Monday 5 January 2009

Bipole disorder: It's not too late to go down the east side!!!

I am glad that Welch wrote her synopsis of Hydro's state of affairs. Allow me to comment of a few of her points:

on power rates:
"lawyer Williams said there could be a debate that starts percolating over just what Manitobans ought to pay for power -- the cheap rate we pay now or something closer to the real market value, which might spur people to conserve their megawatts."

Start percolating? Get with the program already. It's been debated on the internet many times already. YES we should be paying market rates, at least on marginal power consumption. If you maintain low rates on the first 200 kwh or so, and jack up the rates on the incremental consumption, you'll promote conservation without hurting the low incomers. You can employ market forces while feeling all warm and fuzzy about protecting the vulnerable people. That's the best of both worlds for a liberal province.

on wind power:
I don't know what's going on here, but there obviously isn't any motivation to make this happen. "The Doer government has promised to build another 600 megawatts of wind power." He also promised to get rid of hallway medicine. Next ...

The dams:
" 'We've got a lot of stuff going on, but everything seems to be under control,' said Hydro CEO Bob Brennan," who added: "NOT"

Cap and trade:
I am generally a fan of market-based mechanisms like this, but I was listening to a dude who works in the power industry in Vancouver and in his opinion there are major flaws with this plan. I must do more research to comment on this.

Bipole III:
"The province did finally table long-awaited legislation to help protect the east side's boreal forest from development, paving the way for a UNESCO World Heritage site and effectively killing any chance of a power line down the east side."

Grrrrrr. This is sooooo annoying. For those who are not familiar with the facts of the issue, let me summarize:
1. The east side of the lake aleady has development in the form of logging and mining and other such things. A new road is being proposed to access remote communities. The bipole line would not damage this area to any significant degree, and therefore this area does not need "protecting" any more than the Upper Fort Garry gates needed protecting.
2. The proposed west-side route will fell near as many trees as the west side route due to the longer distance. Some of those trees may be in protected aspen parklands. Plus, accoring to Jim Cotton (on some previous post), there is already a wide swath of land cleared down the side of the lake.
3. The Bipolee III power line does not preclude qualification for UNESCO membership, nor does the absence of said power line guarantee membership.
4. UNESCO membership means bugger all. What is it going to do? Fill the forest with eco tourists? No. The same hunters and fishers will visit the area then as they do now. Jake and Margaret from Vermont aren't going to vacation in the middle of a mosquito infested forest because it has a UNESCO designation. And the question has to be asked: do we even want tourists in this pristine area? Would it be better protected by keeping it below the radar? Why is this designation so important?
5. The proposed west-side route is far more expensive to build. According to Welch: the PUB "is a little worried about Hydro's financial future." As am I, by the way. Which is why I don't think we should be wasting hundreds of millions of dollars on a longer path for Bipole III.
6. The west-side route will waste thousands of megawatt-hrs of electricity per year, resulting in the loss of around $7-15m per year according to my calculations here, not to mention a shit load of GREEN power. If you are at all concerned about the environment, you should be outraged by this callous waste of green electricity. Every megawatt wasted will be replaced by dirty power somewhere down the line.

It's not too late to reverse this idiotic decision!!!


Anonymous said...

West side ,maybe finding out who stands to benefit financially could answer the question. Have they tables a report on a submersed powerline ?

Anonymous said...

I agree with most of your comments except for the power rates.

Power is something we have here that others do not. It should be used to our advantage.

Instead of exporting so much (along with more line loss) why do we not consider offering stable long term rates for new industry willing to build here? I am not talking about energy pigs but average to heavy users.

cherenkov said...

Mr.N: I like the idea of a submersed power line, but I think the idea got shelved because of the cost. I don't know if they ever gave the idea due consideration.

Unclebob: cheap hydro rates have failed to attract industry so far. Committing to locking into below-market rates for the long term could have a huge opportunity cost if power demand goes up. I would rather see us charge market rates for hydro power and attract industry through lower taxes.

Marginalized Action Dinosaur said...

Mr N they can lay lines under the ocean a friend of mine is convinced the way to go is down the middle of the lake.

Sure there might be fewer handouts but the taxpayers could be happy for once. Snow storms will not disrupt it only earthquakes.

The rumours and innuendo I've heard say it would be cheapest no trees to cut or towers to erect. just put the spools on a boat and load up styx on the ghetto blaster, I'm sailing away,.....

Voom done. But then no guaranteed high paying jobs for targeted communities.

Uncle bob we in socialist land are not always viewed as business friendly. Compare hydro to payroll taxes etc, etc.

Anonymous said...

MAD/ cheren, I was under the assumption that they were looking at a submersible solution. I just haven't seen the report.

Being in the cable installation business, I've always followed underwater installations with some interest. In fact it seems to be getting easier to do with the new "plows" being developed.

The new technology allows cable to be trenched closer to shore, making the East side even more attractive, and added protection for the cable.

But as usual, no study, no facts. Also , you have to factor in the life of the line and its eventual replacement.

I'm with UncleBob on this. I look at cheap rates as our dividend for the investment we make into Hydro.

That being said, we should act more responsibly if we want out investment to be maximized.

And no I don't think we've leveraged anything we have in the Province to attract massive industry .

cherenkov said...

I seem to recall that they wrote off the idea almost immediately. In any case, they seem to be committed to the west side route:

Anonymous said...

Kinda p[remature. Seems like a guy in River heights did a presentation and I thought it got Hydro's attention.

But, seems like there are bigger forces pulling for the West side.

Anyhow thats my 2 cents, next topic/

Anonymous said...

The line will NEVER go down the east side. The natives would hold Hydro hostage forever if it did.

And why on earth should Manitoban's pay more for their own natural resource? Let's leave neocon economics to the Americans.

cherenkov said...

Paying market price for a product is "neocon economics", eh? Alrighty then...

Anonymous said...

Paying market price for a product is "neocon economics", eh? Alrighty then...

I have to agree. To a neocon, like healthcare, this smacks of Socialism, how dare you benefit from a resource you are lucky to have. A NeoCon hates the very whiff of socialism.

Unless you have to bailout banks, financial institutions, Car manufacturers and possibly Bankrupting your country.Anything that helps the average person is to be frowned upon.

You gota love NeoCons.

Seriously, I don't understand how it hard to understand that cheaper energy equates to a dividend for your investment.

Must we always drag out if we paid market prices we would conserve more so we can sell it for a profit to someone else. Seriously. Why not just conserve , keep the dividend and still sell to others for a profit.

I mean if you invested in a bank you would expect , something as a dividend.

cherenkov said...

The problem is, Mr.N, that we are not benefitting as much as we should be from this resource. We are squandering it through bad management and policies.

"Seriously. Why not just conserve" .. the current system does not encourage conservation at all. The more energy you use the bigger your dividend (as you call it) is, and the less revenue Hydro generates. This system is totally anti-conservation because it rewards people who waste power.

The easiest and most efficient way to conserve is by taking advantage of market forces through appropriate pricing of electricity. This isn't "neo-con" economics. This is common-sense. It is also standard evironmental economics that might be taught at any university around the world, based on fundamental economics principals dating back to Adam Smith. This has nothing whatsoever to do with "Neo-cons". Furthermore, this should result in a different kind of dividend: increased royalties from Hydro to the province, that the province could and should pass on to us in the form of lower taxes. In the end, everybody would benefit from this to a greater degree than the dividend that you're talking about, except for those who use large amounts of electricity.

Anonymous said...

We are squandering it through bad management and policies.

And for this, I should have to pay more for my power ?

If the decision to go down the West side of the lake is expensive and stupid,and dilutive to our investment, then we, ( PUB ?? ) should be able to say no.

Somewhere between the Premier and Hydro there should be a Board of Directors, which sits a member of the public ( PUB ).

Somewhere there needs to be a counter to the premier and his power over Hydro.

Its my investment, I prefer having lower rates rather then a check as my dividend. i expect hydro to conduct themselves in a manner that maximizes my investment.

cherenkov said...

You're beginning to touch on an important issue. Hydro is a policy tool of the government and isn't allowed to maximize profits like a private corporation would be. They are compelled to do what the premier wants them to do. There is a board of directors for crown corps, and there is the Crown Corporations Council but they don't appear to do anything. (Look at one of their quarterly reports. It's pretty sad.)

I remember reading or hearing something about how the bodies who oversee Crown corporations meet much less often now than they used to. By now they're probably stacked with buddies of Gary Doer too. Cushy $100k jobs with no deliverables. It's not a glamorous issue, but it is one that I would like to see the opposition leaders address.

Anonymous said...

I agree cheren,but they won't, its a small community of buddies. OT but how else do you explain Ernie Gilroy holding the position he does.

Its sickening and I grow weary of it.

Anonymous said...


since you don't seem to get it, please refer to this submission by a UofW economist under the ENGO name of Time to respect earth's ecosystems (TREE).

Anonymous said...

Anon, first things, I would recommend they redesign their website so the dry reading is at least accessible.

For academia, they sure have a piss poor site to get their message out.

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