roger Stone, ridiculing the judge online and displaying her photo.
    Indeed, Leblanc may say in his room that Ed Martin is not going to run the show,but the show goes on outside his jurisdiction, where Martin is the main actor. If a comedy , it is a tragic one, that seems rambling on the same old track. Less that half of those polled by VOCM say they are following the Inquiry phase 2. Maybe it the cameras caught Ed laughing at us, more would be following. Nflders like comedy, and perhaps Martin has a future with Rick Mercer and other great Nfld comedy figures. How to play the fool and make 6 million. We have many less notable fools running things in this province, all doing their part on the road to risk devastation on our government services. Indeed, is not our health care already in crisis? As ship of clever fools we have in charge, and no accountability.
    Winston Adams

  2. Comments are welcomed but to be held on the site they must be respectful throughout the entire narrative. We all have views and disagreements with the way Muskrat was handled but some words used to express them must be more carefully chosen, else they will be deleted.

    • Your advise acknowledged Mr Sullivan, I can sometimes get excessive
      I have since re-read your piece "Reporters should remember the ones who lie". UG readers should again read that, and I think reporters and even VOCM Patty Daley, and callers to his show, are expressing more outrage at how things are unfolding in this province.
      WA

    • WA @ 13:56:

      Agreed – I have no issue being challenged, but at least try to bring some facts to the argument.

      Facts are often sorely lacking in our media when most are simply getting emotional an spout ill-formed opinions.

      PENG2

    • If you watched NTV tonight you would have seen a clip on the discovery of a large turtle found on the Galaposus islands, thought extinct, and the last one of that species saw in 1906. And they think this may not be the only one still existing(and maybe has relatives here in Nfld?). The video of that large turtle with its head pulled back in, made me think of the funny comment about Ed Martin. I have seen large turtles on occasion in Conception Bay, last time about 5 years ago. And all species on this planet have DNA connections. So not so far fetched, and a bit funny.

  3. Watching the Liberals rag the puck on SNC-Lavalin hearing, at the Justice Committee. this AM.
    Thanks to the person who gave the World Bank disbarment list of SNC shell companies. April 2013 was a trigger date. Curious timing don't you think?

    • Robert @ 13:07:

      Why you thin April 2013 is curious timing – from what I see, it was related to the initial laying of charges in 2012?

      I'd would also say a closer look over the list is in order, Bae-Newplan is no-where near a 'shell company' of SNC – they are 1 of the longest operating independent Engineering companies in NL, in operation since the 70s and JV'ed with SNC about 5-10yrs ago.

      You should fact check first.

      PENG2

  4. "…within the first four months following project sanction, Martin had already blown through the low-balled contingency allowance, having issued contracts which exceeded the project estimate by 25% ($600 million)."

    Sickening.

  5. Not comedy at all.

    I have never heard anyone speak highly of Ed and little shows up on the internet before Nalcor. High performance people usually have quite the trail, conferences attendee lists, awards, papers, announcements of promotions, mentioned in company newspapers or alumni publications. Ed's career only became notable when he crash landed into Nalcor.

    I do not believe for a minute that Ed would have been put into this senior position because of his expertise in the utility industry (he had none). The only reason that makes sense is that he was willing to whatever was necessary to enable Muskrat Falls in return for a very generous remuneration package. This blog previously covered the purge of qualified people after Ed's arrival. Cost overruns are just collateral damage — the goal was Muskrat Falls. In that regard he was a well paid puppet, a fall guy.

    • Echo of the present Robert. An excellent piece by Nikiforuk. A must read for MF critics. This quote sums up DPA's

      "If you do not punish crimes, there’s really no reason they won’t happen again,” said Mary Ramirez, a professor at Washburn University School of Law.

      Robert what do you think the chances are that SNC did not make illegal campaign contributions or deliver cash to politicians in NL in the 2011 time frame?

    • Bruno, I have for some time believed that "illegal campaign contributions" are a way of life in our National system, at all levels of governance. Whistle blowers in NL, prior to sanction, and since, have been muted. General Inquiries, dogged journalism, such as Nikiforuk, the current justice committee hearing scratch the surface but expose the corruption.

  6. NL Hydro is obliged to buy all the power of Muscrat Falls because of the agreement/contract forced on the ratepayers by the Federal Loan, how can a contract between branches of the same company be enforced? By law, NL hydro must operate with the least cost to the customer. They should be able to buy power from Quebec Hydro and use the savings to pay debts imposed by Nalcor.
    GG

    • You can't blame Newfoundland voters for any of this – they were lied to, financially abused and the political system is dysfunctional. The Liberals are different from the PC's — full steam ahead with Miscreant Falls. The leaders are pre-picked, and the elected members do whatever the leader wants them to do or they are back benchers. Spoiling the ballot wouldn't have changed the outcome either.

      We would have had to be like the Gilets Jaunes to have stopped this travesty. For anyone interested, you have to read independent journalists on the GJ, not the mainstream propaganda.

    • Yes we can blame the voters of NL for the mess that is MF.We are too quick to believ,without question,anyone who proclaims to be our saviour,anyone who can bawl and shout that we are being victimized by everything and everybody outside NL.We still haven't got past the colonial mentality of bowing to and admiring people in authority,especially people of money.We can't bring ourselves to try to to see through the BS being spewed by those same people, as long as they are saying what we want to hear.I voted for Danny Williams once,but when he came back from his first meeting of premiers and declared that if it were not for him they would never have come to a result favourable to the provinces on health care in negotiations with the federal government I started to see his big ego.Then when he started tearing down flags I started to sour on him.What put the kibash on any respect I did have left for him was his obviously staged grand entrance on his return from Ottawa with his famous "We got It!" declaration. My first thought was"what an idiotic way for the the leader of a province to be acting." As for Muskrat Falls power,I could never see why we needed it in the first place.Finally, we are the ones that are going to pay for it;there are no other options,period!

    • You have a point. We don't teach critical thinking in the school system and indoctrinate the youth to respect authority. We should be teaching children to trust but verify, teach them about sociopaths, that history is written by the victors, propaganda is a world wide problem and enough math and science so that they can't be easily duped by snake oil salesmen.

      One of my pet peeves are unstable systems that explode, like compound interest, because they are explosive positive exponential functions. A loonie invested at 7% by Julius Caesar would now, in loonies, weigh more than the observable university. Try it in a spreadsheet for fun. Yet, we base our financial system on mathematical instability.

  7. Here's what i think is going to happen. Upper Churchill will be sold to Quebec lock-stock-and barrow. This will not be uttered right now by anybody because it will be political suicide. But when the payment comes due for MF and we have nothing in the till and Ottawa says i hear Quebec can help-wink-wink, the deal will have to be done. Quebec will simply pass over their billions in Transfer payments to us and we go about our business and stave of bankruptcy. Life goes on.

    • To Levy at 08:37

      While selling UC at FAIR MARKET VALUE to HQ could indeed be financially sound for everyone, it would however be a total political suicide in NL.

      If anything, only the feds could (maybe) take over the "administration" of NALCOR assets – in the event of a FLG default.

      And guess what; such a new administration could be a good thing compared to the current way of managing those assets…

    • If under Feds administration, a new long term UC power sale could be negotiated with HQ – or with anybody else.
      —> Obviously again, at fair market value <—

      Assuming above negotiations are with HQ, we should also include obligations for effective UC water flow management/coordination with MF.

      This could even include HQ taking over direct operation of both UC and MF starting at earliest time, and then for the duration of the long term power sale contract.

      Successful conclusion of such agreements would vastly improve Nalcor's financial outlook.

  8. Just to be clear, the Electrical Power Control Act requires that ratepayers be provided power "at the lowest possible cost consistent with reliable service".

    That is different from "least cost".

    "Least cost" is a contrived mechanism that allows (and requires) "a comparison" with at least one other option —- hence Muskrat's contrived and so-called CPW $2.2 billion advantage over the Isolated Island Option.

    Using a least-cost 'mechanism' allows Nalcor to keep pointing to the so-called $2.2 billion MF advantage — even when MF costs rise (note the lawyer, Smith I think, for Ed Martin I believe, tried to make that argument yesterday and Commissioner LeBlanc expressed some difficulty in following and/or agreeing with the lawyer's argument.

    LeBlanc also (in Phase I) noted that "least cost" and "lowest possible cost" is not the same thing.

    This "least cost" and supposed CPW $2.2 billion advantage is a delusion, a carefully crafted part of Nalcor's "plan", of the "how" (by obfuscation, confusion, deception), etc……

  9. It is worth watching what is going on in Europe. Government is out of control and people are protesting and getting braver. Maybe Newfoundlander's should study their tactics. https://twitter.com/SimplyBeautific is a good example. The German town with vests on fences was surprising. This looks like a real grass roots movement and it has the leaders scared because they can't easily control it.

  10. Anyone besides me think that Bruno
    1. is gullible as to battery storage effectiveness at present, for most jurisdictions?
    2. does not understand arithmetic.
    3. has no better skill than Nfld Hydro'S Stratton as to forecasting and planning power supply.
    Read his referenced item " Historic shift: APS says batteries are cheapest energy option, plan big investment" Define BIG, and power for how long? And cheaper than what..coal? How about gas? Sure it is making a little inroad…VERY LITTLE.
    Fortis is an operator too in Arizona, wonder, PENG2, if they are adding battery storage, and how much ?

    Bruno, we are daily losing the war to counter fossil fuel burning ON THIS PLANET, in a timely fashion. What you cite is a puff piece to quiet those who promote renewable, and you drank the BS. What they are doing is peanuts to what needs to be done.
    Do the arithmetic, standard ARITHMETIC, not just Bruno fake numbers. I welcome improvements in battery technology, but this is nothing to jump up and down about. Same as the Hawaii story you cited. Same as Take Charge proud of their record here, when second worse province in Canada. Rush and get your 10 dollar off on a programmable thermostat, to 2 dollar saving on a LED. BIG F…ing Deal, being bought off and fooled with our own money, as power bills needing to double to pay for a boondoggle. Give us your essay, and arithmetic on battery economics for Nfld , Bruno. I will offer a prize even , if a convincing piece you do. Why did Synapse miss it?
    Winston Adams

    • 1 billion dollars for batteries can serve 212,500 house. The capacity is 850 MW. This works out to 4 kw per house. The cost per house served is 4706.00 investment by the power company. These are what , 90 % efficient? So not actually 4 kw getting to the customer. With transmission losses too, about 3500 watts, enought for a hot water tank ………for 4 HOURS
      Or baseboard heat of 3500 watts for your living room for 4 hours benefit from the system. Fiur hours is 4/24 = 1/6th of a day. For a 3 day cold snap here, if you can get a benefit of heating one room for 4 hrs out of a day, and at a capital cost of 4700.00 per house for that asset, is that a wise move, compared to alternatives? Now if each house consumed about 600 watts, those batteries could handle that for 24 hours. A toaster needs 900 watts. So we spend 1 billion and not enough benefit over 24 hrs to operate a toaster continuously!.
      And too, the story is for Arizona, for 3500 watts, impressive for there, not so much here, needing 10 kw for heat typical , and large houses 20 or more kws.
      So power for 4 hrs, 17 % of the day. Our wind on average delivers 43 % capacity factor, and newer larger ones here may get over 50 % capacity factor. Even wind is expensive compared to good CDM
      Maybe I shagged up, if so, forgive me with these off the cuff numbers, and wait for Bruno's arithmetic.
      WA

    • Whew Winston I stirred a hornets nest it appears!

      Winston you remind me of someone betting on buggy whip factories in 1900. Wind with battery storage in NL can deliver reliable power now for 5 cents kWh. Too bad about the Nalcor monopoly.

  11. I would have to agree with WA on good management. A graduated price for higher end users with a concerted effort to convert existing baseboard heaters to Air to Air, installation of air to air for new homes while installing centralized Ground to Air for new and existing commercial and industrial buildings would have been a much cheaper option.
    The other question is what happens if Krugar and Narl closes? We certainly won't need all that power from MF's then will we?

  12. Hydro says lots of power this winter, over 2000mgw and counting, and we reached 1780 mgw a couple days ago in this coldest ever snap in our weather. Where are they getting all the power compared to a few years ago when we had DarkNL during a cold snap. Winston you normally monitor our available power and from whence it comes. Of course the fearless media fails to ask these simple questions. How much is coming from the Labrador link, is it more than 50 mgw now? How much is coming from NS coal? How much is coming from a non sabatogated island system, Holyrood etc. Can we not have answers to those questions?? I taught that nalcor had run out of the coolaid, but was listening to ms. Coady yesterday, and I think she has had a few sips, let's hope she doesn't go on a benge, as she was telling paddy all about the spot market sales, and all the money that was to be made there. Yes, all the way down to the big apple, I guess she meant, as if it might start as soon as muskrat comes on stream later this year. Tell her to get a grip, and not be running off at the mouth before an election says Joe blow.

    • Oh! Yes Winston meant to mention heat pumps and their installation and location. As I take my daily walks, have noticed some are located on the south or east side of the dwelling, and and snuggled right into the house and with a partical covering to protect it from the cold west and NW winds. Where as others are located on the north and west side several meters from the house, as the NW gales of 80 to 90 klicks whistles right through them. They must have more than 50 percent of the time in the defrost mode, so not much heat going into the house then. Please tell me I am wrong on that point Winston. Thanks, average Joe.

    • PEAK LOAD;
      LAST NIGHT AT 12;40 AM , before turning in, I checked the load , it was 1344 MW, and the temperature -10.4 C.
      I had "a troubles mind", at 5 am, as the Hank Snow song goes, so serving no purpose in bed, I decided to check the loads ramping up. At 6;20 it was 1508 MW, already up 164 MW, and -13C, so not much colder to cause that. Winds were moderate, 16 MPH just after midnight.
      At 5 minute intervals I saw this: 1516; 1518, 1521, 1522, 1527, 1529, 1536, 1544, 1550, 1554, 1569.
      Then I went to 15 minute intervals and saw :1576, 1590, 1602, 1617, 1625.
      By now at 8;30 am , it seemed it might increase up to 300 MW extra load. Yet, the sun was shining now for an hour, and my load was already ramping down. My stats reset up at 5 am, but I only set it back about 1C, not 5 C as our power companies suggest. So by now, my kettle was off, my eggs fried and toast made an hour ago. Then this: 1643 MW at 8;45, so yes, up 300MW……. and held there or down one to 1642 until 9;45 am.
      Bingo it then hit 1644 MM so 301 MW ramp up. WOW.
      BY 10am it had dropped to 1637MW.
      So folks, much of this ramp up, courtesy of programmable thermostats, the ones they give you 10 dollars off, of your own money given to Costco etc to buy.
      Now what do you visualize is happening on our grid and generation during this time? It ain't a pretty picture.
      Winston

    • Synapse on page 53 shows Nfld Hydro generation at 1039 MW. Beside this Nfld Power has about 100 MW hydro, so 1139 green hydro.
      We have 54 MW of wind capacity, on average delivering 43 % of that.
      We have 714 of thermal generation, old Holyrood at 490 plus gas turbines.
      So if all hydro is operating at capacity that leaves 505 MW , of which wind may have knocked off say 35, leaving 470 MW of thermal .
      Holyrood chews up 25 MW to feed itself, so likely we were also using one of our 3 gas turbines. We may have had 100 MW of infeed from the DC line.
      So , one of those "Jerome Kennedy nights", where he can say :18,000 bls of oil a day at Holyrood, which helped advance the false narrative of the need for Muskrat.And a few nights ago , when at -16C and windier, we needed about 138 MW more at our peak. So the ramp up then likely exceeded 400 MW.
      And why has it taken 7 years, and a USA firm to talk about bringing down our peak load? Lowering our peak reduced the ramp up also.
      Any power engineer worth their salt, would either know the value of doing that, or ask why not do that? And that especially includes Kate O'Brien, a lawyer , yes, but also an electrical engineer with experience in the power sector. Has our peak load curve even been displayed at this Inquiry? And when did Nfld Power or Nfld Hydro or Nalcor make a case for prudence of lowering our peak load due t heating, vs summer load? Where was the leadership of good stewards of our water resources for island power? Name one official who spoke about that? Any engineer from MUN? Before the boondoggle or since? We needed Synapse to enlighten us about the Peak Load Problem? Even DarkNl did not enlighten them here?
      Winston

    • Joe , you are right that south side is best, and east maybe second best, to reduce wind impact. Manufactures call for a wind guard minimum on the front where the fan is, and close to the house helps, and under deck as long as protected from snow melting onto it.
      So, being a hydro protection engineer, I opted for attic location to almost guarantee no weather shutdowns. : protects against all winds, and salt, and improves efficiency. Doing this now entering 9th year, zero malfunction. But outdoor with right location and moderate protection can works well, if you keep an eye on it.
      For south and east locations generally worse performance is still twice better than baseboard, and for anywhere, worst is not because of wind and cold, but drifting snow and temperature from -2C to +2c, so drizzle can freeze on the coil thought above the freezing point). At these times defrosting is about 10 minutes out of 30, so 1/3 the time. With wind too, if it does not fully defrost, the frosting can keep building so that eventually it gives no heat. So location and protection is very important. Other times defrosting usually once an hour or 2 hours. In the attic sometimes goes days and no need to defrost ( this seems impossible to some, but is factual, and due to lower RH there. Expect someone to say this is impossible, defies physics, but they have never monitored to see it.
      Winston

    • Hi Winston, I wonder if you could answer a question that I have on heat pumps, I have an attached garage on my house and the temperature on these cold days in the garage is about six degrees Celsius. Is it possible to have the heat pump mounted inside the garage attached to the common wall with my house and have the heat from the pump going inside the house? I use the garage to store my snowblower and park my car in during the winter months.
      Terrance

  13. Not to worry folks. Seems the cheshire grin Premier and the cool PM have a mitigation plan for the rate payers; Let some offshore "revenues" pay for the sinkhole at Muskrat. The boys who made a killing in the office, and onsite go scot free. Deferred Prosecution Agreements works.

  14. Winston, what do you think of this:

    "new energy facility in Eastern Oregon combining 300 megawatts of wind generation with 50 megawatts of solar generation and 30 megawatts of battery storage"

    This would have been excellent in Newfounland to add to our existing hydro resources on top of phasing out baseboard heat to minimize peak demand and reduce overall demand too.

    Newfoundlanders know wind. Most outside the island only know wind from hurricane coverage on CNN or maybe a thunderstorm with tornadoes. This island has crazy wind. I once saw a elderly lady blow from the Walmart entrance across a parking lot while horrified onlookers tried to catch her. windy.com is a great map of world wind — many days we are the windiest place in Earth !

    https://www.portlandgeneral.com/our-company/news-room/news-releases/2019/02-13-2019-portland-general-electric-and-nextera-energy-resources-to-develop-en

    • The ownership and construction portion is also interesting. Shared risk, $160M of its own money, a purchase agreement for the parts owned privately, federal tax credits. I am sure something similar could have been devised here too.

    • This is basically a press release by the developers to a request for proposals, and was subject to prudency review by Oregon Public Utility Commission. Mostly wind with a little solar and battery to be added.
      That area has only 15 % hydro and aiming for 50% renewables. So how easy we had it here with 85 % hydro and went for a boondoggle.
      This piece is puffed up saying the 30 MW of battery storage is the largest in Oregon and one of the largest in the USA, which shows how little battery storage there is. This piece is found at many sites, but the one under " greencarcongress" has interesting comments: especially that the 30 MW battery does not say how many MWh, and says this god for only minutes of storage.
      There is an exchange by Engineer -Poet and Harvey D, that is somewhat like myself and Bruno, where E-P says Harvey avoids answering a question put to him, showing some combination of senility, stupidity and trollishness, and as he can't do math , has no business commenting , and that he should "STFU you scientifically illiterate poseur". I had to look it up ; STFU means "shut the fuck up" (stupid me, not to know that meaning). P-E seems to be much into nuclear energy (and I too have said that we need nuclear and all the tools in the box to tackle fossil fuel reduction).
      But I don't discredit solar and battery, except can be very expensive for many jurisdictions and still some technical issues for application.
      Bruno says I prefer buggy whip 1906 (hydro power) yet Nfld Power is upgrading some 100 year old hydro sites on the Avalon that produce at 3 cent costs. Those buggy whips are jewels, as are all island existing hydro. But we waste about half of the energy from that through customer inefficient use, where CDM has been ignored, and sensible wind addition was ignored as to lowest cost power. Now there is some talk of CDM, but to optimize revenue. They want their cake and eat it too: lower the winter peak but not to lower energy use: a prudent but very tricky thing to do with many variables. So the PUB wants guidelines from govn what they intend, if anything. And Minister Coady is tight lipped. If they show their cards too soon, the critics will pounce, and who will be the new Ed Martin to shoot the bullshit to people? So for now she has no answers. Likely as clued in as Dunderdale was.
      Winston

  15. Well as far as I am concerned all your ranting is just that ranting. Here are the simple facts. I live on the west coast of NL and if you think you are just going to see power rates double when mistake comes online ( if it ever does) I have news for ye all. Power rates HAVE doubled. I heat with pellets so no electro heat. ALL my lighting is led. My power bill for January was double December’s bill. And this month hasn’t changed. I have the new smart meter which was installed last year. Not to “smart” as a lot of US states and I think a couple provinces have either decided NOT to use them or have removed them because they do not read the usage correctly.
    I do feel real badly for the retired who only get a small pension as they will be the ones who suffer the most. I always thought newfoundlanders were fighters. But now I see only poor uneducated fools who believe any position. Like ohh Joey was the greatest. Ffs he started giving away this beautiful province and it hasn’t stopped yet and probably never will.
    Wayne

  16. How much are we creatures of habit and automation?
    Yesterday morning at 6:30 am our peak load was was 1523 MW. The temperature at Torbay airport was -14.2C, and -27C with the wind chill. , wind NW @ 43 km/h.

    This morning at 6:30 am, the temperature is -13.1C, -24C with the wind chill, so close to the same conditions, but not quite so cold or windy.

    Heat is only one part of our power load but a big part. Both yesterday and today is the weekend, so as to sleeping in late or time change for the loads at this hour, would be somewhat similar. But still would one expect the load to be 5 % different or 2 %, so 76 MW or 30 MW different? And maybe likely that the load would be a little lower, not higher, because not so cold.

    But rather amazing: the load this morning is 1523 vs 1518 yesterday. That is only 3/10 of 1 percent different. But too, not lower but higher by 5 MW.

    This is somewhat of a fluke, I suggest, but too, may show how much ur heat is regulated by programmable thermostats, and our habits as to breakfast time etc.
    So forecasting for loads , when computer assisted for weather, can be very accurate, and recent 24 hr advance projections within 1 % should be typical, when this one varies by only 3/10 of 1 %.
    I have not checked as to Hydro's forecasts for these last few days as to accuracy , but think they are off more than appropriate, that is exceeding 1 %.

    But as to being a higher load this morning when we might expect a lower load, can any UG reader suggest a plausible reason for this? I offer a 500 dollar prize for a plausible explanation, on UG, that may aid improving forecasting.
    I expect Bruno to be quick on this offer. Like maybe less cow farts affecting the atmosphere, as he does not like technobabble (his term)
    Why is this important? Because 24 hr forecasting contributed to DarkNl outages. And Nfld Hydro , not Nfld Power does this forecasting.
    Winston

    • If all the thermostats and kitchen appliances and hot water tanks come on at the same time Saturday vs Sunday then the peak demand will be the same despite the different in outdoor conditions.

      If there is less building heat loss on Sunday as you suggest, then the difference will show up a little later as thermostats ramp down sooner on Sunday than on Saturday. A milder day will exhibit a saddle shape in the daily demand curve where the midday demand falls and the morning and evening peaks stand out more. The milder day may have the same peak demand but less total energy consumed.

      Monday-Friday we usually see the classic two humped morning and evening peaks in the load curve: residential and commercial heating drive the morning peak while residential drives the evening peak. On weekends there is far less commercial peaking in the morning and residential doesn't all happen around 8am like it does on weekdays.

      Sundays are not just like Saturdays though and it may skew your interpretation of the data today. Many homes put on the big Sunday dinner and there is extra energy used through the midday period. Even though today might be milder outside, the extra cooking power through the day might balance it out. You may not see much difference between today and yesterday then.

      FYI – In some smaller communities out around the bay where there is little Monday-Friday industrial/commercial load, Sundays are the high energy day. A knowledgeable Hydro birdie once told me that.

    • I think you might be a hydro or Npower birdie….if so …it is ok to say, at least we know where you are coming from, or maybe you are just like me, not a chick or a child or even a horse in the race, that might influence my thinking. Don't think a cooked chicken or pot raises around the bay power consumption, and of course if it did it would be more like midway, much as you were told… But agree we have to take into account more than the Avalon, wher half the people reside, and maybe Winston did not take that into his figures, what is the weather on the west coast and central compared to today. Maybe colder and windier, I have not checked the weather there, maybe Winston did. My main point on heat pump failure if more fail due to prolong effect of several days and nights of low wind chill factor until defrost is impossible and heaters have to be turned up more to compensate. Don't want to win, and certainly not by default, but agree hydro etc. Needs to focus more on end users and not their fancy high fluting computer models that as only as good as the garbage that goes in. Tks, average Joe.

    • AJ @ 12:26:

      His comment isn't as far fetched as you think. Typical current draw at 240v:
      1 6' baseboard heater: 5-6amp
      oven (both elements): 30amp
      dryer heating: 20amp
      hot water tank heating: 25amp

      Heating is the biggest draw daily for sure, but its probably not the biggest instanteous draw in our homes. Verify for yourself by taking a look at your breaker panel – my house got 60amp upstairs heat, 40amp stove, 30 amp dryer and 20amp hot water.

      WA mentioned drafty construction – that a 2-sided sword, new construction that is totally sealed also seems to show air quality issues as compared to 'looser' vintage construction. In any event, to reduce your power consumption you really need to be engaged with your consumption habits.

      PENG2

  17. For this morning the wind is 35 vs 43 km/h, so not so windy. Wind has a large impact on our loads because our houses are very leaky as to air transfers. And Take Charge 2 dollar rebate for a seal for you power outlets is a piss poor solution for good overall air sealing. It's an insult as to concern for customers high winter power bills, but typical of what Nfld Power sends in their flyers as to solutions.
    Winston

    • Peak LOAD:
      By 9;30 am , conditions are that the temp has increased to -11.3C (-22C WC) , and yesterday was -14.8 C (-26 WC). Also the sky has less cloud, so more sunny and this sunshine reduces the electric heat load via the windows radiant sun benefit.
      So, how has this benefited peak load? It peaked about 1578 MW at about 9:15 am, and 78 MW lower than yesterday at this time.
      There is another factor that could contribute to a lower load. HINT: average Joe's observations @ 9:13 yesterday is a clue.
      Winston

    • Thanks Winston for your precise monitoring and keep this going on the blog and informing people, that Npower fails to do….seems many pay no attention, but just pay their heating bills and be quiet. I am not looking to take your money, lol, but find it interesting in the question you raised, so will offer two possible reasons why higher this morning than yesterday morning with lower NW Winds and a slightly lower windchill. I am going right religious on you this morning. Although we are not a church going crowd some still go, so the clergy or others crank up the electric heaters, yes we probably have almost as many churches as we have schools, which is the same heating requirements on Sunday as on Saturday. Now that's one reason, blame the churches. You also said yesterday in responding to my query, that over a period of time with cold temps, windchill, and strong winds more and more heat pumps, especially in direct winds may fail to properly defrost and thus no heat to the house. So my second possible cause is more heat pumps on the north and west side of the house are failing. Now don't think you are going to agree with me on that one, as a matter of principle and not scientifically correct. But my two reasons anyway, or is it more people staying home this morning and cranking up the heaters, or longer showers and doing the early morning laundry. Don't think Bruno will be of any help on this one. Cheers, Joe blow.

    • Joe, you might win by default, if no one else offers an explanation.
      1. Churches heating up, I never thought of that, but most likely oil heated? And too fossil fuel burning is a moral sin is it not, according to Pope Francis, and I would not disagree. Any sermons given locally on climate change?
      2. Some heat pump failing? Winds lighter and temp higher, so seems not the cause. But defrosting still may be a factor ………
      3. Cranking up heaters, longer showers , early laundry…. can't rule it out.

      The question was why loads increased, which you responded to, but also then too, peaks were much lower for some obvious factors noted, but another factor may have influenced both up and down on the peak load.
      I will see if any other comment comes, or if you see anything further.
      To get the true answer, END-USE analysis is needed.remember that baffled experts at the Inquiry, from Straton to Leblanc. But rather simple: monitor to see what is happening by the customers use of their major energy users. MOst power companies do that, but "ruled out" for Muskrat and isolated options! And still a no go here. Synapse will recommend changing that , but Coady and power companies here may not want it. Then you can plead ignorance : we didn't know that sure.
      Winston

    • WA @ 11:26:

      re #1: I would also guess most churches on oil for sure.
      re #2: with colder temps and wind, shouldn't the hp function better? I would have thought that lower humidity and air circulation would have reduced the possibility of failure?

      re #3: I would also say most people don't understand what there thermostat really is – it isn't a rheostat like a range control. Lots of folks just dial it up when a bit chilly, but forget about it and house temp goes beyond what they needed and then open windows to ventilate (likewise for trying to warm floors of living space with cool basement, thermo impossibility). A heater doesn't heat quicker if thermostat is on 18deg of 30deg – houses also suffer from temperature inversions with most heaters on cold exterior walls, so the only solution to warming up is walking around and getting the air moving.

      PENG2

    • Churches not likely the cause.
      How heat is transferred is important, and another black mark against baseboard heat: 80 F at the ceiling and about 65 or colder at the floor, far from comfort and energy wasteful. Heaters on outside walls and under windows means more heat loss.
      #2; HP function: will comment shortly.
      WA

    • So, this morning, warmer and less windy then yesterday morning, but the load was up 5 MW, instead of down. But the Torbay Airport data show RH also.
      Normal RH in winter is about 84%, rather high, but when cold , not holding much moisture, but still causes some defrosts on HPs
      Yesterday morning at 6:30, the RH was 60%, very good. This morning is was damper , at 66%. Above or below 60 , when cold, makes a lot of difference to the frequency of defrosts, so today, early morning, the HPs were not quite so efficient as the prior morning. This would add some to the grid load.
      Now as the today went on, by 9;30 am , the RH dropped from 66 to 56, and actually went down to 45 by the afternoon. Hardly any defrosts happen at these levels, and too by 9:30 the peak had dropped by 78 MW : likely due to brighter sun, lower wind, warmer temp, and lower RH for HPs efficiency, and likely other factors.
      In winter RH here is uncommon to be be below 60%, and important for HP efficiency.
      Another observation: before noon snow was melting on the south side concrete desk, although about -9C ambient outdoors. By 3 pm the attic showed 43 F, well above freezing. Most install HPs on the south side where, in the day, the ambient temperature is higher, and RH goes lower.
      This location, in the day, can add 50% to the unit efficiency as compared to north side installation.
      Then too , in the day as the heating load is lower, the unit is operating at part load, this too improves efficiency. All these together can add as much as 100% to 200% to efficiency. So a unit that was doing 300% efficiency can approach 500% for part of the day, improving as the sun goes higher in the sky, as spring advances.
      If we had just a thousand or so units it would not impact the grid much. But now did Synapse say 13% of houses have them? That is enough , I think, to be seen as very beneficial to reducing the peak load.
      Nfld Hydro use Nostradamus software to predict loads, I think. Do they have RH as an input? No need if just baseboard heat, but as more Hps are installed, RH will show its effect, as too south wall locations.
      To PENG2, does colder temperature help HPs function better? yes and no.
      Worse for frosting is about 0C, when very high RH negatively impacts it.
      But too efficiency reduces with colder temperature, but offset some by less frosting cycles.
      Does wind improve efficiency ? No. When defrosting, the unit fan stops to permit a good , full defrost. Wind from an exposed installation or on a windy side of the house, prevents a full defrost,and can lead to a full coil freezeup. Air flow from the unit fan, when operating, is optimum for operation, no wind needed. Wind can impair the efficiency. Hence wind guards are recommended, but few are installing them.
      Contractors learn from experience what is best, but guidelines can be very beneficial for contractors and owners.
      Manufactures say little on RH impacts, and little in any studies I have seen, so this is what I have seen from observation and monitoring.
      Winston Adams

    • Yes Winston, all makes sense. As we talk about chill factor, and remember some years ago they changed the way of calculating windchill factor. So called the old way and new way. We always talk about the wind chill factor out west, say Alberta, and they talk about -40 or – 60, but those that have experienced it from here say it is still not as bone chilling as the weather we get here, say at -5 or so, 50 km wind. But we forget, and the calculation does not take into account the humidity in the air in the new calculation. So with our -5, and 30 km wind RH at 80 percent, compared to AB feels colder here, because AB may have a RH of only 10 percent. Yup, a Contential climate or weather compared to a maratime climate or weather. So different strokes for different folks, or different HP for different climates. Guess there is lots to be known or unknown about HPs and efficiency. But think you have it mostly figured out Winston. Cheers, Average Joe.

    • Another observation Winston, in my house in addition to maintain a certain temp. I also keep an eye on the hydrometer, and in wintertime I like to keep that below 40 percent, but in summer time it may go to 60 or 70 percent, with doors, windows etc . Opened more. I do that by not using my air exchanger all the time especially in winter. If I have it turned off and I see the hydrometer above 40, I turn it on, especially on days when the wind is from the west and much dryer than when the wind is from the east. So the relative humidity in the house goes down and it feels warmer at the same temp. Not a meteorologist, but just common sense. Some have an hydrometer right besides the air temp indicator and wonder what it means, while others figure it out. Tks. average Joe.

    • I have worked a lot as to indoor RH, especially for hospitals, schools etc.
      For good health, generally RH about 50 is ideal for most people. Above 60 and below 30 is bad, and leads to health issue.
      In winter with air exchanges always running indoor RH can go too low, when below 30, and then too needing higher temperature for comfort, so intermittent air exchange can fix that. Many house are so leaky that no air exchanger is needed and humidification is needed to keep above 30.
      Many hospitals in winter are operating too dry , for patients and staff. This to save on energy costs , but for worse health. Unblievable this happens. Hospitals properly designed and much cost for that equipment then not used properly. In winter, I once checked Carbonear hospital and at 25 RH! Can't say all operating this way , but I think most are. Above 60 mold can develop. Below 30 respiratory issues, and sickness and people don't realize why. Years ago, always a kettle on the stove producing some moisture. And to, lower temp when sleeping improves RH some. If unoccupied, a house in winter that is heated, RH can be down to 15% or so. Is there a single family doctor who asks patients if home RH is adequate? RH is critical for humans and HPs, and too what you say about our damp cold is true. Make no wonder so many go south, not tough I guess. Cheers.
      PS, how do I get the 500 prize to you. You need a new laptop, from Staples somewhere? Or by cheque, tell me how. You make good observations Joe.
      A good R2000 gives good RH results, older houses way too leaky for air, and super tight construction can be to high RH, generally, needing RH reduction. A good quality RH display in house is very important, and maybe 1 in 50 have it?
      Winston

    • Lol, no Winston, I did not give the correct answer, sorta went all around it, and can't win by default. So cannot accept any prizes and not to worry about my computer, I always get by and will continue to do so, and be happy. Now if you were ever to insist I would say give it to charity, food bank, the homeless, or Salvation Army. And if you insisted it was mine, you could just sign it with your name and add the average Joe. My only interest in the topic, probably yours too, was hopefully more janes and joes might take notice and be of some benefit to them, and take a greater interest in what our leaders are doing, including political leaders, so they won't be duped again, based on knowledge rather than just a whim, or political stripe. And as you point out most people do not know how important RH is in healthy living. Might add the first house I had built and lived in, it had no air exchange, and was too dry so I bought a humidifier and use to,put water in the air. People told me I was foolish in buying that contraception. Now the next house I bought also had no air exchanger, but had to have a dehumidifier, and people taught that was great and money well spent, as it was too damp. Yes, I sometimes wonder about investing to make a house airtight, and then installing an air exchanger to bring in cold air. Of course some are air heat exchangers and not just air exchangers. Some never adjust the air exchanger setting from winter to summer but leave the same setting for years. Maybe some day I will install a heat pump, depending on where Npower rates go, and think I have better knowledge now in what to look for and some of the pitfalls to avoid. And the best use of a heat pump in conjunction with an air exchanger. Tks. AJ.

    • You are a good sport too Winston, and I might add a generous one. Hope it is meant in terms of all the average joes and janes out there and not just one individual, as I am sure it will. Take care and God bless you and your family. Cheers, average Joe.

    • Meant as you say. Tks for the good wishes, appreciated. Often feels blessed, while it's been been a tough year, much has gone well, and more than just good luck.
      Feel you do speak for average Joes and Janes.
      For the first time, I have not tuned in the Inquiry Phase 2,(perhaps this will change) so I look for media reports and mostly from UG, and comments there.
      WA

    • Easy. It was part of the crooked scheme from day one. Put cronies in key positions to execute the plunder and outfit them with golden parachutes and huge salaries to keep them loyal.

      The indignation you hear is probably phony. The Newfoundland oligarchy and most of provinces cronies were all in on the scheme. Now they pretend they are shocked.

      From the article you referenced:
      “It’s shocking to read this report and know that the former CEO (Ed Martin) knew of these risks four years ago, when he probably (could have) mitigated against them,” Ball said in revealing the information. “And the response was to do nothing.”

  18. PEAK LOAD:
    Peak load on a monthly basis, plotted on a graph, shows the problem with our power use. If plotted from mid August from for a full year it shows a very nice bell curve shape,with a big winter hump.
    Synapse, page 20, shows the curve for 2016, but because they go from January 1,it starts high, dips in the summer and rises again, so no hump.
    ME Adams, on his blog Vision 2041, under Efficiency shows his power reduction using a minisplit. His graph shows a hump, so the bell shape,of his power consumption, and how he trimmed it substantially. He shows the power use from August to the following August, this gives the winter bell shaped hump .

    I suggest he also do a graph showing the island winter power hump. Synapse should have shown it that way, so that winter peak load, caused mostly by baseboarfd heaters,is claer. A picture is worth a thousand words. A good graph must be worth at least 500 words.
    Winston

    • Look at close we are on average to operate entirely on hydro power in winter.
      Winter temp here is about -8.6 C at nit e and about 0C at day.
      Feb 7 and 15 th is close to these conditions, and shows about 1150 MW at nite set back , peaks about 1425, and average about 1300 MW.
      We have about 1200MW of renewable including 54 MW of wind, meaning on average in winter, just 100 MW shy, if not up and down load over 24 hrs. Yet we have 714 MW of thermal.
      We spend 12.7 billion for this problem!. Insanity? And now Synapse says smooth the hump. Reminds me of the camel ad, Wednesday : HUMP DAY.
      What day is it? What day is it?
      No one at our power companies or their consultants, MHI etc , or MUN, could offer a cheaper solution to flatten the HUMP? We needed Synapse! Why? Perhaps we should have a Feb statutory HUMP holiday? Least we forget DW, EM, GB, KD etc.
      Winston
      Winston

      WA

    • With about 100MW now coming over the DC line, on average , we now have about 100% renewable for average 1300MW . But our DC line was built for 900MW,….. oh, what CDM and a little more wind local wind power could have done. Crime of the century.
      WA

    • You got that right Winston on both accounts, "crime of the century" and that new holiday in Feburary that we might get, other provinces call it family day, I think, ours should be called "hump day" in the memories of those who inflicted it upon us. A sad day, but would not want to compare it to other sad days like "July Drive" but way up there. July Drive was inflicted upon us by world affairs and world war, this one we inflicted upon our selves. We could have been building a heritage fund, but instead they decided on a death fund. And when you talk about island hydro, cheap, paid for, reliable, and to think they decided to ship that of to NS and we will depend on the unreliable, expensive, paying for the next 50 years or so, that is nothing short of treason. After the inquiry is it possible to forget the minor crimes committed and go for the treason crime. The penalty use to be death by hanging. I digress and realize that we have progressed beyond that, and the death penalty has been abolished, and a mob lynching has been outlawed too. Back in the Sir Richard Squires days was that not the intent …..but he escaped. And some to this very day say that should have happened. What was his crime, don't recall now, except mainly partisan politics. Joe blow.

  19. A school guidance counselor put in charge of government oversight of the MFR fiasco.

    A bloody school guidance counselor with a lousy arts degree…

    https://www.thetelegram.com/opinion/columnists/russell-wangersky-we-sure-know-how-to-pick-em-288268/

    Just as ridiculous having an under-educated town councilor from out around Bunghole Tickle somewhere charged with the sanctioning a multi-billion dollar project funded by taxpayers.

    Disastrous.