Editor’s Note: The Muskrat Falls Concerned Citizens Coalition distributed to the media, yesterday, correspondence between Dr. Lennart Elfgren and Dr. Stig Bernander with
the Honorable Siobhan Coady, Minister of Natural Resources, together with a
letter from Jim Gordon to the Minister. The same correspondence was sent to the leaders of the four political parties together with the request that, if elected, they will commit, prior to reservoir impoundment, to installing an independent geotechnical panel to review the safety of the North Spur. 

Who are the people referred to? Minister Coady many will know. Most readers will also be familiar with Dr. Stig Bernander who, accompanied by Cabot Martin and the Grand River Keepers, performed field work at the North Spur and addressed audiences at the LSPU Hall and Memorial University, in 2014. Dr. Lennart Elfgren is structural engineer and an academic associate of Dr. Bernander’s – both of Lulea College of Technology, Lulea, Sweden. He, too, has studied the instability issue at the North Spur. Jim Gordon is a renowned Canadian hydro engineer who has written a number of posts for this Blog on the Muskrat Falls project, including on the North Spur issue. 

The Grand River Keepers and Coalition Members David Vardy and Ron Penney have maintained contact and exchanged information with Drs. Bernander and Elfgren, and assisted their communications with the NL Government. 

This link, most importantly, provides access to the most recent correspondence between those professional geoscientists and the Minister.  The reader will see that their worst fears regarding the stability of the North Spur have not been allayed. Accordingly, the Coalition is now appealing to the leaders of the four political parties. The Coalition’s Public Statement follows: 

Elfgren and Dr. Bernander have long questioned the safety of the North Spur and
have recommended the appointment of an independent panel of geotechnical
experts to review their concerns.
did constitute a peer review of their concerns but didn’t consult with them
during their review. Drs. Elfgren and Bernander have critiqued the peer review
and continue to have serious concerns about the stability of the North Spur, as
expressed in their most recent letter to the Minister.
Dr. Stig Bernander

note that the Geotechnical Peer Review Panel appointed by Nalcor used what is
termed the “Limited Equilibrium Method”.

mathematical approach presumes full plasticity in the critical soil layer.
However, this approach is not good enough any longer. Modern research in e.g.
Sweden, Norway, Canada, Italy and Switzerland has shown that these early
twentieth century rules do not apply at all to extensive progressive landscape
failure in slopes with sensitive clay layers …”.
Minister’s response erroneously states that Jim Gordon supports the design of
the stabilization of the North Spur. His response to her is also included in
attached correspondence.
recommends “the government of NL should appoint an eminent panel of geophysical
experts, completely independent of Nalcor to assess the scientific evidence and
undertake all necessary additional research, and undertake a comprehensive
review of the safety and stability of the North Spur.”

Dr. Lennart Elfgrin

the potential catastrophic impacts on the downstream communities of Mud Lake
and Happy Valley- Goose should the North Spur fail, and the loss of the
generating plant, we have asked the leaders of the four political parties to
commit to the appointment of this independent panel be appointed prior to the
filling of the reservoir this Fall.
the one thing we have learned from the Muskrat Falls Inquiry is that we cannot
rely on the assurances of Nalcor or experts appointed by them.

Falls Concerned Citizens Coalition





Bill left public life shortly after the signing of the Atlantic Accord and became a member of the Court of Appeal until his retirement in 2003. During his time on the court he was involved in a number of successful appeals which overturned wrongful convictions, for which he was recognized by Innocence Canada. Bill had a special place in his heart for the underdog.

Churchill Falls Explainer (Coles Notes version)

If CFLCo is required to maximize its profit, then CFLCo should sell its electricity to the highest bidder(s) on the most advantageous terms available.


This is the most important set of negotiations we have engaged in since the Atlantic Accord and Hibernia. Despite being a small jurisdiction we proved to be smart and nimble enough to negotiate good deals on both. They have stood the test of time and have resulted in billions of dollars in royalties and created an industry which represents over a quarter of our economy. Will we prove to be smart and nimble enough to do the same with the Upper Churchill?


  1. No economic business case was ever made for muskrat falls and the maratime link. As we all know all the studies dating back to the 1970's showed that. Likewise, no safety case for the north spur has ever been made. All studies dating back over 50 years has cast doubt on the stability of the north spur. Nevertheless, we have invested the future of our grandchildren and unborn in this so called legacy project. History will not be kind to this generation and it's so called world class experts when the obvious happens. So gues it is our last chance, before filling the dam to its operational capacity, to use the best chance of proving it to be safe or unsafe. Our current politicians will all jump on this train and commit now to this study, but will they follow through after May 16th. ask Joe blow.

  2. Thanks to the MFCCC for raising this during the election. We might think our dithering Premier should have no choice but to agree but be prepared for the most non-committal answer possible. Crosbie might be his equal given that he appears sworn not to betray the old vanguard in the backroom who seem to hold the strings on him. Don't be surprised if both would rather roll the dice than risk raising any doubt on Nalcor's allegedly thorough review.

    • MA @ 09:41:

      The problem I see is the phrase '… estimated undrained shear strength…' – what does this mean (not much to me as an Engineer)? The only way I know of to establish advanced soil parameters is through an suite of tests (a combination of shear box, tri-axial and centrifuge is the comprehensive way); also more or less a 'pig in a poke' is what we have. So most know, I recommended Berger as a template for the MF Inquiry – this suite of testing has since been undertaken for the route of the proposed MGP.

      From my perspective(as I have said before), there isn't a sufficient testing database to say the Spur is safe or unsafe – thus a detailed geotechnical investigation and analysis is needed.

      As a side note, 'Growler' has been mentioned this AM – not sure if anyone bothered to look them up 2-3 months back when I suggested it.


    • Is Bruno asleep this morning, or in a daze? Here we have PENG2, again confirming his opinion that the North Spur is not safe due to a shortage of technical investigation and analysis, so "in agreement with Bruno". Bruno reaches that conclusion from smell tests, and visual observation from standing on the Spur, a low tech approach,from which he gets "absolute truths".
      I value both, the visual and opinion of expects analysis, the latter to confirm or not the visual.
      Regardless, Bruno and PENG2 agree that the North Spur is not proven safe to reasonable standard, and therefore serious risk of failure.
      Surely Bruno sees some merit in PENG2's opinion here?

      Also , As to Growler…..indeed, I may have remarked on Growler before , in response to PENG2, not sure, but an issue of concern, I suggest.

      Today at the Inquiry, lucky to see this questioning of GE Grid engineers.
      Besides PENG2, has AJ, Bruno, MA, others seen this and if you can state your observations/concerns/ questions?
      Winston Adams

    • PENG0 reminds me of the Monty Python skit where they throw in every intellectual term they can muster when in fact it means nothing. Did it make sense to you WA?

      Nalcor had not a single question for GE???? The whole thing over in less than half a day. Some "inquiry"!! No questions that got into the dirt that led Nalcor to evict from the site, one of the guys on the stand. A first year law student should have picked that apart and we get NOTHING from any intervenor.

      This is pure farce if you ask me.

      Monty Python makes more sense!

    • Did I hear 60 million from change orders for GE? And another year to go before operations with all generators… there was rationale on both parties, Nalcor and GE not to esculate the legal disputes in public, surprised it went as far as it did.
      Recall the first days of the Inquiry, econometric, end-use , technology factor as to forecasting was glossed over, as if it was rocket science, and Leblanc really pleased saying it was well explained. That little trick, by Stratton and friends, and by the Inquiry, allows to say we needed the power, and opened the flood gates for spending. So too for no real discussion on our wind options, for the Isolated Option by this Inquiry…..just passed over, as well as CDM dismissed, no real analysis done, nor assessed by this Inquiry. Little as to what put us on the wrong path, but more on the flaws as a result of the wrong path.

  3. I think someone said the reservoir will be filled to the top this Summer. Are there plans to evacuate everyone downstream for awhile and see if everything holds solid? Are their plans to resettle communities downstream permanently?

    The whole project is an evil piece of stupidity. We know the area is unstable and we know quick clay can flow. Even if it holds this summer, a disturbance is inevitable. Local construction, a small earth tremor, neighboring land slides … some day, something will trigger its liquification.

    Why, for example, when someone finds a WW2 unexploded bomb buried under a school, don't they just leave it there? Surly it must be safe — dud when dropped and stable for decades. Why do we evacuate the area and remove the threat?

    Only a psychopath would intentionally build a school over unexploded ordinance. Humans avoid unnecessary risk to their own lives – it is a survival technique. Problem here is that those making the decision don't live downstream.

  4. For anyone that wants to read the party positions on various issues posed by NAPE, check out the link below.

    There are good points made by all the parties. It reminds me of the speech by Paul Davis to NAPE members a few years ago. His speech was great, and you be thinking "we need to give this man a chance" then "hold on – he IS the premiere and he isn't doing any of this".

    • The problem with socialists like Jerry Earle and his NAPE pinko hordes is that they think money grows on trees.

      Like Thatcher said, the problem with socialism is that you eventually run out of other peoples' money to spend.

      Once these socialist utopians get that notion through their thick skulls then they can move on to mastering the concept of compound interest.

  5. It should be obvious by now, that neither of the two big political parties are capable of acting on behalf of the ratepayers, the River Keepers, and with socio/economic sensitivity, regards the Muskrat. You still want to give one of them control all over again? Seriously, look at the representatives in your riding. What choice do you have? The Concerned Citizens Coalition should come forth with a "mitigating slate" to assist the voter NOT to give over power to these two undeserving Parties.

  6. Darn, I missed the Fortis AGM. I had suggested to PENG2 a while back that he and I attend but he did not respond.
    An NTV clip, that I caught a few words, was that Fortis CEO wants to buy Nfld Hydro transmission assets? Or some of the assets? Would include the DC line? Did anyone know?

    • Absolutely not! Sell the Muskrat, keep the grid in Public ownership. Think of all the linesmen and their families, and the benefits of having energy supply in the competitive market.

    • WA @ 16:00:

      There is language in the FLG preventing the sale of MF related assets (how this would apply to other NL Hydro assets not directly related to MF at the time of financial close remains to be seen). The text could also be interpreted as that even that if Nalcor tried to sell a portion of MF the right of first offer would be to Emera – so, it would seem as if we couldn't direct a sale to Fortis by our own action. It would be logical to think that interconnected assets must be openly tendered – a bit different for isolated Island options, I think.

      Otherwise, I wouldn't recommend to Fortis they take ownership of much more of the NL grid they have now – might be great for consumers, but for Fortis/shareholders I am not sure there is an advantage and too much risk.

      I wont be divesting myself of Fortis shares anytime soon – a good performer.


  7. The CBC piece on th eparty leaders position on climate change: Liberal and PC seem to admit that it is not moral to increase oil production, but what the hell, we need the money and jobs.
    NDP not much different, but suggest we should be doing more for GHS reduction, but nothing on reducing offshore production.
    Most evidence of Nfld going green is the new aggressive green crap species. Libs and PCs with their over size busses, apparently not using bio diesel, blue and red, where is the Green Party. with a EV?

  8. Unlike UG, who herein cites experts on quick clay, I see Brain Peckford's latest piece cites 3 names of climate change deniers: that climate change is not a serious problem.
    I checked the first name given by Peckford. The guy has no climate change expertise, nor has ever written a single peer reviewed paper on climate change. He is discredited, but Trump thinks he is great. Trump, recall, said climate change is a hoax by the Chinese.
    Brian is dismayed that towns, cities and governments are now declaring climate change emergencies. This seems a threat to his legacy, the cherished Atlantic Accord.
    Peckford has never studied any branch of science, according to what I have read, yet cites professors from famous universities who also have no knowledge of the science of climate change.
    If it is the survival of our species or all the others, maybe its not so bad if ours is doomed by that dammed disease of oil on the brain.
    "One day the sun will shine" said Brain. There lies the problem. If the sun shined here for more one day, say more like in Arizona, we could all go solar, forsake oil ,and maybe elect Bruno for Emperor. With renewable energy from solar,wind and hydro, maybe fewer would leave this province, and many who left would return. As of yet, we are cursed by fog, and sunny days remain a pipe dream.
    Winston Adams

    • Yes Winston, I gleamed over peckfords ultra right piece of climate change denial. I was going to look at the expert Dr.s that he referenced, but didn't get around to it, so glad you did, but was expecting they would be from the 1 per cent of scientist that deny, rather than the 99 percent that agree with climate change. So the only other expert that he could add was trumpie who thinks the worst thing is a windmill that causes cancer. Guess anything can cause a little cancer, but to single out windmills, now there is a real expert. I have noted that our Brian has no followers or no one that comments on his pieces. He use to have one but think she gave up. But I always did give our Brian and his team credit for the AA. My take on his sunshine comment was always like this : someday the sun will shine and those who have not sunshine will be have nots no more. Yes, another with oil on the brain too. But I always think of myself on climate change as middle of the road, and not extremely on either side, says Joe blow. And have given some of my rational, as oil is just not a fuel, or an energy fuel, but almost every other product we use, it's base is oil based. And the two examples I give are auto tires, and ashfelte as well as almost every product we buy is held together by a plastic container of some type. And how about air travel, think it will be a long time before they fly on batteries, or sunshine, or moonshine, or even wind or the jet stream. But as Bruno says maybe our s…t is cleaner, less carbon etc. So if we are going to continue some oil better ours if the price is right.

    • Greta, from Sweden, travels only by train. When I tell my wife about inefficiency of air travels, using so much fuel, she says "but the plane is going anyway, so one more passenger makes no difference"
      The A rabs intend to conserve oil and switch to using it for petrochemical industry, as more profitable, and have cut production. Trumpie is stepping up production for burning.
      Indeed so much is oil based, hard to imagine the world without it. Too valuable to just burn really, when there are alternatives to burning it.
      Air travel: I would put heftie "Health fee" on air travel, to reduce air pollution. If you can afford to fly and travel, you can afford the fee. We've gone to the dogs with air travel. Fly the kids 2000 miles, drop them off for a weekend with grandparents, not unusual.
      But apparently these data storage buildings,info in the clouds, from computer use, burning oil and gas for electricity for that, now use as much energy as air travel, I hear, and much of that from kids online etc, not deep intellectual exchanges like you and I!
      Bruno sees easy solutions, but by Garge, GHG emissions climb every year, which even Bruno batteries have not put a dent to. You need to smoke the right kind of weed to stay positive, and Bruno don't share info on his brand, so I find a walk in the fog better.
      Fortis year end data online shows lots of wind and solar,in photos (in reality very little) to mislead the reality of their GHG emissions, which is HUGEEEEEEEE.
      I need to discuss this with PENG2, as to ethical investing, maybe we both should divest, and give up the 13 % average return. While just Nfld Power they were green, but went global and got dirty. Now Nlfd is not enough to register on their pie chart, we are just part of eastern Canada with them now. So so smart, but yet, meanwhile now say they didn't know that MFs would leave the Avalon without back up, as to island power restraint. Believe that if you like. Image and reputation is largely a game, paid for by PR….Nalcor had it for a while, and fooled most. Will Fortis too fool us, or improve our lot? Will Sue and Malone come to the rescue, like 25 years ago to save Nfld Hydro, or CFs? Even Hollett says sell it off! Hard , hard times ahead it seems, and no saviour in sight.

    • There is plenty of wind on the Avalon and sun on the rest of NL. If people abandon the Avalon and repopulate the rest of NL it would be a good thing and folks could harvest rooftop solar and store surplus energy to charge a Tesla Battery and an EV in the drive.

    • Bruno, Tesla for the island of Samoa I think , uses 1kw of solar per house, in Denmark I think , 2 kw of solar per hosue, but in Australia for fuller capacity , 5 kw of solar plus Tesla wall storage ( about 35,000.00 I think per house). So depending on climate and loads, and Nfld needing higher loads for heat than any of those, the economics fail big time ,as of yet, expect for the rich. The arithmetic does not work for Nfld.

    • Always a naysayer Winston! The price you quote is out of date (as usual). 35 K added for a new home for independence from the grid is a steal to free yourself from 25 cent kWh Nalcor energy!

    • PS Winston, dumping the electric heat is key to any way forward for NL. If you had competent government you would all be burning cheap natural gas piped ashore from your own supply.


    • Bruno, I am not always a naysayer; true I have been a long term MFs naysayer, but not a naysayer to renewable energy, but I consider the cost effectiveness which vary from locations and climates and markets, so degree of support is relative to such factors, to avoid the Peckford's Pickle Palace result.
      As you want to tell the whole truth, be honest ; I am not always a naysayer. And Did I ever speak negative of John Lennon?
      I have said before, some opinions on UG I agree fully, some 90%, some 50 %, and obvious climate change deniers, always a naysayer with them, even, sad to say, Peckford, who should know better.

  9. Comments On Inquiry GE Grid Solutions engineer witnesses:
    1. How bad could it be for Nalcor when their lawyer Dan Simmons never asked one question? He routinely tries to put some positive aspect for Nalcor, but not today. NOTHING. Would't risk more negativity for Nalcor on this contract.
    2. Under our Power Act, lowest cost and reliable power is necessary. Most focus on cost. Apart from DARKNL, reliability has not been a big issue, it was taken for granted. But if electricity is not reliable, it is near useless. Grid Solutions is in the business of making power reliable. Reliable means not more than 2.8 hours per year power outages, now being reduced to 2.4 hours to meet NA standards with the ML operating.
    Is this achieveable with the DC line?
    3, Recall about 2 years ago, Liberty said there are few operating DC systems in North Amarica, it is a different quintal of fish, so to speak. Was Nalcor aware of the complexity and risk for reliability? New people would need to be trained for the operation, said Liberty.
    4 Last summer first power from Labrador was a big event. Seems we learned later only one of the 2 poles were in operation. We learned much later of "software" problems by GE Grid. Later we hear about a system in Sweden 4 years and not operating right yet, also by GE Grid.
    5. Today they were quizzed on problems and issues of control and protection schemes that make these systems work ……reliably .
    6.We hear of 29 change orders to the contract…….so how well was the specification pinned down? Every change order means extra costs
    7. Software is the computer program that automates the system to work right , to prevent outages as much as possible. Protections systems must react fast and in predictable ways, that are tested. We learn to day they are at version 17 of the software. Is this 17 changes with respect to MFs, or an older program that is no up to 17?
    8. We learn of 5 million of extra cost due to temporary storage of transformers at Bay Bulls, and delays in transport and inappropriate site conditions.
    9.We hear of serious problems between Nalcor and GE, the GE guy at one meeting saying "why do you hate us so much? Ge saying Growler Energy then used by Nalcor as an intermediate to try and work out technical issues. Grwler had more expertise than did Nalcor, we hear.
    10. To witness factory testing of transformers, No one from Nfld Hydro could do that. No one from Nalcor. Someone from Growler needed. This being 3 layers of engineers ……yet in the 1970s, I went from Nfld Hydro to witness such testing of large transformers. Wonder where the money goes? We also, back then sent out the specifications for transformers from Nfld Hydro, not needing layers of engineering for that.
    11. Also we hear, there were disagreement between Growler and Nalcor on technical issue. We hear,from one pole GE was saying they could get 225 Mw of power over the line, Nalcor saying only only 90 MW could be achieved. But later did get a maximum of 150 MW. We hear often in past months,only 45 MW was coming, Even 150 MW is less than 10 % of or winter peak load.
    Nalcor told us wind energy, being variable, was hard to intergrate at 10% of the system load. The DC line is to supply 70 % of the Avalon load,in winter, about 800 Mw, and yet such trouble getting about 100 MW!
    12. How much trouble? 21 trips on this single pole operation . Yet did not Stan Marshall, recently boast of good operation, and zero power outages over this line? This is because a trip does not necessarily mean a power outage. When supplying only 5 or 10 % of the load, a trip means no power over that line for a short while of long while, but if other island generators picks up that load, then there is no power outage seen. But what caused the trips? Were any by salt flashovers or other problems? And if these trips were at high loads, there is much greater risk of power instability and power outages.
    Winston Adams

    • 13.and we hear of disputes because GE said it was necessary to operate the system in manual mode, but Nalcor said it was auto mode they wanted and needed, otherwise outages would be longer. Was this not clear from the original specifications?
      14 . We hear from GE that if in the automode, trips, or outages could be reduced from 21 to 4. When auto mode is eventually achieved,we hear GE says we are now done, finished. Nalcor says No, as you need to operate in that mode for consecutative 20 days. But GE says that was impossible because they were being told to shut down at night. Nalcor advised they could not operate at night due to Hydro Quebec. So, at such minor loads there is power availability issues from CFs?
      14. We her that 2 poles are needed to be in service if 2 generators (about 412 MW ) come on stream. Yet one pole is supposed to handle 675 MW, is this an issue?
      15, We hear that 2 poles are to be operational by Oct 2019.
      16. The GE Lawyer asks to define what is a trip? It is different from an outage.

      Power reliability requires a system to be able to tolerate trips, under high loads, and not have power extended outages. We know they have encountered many trips, but no outages, because loads yet are very light, and also wanting to avoid an outage in winter.
      Today's testimony is most unsettling as to reliability of this DC system. Seems much finger pointing as to whose fault and whose expense to make this right, if that is possible.
      I fear our worse days are yet to come as to power outages. One thing to spend and waste 13 billion, another thing if the power is not reliable, or can't be made reliable.

      The replacement for Kate was asking some good questions, so what might Kate have asked, if she stayed on, and strutted her engineering/lawyer knowledge and ability? Or was that not her task?
      Was NS smart to avoid a direct link form Labrador, as to reliability? This coming winter we may know.
      Many may know that the loss of 2 Boeing jets and hundreds of lives lost was due to "software" problems. Boeing suggest they have solved the problem, after a few weeks.
      Automated systems have to react in a fraction of a second to correct or protect such systems,whether for a jet, or so too for the speed of trips and resets of our power system to prevent power outages, or a cascade of generators shut down taking hours to restore.
      Only partial simulations were done before project sanction. Now it's the real deal, commissioning, trial and error, cross your fingers and hope for the best.
      PENG2, Does today's testimony not illustrate more very serious failure by engineering?
      Winston Adams

    • The LIL has proven to date rather unreliable and there is an instability when both the LIL and Holyrood are operating at 200MW combined. As the load rises, Hydro shuts off the LIL to run Holyrood by itself as the latter is more reliable. Commissioning of monopole operation seems far from complete.

      A little off the topic but the fuel savings intended for LIL energy reducing Holyrood output probably are not hitting the target but not seen any numbers on this yet. Looking at 2018 Holyrood output being just 1100gWh or so you might think import energy avoided a lot of fuel burn but in fact more hydro energy was consumed in place of oil despite relatively low levels in the watershed. Hydro and Nalcor execs don't mind running to the very edge of the system's potential.

      Congrats to the Holyrood staff on the ground who doubtlessly saved our collective bacon this past winter by delivering the best reliability from the plant of any winter in recent memory. Such rediscovered reliability may be needed for years to come despite the garbage talk from the senior ranks of Nalcor.

    • This is well outside my practice area – will take me a while to have a good understanding of the technical side. But, overall GE appeared to be competent and I don't think the Nalcor lawyer wanted to make it seem worse for his client – there was an earlier interaction with the lawyer for EM who made it worse by engaging is a cross, I think we are now seeing some lawyer games with lawyers being silent (again nuances are important).

      I got the impression that there might be a commercial reason to delay the COD for portions of the MF project – delaying /obstructing commissioning is an odd tactic in any project, and I don't understand why unless there is a FLG/Emera Supply reason.

      No doubt there are some Engineering misses, but a lot of what GE indicated was like Mulcahy – poor management.

      More of a reason for me to think the Inquiry was poorly timed – we will not see the extent of the claims and a full commissioning before the Inquiry is concluded – the Inquiry should have been delayed until substantial completion.


    • Good summary Winston. GE is done and the Nalcor clown show is now in command!

      What could go wrong in the near future with the electrical engineering (if the spur holds)???

      Let the clown show begin!

      Bozos to the left of me, Bozos to the right!

    • Anon@13;41…..your comment "the LIL has proven to be most unreliable and there is instability when both the LIL and Holyrood is operating at 200 MW combined. As the load rises Hydro shuts off the LIL to run Holyrood by itself as it is more reliable. Commissioning of the monopole seems far from complete". This at odds with GE at the Inquiry saying there are no serious issues outstanding.
      TO think: Holyrood considered to be a clunker at present more reliable than our 13 billion MFs. Your comment is inline, sad to say, with my expectations. It also suggests a continued lack of transparency by Nalcor and govn, and Inquiry testimony.
      Also, I concur with your comment and congratulate the staff at the Holyrood plant on getting us through this winter without serious issues. This should be a good news media story,for this Hydro staff but isn't.
      Holyrood, needing to be shut down with dignity,but remains an essential asset.
      Can you advise as to synchronous condensers in operation? 2 at Soldiers Pond, are they operating or still issues? One potential at Holyrood but maybe in generation mode?
      100MW GT, ……not meeting 10 minute start time?

  10. I have a question. After May 16, should our government deem a quality study of the Northern Spur to be a priority and fund it as such; if said study were to find the Northern Spur unsafe and a disaster waiting to happen, what would happen?

    • Think you are asking the right questions. If a disaster in waiting, and just a matter of time, and no hope of fixing, then muskrat just becomes a stranded liability, not an asset. So the river is never raised, but lowered so not holding back any water, just run o f the river, and if the bank gives way then no amount of flooding downstream. Let the people downstream live their lives in peace, with no threats of flooding hanging over their heads says Joe blow.

    • Hate to say it but two options to carry on will exist. One is to remediate any acknowledged weakness and the other is to monitor the weakness, whichever costs less. Given how government feels about sunk cost, they will find a way to proceed to operate. Extra monitoring wells and an emergency plan to rapidly lower water levels through the spillway and generators will be defended as perfectly suitable to avoid catastrophic failure of the spur.

      If I'm not mistaken, Vale had just these sorts of monitoring and safety management systems in place where they had two major tailings dam failures in Brazil. We'll be told the problems encountered there will never happen here. Expect Nalcor to continue saying their existing design and system is entirely world class and there is zero chance of a major failure.

  11. Why do I see nothing each year in the media here each year as to the Fortis AGM, just finished May 2.
    Fortis: Going with about 250 MW wind project in Arizona.
    Also stepping up big time with CDM and customer energy efficiency in BC, to near 400 million a year by 2022, triple or more current amounts. Here a miserable 5 million a year in poor measures for customer saving, still 2nd worse in Canada. Shameful performance in their home province. Would PENG2 join with me to call them out on that? Says he would not divest, so can we goose them to do more locally? Are regulators in other jurisdictions forcing Fortis to be greener, or is it management decision as to reduce GHG?

    • WA @ 18:25:

      Its is a regulatory issue – there is no incentive here in NL to live efficiently. If you consider the programs instituted for recycling, centralized waste management, mass transit etc we have failed as a public in nearly every instance.

      When we look at the fails we have had, I think it comes down to the typical NLer attitude of NIMBY. I have no other explanation, especially when we start to look at our other governance fails.


    • Agree it is mostly a regulatory issue. Recall Gil Bennett wondering who has authority for that.
      Yet Nfld Power CEO had stated to me that they thought their CDM was great, and defended it at the PUB.
      Fortis sustainability report is full of phrases and photos suggesting this is very important to Fortis, but there performance on that is not very good. Arizona they are using coal and plan to reduce t oabout 40% by 2030 I think.
      So, they have a code of ethics too along the line of sustainability, so if doing little here, is it just regulation or also an ethics issue?
      Have you noticed Fortis has good Total Shareholder Return, but poor ROE, Return on Equity? Says to me they are borrowing big time to deliver good returns, but presents higher risk, though likely manageable. Do you see it that way? Their ROE is below average for their industry, I think. But they boast, correctly, increased dividends for 44 years straight.

    • WA @ 22:21:

      It is very difficult to compare Frotis to other corporations on a stock basis – Fortis operates in several different regulatory regimes (ie different countries, different provinces/states etc). I am not sure it is possible to do a 100% apples-apples comparison with another utility provider, so there is a bit of faith there for me – I am comfortable with Fortis as an investment.

      When considering ethics vs regulation in conservation, this is a grey area too – Fortis needs to get almost every $ of expenditure pre-approved by the PUB, so considering an already thin margin in NL of ~6-8% there isn't much ability to taken on costs that wont be reimbursed.

      Also, I think the advertising and measures allowed/accepted under the efficiency program must be pre-approved by NL Government – can you verify this?

      Overall, I think our energy regulatory system is broken – not unlike the auto insurance system and communications systems.


  12. Bruno,
    1. is this a flip flop suggesting natural gas? Better than oil or coal, but whether used for generating electricity or direct to house furnaces, it is serious GHG, so what gives?
    2. 35 k for Nfld for solar and storage is low. Quotes here for 4kw running about 50k, and average house here need closer to 10 kw, so more than 50 k, it is out of reach for many.
    3. dump electric heat, you mean resistance baseboard, as HPs is electric, you agree that type is good.
    4. HPs driven by hydro/wind/modest solar seems best to me, as to cost effective, but connected to the grid. Storage for the well off who can afford it.

    • Gas is a native fuel and is not imported. It is an interim fuel until NL can build out wind/storage.

      I could not condemn coal use here-taking rocks out of the ground- until alternatives existed (your hydro unfortunately for you). Native fuels save energy in shipping across the globe. Gas is the lowest carbon fossil fuel so is a great native fuel to use.

      Yes HP to reduce energy use is advisable in well insulated homes.

  13. Just a couple of short days have gone by since the MFCCC has publically called for the four parties to commit to convening a panel of geophysical experts to do a proper study, gather data etc before impounding the Dam this fall. Is this a call on deaf ears, is this a call so that should failure occur then MFCCC can say we told you, and we demanded of you, and you did not heed our call. This action is not required by nalcor but by the four political parties, and those who get elected. I haven't heard any of the candidates or parties even mention this, much less agree to it. Avoiding it like the plague I suspect. Of course committing to a study and carrying it out is the first step. Then the cruticsl step is to take action in accordance with the findings and recommendations of this panel of geophysical experts. Or would we end up with the advice of two groups of experts, like nalcor experts, and the convenined panel by govt. Then we could just dig our heads in the sand. Would we end up like the experts on climate change and make no decisions because we still don't know with certainty who is right ask joe blow. Just a few days to go, before the vote comes down.

  14. I make no claim of expertise in the kitchen, but at times I try and help out.
    So it was, at just past 10 am I was trimming fat from a lamb roast.
    While so engaged, I had images in my head from yesterday, of the 30 or so sheep killed in England by a neighbour's Husky dog. Many of them about to have lambs. Blood soaked images of sheep, around the neck and face, some with vital organs tore out.
    It reminded me of stories in rural Nfld, in the Depression days , when many kept sheep, and many were killed by roaming dogs. We now import lamb from New Zealand, while Ball speaks hollow words of The Way Forward, while we still produce only 10% of our food.
    My mind turned to other things, as I tried to avoid slicing my fingers.
    Then the words just came out of me "I'm shocked".
    "At what" asked my wife.
    "What Bruno said" I mumbled.
    She burst out laughing "I thought it was about how much fat there was on the lamb"
    So, I explained: "Bruno last night seemed to be saying burning natural gas was fine. And I thought he was an environmentalist. I couldn't understand where he was coming from with that. Now this morning, he says burning coal is fine, when it is near by"
    "Coal, Bruno says coal is ok?" asked my wife, now too almost in shock.

    So Joe,AJ,…. say it ain't so. This about as bad as when I learned Santa had elements of fiction. Bruno, here for years, spouting off for solar, for wind, for battery storage, of Tesla saving the world. Easily done with renewables,he said, duck soup, so easy to do. Bruno, the crusader against methyl mercury, and coal being the dirtiest fossil fuel on the planet.
    Yes, I have had a rocky ride with Bruno, but always wondered why he said little on climate change. Now he is out of the closet, it seems most certain. Even our own Brain Peckford has not promoted coal that I have seen.
    How could I not be in shock? I know, others warned to ignore Bruno, that he is a comic figure.
    He says the Inquiry is a farce. Even if so, we know to flip a coin, one can be right 50% of the time. And we all now know the certainty of P50 risks.
    Is there any redemption for this poor soul, Bruno, to so mislead us?
    Can anyone of UG readers sooth my shocked soul at this revelation today?
    I am at a loss to understand. Did the Koch Brothers get to him, and was bought off? Did he switch brands of the wackie backie?
    Nova Scotia coal, and we here down wind from that, dumping acid rain into our ponds killing trout and trees.
    Pray tell, can someone explain this behaviour.
    What did he say about trolls causing turmoil?
    She's gone by's, she gone. Bruno has flipped, is my conclusion.
    Winston Adams

    • We should have strongly considered to continue burning oil. Do CDM and other measures to mitigate oil affordably bit no megaprojects!

      As a net oil producing province we had a great situation where if oil prices went up would make a lot more money on production royalties than we'd spend for electricity generation. The perfect hedging strategy. Has this concept been raised at the Inquiry? This low risk strategy should have been the baseline of any utility renewal strategy.

  15. Imagine …importing lamb from around the globe…all the way from New Zealand. Lots of fossil fuel used there. And we produce less than 10 percent of our food and sheep scarcer that hens teeth. If there is anything we could produce on this island you think it would be sheep, but as peng2 said NIMBY. Or mink, or cattle or sheep, too smelly and sure we all got at least a couple of dogs. And Bruno says, "NATIVE fuels save energy in shipping around the globe", as he stares at the globe and not the real world. So now I understand why China and India produces so much GHG and it is ok, they have tons of it and don't have to ship it, just haul it by train. So therefore we should ship or fly in sheep from NEw Zealand, too smelly to produce here, and that's why we got rid of seals, too smelly. Now put that in your pipe and try and make sense of that says Joe blow.

  16. Denying indigenous fuels, is tough if one looks at the big picture. I still have scars from irate coal miners that were convinced I wanted to take their jobs. Burning gas from your offshore is the smallest GHG fossil available to NL. Too bad the emperor wanted a big shiny monument (too bad it turned into an expensive white elephant that may collapse).

    • Who did that Anon? I see nuance is beyond you. I have been dealing with the jobs v environment debate for decades. I said I can't condemn someone burning a rock they dig from the ground. It is sort of like the wood fuel I use except wood is active carbon cycle (no net emissions) not sequestered carbon (coal does add GHG's).

      You should learn to read my friend and see that nuance deamands an open mind and not fearing to use ones name to not be confused with a troll. Who are you?

  17. So too, Trumpie likes coal and coal miners.
    Who recently said on UG, "burn your plans for gas turbines" for back up at Holyrood, as renewables would absolutely not fail nor be insufficient.
    I thought only Ches believed we had ETHICAL oil offshore, now we have ethical gas too.
    Oil or gas should only be for essential backup when an emergency or a failure of renewables meeting extreme peak load, and so move rapidly to reduce fossil fuel for power generation. Bruno creates loopholes for NS and NL to use fossil fuel.
    I considered inviting PENG2 to write a piece for UG to defend Fortis on their environmental efforts, as to emissions and uptake of renewables and CDM, on one side, and Bruno to do the same to show Fortis is not a good steward of our environment. But now I see that the huge coal and gas use by Fortis and the millions of tons of GHSs, Bruno would say is fine, as using NATIVE fuels. So both would be on the same opinion, it seems to me. Who could image that!
    Actually , now a better chance that PENG2 would say Fortis could/should do better. Source material is online , a 75 page sustainability report, that could be condensed to about 5 pages, and a overview in a 1 page.
    For fun, if UG published it, the better report can get 500, cash or to your charity of choice. Any takers?

    • You have a poor memory Winston. I have condemned NS coal use constantly. Your hydro got NS a special dispensation to keep using coal thanks to MF, Remember Winston? Or are you trolling me?