What' an NFAT? It's an acronym for a process to consider the Need For and Alternatives To the proposed and preferred option Manitoba Hydro has put forward. That preferred option is the construction of the Keeyask Dam ($6.95 billion), Conawapa Dam ($10.2 billion) and the Bipole III transmission line ($3.8 billion). MB Hydro claims these structures are needed to meet their forecast of the annual increase in electricity demand of 1.5%, or 80,000 kW every year for the next 20 years.
If you are a resident of Manitoba and purchase electricity, the NFAT hearings, held by the Public Utilities Board, are an important process that will affect the price you pay for electricity. Manitoba Hydro has already said the price of electricity will have to increase 3.95% every year for the next 20 years to pay for the dams and power lines. Hydro says there is really no viable alternative if they have to meet the increasing demand for electricity.
Hydro claims that the best they can do, and the best we, as Manitobans, can do, to reduce their insatiable demand for electricity is to reduce it by 0.1% every year. As outlined in a previous article (Manitoba Hydro Doesn't Get It!) it is possible to reduce the increasing demand for electricity by replacing electric furnaces and electric baseboards in the 127,000 homes in the Province with a ground coupled heat pump system. Hydro and/or the Provincial government only needs to help the homeowners with financing to help them pay for the cost of replacing the electric heat.
The ground coupled heat pump system will reduce electricity consumption enough to pay back the loans over 15 or 20 years...and it will still reduce their cost of electricity enough to save them a few dollars every year.
Taking this approach will avoid the huge cost of building the dams and avoid the need to increase electricity rates 3.95% per year for the next 20 years.
It will create more employment across the province than building the dams and power lines!
It will be better for the environment because it will avoid the flooding associated with the dams and avoid the need to clear the right of way for the new power lines!
Hydro's "preferred option" needs to be questioned if you purchase electricity in Manitoba. Call your MLA and express your concern about Hydro's plans.
In my blog I'll be expressing my opinions about what I've the learned about ground coupled heat pump (GCHP) systems over the last 30 years. I've been very fortunate to work with many interesting people who are passionate about this technology...engineers, geologists, mechanical contractors, drillers, excavation contractors...in different parts of the world. I've learned a lot from them and will be using this forum to pass on some of the things I've learned and feel are important. Please feel free to use this information if you feel it's worthwhile...hopefully you can avoid some of the same mistakes I've learned from.