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Letter: Muskrat Falls' renewable nature could be the mega-project's silver lining

The Muskrat Falls generation dam's spillway and powerhouse are shown in this in this October 2017 photo supplied by Nalcor Energy. Auditors testified Friday that Nalcor Energy didn’t adequately investigate energy alternatives before going ahead with the Muskrat Falls option.
The Muskrat Falls generation dam’s spillway and powerhouse, October 2017. — Nalcor Energy photo

I am not an expert in energy policy, costing, demand forecasting, mega-projects or the cynical political game that seems to be in play with respect to Muskrat Falls.

Nor do I have any particular expertise or experience when it comes to climate change. However, unlike some, I do believe the experts whom the global community appears to agree are right on climate change.

Yes, it appears, the sky is indeed falling and continues to fall, climate-wise, and no we are not a flock of chicken littles imagining fantastical futures, whatever the über-realist in the White House claims.

What I fail to understand in the theatre of politicking that constitutes the Muskrat Falls Inquiry, is why the issue of climate change and Muskrat Falls as a clean energy source has virtually no airplay.

If the hydrocarbon industry is to be governed responsibly, as per the (largely successful) ozone layer depletion mitigation strategies a few decades back, then the future of offshore oil is highly questionable.

We live in a province blessed with energy sources that don’t require ripping into the Earth, or raping the ocean. Perhaps the visionaries behind Muskrat were taken with the idea that our corner of the Earth could provide clean, sustainable energy for the planet and that we could be an example to the rest of humanity — the cynic in me suggests not, but then who knows? Perhaps the architects of Muskrat Falls were afraid that the Muskrat, who in indigenous legends is the Earth-maker, would challenge their stewardship?

Whatever the case, clean energy requires a massive shift and huge investments. It seems that the decision-making processes for Muskrat Falls were seriously flawed and, of course, accountability is required, but perhaps it’s also time to look at this asset we are saddled with through a different lens.

Carbon taxes will come, temperature and sea levels will continue to rise, those with access to energy that diminishes Mother Earth much less than the alternatives nor adds to the global catastrophe that it is slouching quickly towards us will be welcomed with increasing vigour as the years pass and the pot boils.

William Radford

Georgestown, St. John’s

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