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Recent comments

  • Marie
    January 30, 2012 - 16:34

    Without a full external financial audit, no one even knows if they are meeting 100% of their legal compliance requirements. Does it matter? It should. For some strange reason Danny's Team doesn’t want people talking or asking about Danny's Dream except to agree with them on everything. Why are they in such a mad rush to push it through without due diligence. We will be the ones paying for it and much as we love Danny like our ancestors loved Joey, he did sign this deal on his way out the door. Maybe he was tired and confused - thinking business instead of government at the time and there are some huge differences in principles there.

    January 29, 2012 - 21:54

    If NALCOR goes ahead with this Muskrat Falls Hydroelectric Project with all the inherent risks involved, it will lose all crediblity.

    • DD
      January 30, 2012 - 12:40

      Where did you get the idea they ever had any credibility in the first place.

  • Cyril Rogers
    January 29, 2012 - 16:07

    Ms Dunderdale's spurious attack on The Telegram has hopefully woken them up but, unfortunately, the government does a lot of business with newspapers and we don't have too many options in St. John's. I found Mr. Wangersky's article to be most refreshing and I hope the bullying tactics of the government will not get in the way of the truth. The Telegram owes the people of this province the unvarnished truth and I trust journalists will start to become ever more diligent in their search for the truth and full disclosure on these kinds of mega-projects.

    • Denise Hennebury
      January 30, 2012 - 08:56

      Well said Russell ... and Cyril. We need this kind of research and reporting to keep the public informed on all sides of the issue. We all have our everyday work to do (and don't all have the time available to dig as deep as we might like), thank goodness that some people's everyday work helps to keep us asking questions!

  • gerry martin
    January 28, 2012 - 22:07

    Here is a far out connection as the business case for MF looks weaker by the day. The $5B Dannylands subdivision complete with new hospital, is locked at the hip with the Muskrat Falls project. Without a government fueled mega-make-work project pumping dumb money into a bad project for several years after peak oil, there won't be anyone to buy homes in Dannyland. All the lieutenants who were appointed by DW, are sworn to make this happen. All the rest of us are doomed to pay for it.

  • ed power
    January 28, 2012 - 18:57

    Mr Smith does a such nice job of obfuscation, misdirection and spin, one would swear he is a pro. As has been pointed out repeatedly, there was no pressing concern about power shortfalls raised by the government or Nalcor until Muskrat Falls was dropped into our laps by Danny Williams as he was getting out of Dodge. Within weeks of the announcement, after people had had some time to digest it, the questions started . Since that time we have had a steady stream of Ministers, backbenchers and Nalcor executives sounding the alarm about increasing demand, power shortfalls, sky rocketing oil prices, the high cost of refurbishing or replacing the Holyrood station and criticizing any other alternative to the MF project. Wind, tidal, solar (unlikely, I know), natural gas, geothermal, small scale hydro and other sources are dismissed. Emerging technologies, improved and enhanced conservation in the form of LED and energy efficient halogen lighting are downplayed, as are the governments own projections on our declining population. If, as the government, and it's (unpaid ?) advocate Mr. Pseudonymous Smith maintain, this is the cheapest and most cost effective method of generating electrical power for future island use, why are they not submitting the project to an independent review, and having the project reviewed by the PUB? Why the haste? Is it because the project will be hard to kill once it is started? This project has unfortunately taken on a political life of it's own, this is Danny's Legacy, and to question it is to be branded a traitor, in much the same way as Ryan Cleary's recent timely and sensible comments on the seal hunt. I would dearly love to see Labrador power flowing to the communities in Labrador, over to the island through a fixed link and the surplus sent on to the markets in Canada and the US. Bypassing Quebec, and the spineless wonders in Ottawa who won't enforce our right to sell power to outside markets, as oil and gas flow across provincial and national borders, would be the "icing on the cake". But at what cost? Unfortunately, we are not allowed to have an open and vigorous analysis of the merits of this particular,and much reduced, project because our betters have already made the decision on our behalf. I had thought that we had outgrown that mindset, but apparently I am mistaken. The old adage about matrimony comes to mind, "Marry in haste, repent in leisure." When the cost of this project passes into double digits, as it will, because none of these projects has ever been completed on budget and on time, our children will have many decades to repent our lack of due diligence. One question, if we are suffering from an imminent shortfall of power, why is the Confederation Building lit up like a Christmas tree all night?

  • stan
    January 28, 2012 - 18:23

    So many irrelevant "points" in this article and obviously trying to confuse people. Completely obvious the writer has a beef with the government and is trying to confuse the issue because he knows he can't show Muskrat Falls isn't the best option. It's a shameful tactic to purposefully try to confuse the public. He talks about "export" markets drying up, yet Muskrat Falls and the numbers are based on the island's needs, anything else is gravy. He talks about potential cost overruns, but forgets to say all projects have the same potential for overruns, and that MF is the cheapest. Hard to ever take this writer seriously. Really looking forward to another article on how the auditor general's report could potentially mean there are "slush funds" that we don't know about. Shame. Shame. Shame. Shame. Please just write about seagulls.

  • Maurice E. Adams
    January 28, 2012 - 16:48

    FACT: In 2010 Holyrood provided 803 GWh of energy to island customers (about 10% of our total demand).++++ FACT: That equates to only about 26% of Holyroods 'firm' capacity. ++++++ FACT: Even during the worst winter months (Jan, Feb, March) over the last 8 years Holyrood needed to operate at an average of only 50% of its capacity --- even during the winter. +++++ FACT: Over the last 6 years, that winter average usage for Holyrood went down to 44%. ++++ FACT: Over the last 10 years the average oil cost per KWh of energy produced by Holyrood was 7.5 cents/KWh. +++++ FACT: Nalcor just reported that the actual cost per KWh of energy generated at Muskrat Falls will be 21.4 cents/KWh (and that seems to exclude transmission costs --- add another 7 cents/KWh). FACT: This summer/fall alone Nalcor spilled 694 GWh of energy from its existing island hydro sites --- enough to satisfy Vale's demand for a year and Nalcor says they expect to keep spilling until Vale comes on stream to use up our EXISTING 'EXCESS' CAPACITY. +++++ FACT: That 694 GWh alone is enough to meet our ACTUAL 20 average increase in demand for ----- and wait for this ---- 91 years. AND ON AND ON AND ON IT GOES. But that should do for now.

  • HarbourMaster
    January 28, 2012 - 16:24

    Excellent article Russell obviously you have done a great deal of research and have pointed out significant pitfalls in the Muskrat Falls proposal. My only fear is that we currently have a very weak governing party who seem to be followers and not leaders. In this case they are the followers of NALCOR who have their own bigger is better agenda. It is obvious that NALCOR has told Ms. Dunderdale that they do not want the PUB to complete a detailed review for fear that they will uncover cheaper alternatives and discrepancies in NALCORs economics.

  • Steve
    January 28, 2012 - 15:17

    The whole problem with Muskrat Falls is the cost of the transmission system. Pursuing this ridiculous idea of sending energy to the US for profit will bankrupt this province. The costs of the transmission system are simply too high for it to ever be profitable. If it goes ahead, this project should be about guaranteeing the future energy supply for Labrador, and a separate project should be completed to provide power for the island. Speaking of which.... http://nalcor.ca/assets/infocentre_infosheets_meetingloadonanisolatedislandsystemapril18final.pdf Has anyone else read this 'misinformation sheet'? I wonder why nuclear was never considered as an alternate supply. One Candu ACR-1000 would cost less than their alternative expansion projects and provide even more electricity for domestic consumption. Actually, why not just let the water keep on running instead of backflooding several thousand square kms of forest for this dam, and build two reactors instead? Makes too much sense I suppose. Hydro, this so called 'green' renewable source of power, is far from green!!! BTW, one of the largest proven reserves of uranium in the world is in Labrador. In terms of electrical energy, our province would be self sufficient for centuries, and the mines would provide a similar amount of employment. These idiots running our government are selling us down the river, both literally and figuratively. May God help us if Muskrat goes ahead in its current form.

  • William Daniels
    January 28, 2012 - 14:34

    I finally agree with John Smith. We need to shelve this project. Now.

  • Concerned Citizen and Consumer
    January 28, 2012 - 12:45

    An exceptionally clear and informative Editorial. Many thanks for contributing so usefully to the public dialogue on the Muskrat Falls project.

  • Sheldon
    January 28, 2012 - 11:17

    Andddd.... cue somebody using the name "John Smith" to appear and rebuke Russell, and the column, and the paper. And don't forget to tell him he has an agenda, or he's a liberal, or he's stupid, or both. This project is a great project, Dr. Locke, Nalcor, Navigant, provincial government, blahh blahh blahh.

  • Cyril Rogers
    January 28, 2012 - 10:40

    Mr. Wangersky, you have finally done what most of the media has been avoiding....some investigative journalism. These are the kinds of concerns and questions that NALCOR and the government have avoided like the proverbial plague. Your comparison to the Manitoba Hydro scenario sends us ominous warnings about the pitfalls of going ahead with this project but it is obvious that the government and NALCOR will never accept the truth, unless external forces defeat them. They are determined to go ahead with their propaganda game and use arrogance and misleading data to try and convince people that those who object to the project are wrong. We are not wrong but they persist!! Why? Why? There is no imminent crisis and likely will not be one, if they develop smaller projects in a timely manner and encourage a smarter use of electricity. Keep up the good work and keep generating facts in the face of government propaganda!

  • John Smith
    January 28, 2012 - 09:30

    Well, Russell thanks for that scary story. I guess we should shelve the project right now. However, I think you forgot a couple of things in your attempt at spin. Out of the 506,000 or so of us that live in this province, about 480,000 of us live on an island. An island with an isolated grid. An island that gets power from a oil burning, polluting antiquated plant, an island that will be at a power deficit by 2020. So inorder to make the deal work, we have to spread some initial cost out? That is quite nomal in this type of deal, so I've read. The thing is, what is the lowest cost option for us? Not Manitoba. You see Russell, Manitoba is on the mainland, they are not on an isolated island grid. They can buy and sell power on the spot market with ease. We cannot. We have to worry that our oil fired Jenny in holyrood keep huffin and puffin..as we crank up the electric heat. So Russell I say to yopu and the naysayers...what's the alternative? Let's hear the dream about cheap wind, and importing LNG again. LOL Give me a break.

    • Eli
      January 28, 2012 - 15:26

      John, I'd like to have your medication although I'd be disturbed if I neglected to take it as often as you seem to do. But do your best and keep Russell's figure of 28.4 cents a kilowatt hour in mind. It will put me and a lot of seniors on the friggin' street if it becomes reality.

    • Willi Makit
      January 28, 2012 - 22:59

      The alternative? Ummm, if you're really keen on an interlinked solution, link the systems, and find another source for the power. The bulk would be supplied through recall or (gasp!) purchased power from Quebec, and save the difference. Using 21.4 cents COS for Muskrat Falls Power, it makes economic sense, and all 100% as green as Muskrat Falls. When the Churchill Falls contract expires in '41, 100% of our needs could be met through sources that we would then own. Worst case we pay HQ spot price in the interim, and if you want to motivate people in NL to conserve, that’s a sure fire way of doing it. Any necessary purchases could be further reduced by augmenting the Island grid with alternative sources which would provide the additional benefit of a more fault tolerant grid. Following that approach, there’s a much lower cost risk and no selling an ownership stake in the Belle Isle link to Emera. We lose the dam part of the make work project but at a time when there's a skilled trade shortage and huge cost overruns on mega-projects are the norm, well worth it. Look no further than the $100 million worth of Hebron work we just lost or Vale's experience for the real world (aka the private sector) as proof of that.