Affordable Energy News for Friday, May 19

Affordable Energy News for Friday, May 19

National carbon plan is on shaky ground with shifting priorities in the West

In announcing a plan to implement a national tax on carbon dioxide emissions Thursday, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau took another step toward his grand bargain — carbon pricing for pipeline approvals. When he first proposed the controversial trade off, Trudeau could count on like-minded governments in Alberta and British Columbia to play along with his federal intrusion. Now a left-leaning government could replace the pro-pipeline liberals in B.C., and if a united conservative party gets power in Alberta, they could fight the federal carbon plan. With two provinces potentially against him, Trudeau may have a much harder time setting his pipeline-for-carbon-pricing deal in motion. McKenna plans to introduce legislation on the national carbon in the fall. She may want to hold off until construction of Trans Mountain is well under way, with the full support and protection of her government, to demonstrate the Prime Minister Trudeau is delivering on the full bargain. – National Post


It’s not a carbon tax, it’s a ‘behaviour-changing measure’: government officials

The Liberal government released the carbon-pricing scheme it will impose on any province or territory that doesn’t have its own comparable tax on carbon dioxide emissions in place by 2018.  – Global News


‘Polluters should pay’: Trudeau to force carbon tax and cap on holdout provinces

Canada’s federal government will tax fossil fuels and cap industry emissions in any province that doesn’t bring in its own tax on carbon dioxide emissions. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s government revealed a “backstop” plan Thursday in Ottawa that would essentially force the minimum “carbon price” he announced last year onto holdouts. He’s also pledged to return any tax revenue, though has yet to determine whether the funds will go to provincial governments or directly to citizens and businesses. Saskatchewan – home to mining giants Potash Corp. of Saskatchewan Inc. and Cameco Corp. – is the foremost objector and has threatened legal action. The carbon price also comes amid warnings Canada could be at a competitive disadvantage with the U.S. under President Donald Trump’s administration. – National Post


Liberals provide details of plan for national carbon tax

The federal government has released details of how it plans to put a "price on pollution." The plan is intended to ensure all provinces put a tax on carbon dioxide emissions starting next year. It details how the federal government would impose that tax in provinces that don't do it themselves. The 26-page document released Thursday outlines in detail how a federal carbon tax would be implemented, including how the levy would be applied to fossil fuels, such as gasoline, diesel and natural gas. Ottawa has set a starting price/tax of $10 a tonne on carbon dioxide emissions in 2018, increasing to $50 a tonne by 2022. – CBC News


Lorrie Goldstein: Don't be duped by Trudeau's carbon pricing plan

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s carbon pricing plan released Thursday by Climate Change Minister Catherine McKenna is a political fraud. It will not achieve the government’s promised industrial greenhouse gas emission reduction targets for 2020 or 2030. It will increase the cost of living for Canadians, adding hundreds of dollars to their annual household bills, year after year. The plan says that by 2022, we will be paying an estimated 11.6 cents more per litre of gas alone, solely due to carbon pricing. It omits that after that, we’ll be paying even more, as Canada’s carbon tax continues to rise. The plan is politically dishonest because of what it omits — that the cost of almost all goods and services will rise, because almost all consume fossil fuel energy. – Toronto Sun


Ontario carbon tax ‘sneaky’, says Canadian Taxpayers Federation

The Canadian Taxpayers Federation is warning against the threat of rising carbon taxes in Ontario and across the country. The group has released its 19th annual Gas Tax Honesty Day report, complaining that Ontario’s new carbon tax does not appear separately on bills. “The Wynne government brought in a new tax at the pumps that we don’t see on our bills when we pay. That means we actually pay sales tax on top of this new tax, which is sneaky and must be stopped,” said CTF Ontario director Christine Van Geyn. Global News


Constitution gives Ottawa right to impose a carbon price on provinces: McKenna

Ottawa is completely within its rights to impose a carbon tax on any provinces because protecting the environment falls under federal jurisdiction, Environment Minister Catherine McKenna said Thursday. – The Chronicle Herald


“White paper is frankly more like a ransom note”: Saskatchewan premier willing to take Feds to court over carbon tax

"This federal government white paper is frankly more like a ransom note," Saskatchewan Premier Brad Wall said Thursday, following the release of the federal government’s plan to enforce a carbon tax on the provinces. Wall was critical of the levy proposed by the federal government that sends all carbon tax revenue back to the provinces. When pressed on the levy Wall said, "We'd rather not have a carbon tax, so we'll take our chances in court first." – CBC News


Ottawa, Saskatchewan brace for battle over carbon pricing

Globe and Mail ($)


Irving Oil could profit from new element of federal tax plan

The Irving Oil refinery — New Brunswick's largest business and largest producer of greenhouse gas — could end up mostly exempt or even profiting from the federal government's national carbon tax plan, according to new details released Thursday. Environment Minister Catherine McKenna announced Ottawa will be copying an element in Alberta's carbon tax system called "output-based pricing,” where manufacturers will be given carbon emission allowances and will only have to pay a tax on greenhouse gas emissions above that threshold.  If a manufacturer's emissions are kept below the allowance, it will be issued credits it can use later or sell to other emitters. Now, instead of facing a carbon tax of $150-million per year by 2022, the refinery could pay nothing under output-based pricing, or even earn money if its emission allowance is high enough and it produces petroleum products more efficiently than other refineries. – CBC News New Brunswick


Made-in-Manitoba carbon tax plan still not ready

With details now out on a framework for carbon pricing, the focus shifted to provinces such as Manitoba that do not have a plan in place. Manitoba Premier Brian Pallister says more consultation and work is needed before his government will share its own “Made-in-Manitoba” carbon tax plan with the public. "We'll need to get more detail before we release our plan. I'll let Manitobans have their say on whether they want the Trudeau tax or they want a made-in-Manitoba plan," Pallister told reporters Thursday. Pallister says Manitoba will do its part to fight climate change and acknowledges that will involve increasing costs for carbon-emitting fuel. But he says the province has more negotiating to do and wants credit for massive investments made here in green hydroelectric power.

CBC News Manitoba


“You can’t buy a Prius and move dirt”: Critics say carbon tax will punish industry

The Canadian Taxpayers Federation and the Saskatchewan Heavy Construction Association say the proposed federal carbon tax will harm industry and heavy vehicle operators while doing little to affect climate change. Todd MacKay, Prairie director for the Canadian Taxpayers Federation, said a carbon tax would disproportionately affect industry and shipping in the province. "It's not just about folk living downtown and taking their bike to work. A lot of the work that gets done in this country is powered by diesel," said MacKay. – CBC News Saskatchewan


Gwyn Morgan: Here’s why I’m not worried about more Trans Mountain oil tankers in my backyard (and you shouldn’t either)

The expansion of Kinder Morgan’s Trans-Mountain pipeline, which exports Alberta crude oil by tanker through the Port of Vancouver, was a high-profile issue in the recent B.C. election. Premier Christy Clark agreed to support the federally approved project in exchange for Ottawa’s commitment to a substantially upgraded emergency spill-response plan and financial compensation from Kinder Morgan. This didn’t appease spill-fearing Vancouverites who shifted their votes to NDP Leader John Horgan after he vowed to use “every tool in the toolbox” to fight the project. But does the project actually pose such risks? Let’s move beyond the rhetoric to some hard facts. While there has never been a serous oil-tanker spill on Canada’s Pacific coast, the truly disastrous environmental impact of the 1989 Exxon-Valdez accident in Alaska’s Prince William Sound is the reason cited most often to oppose the Kinder Morgan expansion. Paradoxically, the Exxon-Valdez spill proved to be a powerful catalyst that set off a spill-prevention renaissance in the global oil-shipping industry. Investigators concluded that the spill wouldn’t have happened if the Exxon-Valdez had been a double-hulled vessel. – National Post


NAFTA renegotiation brings uncertainty to oilpatch

Energy industry experts fear a renegotiation of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) will add another level of uncertainty to a slowly recovering market. The Trump administration has sent a letter to Congress Thursday, officially triggering the 90 day consultation period before talks with Canada and Mexico can begin. The news broke as energy leaders met in Calgary for the Energy Visions Business Forum. The discussion focused on the market's current state and how Canadian companies can find opportunities in the uncertainties. – CBC News Calgary


EDITORIAL: Wynne’s Liberals: Rules? What rules?

Why is Kathleen Wynne’s government putting inserts into hydro bills touting the province’s 8% HST rebate, which started Jan. 1, but not including the increased cost of cap and trade as a separate item on home heating and energy bills, which also started Jan. 1? Energy Minister Glenn Thibeault claims advising Ontarians of the 8% HST rebate on their hydro bills is so they can plan their budgets. Of the latest inserts touting the 8% HST rebate — similar to notices the Liberals sent out in 2010 touting the now-defunct 10% Clean Energy Benefit discount, which started in 2011 — Auditor General Bonnie Lysyk said they violated the spirit of the Liberal government’s advertising rules. – Toronto Sun


United States 

The OPEC Meeting Reminds Us: Pursue True Energy Security

This week, the energy ministers of petrostates around the world gather in Vienna for the semi-annual Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) meeting to discuss how they can manage global oil supply to their benefit. Let this meeting serve as a reminder to us in the United States that although our energy security has improved, there is far more to be done to protect us from the machinations of this cartel. Through the Executive Orders to reverse offshore drilling and revive key pipeline projects, among others that tackle overregulation and prioritize infrastructure, President Trump has strengthened the hand of U.S. oil producers in the global market. Given the strategic value of oil, these measures bolster both our economy and national security. – The Daily Caller


Asia Mercedes-Benz Energy teams with Vivint Solar to put batteries in US homes

Mercedes-Benz Energy has made a lot of noise about its new energy storage units for the home, but Americans keen to get their hands on a set have been left wanting since the product was unveiled last year. Having announced their rollout in the UK last month, Mercedes-Benz Energy has now teamed with Vivint Solar to put them in Californian homes. They're intended for homes, but the Mercedes-Benz Energy batteries borrow heavily from experience gained in the motoring world. The cells can be used to store energy generated by rooftop solar systems, wind turbines or any other alternative energy production sources people might have at home. – New Atlas



United Kingdom

National Grid boss says Labour plan will stall green energy drive

Labour’s plan to take the National Grid back into public ownership would harm the UK’s switch to green energy, the grid’s chief executive has said. John Pettigrew said renationalisation was “the last thing the industry needs” as it invests to accommodate more wind and solar power on the UK’s power grids. – The Guardian


Conservatives Lay Out Mixed Messages For Renewable Energy Industry In Lead-Up To Election

The UK Conservative Party has published its policy manifesto in the lead-up to the election, giving a strong signal that the Conservative Government, if re-elected, will deliver a clean and diverse energy mix, but one without any new onshore wind farms. “A successful industrial strategy requires competitive and affordable energy costs,” the manifesto reads. “We want to make sure that the cost of energy in Britain is internationally competitive, both for businesses and households.” The first move, therefore, will be to commission an independent review into the cost of energy in the UK – the “ambition is that the UK should have the lowest energy costs in Europe, both for households and businesses.” – Clean Technica


Traders Brace for First Winter without U.K.'s Big Gas Store

With Centrica Plc’s North Sea Rough storage site almost empty after wells deteriorated, the UK is set to lose a quarter of its daily supply capacity during the winter as well as its ability to quickly respond to short-term swings in demand. Britain will import more fuel, which may be costly and create opportunities for traders and producers, as well as boost business for smaller storage sites. – Bloomberg