April 24, 2018

Affordable Energy News Service for April 24, 2018

Trudeau’s carbon price: A $10-billion anchor on our economy — Lorrie Goldstein

On Monday, the Parliamentary Budget Officer said Trudeau’s carbon pricing scheme will cost the Canadian economy $10-billion in 2022, reducing the annual increase in Canada’s Gross Domestic Product by 0.5% compared to what it would have been without it. The report says the adverse financial impact on taxpayers and consumers would be significantly less if the provinces and territories, in enacting Trudeau’s scheme, return all of the money raised by the carbon levy to the public in the form of cuts to personal and corporate income taxes. That’s called revenue neutral carbon pricing and Trudeau has no intention of implementing it. The PBO says lump sum payments from provinces (a system in place in some provinces currently) would partially offset the negative fiscal impact of carbon pricing, but income and corporate tax cuts would be better. - Toronto Sun  


Carbon taxes come with a price - who knew?! — Anthony Furey

A new report from the non-partisan Office of the Parliamentary Budget Officer has dragged the pricing mechanism kicking and screaming away from the global cocktail circuit and placed it firmly in budgeting reality. In their latest economic and fiscal outlook, the fiscal watchdog has run the numbers and found that Trudeau’s troubled carbon tax is expected to pull $10-billion per year out of the economy starting in 2022. That’s amounts to 0.5% of GDP. Half a percent may sound like nothing, but it really does matter in the grand scheme of things. The feds are phasing in the national carbon tax slowly, hoping we don’t feel the pain if it’s not all in one go. This year’s mandatory levy is $10 per tonne of CO2 but its ramping up to $50 per tonne by 2022, where it’s expected to stay. So what’s the price of this carbon tax going to be for your family when all is said and done? We don’t know because they’re choosing to keep it under wraps. - Toronto Sun  


Feds to post deficits $8-billion bigger than expected over next two years: PBO report — Andy Blatchford

The Trudeau government is on track to run deficits nearly $8-billion deeper than expected over the next two years, the federal budget watchdog Jean-Denis Frechette said Monday in a new report. The parliamentary budget officer estimated the Liberals will post a $22.1-billion shortfall this fiscal year, which would be $4-billion more than the projection of $18.1-billion in the federal government’s February budget. For 2019-20, Frechette predicted a $21.4-billion deficit, $3.9-billion higher than the government’s forecast of $17.5-billion. Any hope of returning to the black any time soon is remote, the budget office said Monday. The PBO also predicted the federal government’s forthcoming carbon price tax would lower the country’s real gross domestic product by 0.5%, or $10-billion, in 2022. “The carbon levy will generate significant revenues over the medium term,” the PBO said. - Winnipeg Free Press  


Time to come clean on carbon taxes — staff writer

The Liberal government’s federally imposed carbon tax is going to hit Canadians in their wallets and it’s time we were given the goods on how much that will cost. On Monday, the Office of the Parliamentary Budget Officer released a zinger of a report containing the projected estimates of the carbon tax. This year, it is expected to take in $10-billion for Canada’s economy. This will have the effect of reducing our GDP by 0.5%. In other words, Trudeau’s pet tax will play a role in shrinking the economy. How much this $10-billion will hit your own wallet is still unclear because the government is still unwilling to release the specific numbers. The public is increasingly turning against carbon taxes - and with good reason. There are better ways to be environmentally friendly than hitting regular people where it hurts. Trudeau needs to come clean on carbon taxes and reveal their true cost. - Toronto Sun  


Pipeline turmoil could hit average British Columbians in wallets — Kris Sims

While politicians posture and feint in the fight over the Kinder Morgan pipeline expansion, the risks to everyday working people in B.C. are stark. The role of natural resources like oil and gas in our modern life and bustling economy can’t be overstated. All citizens in Canada depend on oil and gas, and that dependence could become brutally clear very soon. Alberta has introduced legislation that would give its provincial government the power to direct truckers, pipeline companies and rail operators on how much oil and gas can be shipped and when. Petroleum exports are warning that it could cause gas prices to spike up to more than $2 a litre. Commuters in the Lower Mainland will be hit very hard if gas jumps to more than $2 a litre. With gasoline at $1.54 per litre, a commuter from Langley now spends about $14 per day - that is about $280 a month. If the prices jump, the cost could be staggering. - Vancouver Sun  


Law to stop Sask. energy products going to B.C. introduced — D.C. Fraser

Saskatchewan is making good on its word to restrict the flow of energy products leaving the province, including the place at which the new law is squarely aimed - B.C. On Monday, Bill 112, the Energy Export Act was introduced. According to the province, it will create the framework necessary to “optimize the value of Saskatchewan’s oil, gas, and refined petroleum products.” The law is intended to establish a permitting process in order for corporations to export outside of Saskatchewan, making it similar to a law recently brought forward in Alberta. Both laws are retaliatory measures against B.C.’s government, which is continuing to oppose Kinder Morgan’s Trans Mountain pipeline expansion. - Saskatoon Star Phoenix  


Saskatchewan introduces law to allow control of oil, gas exports — Ryan McKenna

The Saskatchewan government has introduced legislation that would allow the province to control its oil and gas exports, similar to a bill recently tabled in Alberta. Once passed, the law would establish a permitting process for people or corporations looking to export energy products outside the province. Energy Minister Bronwyn Eyre said the lone difference is that Saskatchewan has a sunset clause in place until Jan. 31, 2019. “There is a penalty system in place and again, it’s identical to the Alberta legislation,” Eyre said. “This is really about export permits for truck and for track, anything that would in our case, Saskatchewan’s case, be transporting natural gas, oil, refined products, would be subject to the export permits legislation.” - National Post


Ottawa’s lack of action on Trans Mountain harming Peace Country: Warkentin — Kevin Hampson

The federal government’s failure to take action on the imperilled Trans Mountain pipeline expansion may allow B.C. to succeed in killing the project, says Grande Prairie-Mackenzie MP Chris Warkentin. The Trudeau government was quite willing to use its leverage to pressure Saskatchewan to implement the federal carbon tax, but it has not used the same tools when it comes to B.C.’s battle against Trans Mountain, Warkentin said. “It’s really inconsistent that the federal government would go after the government of Saskatchewan with massive financial penalties and yet continue to hand over significant amounts of money to the B.C. government without any condition that they limit their opposition to this approved pipeline.” Absent such pressure from Ottawa, the B.C. government’s tactic to “kill this project by delay” may well work, Warkentin said. - The Daily Herald Tribune  


B.C. First Nation votes to develop province’s largest solar farm — Ainslie Cruickshank

Members of the Upper Nicola Band voted last week to develop what could be B.C.’s largest solar farm on their Quilchena reserve lands. 92% of the First Nation’s members who voted in the referendum supported the development of the 15-megawatt solar farm. Currently, B.C.’s largest solar farm - the SunMine owned by the City of Kimberly - produces one megawatt of electricity, he said. Over the next 40 years, the solar project is expected to bring some economic benefits to the Upper Nicola Band, but it won’t eliminate economic pressures on the community, he said. The next step is confirming the solar resource at the site. Upper Nicola and FortisBC set up a measuring device called a pyranometer in October and it will be there for a year to confirm the results of previous modelling. - Toronto Star  


Trudeau Liberals say 'no' to Canadian oil and gas independence — Don Braid

With the Kinder Morgan pipeline hanging by a thread, the federal Liberals had a chance on the weekend to express support for Alberta and the national economy. They didn’t. The party’s annual convention in Halifax voted against a resolution to make “Canadian oil and gas independence” an official policy. The resolution came from the party’s Alberta section. It was eminently reasonable and responsible. But it wasn’t good enough to become Liberal doctrine. The winning resolutions focused on a guaranteed minimum income, decriminalization of consensual sex work and the sex trade, pharmacare, a Canadian Environmental Bill of Rights, and a good deal more. But the idea that Canadian oil and natural gas should fill all of Canada’s needs for oil and natural gas? Not a chance. - Calgary Herald  


Liquid Natural Gas executives flying to Ottawa more frequently amid 'time crunch' for tariff relief — Geoffrey Morgan

Canadian liquefied natural gas proponents face “time crunch” as executives fly back and forth to Ottawa with increasing frequency to ask for tariff relief, which is now considered among the last remaining obstacles to the nascent industry’s development in British Columbia. Woodfibre LNG is sending a delegation to Ottawa this week to meet with officials from Finance Canada and reiterate their request for relief from the 48.5% duty in place for fabricated imported steel components (FISCs) that would be used in its $1.8-billion LNG project in Squamish, B.C. “We had never anticipated these kinds of duties,” Woodfibre spokesperson Jennifer Siddon said, adding the company initially filed for a duty remission order in September and provided follow-up information in November but is still not clear how long it would take get an answer. “The timing is unfortunate for us, because we are getting down to wanting to award that (engineering, procurement and construction) contract and wanting to get started on construction,” Siddon said. - Montreal Gazette  


Canada mishandling nuclear waste plans warn First Nations, environmental groups — Raisa Patel

First Nations leaders say they have not been properly consulted about the prospect of a nuclear waste disposal site being established northwest of Ottawa near a prominent nuclear research centre. Glen Hare, deputy grand chief of the Anishinabek Nation, says his people were not consulted about the proposed Chalk River dump site, which is located less than a kilometre from the Ottawa River. “We cannot have open season to bury nuclear waste on our lands,” Hare told a news conference Monday. “The repercussions of it are too deadly. This is something we do not want to leave for our kids in the future.” Indigenous groups and environmentalists have opposed the planned disposal site at the Chalk River facility, about two hours northwest of Ottawa, since it was first announced by Canadian Nuclear Laboratories in 2017. The proposal for an above-ground landfill holding some 1 million cubic metres of waste has raised concerns that nearby water sources could be contaminated. - National Post  


United States

U.S. coal exports increased by 61% in 2016, EIA reports — Kevin Randolph

The United States exported 97.0 million short tons (MMst) of coal in 2017, 61% more than it exported in 2016, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) Although Europe remained the largest recipient of U.S. coal exports, exports to Asia more than doubled from 15.7 MMst in 2016 to 32.8 MMst in 2017. Metallurgical coal accounted for 57 percent of total U.S. coal exports in 2017, up from approximately a third in 2016. Metallurgical coal is used primarily in steel production. Europe received 45 percent of total U.S. metallurgical exports in 2017, making it the top destination for metallurgical coal exports from the United States. The top six countries importing U.S. metallurgical coal in 2017 were Brazil, Japan, Ukraine, Canada, India and South Korea and accounted for more than half of all metallurgical exports. - Daily Energy Insider  


Offshore leases part of U.S. energy push — Steve LeBlanc

President Donald Trump has courted coal miners and cast doubt on whether fossil fuels contribute to climate change, but that hasn't translated into hostility for renewable energy — particularly offshore wind. Using federal offshore leases, wind power projects along the East Coast, including off the shores of Massachusetts, New Jersey, Connecticut, Virginia and New York, are pressing ahead with the goal of transforming the electric grid and providing energy to power millions of homes. The administration is looking to renewable energy sources to help create "energy dominance" that will guarantee America is a leading global energy exporter and can't be held hostage by foreign energy-producing powers, Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke says. "On designated federal lands and offshore, this means an equal opportunity for all sources of responsible energy development, from fossil fuels to the full range of renewables," Zinke said in a recent op-ed in The Boston Globe. "As we look to the future, wind energy - particularly offshore wind - will play a greater role in sustaining American energy dominance." - Times Union  



Darwin LNG set for 20-year life extension — Angela MacDonald-Smith

Santos and its partners in the Barossa gas field off Australia's north coast have given the green light to start engineering and design work on the multi-billion project to replace declining supplies for the Darwin LNG export plant. The decision was expected after the ConocoPhillips-led venture secured regulatory approval last month for the offshore project, which propelled it ahead of Woodside Petroleum's Sunrise field in the Timor Sea as the lead candidate as the next key source of supply for Darwin LNG. The development may however still not have come soon enough to prevent a temporary downturn in export volumes from the gas export project as the current supply source, the Bayu-Undan field, is due to start declining early next decade. A commercial deal on the terms for the supply of gas to the plant has also still to be negotiated. - Australian Financial Review