Thursday, 3 February 2011

Bipoles and Coloured Rods

We found out recently that some estimates show the costs of the bipole III power line increasing by $2b. This increase is on the converter half of the equation (now three quarters I suppose) as opposed to the power line part. In the article, Mary Agnes Welch states:

The converter stations are needed whether the line runs down the west side, as the NDP government has mandated, or through the boreal forest on the east side of Lake Winnipeg.
I questioned her on that in an email, because the routing study says that the converters are only needed for the longer west side route:
Unfortunately, due to it's length, its characteristics make it unsuitable to operate with either of the existing Bipole I or II converters, requiring it to have its own converters designed to operate with the longer line.
What's up with that? Well .. MAW promptly replied to my email with a copy and paste from a Hydro committee hearing in which Bob Brennan said the following:
When we originally looked at the proposal to build the line down the east side, it was at that point being tied in to the existing conversion equipment, and at that point, it was–the converter stations, without considering new generation being added to the system or the reliability associated with something happening to the existing converter stations, it was not included at that point.
So, assuming Brennan isn't talking out his ass, the converters would be required for the east side route if capacity were increased. Reliability was already considered in the routing study, contrary to what Brennan said, and converters for the east side route were only suggested as a nice-to-have sort of thing ... almost as an afterthought. Right at the bottom of page 4. Look it up.
Why am I telling you this? Because we also learned recently that Hydro is having a hard time signing profitable export deals with the U.S.. That will just keep getting harder as these costs keep growing. Suppose we don't sign the export contracts .. do we still need to build all that new capacity? Do we still need Conawapa? Would we still need the converters if we went down the east side? This is now a $3 billion question, not $1 billion.

Remember, one of the reasons we're supposedly going down the west side is because the U.S. won't buy our power if we cut down trees on the east side. If the cost of catering to this market makes it unprofitable to sell it to them, then screw 'em. There is no need to be hell-bent on exporting power. Hey, I'm just trying to save us a few billion bucks here...


First there was the Black Rod. The fiercely anonymous blogger who everybody thinks is Marty Gold.

Then came along the Orange Rod, hardcore NDPer and Free Press commenter.

Now say hello to the Blue Rod. Created to offset the Orange Rod and thereby ensure the universe stays in equilibrium.

You may not realize it, but I got in on this rod game a while ago. My avatar:

Is actually a photo of rods of spent nuclear fuel submerged in water. The green glow is a result of something known as Cherenkov (or Čerenkov) radiation.


Speaking of new blogs, blogger Portage and Sane is off to a promising start. The Green Coloured Nuclear Waste Rod welcomes you to the 'sphere.


The Red Rod said...


cherenkov said...

Of course .. Red Rod! Hey, if you're red, what colour is the communist party blogger going to be?

Gustav Nelson said...

You should put the Orange Rod into the "Fuckheads" part of your blogroll!!

I love that "Friends, Foes and Fuckheads"

cherenkov said...

I wonder which of those bloggers suspect that they might be the fuckheads? 8)

the Stiff Rod said...

Politics is an evil business.

Blue Rods Blog said...

I love Hugh McFadyen so much my rod turned blue.

Anonymous said...

Spare the rod and spoil the child.

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