Via labradore, the statement of claim filed on behalf of Hydro-Quebec earlier this week.
You can search it and read it in English. Those of you using Chrome will find the translation very simple.
If the text here is too small, then click on the title – Hydro-Quebec Statement of Claim by labradore – and go straight to Scribd.
Take away the bluster: “The agenda won’t be set by Quebec in terms of how we do our work, how we develop our resources, and how we access markets.”
Take away the old fairy tales : “I would characterize this as a desperate move by a company that’s been trying one way or the other to thwart development on the lower Churchill for a number of years, unless it was clearly in the best interests of the people of Quebec.”
Dispose of all the crap and what’s left of Premier Kathy Dunderdale’s comments on the Hydro-Quebec legal challenge about the 1969 is very few words that reveal much.
You can read the full decision by the UARB (pdf) but here are some points to note.
Right off the bat, you will see in the full report that Nova Scotia consumers had the benefit of reviews by several consultants all of which are included in the UARB report. This stands in stark contrast to the rigged reviews conducted in Newfoundland and Labrador before the final approval by the provincial government.
Right off that the bat, that means that the public interest was far better served in Nova Scotia than it was at any point during the past decade in dealing with the Lower Churchill.
There are so many ways that Ed Martin, his crew at Nalcor, and the provincial Conservatives and all their supporters have screwed themselves and local ratepayers it is getting harder to tell which one is worse.
On Monday, the Nova Scotia regulator approved the Maritime Link but only condition that Emera secure enough extra electricity at market rates to make the project the lowest cost option. Meanwhile in Quebec, Hydro-Quebec announced it was seeking a court opinion on its right to access virtually all the output from Churchill Falls.
The interplay of the two things could work together to deliver a horrible result for the people of Newfoundland and Labrador.
MONTREAL, July 22, 2013 /CNW Telbec/ – Hydro-Québec is filing a motion today with the Québec Superior Court to obtain a declaratory judgment. The company is asking the Court to confirm that two recent positions taken by CF(L)Co with respect to the Churchill Falls Contract (the Contract) are ill-founded. The Québec Superior Court has exclusive jurisdiction to rule on any dispute arising out of the Contract. It should be noted that the Contract will be automatically renewed in 2016, for a 25-year period ending in 2041.
1 – Energy deliveries to which Hydro-Québec is entitled Under the (Read more…)
A half century ago, a bunch of very smart fellows – some of the smartest fellows of any generation ever – wanted to build a massive plant in the middle of Labrador to make electricity.
One of the problems the project faced was a combination of costs and markets. As Philip Smith recounts in Brinco: the story of Churchill Falls, the very smart men were concerned right from the start that nuclear power offered an almost unbeatable alternative to hydroelectricity for generating large amounts of electricity at relatively low cost. The markets needed power and nuclear could do it cheaper.
Nuclear power also had a huge advantage hydro couldn’t match: you can turn the plant on and off when you wish. With hydro, you can make power only when you have the water. Even with a massive reservoir, the generating output of the plant will go up and down during . . . → Read More: The Sir Robert Bond Papers: History’s Bitch #nlpoli
Screaming headline across the top of the front page of the Saturday Telly:
SNC-Lavalin shut out of Hydro-Quebec projects
And right underneath, the claim that it is a Telegram exclusive.
That would be right except for the fact someone else reported it months ago.
The problems first surfaced in April, as reported by Radio-Canada.
And La presse had the specific Muskrat Falls angle in early May. The recent decision on the Romaine project reported on Saturday by the Telly is just the same as the La Presse story…only much later.
Where’s the exclusive?
Liberal member of parliament Yvonne Jones is pissed off.
She told VOCM that “there are 1,016 people that are payrolled [sic]under the Muskrat Falls project. 201 of those are Labradorians. So we have less than 10 per cent of Labrador people employed as part of that project.”
She said that was unacceptable.
Someone forgot to point out to the mathematically challenged politician that 201 is a teensy bit shy of 20% of 1,016.
Not less than 10%.
But about double that.
19.7% to be super-accurate.
So if someone pointed out to Jones that there are twice as many (Read more…)
Maybe it’s the lack of independent corroboration in this Telegram article that just sends a chill up your spine.
That’s the one where Nalcor officials insist they are doing a great job keeping costs on the megaproject under control.
Here are a bunch of stories all of which would deserve a post of their own but that are presented here cut down to the barest of bare essentials.
King of the Keystone Kops Strikes Again: Not content to demonstrate his incompetence with his earlier budget shag up, justice minister Darin King (Twitter: @King_Darin) announced on Thursday that 25 fisheries officers his department had booted out the door in the 2013 budget cuts would be rehired to a man and/or woman in very short order.
What can King possibly do to top this besides light his own underwear (Read more…)
Not surprisingly, a band of familiar faces turned up at Nalcor’s annual public meeting to put questions about Muskrat Falls to Ed Martin, the man more and more people are calling the de facto Premier of Newfoundland and Labrador.
And equally unsurprisingly, Ed Martin continued with the sort of uninformative or misleading comments of the sort he made most notoriously about water management and generating capacity in 2012.
The fact that Martin does not speak plainly and therefore honestly about anything Nalcor is doing should make people extremely nervous.
Critics of the Muskrat Falls development pointed out over 18 months ago that the project would have problems meeting its electricity commitments.
Nalcor disputed that.
But this weekend, CBC’s Paul Withers told On Point host David Cochrane that Nalcor has refused to commit in writing to supply Nova Scotia with electricity beyond the original block of free electricity Emera will get as part of the basic deal.
The original term sheet and the final capacity agreement basically commit the parties to work it out in the future on two conditions. First, Nova Scotia (Read more…)
Kathy Dunderdale had a pretty easy audience on Monday for her relaxed, ambling speech about a whole bunch of stuff.
It was the St. John’s Board of Trade.
As a rule, the townie business community have the guts of political guppies. They’ll run along with whatever the government says and Monday was no different. When the Conservatives were spending and spending beyond what the province could afford, the crowd at the Board of Trade cheered wildly. And now on cue they are repeating the Conservative line on spending restraint – when there really isn’t any – and the glories of Muskrat Falls, which is the proof the government is continuing to spend beyond the public’s means.
The crowd at the aptly named BOT know what side their bread is buttered on so they applauded in all the right spots in the Premier’s stock speech.
Well, almost stock.
(Read . . . → Read More: The Sir Robert Bond Papers: Do we have it? #nlpoli
So after a teaser column in the Telegram last week that was more creative fiction than serious history or memoir, John Crosbie explained why he loves the Muskrat Falls project in this Saturday’s instalment of Geriatric Townie Pass-times.
It’s really simple.
The project will be splendiferous.
Amazingly, marvellously, Keebler-elves-kinda-magical.
And John Crosbie’s recent column (May 18) in the Telegram about Churchill Falls contains some of the oldest – and completely unsubstantiated – crap on the go.
Tom Marshall used to be the finance minister.
He’s the guy who consistently, year after year, spent more than the people of the province could afford. Tom didn’t do it by himself: he had the support of all his colleagues in cabinet.
And since 2009, Tom and his colleagues have admitted that they mismanaged the provincial government accounts by overspending.
Along the way, Tom has claimed some things that aren’t true. Like saying that he and his colleagues lowered the provincial debt when they didn’t.
So now that he is natural resources minister, Tom Marshall is still telling people things that aren’t true. This time it is about the glories of the 2008 expropriation.
What Tom says.
Two different things.
Check out the 2012 Hydro-Quebec annual report and you will find a lovely chart showing trends in energy prices in northeastern North America.
“After reaching a historic peak in 2008, natural gas and electricity prices in northeastern North America dropped sharply in 2009, then rose slightly in 2010 only to fall again, such that prices in 2012 were at their lowest in 10 years.” (page 11)
From an historic peak to the lowest prices in a decade a mere four years later.
Husky Energy is sizing up the potential of developing natural gas offshore Newfoundland and Labrador within the next decade, according to the leading petroleum industry news source upstreamonline.com.
First exports could begin in 2025, if enough resources can be certified, according to upstream. The likely export destination would be western Europe, a market very close to Newfoundland and Labrador and where prices are considerably stronger than they are in North America.
upstream’s story notes that the provincial government “quashed” any idea of using local natural gas in place of Muskrat falls, but reports that since then the “the (Read more…)
Natural resources minister Tom Marshall announced in the House of Assembly on Tuesday that the provincial government had settled with the last of a string of private companies victimised by a 2008 asset grab of hydro-electric generating facilities by the provincial government.
Taxpayers will cover a $54 million debt owed by Fortis, one of the partners in the Exploits Partnership, as well as pay the company an additional $18 million. Taxpayers have already paid more than $4 million according to media reports, bringing the total to about $76 million for the Fortis asset swipe alone.
In 2011, the provincial (Read more…)
The north side of the site of the future Muskrat Falls dam has a problem. The soil is made up of clay that has a tendency to sheer away in landslides when it gets too wet. The North Spur, as it is known, is a key part of the reservoir.
Cabot Martin has documented the whole thing in a slide presentation based on documents released during the environmental reviews of the project.
According to Martin, Nalcor won’t have a potential solution to the problem or know the cost until sometime this year.
. . . → Read More: The Sir Robert Bond Papers: Muskrat Falls weakness: the North Spur #nlpoli
The provincial “mid-year” financial update included a familiar claim about the Muskrat Falls project:
We estimate that the province will see revenues in excess of $20 billion over 50 years beginning in 2017, with average annual revenues of $450 million over this period.
But a new analysis of the project cash flows by JM shows that it will be 2031 before the provincial government will realise any genuine dividends from the project. What’s more, it will be sometime around 2048 before the dividends would reach as much as $200 million.
That’s not all. The provincial government will have to inject upwards of $100 million over and above any amounts described to date in order to maintain the debt-service coverage ratio (DSCR) of 1.4 during the first five years of the project as required by the federal loan guarantee.
When you consider the equity repayment, the required debt service ratio, and . . . → Read More: The Sir Robert Bond Papers: Muskrat Falls: delayed dividends, more equity needed #nlpoli
Word that the Town of Badger is having problems with flooding – again – is a reminder of a couple of small hydro projects at Badger Chute and Red Indian Falls that would have helped relieve the flooding threat.
Nova Scotia “energy consultants pan Muskrat Falls project”. “Let’s wait for URB verdict”: former NS NDP leader Ekuanitshit Innu suing over Muskrat Falls. (French) Nalcor excluded the George River herd from Muskrat falls impact study according to Ekuanitshit commentary on MF environmental review: Effects on the George River herd
Generally speaking, the proponent’s optimism with respect to the effects of the project on caribou cannot be justified merely by its very selective description of the effects on certain herds.
The George River herd was arbitrarily excluded from the impact study:
“More recently, the
. . . → Read More: The Sir Robert Bond Papers: Muskrat Mania #nlpoli
Nalcor has awarded a contract valued at more than $106 million to Nexans Norway AS to construct the underwater cable for the Muskrat Falls project, according to a news release issued on Tuesday by Nexans.
Neither Nalcor nor Emera apparently issued any new releases on the tender. The only reference to the contract award on Nalcor’s website is a tiny mention buried away on the project benefits and tendering page.
The news release from the successful company included a passing reference to a fibre optic cable of unspecified capacity to be included with the high voltage direct current electricity
. . . → Read More: The Sir Robert Bond Papers: Nexans to build Muskrat Falls underwater cable #nlpoli
From the Chronicle Herald:
Emera CEO Chris Huskilson says there are several options available to Nova Scotians to meet future energy needs, but he insists the arrangement with Newfoundland and Labrador represents the best opportunity.
“It is not something (Nova Scotians) must do because Emera is bringing it forward, it is something they can consider and decide,” Huskilson said in an interview Tuesday.
“We have not signed anything that would obligate Nova Scotia customers to take this energy. All we’ve done was sign something that creates that opportunity.”