Guest Post by James L. Gordon

What else can go wrong
– this one is a doozy!

are 3 synchronous condensers (SD) at the Soldiers Pond substation on the Avalon         
Peninsula, the down-power end of the DC transmission line.

Muskrat synchronous condenser.

In electrical
, a synchronous condenser (sometimes
called a synchronous capacitor or synchronous
) is a DC-excited 
synchronous motor, whose shaft is not connected to anything
but spins freely. Its purpose is not to convert 
electric power to mechanical power or vice versa,
but to adjust conditions on the 
electric power
transmission grid
. Its field is controlled by a voltage regulator to
either generate or absorb 
reactive power as needed to adjust the grid’s voltage, or to
power factor. The
condenser’s installation and operation are identical to large 
electric motors and generators.

Muskrat synchronous condenser.
Increasing the
device’s field excitation results in its furnishing reactive power (measured in
units of var) to the system. Its principal advantage is
the ease with which the amount of correction can be adjusted. The 
energy stored
 in the rotor of the machine can help stabilize a
power system during rapid fluctuations of loads such as those created by 
short circuits or electric arc
. Large installations of synchronous condensers are
sometimes used in association with 
direct current
 converter stations to supply reactive power to the
alternating current grid.
Source – Wikipedia.

Muskrat synchronous condenser flywheel (red)
The SD consists
of a heavy rotor and flywheel suspended between two bearings. Once assembled,
the rotor has to be turned through 180 degrees on a regular basis to avoid the
shaft bending by a few thou (one thou is equal to one thousandth of an inch) due to the weight. The machinists assembling
advised NALCOR to do this, but the advice was ignored. I checked this with an
experienced machinist working on the Pickering nuclear plant in Ontario, and he
said the advice was correct.
The result – one
condenser vibrates on rotation, and in the other two, presumably finished
earlier, the shaft deflection is so large that the rotor comes in contact with
the stator.
There is no fix
– a new shaft has to be ordered, the CD’s dismantled and re-assembled, which
will take between 1 and 2 years! The transmission line cannot operate without
the condensers.

Jim Gordon.


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. Sure any fool knows that would happen. But Nalcor seems to consist of a world class set of fools, not just any fool.

    Of course Jim presents this in good form, and with photos and has the scoop. Why has Straight Shooting Stan not stated this so clearly, PENG2? 1 to 2 years, so what? Ball might win another election before the LIL is operating, this his mitigation plan.
    My oldest brother Clyde was a machinist. He quit school at age 12, grade 7, and took the trade starting at age 16, with CNR working on train engines. He was the hot shot on auto repair for his buddies in the 1950, when ring jobs was typical. Thous, 1/1000 of an inch was typical measurements for dealing with bearings and shafts etc.
    My old 78 Chev 3/4 ton had the drive shaft rusted off, He made one, had to be welded at each end, and only a very small vibration at 50 MPH, which disappeared at higher or lower speed. My 1961 Pontaic Tempest has the shaft go too, That was only 3/4 inch solid drive shaft, a unusual shaft for a cae, and he welded that together, and was good. He made many a shaft for fisherman boats……but nothing like these big suckers.
    Imagine the incompetence of ignoring the rotation of these large shafts! That should be good for a bonus like the other nitwits got.
    Who F%$#ed up? Name please?
    Winston Adams
    Winston Adams

    • WA @ 08:53:

      The responsible party will depend on how the contract was written and when ownership of good is take over – ie if is was 'install owner supplied goods' vs 'supply and build by contractor'. Likely an arbitration, but more importantly will be if this will be sufficient to delay 'COD' as per the power supply agreement to Emera – but being sufficient here will also depend on the cause (ie Nalcor vs suppler negligence).

      In any event, typical good practice for heavy equipment shafts is to hang vertically of at very least support on every journal and turn as prescribed by manufacturer – seems obvious this wasnt done.

      My guess is the true cause wont be 'known' until a partial disassembly and testing for runout/out-of-round etc – I am not a mechanical engineer and the causation question would best be posed there.

      1 other thing that bothered me about some of the posts here, most assumed SM was talking fatigue by Nalcor employees in the media 1-2wks ago – have a 2nd read, it was the contractor personnel he was referencing.


    • Fatigue: yes, we all suffer from the Muskrat fatigue, even metal and steel can get fatigue and break. A few are immune: Dave Vardy, the energizer bunny, and even Stan has a lot of go in him.
      Bruno fatigued out, and not much loss, though added some humor.
      Too bad more engineers like Jim Gordon are not vocal on UG. MFs is an engineering blunder, but you still disagree.

  2. We are off to a good start for 2020, LIL delayed again.
    Good thing customers are watching power consumption, and getting more energy efficient.
    Here on a windy snowy Jan morning, our peak was only 1160 MW at 8am, 1170 @ 8;20. Hydro is again posting the charts after shut down for over 2 weeks, fatigue problems they say.
    And a look back at 2014 compared to now seems to show a significant flattening of the winter peak HUMP,for most days, especially as to the morning heat warm up, helping to ratchet up an extra 450 MW of load in a few hours. Heat pumps are helping on that, although I guess only half are cold climate models, other not and some are ducted, and that impairs the peak load reduction, kicking in backup electric when very cold.
    And AJ is installing one? Way to go. Hope AJ got a good contractor doing it. Even Bruno said he was thinking of installing one, getting too old for the wood burning, and thinking twice on coal use.
    Winston Adams

  3. The level of incompetence we continue to hear about the "world class bumbling idiots" running Nalcor is astounding. We continue to elect self interested politicians to "look out" for our best interests but who are in it only to get a pension. Nalcor continues to award themselves huge bonuses FOR WHAT?? Seeing that Nalcor is an arm of Government ,shouldn't Government have to "sign off" on compensation to these people??
    Criminal charges are warranted surrounding the whole Muskrat Falls boondoggle yet no one is willing to step on the toes of the known politicians, past politicians and those who were supposed to be looking out for the best interests of the NL residents. Unless this happens we will continue to be screwed by crooks.
    We as a province are BROKE yet we continue to spend spend spend and then look for relief from the Feds. The Feds must step in and take over the running of this province and CLEAN HOUSE. For a province with a population of 500K to be running a deficit of $4 million a day (A DAY) and have a debt the size of which can only be sustained by the country NOT A SMALL PROVINCE. CHRIST ALMIGHTY! Trump couldn't even get the $6B he wanted for his wall yet we have a government who spends, spends, spends and allows others to have the keys to the treasury to spend , spend, spend.
    FRUSTRATING is an understatement!

    • Have you read SRBP today?Gives a good indication of how our government operates and thus the reason we are in such a mess.As for Muskrat Falls,how much more are these problems going to cost? Hundreds of millions,for sure,and more likely billions.

    • Just read it. excellent, and it is going on in all departments, inefficiency gets rewarded. 'Stunned as me arse' as Buddywahisname would say. The whole bunch, and the Leblanc Inquiry was a showcase.
      They all need to be cooked in a Take Charge efficient oven, with Betty letting us know when the scallywags are fully cooked.

  4. It is not just the synchronous condensors needed for grid stability. The DC-AC converter is also required since we use AC but the feed from Muskrat Falls is DC.

    The DC-AC inverter has design problems and may need to be scrapped.

    • From "Eighth Quarterly Monitoring Report on the Integration of Power Supply Facilities to the
      Island Interconnected System"

      TransGrid Solutions delivered to management its High Power Study this September. It led to identification of a potentially serious converter station control software issue. Potentially, the issue compromises the complete design of the converters. A converter’s “firing angle” controls power flow; a reduction in firing angle increases power, by increasing the direct voltage and hence the power flow on the overhead-line component of the LIL.

      The firing angle for the converters modelled by TransGrid can operate only within a constrained range (10º to 16º). We assume that General Electric or Nalcor provided this firing angle range. Typically, the capability exists to reduce the firing angle to much less (1º or 2º) when power requires rapid increase. It is during steady state operation, where power changes are typically slow, that firing angle remains within a small range (perhaps 10º to 16º, or a higher range as appropriate). Operation at higher firing angle increases power losses in the converter and the stresses on converter components. It is not known whether the converters have been designed only for the smaller angle range, or for the worst case stresses with operation at higher firing angle, as required for the large and rapid increase in power specified for the LIL.

      Anyone care to comment how much changing all the Thyristors to larger units will cost? Is this many millions or is a converter station redesign a billion dollar thing?

  5. Since writing the article, I have had time to think about other possible causes. There are at least 8 more, as mentioned in the following –
    1 – Shaft deflection – as mentioned.
    2 – Out-of-round stator.
    3 – Out of round rotor.
    4 – Low strength shaft, deflects more than expected.
    5 – Shaft critical speed lower than operating speed. the critical speed for a shaft is the speed at which bowing starts. All shafted have a critical speed.
    6 – A loose pole.
    7 – Incorrect centering of shaft.
    8 – Incorrect shaft design.
    9 – A combination of the above.

    There are probably more.

    Jim Gordon.

    • For a civil engineer, Jim has a lot of mechanical knowledge. and at 88, has been around the loop a few times. But not world class enough to meet Nalcor standards. Whatever the problem, likely the same for all 3.

    • Us Civils in training in the 50's, were taught and schooled in all disciplines. Jim is an excellent exponent of this. Probably did his turn in the Military, as an Officer in Training, (COTC? ROTP?). Rubbed shoulders with survivors of Overseas Wars, and the like. he is no retiree!

    • JG @ 15:19:

      Being a civil guy with some mechanical knowledge to simplfy you potential cause suggestions to vehicle operations:
      1) I would liken #2 & #3 to having a pulse in your vehicle brakes when braking
      2) #5 (and possible #6) similar to an out of balance wheel that vibrates at certain speeds

      In any event, as I suggested above, a disassembly might ne needed to determine exact cause – the big issue will be contractual and how costs are assigned afterwards.

      WA @ 15:33:
      Mulcahy was an Inquriy witness (and possible Knox who had an emails to Inquiry counsel entered as exhibits) was central to the construction of Cat Arm – and we know how both those gentlemen were treated.

      Robert @ 17:10:
      Even today, all accredited programs in Canada give a young Engineer some exposure all fields – more or less intended only to open the Engineers eyes to dangers of practicing outside your concentrated field.

      I stand by my statement from 2-3yrs ago the Inquiry timing was short sighted and too early – until substantial completion there is no way for the Inquiry to be thorough and know of all issues.


    • PENG2: Afraid I missed the issue of Cat Arm and how they were treated, if you can briefly explain.
      As to exposure to other fields, yes we did a bit of civil and mechanical and electrical courses, and then to specialize in the final years.
      I see the exposure to other fields not as much to the danger of practicing outside your field,but as an introduction to those fields that enable some insight that benefits for overall knowledge, and appreciate the complexity of other fields, and to learn more from additional study or experience.
      Jims vast experience gives him many insights to various fields, so for this he sees the many possibilities, that disassembly and investigations will permit a root case finding.
      You say the big issue is contractual and assigning costs. I suggest the big issue is delay of project operation, and interest costs, and also impacting PUB issues now on Reliability going forward and supply options.
      All these blunders are accumulative, and being acknowledged only partially at this late stage. Inexcusable.

      As to your "too early for the Inquiry theory", problem is , in the long run we'll all be dead. No one knows when and if MFs will finish, so no one know when the Inquiry should start.
      And poor memories we have seem already would be such that they would have no memory at all. All answers would be: Can't recall. A get out of jail free pass. No proof of willful blindness possible.
      Perhaps the Inquiry should have started in 2013? It might have saved over 10 billion.

    Last UG piece, a disgruntled anon HP owner complained, he being silly enough to install a ducted unit, which soon failed, and not saving money.
    Why are minisplits so much better than ducted units?

    1. For ducted units considerable energy is used just pushing air around the house through small ducts. The fan motor is typical 3/4 or 1 hp. A 1 hp motor is 746 watts. Minisplit heads have motors that run at 15 to 50 watts, and most often at low speed. If 3 heads, each at 20 watts, that is 60 watts. The ducted fan uses maybe 10 times more energy.
    2. Ducts for hot air furnaces operate at about 145 discharge temp or higher, and so small air ducts can do the job. For HPs the discharge air is only 100 to 125 F, and so much larger air ducts are needed. This adds to the cost, and is a money maker for sheet metal contractors. Minisplits don't need ducts.
    3. Minisplits compressors are speed controllable. At rated conditions they have a avg COP of 3, and when at part load, spring fall and summer, and a little in winter, they can achieve a COP of 6! These are called inverter type speed control. Most ducted units can't do that, some newer one may. So minisplits are more efficient.
    4. Cold climate minisplits have larger outdoor coils for northern climates that make them more efficient. Never use a minisplit that is not cold climate rated, for Nfld, for best savings.
    5. Filters in ducted units hold more dust, reduces air flow, increases fan motor energy and reduce air velocity over the coil, reducing efficiency, as compared to minisplits.
    6. Most ducted units can't handle the full heating load when cold. So they have a back up electric duct heater. These back heaters, when needed, has a COP of only 1, and reduces energy saving in winter. Minisplits can handle very cold temperatures not needing back up, but good to have backup baseboard should the unit fail.
    7. When ducted units trigger backup, it adds big time to oil burning at Holyrood, and we get billed for the cost of those big dirty generators. Bad for GHGs too.

    So poor anon got suckered into a ducted system, and blames old Wacky Winston for promoting minisplits. Anon is to be pitied. Anon was not very wise, much like poor Betty of Take Charge. Might anon actually be a scallywag? Anon should switch to good minisplits and be a happy camper.
    Happy New Year anon.
    Winston Adams

  7. Who exactly is signing off on all these Contract Change Notices, Estimates, and Invoices? Where the Project got off the rails, the Big Guy, (now departed with his bonus settlement), went ahead with contract work, exceeded the Budget, and slid the paperwork forward for Finance to rubber stamp. Seems like the same process is being followed, and the Ratepayer is expected to pay.

  8. With its conspicuously anodyne news article regarding this crafty skeet NICK MCGRATH floating the idea of a return to the feculent, open-pit sewer that is NL politics, that un-official government mouthpiece and pseudo-propaganda machine V O C M predictably neglects to mention that this cheesy bastard NICK MCGRATH was forced to RESIGN FROM CABINET IN DISGRACE OVER THE HUMBER VALLEY PAVING SCANDAL.

    So it looks like this bugger NICK MCGRATH is thinking that all is forgotten and it’s safe to have another go at wallowing up to the political slop-trough again. Therefore, so as to circumvent the Shallow State’s clumsily obvious propaganda apparatus, here for the review and renewed recollection of the entire UG readership are the googled links to the history of news articles covering that rotten skeet NICK MCGRATH’s AMORAL, UNETHICAL BEHAVIOUR CONCERNING THE HUMBER VALLEY PAVING SCANDAL and his subsequent RESIGNATION FROM CABINET IN DISGRACE.


    To access the articles, just copy/paste these links into your web-browser’s address field.…0.0..……0….2j1..gws-wiz…..0.ta0M8AFlN5s&ved=0ahUKEwiB06Spqu_mAhWPmuAKHVKBD7EQ4dUDCAc&uact=5

    • The paving companies are far more corrupt than you realize. If you aren't watching the asphalt plant, they cheat on the mix. If you fail a section of road, someone higher up in government will threaten you. Roads are purposely inferior so that than can be repaved every year and quarter million a km for mill and fill. The owners of paving companies are very politically connected.

      Ever see tack coat being applied after a grinding operation — only to have traffic drive over it for weeks? Ever see paving in the rain or over snow? All sorts of stupid stuff goes on – many times on purpose, because the worst the paving job, the more future business then get. There are sections of highways where an entire layer comes off.

      You wonder why the St. John's ORR is full of ruts? It is a combination of ignorance, incompetence and malfeasance.

    • Funny you should talk about the tack coat, it’s an on running joke with my wife and I on our commute to and from work. We joke that the tack coat needs at least 5,000 cars to drive over it before paving can commence. That way it surely won’t stick and will need to be scratched and patched again next year, great work if you can get it.

    • Forget strong. "Lets Finish" is enough of a challenge. With the DC/AC converter design problems, damaged sync condensers, vaporware control software and dodgy planning – getting the system working and integrated into the grid at all is a challenge.

      "Let's finish strong" is like the corporate mottoes you find in corporate elevators. They are bovine excrement and often farcical, so much so that there are numerous on-line motto generators. I just tried one and got:

      "Not your average hydro electric dam",

      "Muskrat Falls, in touch with tomorrow.",

      "With a name like Muskrat Falls, it has to be good."

      "Danny Williams, it's as simple as that!"

  9. It has becoming glaringly obvious that from inception to the year 2020, NALCOR listens to nobody!

    It runs the gamut from companies that strangely enough they have hired for "advice", down to instructions from millwrights working on a piece of equipment.

    They listen to NOBODY!

    It was a reoccurring theme through many of the witnesses during the Muskrat Falls Inquiry.

    Not only have they not listened, but they have gone above and beyond to actually put a concerted effort into making sure they didn't listen and then even tried to conceal it.

    The worst part about it all is that the vast majority of the time NALCOR were wrong.

    It's right about now that someone (persons/firm/firms) need to be brought in to take a serious look at how NALCOR makes their day to day decisions?

    If need be take over the entire hydro division of NALCOR.

    How much more incompetence to we need to see to prove that NALCOR is truly in over their heads and have been from Day 1!

  10. It should be interesting when the law suits start just how many of these people who were ignored by NALCOR become key witnesses for the very same companies who NALCOR will no doubt try to blame for their own incompetence.

    I have a feeling it will be many years before we know the "true" cost of Muskrat Falls?

    Unfortunately for us all we will hear is the sound of $100's of millions of dollars being flushed down the toilet known as Muskrat Falls!

    In the immortal words of Stan Marshall:

    "Let's Finish Strong!"

  11. A RARE EVENT (for St John's): The weather station show wind speed to be ZERO. How do we know it to so? The snow is now falling vertically.
    So wind generation now would be zero, and Peckford too says wind energy kills birds,and uses concrete and steel, and is useless. Putin says wind turbines kill worms, from the vibrations, no shit , he said that!. Actually it is our synchronous condenser vibrations being felt over there, driving their worms crazy.

    PeaK demand, anyone interested? Forecast temperatures for last nite was -8C, but only got to -6 (-8C is avg Jan nite time, so a good number to watch)

    At 2;20 am it was 993 MW
    At 8;40 it was 1321 MW
    At 9;35 it was 1304 MW

    I wondered about Nalcor forecasts, and searched for Vision41, MA's blog, and nothing came up for such a blog. Then I recall it was vision 2041. I confused with Peckford42, 42 his age maybe when he became our Supreme leader. Should be Peckford 2042, with his vision: CO2 600, NL oil production doubled, coal still king, USA a dictatorship. But I digress.

    Vision 2041 blog shows Nalcor forecasts for peak load
    Date of forecast 2015, 1880 MW for 2019/2020
    …………may, 2016, 1825 MW
    …………Nov, 2016, 1790 MW

    Our Avg jan, last couple of years, is about 1450MW , I think, but can peak higher with extremes, so we need the thermal backup.
    So we have all heard of Sonnie's Dream by Ron Hynes? Well Stratton's Dream , the forecaster engineer with Nfld Hydro, who envisaged continued uptake of baseboard heat to justify the boondogggle, was actually a pipe dream. Recall at the Inquiry, he would do the same all over again. Nor did he believe in end-use forecasting. End -use is what I did, detail monitoring to see how good minisplits are. Nfld Power too scoffed at end use, which is best practice.

    On the energy use, how is it looking?
    Most we ever used was in 2004 at 8637 GWH
    Then…………………2010 at 7600
    Then ………………..2017 at 8341
    Then ………………..2019 looks to be about 7500, or thereabout.
    After 2010 we had a few years housing boom most with baseboard. Now many switching to HPs and the energy use slide.
    STRATTON'S DREAM! was for lots of baseboard heat. Dunderdale saw TV sales as the primary driver of new power demand to justify what appears to be over 15 Billion expenditure, and nothing yet working. Should we have Stupidity Awards each year? Should Stratton get the first one? Newfie Jokes is it not, this ongoing business of incompetence for our power systems here.
    Remember the smiling trio, CBC photo after their testimony?
    Remember Leblanc very pleased how they explained this complex forecasting?
    Should Leblanc be considered for this award? Or he soon learned after more and more stupid testimony, and when he banged his desk , with Ed Martins's "trying to run the show" Was that the highlight moment?
    Winston Adams

    • Winston, it was President Jimmie Carter, who in reacting against the OPEC war, went on TV wearing a sweater to counteract turning down the thermostat. Do NLers not have nice warm wool sweaters to wear? I remember buying a wool sweater at the craft show in Toronto, (1987), from a lady from Harbour Bretton. It keeps me warm here in BC. and will probably be worn oil I die. Keep monitoring of energy use. In particular, have your recharge stations report the EV demand, along with the decline in gasoline sales.

    • Winston, question for you. You tell us how many MW we are using daily and peaks. Are you able to see how much in reserve hydro is providing. I know we need in reserve and can't ramp those fuel guzzlers at Holyrood up at a moments notice. But are they ramped up to what was predicted by Stratton and company years ago, or based on what our current use age. Is hydro supplying at an appropriate rate of use age and reserve, or are they having too much reserve and just burning oil at Holyrood in waste just to satisfy predictions, and the oil surcharge they want us to pay for bunker C at Holyrood, on top of the hydro rates. Think you get my slant or question. Average Joe.

    • AJ, if the Holyrood gens are spinning at low power output, then the balance of their maximum power is legit spinning reserve. Likewise, the hydro units are not normally operated at 100% so the balance remaining is spinning reserve. We have been safely exceeding the recommended spinning reserve by a good margin so far this winter. Water levels also shot up to average level with a very wet late fall so things are looking pretty decent at the moment for our legacy generating systems. Good job by the largely forgotten regulars at Hydro.

    • I too, anon @ 14;50 would commend Nfld Hydro operators last year for getting us through the winter with old Holyrood equipment and this years seems easier so far.
      Most often they use the old clunkers which has good life left yet, but need a close watch. The new (used) gas turbine is sometimes used , but running costs is higher, and GHS emissions is lower.
      We seem on the surface to have much surplus capacity, but not really, since units are old and could go down. But seems not urgent if MFs don't operate. Coal power imports are little needed, and should be avoided as to GHSs. Saves pennies at the price of dirty power, and propaganda that the ML is a great benefit.
      With MFs we technically need more reserve capacity, than without, due to ML we are interconnected and stricker rules ( another negative for being connected).
      MFs has our largest generators at 206 MW each, where currently it is 170 MW, so the formula must allow for the largest going down. Any public mention of this before? So ratepayers here must pay for more reserve, due to the link, more gas turbine likely they will go for.
      Parts to have on hand for Holyrood old units was not to many outstanding issues, but the new generator it was hundreds of parts that could fail. So always a difficult job for the Holyrood operators. They get little credit for keeping our ass warm.
      Aj, doubt if they try to fudge the figures for Holyrood, except political and higher ups at the power companies as to converting existing buildings to inefficient baseboard, yes they are doing that to boost Stattons Dream, and very detrimental if MFs don't operate.
      We have seen too years in a row of low water fall in the late summer and fall making thermal use to be very extensive. Then we get lucky with late season rain. Is our hydraulic pattern changing due to climate change? Does anyone care, that we burn a lot of fuel when we get little rain in the fall. What is our green options to compensate for low rainfall?
      Winston Adams

  12. So here we are, in BC, the only province to have signed on to the UNDRIP, sending back the RCMP, with weaponry, to remove the Indigenous and other Land Protectors from the Federally and Provincially approved pipeline project site.

    Muskrat all over again. Will somebody give that Minister of Natural Resources guy, (Former Minister of Indigenous Services), (Former White Settler in Labrador), a kick in the ass for me and others who support the Indigenous claims, and who have NOT GIVEN CONSENT for Work to proceed in these cases.

  13. Young Alfie is promoting the theory that bushfires in Australia, that at at least half of them are started by arsons, many are mentally disturbed people. So this suggests that climate change and fossil fuel burning is not a concern, or little concern to bushfire increase. Figures are that a hundred or so fires were started that way, that for all of Australia mind.
    Here in 50s and 60s grass burning was not uncommon is the spring. Sometimes it got out of control. In Bishop's Cove we had no forests, so not a big concern. As a youngster, we used a magnificing glass that could start a fire with dry grass. The concentration of the suns rays to a point could burn your skin in a second or too. We needed a fire sometimes to melt lead to lead a set of hooks to jig a tomcod, or even a lobster. The magnifying glass could light paper. We seldom had matches. We had a neighbour, a fully grown man who liked to burn his grass each spring, believing it promoted a good hay crop, and maybe it did.
    So I wonder what Young ALfie thinks of lightning strikes causing fires? Dry lightning especially.
    As an engineer with Nfld Hydro, we monitored and analized lightning hits on our 69 to 230 Kw lines. These would cause temporary trips,and seldom a power outage. Maybe a dozen or so each summer. Not a major issue.

    Recently as to the volcano blow up killing people in New Zealand, there was associated lightning all around New Zealand, ongoing over a few days with the weather system being experienced. New Zealand is probably a bit bigger than Nfld.
    I asked a few : How many lightning strikes would you say occurred each day there?
    Assuming the figure might be high, two said 1000, another said 100, another said 40.
    Take a shot, UG readers, as to how many?
    I will post the answer a little later. I wonder if Young Alfie, aka The Digger, has studied much the lightning issue, or just studies firebugs? He says he studies all issues as to climate change, and is a denier, as to man made impact.
    Winston Adams

    • Morbid curiosity? Why not several years ago/ Why not even well before sanction? Answer ; because they are incompetent and scallywags, and many may be crooks.
      Reliability was little questioned, and icebergs was a typical concern. Here we are talking about the overland transmission, the document filed Dec 12, 2019. It's a doosie. Do we needd to worry? damned right we do.

    • From NLH page 10 as to emergency restoration of power on the LIL:
      "Preparing for the unknown is a daunting and difficult task…. but Nalcor Energy is continuously working to improve it's operational readiness….
      The line passes through 11 different climatic loading zones, including 10 with min avg max wind speeds from 105 to 180 km/h. Two types of icing conditions, rime ice(in cloud icing) and glaze ice from freezing rain. Rime ice radial thickness ranges from 115 to 135 mm, glace ice 50 to 75 mm.
      Radial is radius, so about half the diameter. So double that for diameter. So ice on the line 270 mm across, which is 10.6 inches! Image that ice on a fairly long line span, but no wind, and maybe it sags very badly but stays up. Now imagine that same line with that ice in 180 km/h wind added!
      John Lennon sang :Imagine if there's no heaven, … religion too.
      Now imagine St John's and the Avalon almost entireley it's winter power coming over this line, with parts 10 inches of ice and high winds. Imagine No Holyrood backup. Imagine NS with power to back feed us. Imagine power restraint to the Avalon from central Nfld. Imagine our hospitals and supermarkets shut down. Imagine, imagine imagine……
      And why none of this discussed in the HOA before sanction as to reliability? Imagine the business expert at Leblanc Inquiry saying he never heard of a transmission line being unreliable! And that went in as expert testimony, and unchallenged.
      Winston Adams

    • The NDA plus $20,000 would certainly be hush money if he was doing this as a retirement gig or was previously unemployed, but given that the man likely quit a job to take this one, possibly burning bridges, then $20,000 is too low.

      Non disclosure agreements intended to cover up government malfeasance like this should be illegal and unenforcable. A qualified person was fired to make room for a politically connected person that was grossly unqualified yet to be paid much more. As a tax payer and resident, I find this offensive. Carla should resign — but she is no doubt she is on the take and cut from the same loin cloth as most politicians.

  14. dwight ball is selling gull island next week. 5 billion conveniently the same price tag as the trans mountain so albertans wont complain too much and wexit.
    50/50 ownership and HQ gets to recoup investment from revenues. feds will give them ‘a climate change action bonus’ as well to justify giving PQ more money.

    market rates contract for power…with a maximum so HQ dont pay too much if future market goes too high. cant get too good a deal, wont fly in quebec.

    we drop court challenges on upper CF.

    HQ gives a little more to support their 1/3 owned previous investment…say 50 million per year. we claim a victory for rate mitigation.

    This is the plan they concocted previously to ‘bury the hatchet’.

    its seen as a better alternative to the NLHydro plan for rate mitigation according to their twitter feed, #ratemitigationbakesalefridays

    • TMX is a Western version of the Boondoggle; How to stick the public with the capital, operating, environmental costs, while rewarding some of your friends. Watch out people, the "strong finish" crowd are working feverishly hiding the escalated costs, through a Morneau deal on NALCOR, somewhat like TMX.

  15. The Hump having proclaimed he was the chosen one……to bring down the evil one, general salamie…maybe. Well in addition a sad day for the 176 persons and families that was brought down by the Iranians, the Ukraine commercial airline. But history repeats itself. In 1988, the American brought down an Iranian commercial airline with almost 300 passengers on board. It was by mistake or an accident by the American military. Now Irian commits the same error. Thinking they were under attack by the American after launching an attack on the American base, launched an attack on a commercial airline departing Tehran airport, but probably thought it was inbound, maybe. Again by mistake or by accipident, as there were 82 Iranians on that flight, in addition to the 62 Canadians. A sad day indeed., but in the final analysis the hump and the pomp got the evil salamie General…. Joe blow.

    • Joe:

      I wouldn't say history repeats itself so easily – since the 1st time a commercial plane was shot down, this is the 34th similar incident. More coincidentally is that the last shoot down of a commercial liner was in 2014 and it also involved the Ukraine with a Russian supplied A-A rocket.

      For trivia, the only decades with only 1 shootdown(of any type, including guerrillas) of a commercial aircraft was the 2010 and 1960s since the 1930 – so, unfortunate to say it is a much more frequent event than most think.

      A very unfortunate incident, especially since it is affecting a number of innocent people – doesn't matter much 60 odd of them are Canadians.


  16. Our lowest temp so far this year, -13 C… was our Peak load?

    Last evening at 8:20 it was -8 C and 1392 MW. but down to 1211 MW by 12;50 am, as programmable thermostats reduced the heating loads. It was forecast to drop to -13 C, and I wondered if it would need to ramp up by 400MW or so in the morning, Recall our most recent gas turbine is 100 MW, so that is like 4 of those suckers going all out in the morning, spewing lots of GHGs to warm our asses at breakfast time. This is part of Sratton's Dream, and Take charge scallywags. To make matters worse, it is the old clunkers at Holyrood spewing bunker C GHSs, which is next to coal fired in toxicity.
    At 8;40 am it was 1604 MW. almost 400 Mw added, and i may have missed the peak, being a bit higher. By 8;45 it was 1598, by 9;00 it was 1561, and at 10;45 it was 1424, with sunshine helping out, as Betty says: open your drapes in the day time.
    RH was below 80, so few defrosts on minisplits, and now RH is super good at 66. How is AJ doing with his HP?
    Easy to see if we had very strong winds and -20C, we could hit 1800 MW peak, and a morning ramp up approaching 500 MW added. Little attention paid to reduce the Peak HUMP. Not the Nfld way of doing things. Not in The Way Forward, not in the Red book , nor the Blue book , nor Orange one. And we have no Green Book. We just have a Black book.
    Now we have 18% with minisplits. We need > 80 %…..but what time frame?
    Will the new PUB hearing address this HUMP cutting? Doubtful. Must protect the dividends for PENG2, hey b'y. He will say it is not a factor, but is very quiet on the Reliability study and power options. Wonder Why?
    Winston Adams

    • My house at the town of Logy Bay is too big now that there is but me am me woman. A 1200 sq ft bungalow plus 2 car garage, built in 1975, I added to it 3 times. First I converted the garage to a rec room, and later this became my office. Later I added 2 bedrooms on ths south side. Then later a large sun room that gets too little sun, being on the north side. It has about 8 size 4 ft by 8 ft windows, as it had a view where I could see icebergs in Torbay, miles away. Gradually the trees have grown and blocked that view. It is near impossible to heat that in winter, but is a buffer from the cold north winds for the central part of the house. Finally , 10 years ago I built a sun room on the south side. So now about 3500 sq ft.
      Today at -10C , the south sun room stays at 25C with zero heat on. The spare bedrooms on the south has small windows, no heat on, and show 57F. Our main west end bedroom is getting sun, only 500 watts to keep it at 73 F. The core central part is taking about 2000 watts.
      The north "sun" room, is at 44 F, and maybe was about 35 F last nite. It's aluminum frame commercial style window frames was coated with frost this morning. The east office area takes about 1100 watts. My basement is unheated and is for storage. So I use and heat about 2500 sq ft, and winter bills have hit 600 a month. despite various upgrades. Minisplits are next, as I did with the cottage 10 years ago.
      Our grid peak load, at 1604 this morning is now at 1324, not bad for -10, and a sunny sunny day. RH is now a wonderful low of 61, great for HPs but bad for dry air in the house. I keep a dipper constant on low on the stove, indoor RH at 33 at present, as below 30 is very bad for your health. Many of our hospitals are operating at 25 %RH in winter! A great place to get sick.
      Winston Adams

    • The basic living unit, after 65, is a 2Bdrm apartment, approx 85sqm. Located in a walking neighbourhood, with services, preferably no Strata type Condo management, a kind Landlord, and good neighbours.

    • Your dead on as to space needed. My cottage was 650 sq ft, and in 2009 i added to all 4 sides , for a total of 1700 sq ft. The adds on are mostly seasonal, and gets solar gain, and terrific ocean view. but normal use is the about 1000 sq feet, very much as your 85 sq m. It is a good walking area and good neighbours. For now I manage the little maintenace needed, but when I get to be an old man like you, Robert, I may need an apartment (joke , joke). Today a friend spotted a large rat outside my door here at Logy Bay, and it went into a hole in the snow bank. Last time I needed a rat trap was 20 years ago. Our garbage boxes are clean and tight, so maybe it's global warming, good for rats and mice. ?

    • Carbon Free Islands:

      The rush to offshore oil development somewhat diverted the "Shetland/Norwegian" experience away from renewables, when addressing Power needs on the Avalon, and other remote sections of the province. Can we do some critical analysis now, to determine how our energy choices, since 1979, might have been wrong-headed?

      I nod and acknowledge John Crosbie's important contributions to Canada's well being.

      However, the demolishing of the National Energy Program, in which he had a hand, was a disservice to humanity and Canada's energy self- sufficiency.

    • All 3 units running, plus GT, plus 30mw from ml. Wow…for -13 and 16 hundred or so, so everything up and running. If it was windy and -20 would we peak at 1800 or so as Winston suggest. Just a layperson, not an engineer, so wondering how much in reserve. The GT guzzles expensive gas compared to the 3 bunker c bunkers. So why run GT when that one can be flashed up in short time compared to other units just on idle, and importing dirty coal. Why not more use of bunker C units. As I mentioned before does it have anything to do with maintaining the sur charge on oil useage to keep our hydro heat bills as high as possible. Just asking says Joe blow.

    • Hydro needs to be clearer as to the energy needs of the Avalon Peninsula. It's likely the GT was running along with Holyrood at maximum because the transmission constraints into the Avalon were maxed out. Hydro does not provide adequate indicators to the public as to the constraints and reserve needed within the Avalon. It would be useful to have this added to the PUB daily reports.