August 15, 2017

Affordable Energy News Service for August 15, 2017

Affordable Energy News Service for August 15, 2017

Canadian Taxpayers Federation launching “Stop High Energy Bills” billboard campaign in London

A new billboard campaign is being launched in London, Ontario, aimed at convincing the government to repeal the carbon tax. The Canadian Taxpayers Federation will unveil their “Stop High Energy Bills” billboard campaign during a news conference at 11 a.m. near London North Centre MPP Deb Matthews’ office near Richmond and Piccadilly downtown. Ontario director for the federation Christine Van Geyn will address members of the media and share details about some other initiatives in the campaign, with the goal of “telling Ontario politicians they need to ‘leave our energy bills alone’ and reverse the carbon tax.” With the federal government planning to impose a system for taxing carbon pollution on provinces that don’t have a plan of their own, Ontario’s Liberals moved to impose a cap-and-trade system. - Global News


How far will Freeland go to get climate change in NAFTA

Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland says she wants to see environmental provisions strengthened in a re-done North American Free Trade Agreement, but it’s not clear exactly how far Canada’s top diplomat will go to get climate change into NAFTA. The Trudeau government minister said Monday that strengthening environmental provisions is “absolutely a Canadian goal going into these talks.” Canada wants to “ensure that the member countries can benefit from protecting the environment and investments,” said Freeland in front of the House of Commons environment committee. She said Canada would “fully support efforts to target climate change.” The question of how forcefully Canada will push to see the language of climate change reflected in a new NAFTA deal matters in light of the Trump administration’s continued rejection of the global scientific consensus on climate. - National Observer


'I'm scared for my community': northerners react to cancellation of Pacific NorthWest LNG megaproject

In September 2016, Kristi Leer was celebrating the federal government's approval of the Pacific NorthWest LNG project, which would ship natural gas from near her home in Fort Nelson, B.C., to an export facility on Lelu Island, off the province's North Coast. "I had Goosebumps. I'm so happy," Leer said at the time, adding approval gave people in her hard-hit resource community "something to live for." Ten months later that optimism has all but died with news the project will not proceed. "I'm a little bit scared, honestly," Leer said after the announcement. "I'm scared for my community." Born and raised in the community of under 5,000 people, Leer started operating a pilot car business in 1998. Her fortunes took off in the early 2010s during an oil and gas boom in the region. - CBC


United States

The Myth Of Natural Gas As A Bridging Fuel

I often disagree with the consulting group Bloomberg New Energy Finance, but they may be spot on in questioning whether natural gas can serve as a bridge to the future. Of course, they would say no, renewables will take over quickly, while I would say it will continue to be an important fuel, not a bridge, and that forecasters, including the oil industry, are greatly understating its potential. It all reminds me of the many times in the early 1980s when oil company executives would say, "natural gas is the fuel of the future," and some smart aleck would respond, "and always will be." I finally jumped in and said, you're producing twenty trillion cubic feet a year, it seems like natural gas is a fuel of the present. - Forbes


Big Oil Follows Silicon Valley Into Backing Green Energy Firms

Major oil companies are joining Silicon Valley in backing energy-technology start-ups, a signal that that those with the deepest pockets in the industry are casting around for a new strategy. From Royal Dutch Shell Plc to Total SA and Exxon Mobil Corp., the biggest investor-owned oil companies are dribbling money into ventures probing the edge of energy technologies. The investments go beyond wind and solar power into projects that improve electricity grids and brew new fuels from renewable resources. While the money involved is small – a fraction of the $7.5-billion that venture capital and private equity injected into the clean energy industry last year – the funds support work that may evolve into major income streams in the decades ahead as governments work to limit fossil-fuel pollution and global warming. - Bloomberg


Why Blackstone Is Betting $7-Billion on Natural Gas ($)

Blackstone Group LP is making one of its biggest bets on the growth of natural gas production, wagering that even if gas prices remain stuck at depressed levels, it can profit. - Wall Street Journal


United Kingdom 

Fast, Dirty Natural Gas Plants Get Boost From Electric Cars

Britain’s goodbye to fossil fuel cars by 2040 could boost the need for dirtier natural gas-powered stations. The government’s goal to replace gasoline and diesel cars with those powered by electricity could see the construction of so-called open-cycle gas stations, said Carsten Poppinga, senior vice president of trading and origination at Statkraft AS, the Norwegian utility that operates hydro power plants and wind farms across the U.K. Such units can keep the grid from buckling from the strain of people charging cars in peak demand periods. The catch? While the plants can start generating power almost instantly, they don’t recycle waste heat, making them emit more greenhouse gases per megawatt than the combined-cycle stations that comprise the largest share of the U.K.’s daily power output. Britain may have no choice but to use the less environmentally friendly option, though. With little spare generation capacity, the nation is vulnerable to power shortages, particularly on cold, winter days when wind and solar energy may be in short supply. - Bloomberg



Inpex Corporation warns tax changes would put Liquid Natural Gas expansion at risk

The biggest Japanese investor in Australia has issued a stark warning of the consequences of changes to tax deductions for capital-intensive industries such as oil and gas, advising that the cost to the country would be greater than gains elsewhere in the economy. Forgoing expansion could then mean existing Liquid Natural Gas plants are not fully utilised and the opportunity could be lost to develop smaller fields to supply the project, the company has told Parliament's economics committee. - The Sydney Morning Herald