July 26, 2017

Affordable Energy News for July 26, 2017

Affordable Energy News for July 26, 2017

Canada’s climate-change plan threatens business competitiveness, Trudeau warned

Canada’s climate-change plan and other government measures are heaping costs on businesses and pushing them to a breaking point, the Chamber of Commerce says in a warning to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. - Globe & Mail


Pacific NorthWest Liquid Natural Gas megaproject cancelled

Malaysian national energy giant Petronas and its partners scrapped the Pacific NorthWest LNG megaproject Tuesday, ending months of anticipation on the fate of what would have been one of Canada’s largest private infrastructure investments. The decision to cancel the development boiled down to simple economics — a world market awash in liquefied natural gas, which has driven down prices, making Pacific NorthWest LNG no longer financially viable, said Anuar Taib, CEO of Petronas’s oil and gas production division. “Unfortunately for us, we don’t believe we have that mix of where the sweet spot can be hit,” Taib said. The overall project would have cost $36-billion in total, including a 900-kilometre pipeline proposed by TransCanada to a natural gas export terminal on the province’s Lelu Island, as well as the production of gas to supply it. - Toronto Star


‘A tragedy for Canada’: Petronas cancels $36B LNG project as B.C. jacks up demands

British Columbia’s new NDP/Green coalition government was in damage control mode after the most ambitious of the province’s proposed liquefied natural gas (LNG) projects, the $36-billion Pacific NorthWest LNG, was cancelled Tuesday. Both the province and the Malaysian company that proposed it blamed poor global LNG market conditions. The truth is that what should have been a magnificent new Canadian industry, building middle-class jobs from exporting Western Canada’s world-class Montney shale gas to reduce carbon pollution in Asia, has unraveled due in large part to government mishandling — plus fears it would have only accelerated under the new, anti-development provincial government. The proof is that the LNG export industry is thriving in the United States under the same global market conditions, while B.C. has yet to see the construction of a single project out of 20 or so proposed since 2011. - National Post


There are now three British Columbian LNG frontrunners after Petronas pulls out

Since 2012, 20 LNG projects have been proposed but none are being built. Now that Pacific NorthWest LNG, led by Malaysian state-controlled Petronas, has been cancelled, there remains three leading projects that have all-important regulatory approval from the B.C. and Canadian governments. Firstly, LNG Canada in Kitimat is an up-to-$40-billion project led by Shell. The company is redoing its bidding process to request proposals from general contractors who would oversee engineering, procurement and construction management. A 650-kilometre pipeline would need to be built to supply the terminal. Secondly, Kitimat LNG, a $3.5-billion project, is a joint venture between Chevron and Australia-based Woodside. Kitimat LNG is re-evaluating its original project design, also to drive down costs. It would need to be supplied by a 463-kilometre pipeline, dubbed Pacific Trails Pipeline, which has wide First Nations support. Lastly, the $1.6-billion Woodfibre LNG project near Squamish, owned by Indonesian billionaire Sukanto Tanoto, has made an investment decision to build but no construction date has been set. - Vancouver Sun  


Liberals' legacy of waste: Nicholls

Ontario wasted more than a $1-billion worth of energy in 2016. The Ontario Society of Professional Engineers (OSPE) recently calculated that almost eight terawatt-hours of clean energy was dumped from the grid last year. That’s enough energy to power almost 1 million homes for a year. The amount wasted last year was shockingly 58% more than what was dumped in 2015. Ontario has also been exporting about 2-million homes’ worth of power to other jurisdictions in Canada and the U.S. Worse, we’re either giving our power away or selling it at a massive loss. Meanwhile, between 2008 and 2015, electricity costs in Ontario rose four times the rate of inflation, and we’re now officially paying more for electricity that any other province in Canada. - Toronto Sun


Hydro One on hook for U.S. cleanup?

Hydro One’s $6.7-billion purchase of an American utility company comes with the costly responsibility of helping to clean up an 800-acre “toxic soup” waste site in the United States, the Sierra Club says. Doug Howell, senior campaign organizer for the U.S. Sierra Club’s Beyond Coal campaign, said Avista Corp. owns 15% of two units of the Colstrip coal plant, located in eastern Montana. Hydro One is in the process of purchasing Avista, and Ontarians own 40% of Hydro One. “One thing I think you all really need to understand is that you’re not just getting a coal plant, you’re getting a toxic waste site and all the liabilities that go with it,” Howell said. - Toronto Sun


Hypocrites on climate change – and incompetents: Goldstein

Anyone who believes you can’t suck and blow at the same time has never met the Ontario Liberals when they’re explaining their plan to — insert laughter here — “fight” global warming.

Because of Premier Kathleen Wynne, Ontarians are now paying almost $2-billion more a year, ostensibly to fight climate change, through her cap-and-trade carbon pricing scheme. And yet, also thanks to Wynne, we’re about to become part owners of a giant U.S. electricity plant in Montana that consumes one rail car of coal every five minutes, with all the greenhouse gas and pollution problems that entails. That’s a circle the Liberals can’t square and a level of hypocrisy they can’t answer with political spin no matter how hard they try. - Toronto Sun


Siemens, once touted as Liberal energy success, closes 340 out of work: Thompson

We all know how Ontarians feel about Premier Kathleen Wynne’s handling of the energy file. We all feel the pain of this self-inflicted wound created, not by green energy, but the lack of due diligence and cost-effective planning. When I asked Provincial Energy Minister Glenn Thibeault (who is tangled up in the Liberal Sudbury bribery scandal that Wynne will testify at) for some examples of jobs that had been created by the Green Energy Act, he continually pointed to the Siemens plant in Tillsonburg, building blades for wind turbines. He talked of 40,000 spin-off jobs related to the projects. Last week the very same Siemens plant announced it was shutting down, putting 340 out of work by next year, over 200 gone immediately. We simply don’t need the expensive energy Wynne’s plan has produced and a major wind turbine project, we couldn’t afford, was cancelled. - Global News


British Columbia's new attorney general says province won't delay Trans Mountain permits

B.C.’s attorney general says the NDP government will not artificially delay permits for the Trans Mountain pipeline, despite the premier’s vow to use every available tool to stop the project. David Eby said he’s been tasked by Premier John Horgan to identify options to halt Kinder Morgan Canada’s $7.4-billion expansion of its Alberta-to-B.C. pipeline, which has already been approved by Ottawa and the previous B.C. government. Eby said the province cannot deliberately stall on permits without risking a costly lawsuit, but it can ensure that permits require that construction be done in a way that minimizes spills, protects the environment and ensures appropriate cleanup. - Vancouver Sun  


Saskatchewan Is Uranium's Top Mining Jurisdiction In 2016

Saskatchewan is the best jurisdiction for uranium mining investment in the world. That’s the conclusion by the Fraser Institute, an independent, non-partisan Canadian public policy think-tank, which released the 2016 edition of its annual global survey of mining executives earlier this year who evaluated 104 countries. The Canadian province hosts two of the world’s biggest yellowcake mines, Cigar Lake and MacArthur River, both operated and majority owned by Cameco, which also happens to be the globe’s largest publicly-traded, pure play uranium company. - Forbes


United States

In the U.S., researchers are working on vast wind turbines taller than the Eiffel Tower

Researchers in the U.S. are designing and looking to develop 50 megawatt (MW) wind turbines with "extreme-scale blades" 200 meters in length. To put things in perspective, if built, they will be taller than the Eiffel Tower in Paris, France. - CNBC


U.S. may revise 2021 fuel efficiency standards, freeze targets

The U.S. Transportation Department said on Tuesday it may revise auto fuel efficiency requirements starting with the 2021 model year, a year earlier than previously disclosed, and could adopt lower standards through 2025. In March, President Donald Trump ordered a review of U.S. vehicle fuel-efficiency standards from model year 2022 through 2025 established under the Obama administration. U.S. regulators said in a notice published Tuesday they are preparing a new environmental impact statement and could decide to freeze 2021 standards through 2025, rather than raising them every year. - CNBC


"Fracking" Has Lost Its Faddish Sex Appeal

Fads come and fads go, but the thing that they all have in common is that, when we look back from the viewpoint of history, we wonder how they ever became so popular to begin with? Thus begins the saga of "Fracking" and its application to the very safe, heavily-regulated industrial process of hydraulic fracturing by activist conflict groups. Starting around early 2008, we began to see groups like the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC), the Sierra Club and other major environmentally-focused conflict groups using the term "Fracking" ubiquitously in their messaging campaigns to oppose the oil and gas industry the U.S. Over the following few years, the use of the term expanded almost exponentially in the media and then into the entertainment industry, as the public became increasingly aware of the boom in shale oil and natural gas that "fracking" had made possible. - Forbes


Will U.S. Liquefied Natural Gas Find A Market In Asia?

The short answer to the question posed is...yes....it already has. After 18 months of exporting, some 35% of all U.S. LNG has reached Asia. It's clear that the Asian giants want to reduce their coal over-reliance by using more natural gas. The time is now to diversify because local gas prices are almost as low as those in the U.S. after being 4-5 times higher just a few years ago. You could call $6 LNG the “sweet spot” for building new demand.  Moreover, the ability of the Asian giants to produce more of their own gas is in serious doubt. For example, there are great shale opportunities in China, but the future is limited due to water shortages, a pipeline dearth, low prices, physical remoteness of the resource, uncertainties for foreign experts in dealing with China's precarious state-owned enterprises, and a variety of other factors. - Forbes


United Kingdom

U.K. to ban sales of petrol and diesel cars from 2040

Environment Secretary Michael Gove was on Wednesday scheduled to herald the end of the internal combustion engine in Britain within a generation by announcing plans to ban the sale of new petrol and diesel cars by 2040. The move, which follows the lead set by France two weeks ago, will be set out in the government's long-awaited "air quality plan" on Wednesday. Mr. Gove will signal that all newly-bought cars will have to be electric within a quarter of a century. His promise to "ban" other cars shifts the government further from its existing position, which was an "ambition" for all new cars to be zero-emission by 2040. - Australian Financial Review



Competition Regulator Rod Sims wants cheaper energy, more competition

Competition regulator Rod Sims wants to ease the energy crisis by helping consumers to find "much cheaper" electricity offers and lowering barriers to new suppliers. In remarks released ahead of a regulatory conference on Thursday he blamed the NSW, Queensland and ACT governments for the doubling in electricity prices – after inflation – over the past decade. - Australian Financial Review


Gas industry on edge as Liquid Natural Gas export powers pass to Barnaby Joyce

Gas exporters on the east coast are expecting no let-up in pressure from government to make more supply available to local buyers after responsibility for deciding whether to trigger LNG export controls passed to Deputy Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce from Matt Canavan. But industry sources are worried that the handover of responsibilities at a critical point in the process will complicate the complex assessment of whether the Domestic Gas Security Mechanism should be enforced for next year. - Australian Financial Review