SCAPEGOATING COVID-19 JUST MORE OF THE SAME

It is difficult to think of a greater responsibility of government than to support citizens in a time of crisis. The Ball Administration is working on the largely non-financial measures to prepare for the arrival of COVID-19, like discouraging events where crowds congregate and gearing the healthcare system to provide strategic care amidst an array of jurisdictions. Otherwise, it has limited, if any, capacity to supplement measures proposed by the Federal Government, to assist individuals and small businesses financially injured by the curtailment of trade and work, or to engage in tax relief. The COVID-19 event arrives on the heels of “snowmageddon” which has already robbed a good many pockets.  
Government’s haplessness exposes the extent to which NL has squandered the ability to function as a viable entity within the nation. The revelation is not new. When a pandemic dramatically shuts down normal commerce, it is a time that exposes how badly we have mangled our financial resources and the opportunity to confront any peril. Even after all that has occurred, in place of leadership, we witness only scapegoating.   
Last week Finance Minister, Tom Osborne, attributed our state of affairs to COVID-19. He told the media that the virus’ economic fall-out was responsible for causing the arrival of the “perfect storm”. Context is given in the collapse of the price of Brent Crude, the benchmark for much of NL’s offshore oil, now hovering below $34/barrel. Every dollar drop on the market price of oil represents a loss of $20 million to the NL Treasury. Last year’s Budget assumed US $68 crude and, while still early days, the drop may, nevertheless, result in the loss of tens of millions in revenue. 

The Minister informs us that the impact is layered on top of a “shutdown in oil production” last year and “another shutdown in oil production” this year. What he did not say was that, while the refit of the Terra Nova Production Platform was long planned, he did not plan for it. 
The importance of offshore oil royalties to the provincial Budget suggests that the Finance Minister ought to know that oil price forecasts are ever only best guesses. Even an average of multiple oil price forecasts cannot be relied upon. A prudent Minister would budget far below any such figure and hope, even then, that the outcome is positive. But that’s not the point, anyway; Osborne thinks he has found a scapegoat for a problem to which the Ball cannot Administration has vastly contributed.
In contrast to the Finance Minister’s Budget Update which put the Provincial Debt at $13.95 billion, DBRS, the Bond Rating Agency, calculates the province’s “self-supported debt” at $19.194 billion – plus Hydro debt. You can’t even believe the Minister’s numbers.
Remember, too, that the 2019-20 Budget Update showed a $2.23 billion “gross cash requirement” (that’s a shortfall) AFTER having received the $134.9 million Atlantic Accord funding. What do you think it looks like in the face of current oil prices and related impacts?
Useless as it seems, we could remind this Finance Minister that the current “perfect storm” occurred a long ago. Some would argue that it happened at the very same time Muskrat Falls Project was sanctioned in 2012; if not, there are two other possibilities that long predate COVID-19. 
Following Premier Ball’s election in December 2014, he discovered that the government was paying its bills by borrowing in the short-term ( 60-90 day) T-Bill market; access to long term debt was virtually closed. Officials wondered if the Government would continue to pay the bills. Ball was justifiably ‘spooked’ by the problem and said so. Luckily, liquidity reappeared and long term bonds became accessible again. Did the Ball Government learn anything from the near-death experience?
Another confirmation occurred in early 2016, when Premier Ball received the EY Report and learned that the cost of the Muskrat Falls Project had climbed to $12.7 billion. It also knew then, within $50 million or so, that “rate mitigation” would require a massive annual subsidy, estimated at around $500 million. Was that not further confirmation of a “perfect storm”? What can be more “perfect” – if you need to be told – than to learn years in advance an event far beyond our fiscal capacity has occurred? Most “perfect” storms are not nearly so generous. Yet, on a cash basis, the Ball Administration maintains annual spending at levels at around $2 billion higher than revenues received from combined federal/provincial sources.

Last week, the former owner of DBRS – a bond rating agency – Walter Schroeder, wrote in the Financial Post that Newfoundland is a place heading to the “brink of bankruptcy”.  Schroeder, whose non-profit Foundation sponsored the Newfoundland musical, No Change in the Weather, stated: 

Without intervention from the federal government, the province will go broke. The fall will be precipitated when the rating agencies soon start cutting N&L’s credit rating.” He added: “Muskrat Falls’ debt will be the final straw that leads to rating cuts. Based on analysis of N&L’s financials, I see Muskrat Falls leaving the province’s decision-makers with two unviable choices: raise the price of electricity to 23 cents KWH from 13 cents today or raise taxes to cover the debt.”
Schroeder is not a person to mince words by the way. He adds: “Friendly noises from the federal government about helping with electricity rates won’t suffice. The time for action is now. The cost of any solution will only rise as the province moves closer to bankruptcy.” 
Schroeder might have told us that “the time for action” was at least five years ago, preferably much earlier except that this time is lost forever.
We might exhibit less concern, today, if elements in our society – even at this late date – suggested a willingness to shoulder some of the burden of our desperate financial state. But, they, like the Finance Minister, have been “self-isolated” not from any virus but from reality.

No differently than Osborne, it is hard to listen to the President of Memorial and the Provost groan on the public media about Memorial’s budgetary plight. Their indignation contains no room for mention of Memorial’s failure to “engage” either the public or the Government as Newfoundland slid into this financial abyss. Hopefully, the new President is more grounded. NAPE’s Gerry Earle continues to want more from an empty Public Treasury, too. 

What of the “great unwashed”? 
Public anger can dislodge an annoying fence on Signal Hill. But it lacks the capacity to stiffen the spines of Premier Ball or Tom Osborne on a “survival” budgetary plan. The public voice isn’t even strong enough to dislodge the culprits in the Muskrat Falls fiasco named by Judge Richard LeBlanc, who are still feeding from the public trough.  
Let’s “hope” that, locally, COVID-19 will remain afar. Let’s “hope” that, unabated, the lenders will continue to lend.
And, while we are at it, let’s “hope” that the “perfect storm” is not perfect at all and that the government can continue to spend like drunken sailors.  
By all means, protect yourself from COVID-19, but the false hope that induced survival paralysis when the real “perfect storm” arrived more than five years ago is likely to do far more harm to NL society than the virus ever will. 



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.

TEN YEARS AFTER MUSKRAT FALLS SANCTION – We will have to think abandonment of the Labrador Island Link

Put simply, whether Muskrat Falls come online or not, it cannot be relied upon. Without admitting their gross negligence at the start, Hydro is essentially saying that that we should try to salvage Muskrat Falls at an undefined cost and for for however short the duration it might operate.

THE PROOF MUSKRAT FALLS IS NOVA SCOTIA’S PROJECT

The substance of Hydro’s mission is to satisfy the contracts with Emera to get large amounts of power flowing into Nova Scotia for the betterment of that province and its ratepayers.  The Island could easily live without the Muskrat Fals project and in fact, other than for the onerous Emera contracts, NL ratepayers would be best off if it was abandoned and left to rust.

FIRST YEAR OF OFFICIAL ENERGY DELIVERY NOT QUITE WHAT EMERA BARGAINED FOR

PlanetNL52: Happy Anniversary Emera on 1 Year of Official Energy Delivery Not Quite What Emera Bargained For Despite all the bad news related to Labrador Island...

44 COMMENTS

  1. Ed Martin and Danny Williams still defending the project –> the envy of the world. These guys are blind to reality.

    The table that Ed Martin produced showing a 60 Billion dollar benefit to the province was so fraught with error. LeBlanc when through the basics in his report, but Martin should not be allowed to still reference this table unchallenged. Some comments to the 60 Billion

    1) Muskrat Falls was in 2012, what is it is today an existential threat to our society in NL. The risks were there, it was just hidden from the public.

    2) The CPW analysis is faulted for many reasons. With any reasonable assessment of the CPW there was no real difference between the options. it was within the margin of error of the demand curve.

    3) There was no "disbenefit" based on the interest the province had to borrow on it's equity. there was value to the province if we just paid off debt. this was never included as a negative in the table.

    4) There was no calculation of the generational impact on oil royalties. The Hebron project will pay less royalties due to Muskrat Falls. The reason, is that MF raised the cost of doing business in this province for everybody. This white hot economy, increased the cost to complete Hebron and the other projects. This increased cost, reduces the royalties which will be paid in the future. Muskrat Falls will impact future generations on multiple accounts.

    5) This net benefit table was not completed for other alternatives. I think if there was some assessment on net benefits some of the other options would have won out, including Gas developments, or just building the 2 transmission lines and buying power off Hydro Quebec.

    6) The table did not account for the additional capacity which is required, it was too far into the future due to the incorrect analysis.

    7) The table did not have any sensitivity to risk.

    These guys are grasping for straws.

  2. At last some hard reality!

    Have we at last turned the corner and are finally willing to chastise the authors of NL fiscal demise.

    It was lonely being virtually alone for years calling MF madness orchestrated by your emperor Danny Williams. I suffered his abusive lawsuit and kept a steady hand on the tiller as both the need for was exposed as myth, and the runnaway costs escalated.

    The democratic controls were stripped away, the civil servants were silenced on threat of dismissal and the lies from the Nalcor monstrosity escalated.

    Is there finally the appetite to get off the floor, call out the emperor and his willing minions of all political stripes who whimpered and empowered the inverted totalitarianism that is all that remains of your democracy?

  3. Re 08:09 (2):-

    While Leblanc is to be commended for noting that Cabot Martin, David Vardy and Ron Penney advised the PUB in 2012 that the Interconnected Option was a Class 4, feasibility level estimate, they did not explain why DG2 estimates essentially prevented the PUB from being able to RATIONALLY ground a conclusion that the Interconnected Option was 'least cost'.

    That the DG2 estimates were within each others "margin of error" and that therefore the PUB did not have reasonable grounds to conclude that Muskrat was least cost, was identified and explained in my Feb. 28, 2012 Written Submission to the PUB:-

    QUOTE

    "… DG2-quality, Class 4, feasibility level estimates are in a "statistical (margin of error) tie" and therefore they provide no prudent, rational and reliable grounds for a finding or a report that concludes that the Infeed Option is "least cost.

    Accordingly, since there are no rational and reliable grounds for a finding that the Infeed Option is `least-cost', any such finding would not be well founded, would be fundamentally flawed — and in error.

    Accordingly, it is submitted that since the Infeed Option is within the margin of error, and in a statistical tie with, the Isolated Island Option, the Infeed Option cannot be rationally and reliably found to be — "least-cost". UNQUOTE

    • The piece suggests Fortis is bullet proof, with guaranteed returns from a regulated business.
      The best of Forts were usually vulnerable. Fortis was recently seen dips of up to 22 %, from 59 to 46 dollars, but no where close to some other companies drop. But would it hold up against a silver bullet?
      PENG2 and Stan benefits from a stock price gain and the dividend.
      to give overall return. Dividends are secure , not so much the stock price.
      Rising tides floats all ships and dropping tides drop all ships, but some more than others. A gain of 4 % on dividends and loss of 20 on stock value, would not make them smile much.
      Winston Adams

  4. There is much effort proceeding on reducing the peak on the c-virus by measures to slow it down. The rationale: with a rapid growth in cases, the limited supply of ICU beds, ventilators etc cannot handle it and the death rate goes up. Perhaps UG readers have seen the charts showing the benefits of reducing that peak.
    This is similar to reducing the peak load on our power grid in winter. It allows fewer generator power assets to handle the power load, without 13 billion dollar wasteful spending. Average Joe has often mentioned how to reduce the peak.

    Did Leblanc say anything at all or mention our peak and how to reduce it?
    Anything or very little? Robust energy efficiency measures leads to reduce energy use, an important part of reducing the peak, like robust measures againt the c-virus is needed.
    Why has Leblanc largely ignored that?
    Of course the power forecast was wrong, and was out of step with most other jurisdictions, as Bruno says,as many others were using robust energy efficiency.

    Also while the analysis between MFs and the Isolated Option may have been close, at 6.2 billion,as MA says,if assessed with a mix of options not done: robust customer efficiency, wind, island hydro adds, it was no contest; 2 billion vs 6.2 billion. Leblanc ignores this. Why? And no one here, not even PENG2 questions the 2 billion as unreasonable. If 2 billion was reasonable, was Leblanc unreasonable to not flush it out some more?
    Winston Adams

    • Yes Winston, guess there are some comparisons in the curves or bump, between the virus and our winter peak load. Not trying to trivialize either. They say the key to reducing the virus peak was or is all about testing, to determine the extent of the problem. If they had an accurate count of the number of people infected, and being infected daily, then they could more accurately determine the size of the problem. We only have one case now that we know of, but we may have many more. The same applied in the USA, at any given point in time, they just knew how many cases they had from the limited testing that they had done. Testing or analyzing the extent of the numbers or problem was not their primary concern. Trump said he did not want the passengers from the infected cruise ship to come ashore, because it would increase his numbers. He also said it would go away when the weather got warmer, same as our power bump.

      That was the same with us, we knew we had a winter peak, and then they said the winter peak would grow. But as you have said many times, they didn't check with the end users to see how much the peak would grow. They used fictious umbers to project the peak, rather than trying to get firm numbers. So rather than dealing with reducing our winter peak, they tried to increase the peak or bump of power needed. So rather than trying to solve our immediate problem they turned their attention to a maga-project and maga-bucks which had very little to do with our winter peak. So they created a mountain from a molehill. They built a mountain in search of solution, rather than a solution to fit our molehill. As you say Leblanc never commented on the molehill or peak because no one talked about peak or presented any info on the winter bump during the inquire, before the inquire or after. And it is still being completely ignored. They are still trying to make the winter peak or bump bigger hoping at some point it may justify the boondoggle. Joe blow.

    • Still trying to justify the boondoggle saying we need it for the winter peak, is as good an explanation as any, Joe. And add to it with baseboard electric heat for MUN and schools, and if MFs is not reliable, add more than needed gas turbines to meet the peak, and the fuel for that.
      Leblanc speaks to the failure, before MFs sanction, to have the Intergrated Resource Plan (which customer energy efficiency is an important component in most jurisdictions), yet in his recommendations, going forward, he ignores this,…so as for the future it is as in the past. What says PENG2 on that?
      Leblanc is like Stratton the forecaster, do the same all over , no changes? 16 million spent, and still no IRP for Leblanc.
      Is that one of a number of flaws with Leblanc?
      I see about 10 ways he was biased for Stan and Nfld Power,I listed them last week in a post, but lost it somehow. But he exposed much rot.
      Winston

    • Yes Winston, we all know that 50 years ago the solution to our winter power bump was the creation of Holyrood and burn bunker C. It was added to our power bills, but because our island, paid for, cheap electricity was so low we didn't complain about the extra cost from burning oil. So 50 years later, Holyrood was old, so they were looking for another solution. They projected how much bunker C would cost us in the future, and used that number to justify the boondoggle. As I have said before the campaigne slogan in 2011 was, " who would you rather pay your money to, big oil, or your own company, called Nalcor?" Well we are still paying both, and no clear end in sight. Time, technology and world class engineers must have been able to come up with a better solution to our bump problem, except they ignored the very problem, that we needed solved. So make the bump bigger they determined to be the solution, and in addition send power to NS, during the winter season too, when they most need it. Sure you couldn't make that stuff up, it must have been the plan, the oil on the brain plan. And now oil is below 30 bucks and who knows, it may go to 10, and the Saudies will be still making money. What a double, or triple wammy says Joe blow.

    • WA @ 21:25:

      Not sure what Inquiry report you are reading, but LeBlanc has said NL Hydro use weak reasoning to eliminate several other configurations of the Isolated Island Option (note that Isolated Island Option is defined as was put to the PUB by definition). Thus, he is saying there were any number of isolated island options that should have been considered.

      Likewise, LeBlanc also said clearly that ignoring CDM effects during forecasting was flawed.

      Investigative Inquries are to find what went wrong so government policy can be affected going forward – an Inquiry is not meant to deep dive into every conceivable option that was ignored by bad policy.

      If you read and interpret the report correctly – you will see that he has said government policy must be updated to reflect better practices. And this isn't that far from what MHI and the PUB said pre-sanction in 2012.

      In the end, LeBLanc confirmed that MF was politically driven – not scientifically based and undertaken by inept individuals.

      PENG2

    • Peng2, since we were discussing the winter power bump, and it doesn't appear it was ever consider in terms of flattening it. It always appeared that the intent was to increase the winter bump, and in fact trying to increase our year round consumption of electricity. And their projection at the time of sanction was that our year round demand would increase. Can you point to anything specifically, before sanction, during the inquiry and since that there was ever any real consideration and attemp to reduce the winter power demand. Like adding substantial wind power and thus storing water power for rare times when the wind does not blow, especially in winter time. Average Joe.

    • PENG2 @ 16:43:

      Here are a couple very important citations from LeBlanc:

      [start]
      Some efforts were made to test other options for meeting that demand, but it is clear that GNL and Nalcor never seriously considered any option other than the Project. Over the next two years, they worked closely together to advance the Project to the point where it could be formally sanctioned.
      [end]

      [start]
      Normally, the complex question of least-cost power for consumers would be answered by the Public Utilities Board, this province’s utility regulator. But the Project had been exempted from PUB oversight by an Order in Council in 2000. So providing the justification for choosing the Project as the best option fell to its proponent, Nalcor.
      [end]

      [start]
      One can only speculate about what might have come from negotiations with Hydro-Québec. A mutually beneficial deal was always possible. However, Nalcor’s decision to screen out negotiations with Québec altogether is another example of its failing to adequately consider all potentially viable options.
      [end]

      [start]
      At DG3, a limit of 10% was placed on the amount of wind generation that could be used to fulfill the Island’s energy requirements. Although the literature review identified uncertainty about implementing wind penetrations above 10%, it also suggested that this uncertainty would be resolved within the near future and that the most likely outcome was that higher penetrations would be possible. The literature review did not suggest that 10% was a probable long-term ceiling on wind penetration. Rather, it indicated some uncertainty about what the long-term ceiling would be and about the kind of system changes that would be needed to support higher penetrations.
      Nalcor also did not consider additional hydro-generation options, such as Bay d’Espoir Unit 8 or Cat Arm Unit 3, when it concluded that increasing wind penetrations would raise reservoir levels and thus both increase the risk of spill and reduce generation efficiency. Nalcor’s current CEO, Stan Marshall, testified that these other generation options would likely have enabled additional wind to be economically added to the Isolated Island Option. It was unreasonable to limit the Isolated Island Option to 10% wind penetration forever since 10% was unlikely to be the long-term limit.
      [end]

      [start]
      While the uncertainty about results of CDM measures in an isolated-island grid is an important factor, this is not a reason to entirely dismiss CDM as a viable alternative to generation planning. CDM could have reasonably been included during screening, at least on a conservative basis. However, NLH failed to consider CDM either in its load forecast or as an offset to large fuel expenditures.
      NLH’s treatment of CDM—ignoring it, basically—was doubly flawed. It failed to consider ongoing CDM in future load forecasts and it failed to consider expanding CDM efforts as an alternative to generation expansion and increased fuel expenditures. Both flaws are significant in light of the structure of the Island’s electrical load and the sensitivity of the Project’s business case to the load forecast.
      [end]

      Joe:
      LeBlanc has clearly said that consideration of options other than Isolated Island and MF were never considered – it now falls to government to implement the policy changes LeBLanc (and others before him) have suggested.

      PENG2

    • Good catch PENG2. Today's NL Energy Policies are such that Muskrat type projects can still happen, given the warped mindset of the people in charge. The hoped change management approach, is very much the issue. Now can a Minority Govnmt get its collective mind around this critical need?

    • Robert @ 17:34:

      I suggest you and WA both read the section on IRP starting on page 12 of the Exec Summary – its a short section, maybe 350 words.

      Read it about 5 times, and have a good think over it – but it is a clear indication of just how circular the information supporting the MF sanction decision really is.

      PENG2

    • Thanks, but I leave Judge's text interpretations to the more enlightened minds. I trying to get caught up on my NL History, 19th Century, (O'Flaherty), and a bit of Shakespeare 🙂 Besides, as an old PM/CM type, it's more about the betrayal of Westny, AACE Principles, by the so called Management Team, than the unscrupulous politicos who took advantage. What's that scene in MacBeth ,"boil and bubble"? Got look that one up.

    • Surprised to see PENG2 comment so much on this, with really so little by Leblanc. I am with you Robert on engineers failures, and you gave me a good chuckle of the Shakespeare bit on the witches brew…..so I Googled that and indeed, he must have wrote it for how to create a boondoggle like MFs, and too for the oil industry on climate destruction. Maybe someone will type out the lines for UG readers. How on earth did that come to you, and then you found and posted the link in 2 minutes. Stan should hire you to help for a strong finish.
      Winston
      So , I address PENG2 later.

    • PENG2, Yes we are reading the same report: how high level is Leblanc's few works on these subjects. High as an eagle, but no deep dive, no dive at all. What you show all together is not half a page of the 1000-1200 pages stated to exist .
      The definition of terms Watt is defined taking up 4 or 5 lines, North Spur defined by 13 words, and the word instability is not one of them.7 pages just defining terms. Maybe Leblanc gets paid by the word or the page, as UG pay me.
      Can you say where in his recommendations he recommends IRP going forward?
      This report and the Inquiry needs critical analysis I suggest, as I see little to guide our future…….I have not yet read much of 1100 pages, and maybe you can point out insightful parts I am missing.

      Take Recommendation 14 : Ability to Speak Truth to Power. I call this the BRUNO rule. Seriously, Bruno on UG repeated stated about speaking truth to power, and took a while for me to get his meaning. Not power as in watts or kilowatts, but power of the emperor , Danny Williams of other elites. You never acknowledge Bruno, but this was his key message was it not?
      Winston Adams
      WInston

    • WA @ 10:45:

      Inquiries are not deep dives into technical issues – they are designed to determine what went wrong with public policy. If a deep dive is what people want – an Inquiry is the wrong tool, and honestly I don't know of a tool other than regulators such as the PUB for this. LeBlancs report is clear on this (as are the numerous papers and presentations on inquries)- as is his interpretation of the ToR. No Inquiry I know off has ever done the type of deep dive you are suggesting.

      Again, I would suggest Gomery's paper for a better understanding of what an Inquiry is and isn't.

      Above, I referenced you to the section on IRP – maybe go and review that because by your question I am assuming you havent.

      Also, the stability of the NS is summarily discussed on pages 38-39 of the Exec Summary.

      Perhaps good practice would be to read the report before alleging a topic isn't covered and adequately addressed.

      PENG2

    • PENG2, can you give me a break?
      My wife has new tumors that may have turned aggressvive. She is scheduled for major surgery in Halifax on Apr 14. This may be impacted by the visus.
      A PET scan here was delayed for 5 weeks and the interpretation questionable. I have been a full month seeking clarification and a new scan. You recently agreed I should stand my ground,and I did, shortly after an expert from NS supported my call for a new scan. I have dozens of emails trying to get this, and yesterday it is happening, but not sure when.
      Add to this my wife now on self isolation for 14 days, medical appointments for today cancelled. We get food delivery dropped off to the front door. Neighbours fear we might be infected, but no symptoms.
      Yet you suggest I should devote more time to reading all this 1100 page report? Lucky I have read any of it.
      And where is your serious reading of Synapse, the Reliability Report, or the #1 engineering boondoggle in Canada I suggested to you?
      I put in more of my 2 cents worth on UG blog, most on technical matters.
      Where is the hundreds of engineers in this province, other than staying under the cone of silence, silent on this blog, and speaking truth to power nowhere. Guess, like you, they see no major engineering failure on this boondoggle? Should you question why their silence?
      Winston Adams

  5. This was a great post, reminding us the extent to which this Liberal government has neglected our situation. 2020 is shaping up to be the worst year ever since 1949 and all we've got is this hapless troupe of zombies.

    The only good news of having a cataclysm this year is we won't be tortured by several more years of wasteful denials that our situation can be turned around.

    As fast as I write this though,
    I've little doubt the Liberals will slimily say they can manage this. They'll concoct schemes to send public money to an array of Liberal friends for hare-brained business ideas. The Tories would do the same. How in hell do we stop this from repeating? Do we need a local Bernie Sanders?

  6. https://www.energy-storage.news/news/germanys-grid-could-use-gigawatt-scale-ess-as-alternative-to-billions-in-in

    “When you see three power lines, two are carrying electricity and the other one isn’t. You replace your N-1 with the battery, which is just backup, meaning you can use all three power lines and if it’s carrying 500MW, you’ve got a 500MW battery that replaces it. It can be just a few hours of generation, just long enough for the TSO to come in and balance the system.”

    • This must be more Bruno Battery Breaking news.
      500 MW should about be right to replace Holyrood. A week or so ago I estimated almost 5 billion for wind and batteries,and used to be 17 billion.
      Bruno has still not given cost estimates or how it can replace Holyrood.
      Dick and Jane can do arithmetic. See them do it.
      Bruno cannot do arithmetic. Pity. Bruno don't try. Pity.
      Should Bruno learn from Dick and Jane?
      Winston

    • Actually a 100 MW Bruno batteries is on their list to consider.
      Would I rather a 100MW battery or 100 mw of Nfld Power small hydro that has been around for 100 years already? The small hydro 100 time more valuable. I fear the present planners will opt of batteries instead of better options, for Nfld needs especailly lowering the winter peak, and longer term water storage.
      Winston

  7. The Cornerstone of the "perfect storm" is the glaring fact of having Tom Osborne as our Finance Minister. Many other facets of the "storm" are being experienced by other jurisdictions without insolvency concern.

    On a side note. Did NB just produce a balanced budget? and last i heard, they have no oil to rely on and are seeing population growth. Hmmmm…

  8. Oil price sliding even deeper today and who knows where the bottom is. Brent well under us$30 and WCS at us$9! The shale industry is in big trouble. Alberta tarsands is in big trouble. NL offshore might be covering O&M costs but must be near zilch in royalties going to Government this year.

    GNL Finance Dept needs to fess up soon as to how bad the impact is. Muskrat needs more money too. If we needed to borrow $1.2B cash last year, it looks like we may need to find $2B or more this year.

    Bond markets meanwhile are getting ready to have their asses handed to them in corporate bankruptcies and a major recession about to happen. NL's credit rating must be in for a beatdown. Maybe our credit will run out this year. Pity the next Premier who inherits this mess – and the rest of us.

    • Heavy oil from Alberta is done like dinner! Ditto the US shale industry. Likewise NL offshore oil is not worth developing but for the "Super Royalty" deals they signed.

      NL will take a bath on all the oil delivered with NL making up the loss incurred by big oil selling at market prices.

      Only in NL you say??

    • Nalcor has hidden the books and stuck to the 12.7 billion lie through all kinds of corruption, abandoned contracts, screwed synchronous condensers, software mess with the LIL, etc. 16 billion is now a CONSERVATIVE estimate of the costs to date with no guarantee the hard and software issues will ever be resolved.

      How Nalcor continues in secrecy without oversight is stunning. Danny and Ed's delusions remain unchallenged. What a pathetic display of prostration to the Emperor!

    • Hey Bruno. I name Leblanks recommendation # 14, the Bruno Rule.It's meant as a compliment for your call of speaking truth to power on UG for several years.

      On the oil crash. Great for the climate change issue is it not?
      At 100 m bls per day they estimated a week ago that the yearly gain of 1 m bls per day may not happened this yer and stay flat. Now a week later they say it could drop to 90 M bl/d due to this virus. How do we get to Zero, or near Zero per day? A long way to go. A big Green deal needed?
      Winston Adams

  9. One good thing that may come of it all is the accelerated insolvency of this fiscal basket case of a province and the consequent removal of all dimwitted/corrupted NL politicians from any decisions even remotely connected to provincial finances, and an arm's length commission of government is put in charge of the province in their stead.

    And bloody-well hooray for that.

  10. How come that fuckin' Charles Bown is still working in government??

    CHARLES BOWN!!

    GO TO JAIL !!!

    GO DIRECTLY TO JAIL !!!!

    DO NOT PASS GO !!!!

    DO NOT COLLECT AN NL PUBLIC SERVICE PENSION !!!!

    FUCKIN' ROTTEN SKEET !!!