In­de­pen­dent an­a­lyst com­pletes tes­ti­mony

Nal­cor En­ergy lawyer high­lights lack of for­mal ed­u­ca­tion cre­den­tials

The Telegram (St. John’s) - - LOCAL - BY ASH­LEY FITZ­PATRICK

The ex­ec­u­tive di­rec­tor of the He­lios Cen­tre was back on the stand at the Muskrat Falls In­quiry on Fri­day, sug­gest­ing an in­com­plete re­view of the pro­posed hy­dro­elec­tric project be­fore its sanc­tion in 2012, but Philip Raphals also ac­knowl­edged there were de­tailed doc­u­ments he was not aware of from that re­view process, from the pe­riod af­ter he was re­tained.

Raphals said more could be done to ag­gres­sively man­age en­ergy use in the province. He also sug­gested the al­ter­na­tive to Muskrat Falls con­sid­ered by the Pub­lic Util­i­ties Board — the “iso­lated is­land” op­tion — did not prop­erly con­sider ad­di­tions of wind power.

“I think ev­ery­one ac­knowl­edges New­found­land has a world-class and very ex­tra­or­di­nary wind re­source,” he said. “So then the ques­tion is: what can you do with that?”

But Raphals re­ferred more than once to re­ports from early 2012 or ear­lier. Nal­cor En­ergy lawyer Dan Sim­mons di­rected him to a de­tailed time­line for the “iso­lated is­land” power plan, as it was re­ported by Man­i­toba Hy­dro In­ter­na­tional (MHI) in late 2012, be­fore a fi­nal de­ci­sion. It would have come af­ter Raphals’ re­view of pro­vin­cial en­ergy plans, and Raphals said he was not fa­mil­iar with it.

The later re­port showed the al­ter­na­tive op­tion to Muskrat Falls hy­dro be­ing con­sid­ered in­cluded 25 megawatts (MW) of new wind pro­duc­tion in­stalled in 2015, fol­lowed by 50 MW in 2020, 50 MW in 2025, 50 MW in 2030 and re­place­ments of ex­ist­ing wind power gen­er­a­tion atop the ad­di­tions. Sim­mons noted there is also ex­ist­ing wind power on the is­land sys­tem.

At an­other point, Raphals ac­knowl­edged that when he was speaking crit­i­cally of lim­i­ta­tions in Muskrat Falls’ power pro­duc­tion in terms of po­ten­tial out­side en­ergy sales, he was not con­sid­er­ing the use of the hy­dro project in tan­dem with the rest of the power as­sets on the is­land.

His pro­fes­sional cre­den­tials were re­viewed by Sim­mons on the record. In terms of for­mal ed­u­ca­tion, Raphals has a bach­e­lor of arts de­gree and a mas­ter’s de­gree in mu­sic, but no train­ing in pub­lic pol­icy, en­gi­neer­ing, fi­nance, law or en­ergy-re­lated fields.

Raphals said he gets ques­tions re­lated to his ed­u­ca­tion all the time, ac­knowl­edg­ing a change in ca­reers over time.

As for why he did not go back to pur­sue for­mal study, as he pur­sued work as an en­ergy con­sul­tant, he said, “I didn’t have time. I’ve been ex­ceed­ingly busy. I have one in­ter­est­ing project af­ter an­other and it never seemed to me to be re­ally some­thing that was worth in­vest­ing the time.”

As noted in his CV, he be­came a free­lance sci­ence journalist (to 1992) and even­tu­ally moved into con­sult­ing work as an in­de­pen­dent en­ergy an­a­lyst, found­ing the non-profit He­lios Cen­tre.

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