January 02, 2018

Affordable Energy News Service for January 2, 2018

Affordable Energy News Service for January 2, 2018

Manitoba Hydro needs plan for excess power production — Will Braun

The Keeyask dam is springing leaks, and the possibility of further cost overruns and delays, as recently reported, is just the start. The dam, now estimated to cost between $8.7-billion and $10.5-billion, was officially approved in 2014, based largely on Manitoba Hydro’s projection that demand for energy in Manitoba would grow by 1.5% annually for 20 years, outstripping current supply. Hydro’s mandate, and the basic justification for Keeyask, is to power the province, with exports helping to pay for the dam. But now Hydro tells the Public Utilities Board that demand in Manitoba will instead shrink for several years and only rebound to current levels by 2035. - Winnipeg Free Press


Saskatchewan’s climate plan leaves plenty of opportunity for future leadership — Nick Martin

Saskatchewan’s recently released climate change strategy leaves a lot of questions unanswered. But rather than a negative, this provides an opportunity for the province’s future leadership to demonstrate smart policy-making. As expected, Premier Brad Wall’s plan does not include an explicit, economy-wide price on carbon such as a carbon tax. Every candidate for the Saskatchewan Party leadership opposes a carbon tax as well. - Regina Leader Post


Alberta consumers cash in on electricity surplus — Paula Simons

Alberta set a new mark for electricity use. We hit an all-time record high of 11,473 MW on Thursday, Dec. 28. That surpassed the 2016 record by 15 MW. Our furnaces are pumping. Our lights are ablaze. Our washing machines and computers are in overdrive. You might expect electricity prices in Alberta to be in overdrive, too. But that’s the real surprise. - Edmonton Journal  


Alberta carbon tax jumps, but NDP says it's connected to improving economy Rob Drinkwater

Alberta's carbon tax jumped on New Year's Day, but the province's NDP government maintains the tax played a vital role in Alberta's improving economic outlook. Deputy premier Sarah Hoffman told reporters there was a clear link between the approval of several pipelines last year and the tax that Alberta first introduced on carbon dioxide emissions on January 1, 2017. - Winnipeg Free Press


Carbon tax rebates coming this week, government says — Andrea Ross

Albertans will begin receiving carbon tax rebate cheques sometime in the next week, deputy premier Sarah Hoffman said New Year's Day, the same day a 50% increase in the tax went into effect. About 60% of Albertans will automatically receive a rebate in their bank accounts to offset the costs of the carbon tax, the government says. These rebates are also 50% higher from last year. - CBC


Ontarians suffering because of Wynne's hydro legacy — editorial

As we enter 2018, here’s a legacy from her past four years as Ontario’s premier that Kathleen Wynne would prefer no one talk about. It’s that since she became premier in February, 2013, there’s been a 19% increase in residential hydro disconnections, a 28% increase in hydro accounts in arrears and a 40% hike in customer debt owed to provincial electricity distributors. By comparison, the number of customers grew by only 4%, from 4,416,713 in 2013 to 4,598,314 in 2016. Meanwhile, the number of hydro accounts disconnected for non-payment grew from 49,130 to 58,286. Accounts in arrears increased to 392,963 from 307,822. Money owed to provincial utilities by hydro customers in default today totals $134,855,199, compared to $96,461,640 four years ago. This is hardly surprising given that disastrous Liberal energy policies pursued first by former Liberal premier Dalton McGuinty, and now Wynne, saw hydro rates double over a decade. - Toronto Sun


United States

U.S. energy markets set to kick off 2018 with a bang — Dan Eberhart

Rising oil and natural gas prices are driving a rally in U.S. energy stocks, signaling the beginning of a new phase in the ongoing story of America’s energy dominance as companies look to tap debt markets to expand operations. While the latest uptick in prices won’t completely make up for the slow recovery rate this year, the outlook for the U.S. oil and gas sector in the coming year is very bright indeed. - Forbes  


Companies tout renewable energy projects for Massachusetts — AP

Some entrepreneurs hoping to provide renewable energy to Massachusetts electricity customers are touting their projects in the run-up to the decision, expected in late January, about which company could be chosen to help provide clean power to the Bay State. The stakes are potentially huge for the dozens of companies that have submitted proposals, some of which are proposing major infrastructure projects that would carry Canadian electricity produced by wind or hydro power across Vermont, New Hampshire or Maine to reach Massachusetts. While there are a variety of projects vying to be chosen by Massachusetts in the current round, even if they’re not selected, it’s likely there will be other calls in the future for projects to provide more renewable power to southern New England. - National Post  



How Asia will keep the flame alive for coal producers — Benjamin Sporton

Last year saw big shifts in global energy systems, both in Australia and across the globe. With the International Energy Agency's recent Coal 2017 report, which noted that global coal demand has dropped for the second year running, it is easy for many commentators to write off coal's future. But continuing need for coal has emerged in 2017. Asian economies, from Pakistan, to India to south-east Asia are all forecast to grow significantly in the short, medium and long-term. Their economic growth will be powered by huge growth in energy demand. Unlike the coal-driven industrialisation experienced in Europe two centuries ago, this expansion will be from a more diverse set of energy sources, but coal will still be significant. India and south-east Asian nations will lead coal demand growth in the years to come, with Pakistan, Bangladesh and others following close behind. - Australian Financial Review