Affordable Energy News for June 1, 2017

Affordable Energy News for June 1, 2017

Widening B.C.-Alberta pipeline divide threatens Canada’s climate change commitments

In Victoria late Tuesday, using a tone that was professorial, condescending, and inappropriate, Andrew Weaver scolded Rachel Notley for supporting the federally approved $7.4-billion pipeline. “The idea that somehow a pipeline in a market where it doesn’t exist is going to create jobs in British Columbia is nothing more than a myth,” Weaver said. In fact, the Edmonton-to-Burnaby pipeline has been in operation since before Weaver was born and is a major supplier of oil to B.C., fueling its cars, planes and trains.  Canada’s 21st century will be about increasing oil and gas exports because they matter to its prosperity. Environmental performance will increase, and if Canadian pipeline options aren’t available, oil will move in and costlier unsafer oil trains and keep Canada dependent on the U.S. market and its politics. – National Post


“Mark my words”: Alberta’s Notley says pipeline coming no matter B.C. politics

Alberta Premier Rachel Notley wants everyone to mark her words: the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion will go ahead to deliver her province's oil to the West Coast and jobs to British Columbia. Notley says she doesn't believe it makes much difference who is running B.C., because the federal government has already approved the Kinder Morgan (TSX:KML) project. – The Chronicle Herald


Kinder Morgan defends Trans Mountain review amid B.C. political shakeup

The president of Kinder Morgan Canada has defended the Trans Mountain project as having gone through rigorous assessments in his first comments since the B.C. NDP-Green party alliance resolved to stop the pipeline expansion. Ian Anderson said in a statement Wednesday that the expansion has been reviewed, analyzed, discussed and considered thoroughly over many years, and now has approvals from the National Energy Board, the Government of Canada and a B.C. environmental certificate. The company continues to move forward with planning for construction to start in September. – Toronto Star


Business leaders express concern about promises in B.C. NDP-Green agreement

Some business leaders in Canada expressed concerns Wednesday that the fallout from British Columbia’s election is discouraging the private sector from investing in the province. Promises by B.C.’s NDP and Greens to hike the minimum wage and carbon tax could further jangle investor nerves after both parties also committed to immediately stopping the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion project. “The election outcome, and the vow of the Green-NDP alliance to obstruct that pipeline, sends a very worrying message to investors about Canada as a predictable, reliable place to invest,” said Gary Leach, president of the Explorers and Producers Association of Canada. – The Canadian Press


Dakota Access Pipeline expected to begin shipping on Thursday

The developer of the Dakota Access oil pipeline, which is expected to begin shipping oil on Thursday. The $3.8-billion pipeline will move North Dakota oil through South Dakota and Iowa to a distribution point in Illinois. – The Chronicle Herald


Editorial: Time to reassess Canada’s green agenda

It seems not a day goes by that we don’t see reminders about how wrong-headed the various green scheme agendas are in Canada. Wednesday was a particular case in point. The news focused on U.S. President Donald Trump’s expected decision to pull the United States out of the Paris Climate Treaty. Sources close to the administration told the media Trump intends to withdraw from the accord, which would effectively undermine the flawed international agreement to lower greenhouse gas emissions. If so, Trump’s decision would be consistent with his past and profound skepticism about climate change science, serve U.S. interests and deal a death blow to the Paris treaty. If America does formally back out, Canada will need to reassess our own green agenda. – Toronto Sun


Trump protectionism to add fuel to New Brunswick Energy Conference

With growing uncertainties south of the border, the future of New Brunswick’s energy sector will be on the agenda for this year’s East Coast energy conference in Saint John. The third annual Energy Connection conference will take place next Tuesday and Wednesday at Saint John Trade and Convention Centre. Topics to be discussed include the effects of carbon pricing, trade relations with the U.S., and the future of the U.S.-Canada energy transmission project Atlantic Link. – The Telegraph Journal


Time-of-use electricity pricing not significantly reducing Ontario’s demand

Smart meters and time-of-use electricity pricing have only modestly reduced Ontario’s residential energy demand during the most expensive peak periods, according to a new study from the University of Waterloo. Factoring out the impact of weather differences, their analysis showed residential demand for electricity dropped just 2.6 per cent during on-peak periods and 2.4 per cent during mid-peak periods following the change. “There is a gain, but the gain is very small,” said Lukasz Golab, a management sciences professor and Canada Research Chair at Waterloo. – Canadian Manufacturing


The United States

Trump’s Paris decision comes today, with the world watching

President Trump has stated that at 3 pm Thursday, Eastern Time, he’ll give a Rose Garden address outlining whether the U.S. will stay in the Paris climate agreement. Many outlets have reported that Trump is leaning towards exiting the deal, while cautioning he could still change his mind. Vice President Mike Pence’s will be attending the announcement, but Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, according to his public schedule, will not. Tillerson has argued for keeping the U.S. in the Paris accord, as has the company he previously headed, ExxonMobil. The Environmental Protection Agency did not immediately respond to a request about whether administrator Scott Pruitt, one of the biggest opponents of the deal in the administration, will be in attendance. – The Washington Post


Exxon Mobil Shareholders demand accounting of climate change policy risks

A majority of Exxon Mobil’s shareholders, in a reversal, have voted in favor of more open and detailed analyses of the risks posed to its business by policies aimed at stemming climate change. Those policies include the goal of the Paris climate agreement to restrict global temperatures to no more than 2 degrees Celsius above preindustrial levels. Preliminary results announced at the company’s annual shareholder meeting on Wednesday put the results at 62.3 percent in favor, up from the 38 percent a similar resolution garnered last year. The resolution, which the company’s directors opposed, is nonbinding. – The New York Times


Business will keep cutting carbon whether the U.S. stays in Paris accord or not

President Trump says he plans to announce his decision on whether to pull the U.S. out of the Paris climate change agreement in the next few days. While that decision may significantly change the picture for the official emissions goals of the U.S., it will not mean that industry stops its progress on pursuing a low-carbon future altogether. In fact, many CEOs have asked Trump to stay in the Paris agreement. But business on its own isn’t likely to reduce emissions enough to meet the Paris goals of preventing a significant rise in global temperatures. – MarketPlace  


Renewable Energy expected to continue growth, despite Trump

President Donald Trump may abandon U.S. pledges to reduce carbon emissions, but global economic realities ensure he is unlikely to reverse the accelerating push to adopt cleaner forms of energy. Around the world, coal-fired power plants are being shuttered as governments and private companies invest billions in wind turbines and solar farms. Even in regions of the U.S. where coal is plentiful, electric utilities are increasingly shifting to cheaper, cleaner-burning natural gas. In the absence of federal action to address climate change, some left-leaning states such as California and New York are moving ahead with ambitious clean-energy policies of their own. – U.S. News 


California lawmakers move towards new renewable energy goals

Democrats in California’s Senate doubled down on the state’s commitment to reducing dependence on fossil fuels, painting their move in contrast to Donald Trump’s potential withdrawal of the United States from the Paris Climate Accord. The Senate on Wednesday voted to set a goal of getting all of the state’s power from renewable energy sources by the year 2045. Republicans voted against the measure, arguing that the private sector should lead the push to help California reach its greenhouse-gas reduction goals. – KQED News


United Kingdom

SNP manifesto: ‘Energy price cap is necessary’

The Scottish National Party (SNP) is copying the Tories and backs a price cap for standard variable tariffs. A pledge in its manifesto the SNP outlines how MPs plan to provide more than £500 million of energy efficiency support, reduce the number of people on pre-payment meters and immediately implement the Competition and Markets Authority’s recommendations on metering. – Energy Live News


Liberal Economists say $4-trillion tax is needed to stop global warming

A group of 14 economists published a report Tuesday claiming that the world needs a $4-trillion tax on carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions to stop global warming. The study suggests that a tax should be levied on fossil fuel use, taxing between $50 to $100 per ton of CO2 emitted. Proceeds could support green energy, given out as aid to poor countries, or be redistributed back to the population. The World Bank and French government financed the study. Lord Nicholas Stern co-authored the report, having written a 2006 report that served as the basis of U.K. climate policy. Stern’s recommended tax would cost more than the total economic output of the U.K. or Germany. Critics argue carbon taxes disproportionately harm poor people through higher energy prices. A 2009 study by the National Bureau of Economic Research found that a carbon tax would double the tax burden of the poorest households, making it effectively impossible to have both a carbon tax and a living wage. – The Daily Caller



Sky-high carbon tax needed to avoid climate catastrophe, say experts

A group of leading economists warned on Monday that the world risks catastrophic global warming in just 13 years unless countries ramp up taxes on carbon emissions to as much as $100 (£77) per metric tonne. Experts including Nobel laureate Joseph Stiglitz and former World Bank chief economist Nicholas Stern said governments needed to move quickly to tackle polluting industries with a tax on carbon dioxide at $40-$80 per tonne by 2020. The European Union’s Emissions Trading System (ETS) is the world’s biggest scheme for trading greenhouse gas emissions allowances. It covers 11,000 power stations and industrial plants in 30 countries, whose carbon emissions make up almost 50% of Europe’s total. Washington’s refusal to adopt a tax has deterred Brussels from moving to a more substantial charge on emissions, which would have the effect of increasing energy costs, at least in the short term, and imposing higher costs on European manufacturers. –


PoliticsNow: ‘We will stick with climate deal’

Environment Minister Josh Frydenberg is unequivocal: Australia will remain committed to the Paris agreement, even if the U.S. government pulls out. “I’m absolutely convinced and certain that Australia is committed fully to the Paris agreement. We see it as important to transition to a lower emissions economy but we want to do so in the most cost-effective way, in a way that ensures energy security and stability and energy affordability, knowing how price sensitive people are to higher electricity bills and how it does impact on our international competitiveness.” – The Australian


Australia manufacturing still growing

Australian manufacturing has continued to expand for an eighth consecutive month, albeit at a slowing rate, new figures show. Export-focused manufacturers recorded strong growth, as did machinery and equipment makers despite the downturn in the local automotive industry, the Australian Industry Group Performance of Manufacturing Index for May shows. AI Group chief executive Innes Willox said, “Less positively, slower local retail conditions are having some negative impacts for manufacturers and elevated input costs are an ongoing challenge for everyone, particularly due to rising electricity and gas costs.” Across Australia's various manufacturing sub-sectors, textiles, clothing and furniture was hardest hit – shrinking further into contraction in the face of overseas competition, high energy costs and their exposure to the struggling local retail sector. – The Australian


Investment climate: LNG feels the heat over carbon risks

Australia's oil and gas majors – with their increasing exposure to multi-decade liquefied natural gas projects – are starting to feel the pressure of the growing push on climate risk disclosure almost as much as coal producers. The victory struck by investor activists at ExxonMobil's annual meeting on Wednesday has only underlined the importance being placed by the mainstream market on understanding long-term risks to asset portfolios from the world's efforts to tackle global warming. Citigroup's environmental, social & governance analyst Elaine Prior says investors want long-life fossil fuel projects – including LNG and coal railways – to be "stress-tested" against various climate scenarios. The gas industry justifies its growth forecasts by pointing to gas' superior carbon credentials over coal, and its ability to work flexibly alongside renewables to work toward a low-carbon economy. Bur Prior, for one, believes the "transition fuel" rhetoric is overdone, noting gas won't provide a path to the goal of net zero emissions without carbon capture and storage or something similar. In that respect, gas is only marginally better than "clean coal." – Australian Financial Review



Russia-OPEC deal extension hastens decline of oil heartlands

Russia’s deal with OPEC has bolstered state coffers by putting a floor under crude prices, but it’s also had one unintended consequence: depressing output in the nation’s West Siberian oil heartlands. – Bloomberg Markets