Cheers & Jeers

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Jeers: to Christmas spammings. Now that Christmas has passed, perhaps businesses and professional groups could take a step back and think about their new method of Christmas greetings. E-cards may be a simple way to get a seasonal greeting out to customers and clients, but they’re less personal than an email from a deposed Libyan millionaire offering to share his fortune with you. After the third set of singing corporate reindeer, you just start deleting the things unread.


Cheers: to playing both sides of the same game. Quebec engineering giant SNC-Lavalin expects to “book” $650 million to $750 million as a result of its central role in the construction of the Muskrat Falls project, according to The Globe and Mail, making a good return of green on the Dunderdale government’s clean, green hydro project. But that doesn’t mean the same company isn’t hedging its bets when it comes to shale gas and electrical generation in the United States. There’s this, from a Dec. 18 news release (the day after Premier Kathy Dunderdale’s announcement that Muskrat Falls had been sanctioned): “SNC-Lavalin in joint venture with Skanska, has been awarded a contract for the Newark Energy Center, a 655-MW gas-fired combined cycle power plant in New Jersey. SNC-Lavalin is providing engineering, procurement, start-up and commissioning services, while Skanska is responsible for construction and site management. ‘We are proud to support a project that will provide clean, efficient and dependable electricity to the northern New Jersey grid, while bringing new jobs and revenue to Newark,’ said Patrick Lamarre, executive vice-president, SNC-Lavalin Group Inc.” Indeed. The price tag for the Newark plant? Local reports say US$750 million, which is slightly less than the $7.7 billion Muskrat Falls venture. Guess New Jersey’s off our potential customer list.


Jeers: to looking bad. Here’s a slightly private jeer to a member of the Royal Newfoundland Constabulary. On a Friday morning when you’re driving one of those marked ghost cars that are supposed to be nabbing drivers for traffic violations, it’s probably not a good idea to roll through red lights without stopping or slowing, or to make a series of turns without bothering to put on your turn signal. You’re not exactly setting a good example for the rest of the driving public, n’est-ce pas?


Jeers: to what passes for debate in the House. In one single day in the December filibuster, two different Conservative MHAs argued that MHA Yvonne Jones had her “knickers in a knot” or “in a bunch.” Jones managed to use the word “weasel” 11 times, and in many different applications. Really, that’s all you need to know about how “honourable” members spend their time. No word yet on whether anybody’s mother wears army boots.



Organizations: SNC-Lavalin Group Inc., Skanska, Globe and Mail Newark Energy Center

Geographic location: New Jersey, Quebec, Newark United States

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Recent comments

  • Cold Future
    January 02, 2013 - 09:06

    Excerpt from Dec 31 release"A central tenet in the provincial Energy Plan is the strategic investment of a portion of the province’s non-renewable resource revenue into renewable energy infrastructure such as hydroelectric generation and transmission. In December, the Provincial Government moved forward with sanction on Muskrat Falls. Muskrat Falls will address increasing energy needs in the province, secure stable electricity rates for residents and businesses, support industrial development in Labrador, while providing important economic, employment and social benefits for the people of Newfoundland and Labrador." A portion of the non-renewable revenue to make the ugly numbers seem better. Too bad the cheap mainland energy can't be purchased by Newfoundland Power for our benefit. Too bad the yaysayers can't sign up to pay extra to allow us naysayers to avoid subsidizing the boondoggle.What a gift to the grandchildren-Happy New Year.

  • Winston Adams
    January 01, 2013 - 16:41

    John, it is a poor argument that we can sell power in the USA, what is important is the amount of money it makes there. The more cheap gas production brought on line there , the less they will pay for our energy, and less the gravy, as Ed Martin calls it.And the link allows electricity to flow either way. They can sell cheap gas produced electricity back to Nfld--- replacing Holyrood generation, or MF generation. Really sound economics for island needs. Of course this wouldn't happen with a isolated grid. What 's that about sauce for the goose? Free trade works both ways. We can create a monopoly here to screw the ratepayer and prevent competition for new generation on the island.But our laws don't override free trade laws. Danny didn't learn from the Abitibi mistake, where the feds paid the penality. Face facts, the USA wants cheap energy, not expensive clean energy. That is the reality.And they can bring it on stream 10 times cheaper. And Snc - Lavalin is helping them do it, and making profits on both schemes. At 10 percent of cost, they get 60 million in fees on the gas plant, and over 600 million on MF. Just covers a hospital for Corner Brook, or our current deficit. And if our island demand slips at all, there goes the justification for island demand. So John, keep your windows opens in winter, as is your habit. Nalcor needs every extra kwh consumption. This mild winter so far must really worry them. When can we get 2012 peak consumption and demand?And would SNC also advise us how to implement serious effficency savings? Or would that be unethical?

  • Maurice E. Adams
    December 31, 2012 - 12:39

    The bottom line is that Muskrat Falls is uneconomic........... It can only be built by 1) legally locking island ratepayers, their children and grandchildren into power rates that are excessively high for 50 years, --- a subsidy 2) having the federal government provide a loan guarantee, 3) shifting the project management/ oversight to an Independent Engineer that is responsible solely to the federal government/lenders, 4) subjugating ratepayers to a Nalcor monopoly, 5) removing ratepayers' electricity rate protection by removing the PUB from Muskrat oversight, 6) preventing any other entrepreneur/industry from developing and marketing any other power source to islanders or for their own use for the next 50 years, 7) preventing Hydro Quebec from selling their cheaper excess power to Labrador or island customers, 8) preventing Labrador and island ratepayers from accessing near-zero cost Upper Churchill power which will now not be available to them until 2067 or even later, 9) preventing ratepayers from reducing their energy bills in that the 50 year take or pay contract means that conservation (reduced power use) will drive up rates ----- and on and on it goes. .... In short, cheap power for ratepayers (and its availability for the purpose of fostering economic development/business competitiveness) will be a thing of the past. Who in their right mind would spend billions of their people's windfall oil revenues to destroy the evolving economic strength of their own people --- and place a multi-billion yoke of debt around their necks while doing so?

  • W Bagg
    December 31, 2012 - 11:42

    NL residential users will be paying the highest price per KWh in all of North America when Muskrat comes on line................and the sad part is the province has to put the brakes on all other spending to get there, less on health care, less on education, less on "infrastrucuture investments" for the next decade. It's gonna be tough times until Muskrat is paid for in 50 years, yup, 50 years!

  • Corporate Psycho
    December 31, 2012 - 10:59

    We are being robbed by our own this time instead of Quebec. The special interests have taken over completely and will make millions off the taxpayers back. How are we going to sell overpriced power??

  • saelcove
    December 31, 2012 - 10:18

    They may have to give away extra capacity it,s happened in other countries

  • John Smith
    December 31, 2012 - 09:37

    I don't understand why anyone would bring up energy projects in other countries? How much they cost, or how much power they has no bearing whatsoever on NL, or our energy needs here. We live on an island, isolated from the grid, we need to develop our own clean reliable sources of power...the US has already tapped every single river in their country, that's why they burn coal. They want to get off coal...we want to get off bunker C....two different countries...two totally different situations. Oh, and don't forget the spot market is wide open to any electricity that is allowed to be sold on it...they don't care if it comes from muskrat, or a coal plant in we will always be able to sell power matter how many plants are built...