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Forum topic: Stop The Edmonton Incinerator

Public consultation: North London Heat and Power Project

Karl Brown

06 Jun 2015 07:47 #1264

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I mentioned in an earlier post the dubious nature of making such a fundamentally irrevocable investment as now proposed for Edmonton based on highly questionable figures. Were that only me then you may choose to dismiss such concerns. The comments below are some of the reservations highlighted officially by the consultants employed (Eunomia) who actually developed the forecasts. At this point I can ask again, would anyone bet their pensions on the forecasts behind this huge investment being within a million miles of them being accurate.

Eunomia’s extreme reservations concerning the usability of the data and their associated analysis as a basis for forecasting (and hence investment) could not realistically be any stronger:
• Providing forecasts of waste arisings for over thirty years in the future is extremely difficult … in essence it is unknowable
• It is worth re-emphasising, however, that given the paucity of historical data there is limited scope for making accurate predictions,
• We would not normally advise forecasting for more than a very small number of years into the future on this basis. The use of this type of analysis for long-term projections remains questionable and open to challenge
• One limitation of this type of analysis is the number of historical data points which are available
• Although the quality of data has been steadily improving since 2000 (although vagaries remain), the time series for the datasets used are relatively short and the quality of data in the early years is questionable.
• There is also a danger in over-complicating matters with spurious levels of detail; detail which in and of itself is based on relatively high-level sampling and assumptions.
• to account for what we would speculate is the cumulative effect of waste prevention and minimisation measures
• Forecasting C&I waste volumes for future years is notoriously difficult due to the distinct lack of data on historic and current volumes.
• the analysis of a number of alternative scenarios show that waste arisings could vary significantly depending on the assumption made

Or as the main accompanying paper highlights, the NLWA conclude: “The model was developed based on …. a robust analysis of historical trends and a robust set of assumptions about what will happen to these trends in the future.”

That requires some leap of imagination.

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