Allianz Insurance Suffers a Catastrophic Loss Probably Caused by Electric Vehicles!   Isn’t that Ironic?

An article in the British newspaper, “EXPRESS” in the May 11th edition shouted out: “The heightened appeal for electric cars may be causing a wave of cargo ship fires because they are not designed to carry lithium batteries safely. The new report, from Allianz Global Corporate and Specialty, said that bigger vessels carrying as many as 8,000 vehicles at a time concentrate the risk.”

The above commentary came about due to the potential insurance losses suffered from the sinking of the Felicity Ace in the Atlantic Ocean which happened to be carrying 4,000 Volkswagen vehicles including; Porsches and luxury Bentley vehicles and many were electric vehicles. An article on February 22, 2022 noted “a spokesperson for the salvage crew working on the burning cargo ship, who confirmed that “part of the fire is the batteries [in electric vehicles on board] that are still burning.” The paper said that according to Portuguese navy officials and salvage workers who have seen a cargo manifest, “it is clear that many of the cars on board are electric vehicles.” The fire, which started on Wednesday, has continued to burn into the weekend.

Allianz with their head office in Germany is recognized as # 1. of the top 10 global insurers ranked by 2019 non-banking assets and presumably took a significant hit as the value of the cargo on the Felicity Ace, now sunk, has been estimated at over $500 million.

Interestingly enough; if the loss of the ship and its cargo are eventually blamed on EV batteries, one should wonder; will Allianz drop their membership in the UN Net-Zero Insurance Alliance

The history of Allianz and perhaps their belief in “Energiewende”under Angela Merkel, former Chancellor of Germany, seemed to convince the German population of the ability to denounce the use of fossil fuels and nuclear energy and instead depend on renewable energy for their needs.  Evidentially that included transformation of the transportation sector and Allianz jumped on board.  They aggressively have promoted EV for over a decade as a simple search on their website determines.  As an example, in 2011 Allianz was a co-sponsor of an EV race consisting of two, three and four-wheelers! Their related press release stated: “We believe in the future of electric-powered cars, which will allow us to be mobile in a sustainable, emission-free and low-noise fashion.”  Anyone living near wind turbines (also supported by Allianz to achieve “net-zero”) to recharge those EV might not be happy to note how Allianz ignored noise emissions from wind turbines and their reputed “clean generation”! 

As it turned out Energiewende has turned out to be a very negative issue for Germany particularly with the ongoing Ukraine/Russian war impacting Germany’s need for natural gas resulting in them firing up many of their mothballed coal plants.  Net-Zero is starting to look like a nightmare not a dream!

So, one must wonder how Allianz’s worldwide offices and their executives are taking all this negative news affecting their support and push for “net-zero” and having to deal with an insurance claim that may well top $500 million appearing to have been caused by EV?

Net-Zero is starting to look like a nightmare not a dream now and as Alanis Morissette’s song title enunciated; “Isn’t that ironic”!

Grand Delusion: The Liberal Government’s Proposed “Clean” Electricity Standard

The captioned is a slightly edited version of the paper that Robert Lyman and I wrote on behalf of the CCMBC (Coalition of Concerned Manufacturers and Businesses of Canada) in response to the Federal Governments paper: “A Clean Electricity Standard in Support of a net zero electricity sector”.

The article is posted on the C2C Journal a great online publication that was founded in 2007.

I would encourage you to visit the site and either read or reread the report as the edited version has pictures and graphs that bring the report to life.

Find it here:

Grand Delusion: The Liberal Government’s Proposed “Clean” Electricity Standard

THE PROPOSED CLEAN ELECTRICITY STANDARD

Comments by the Coalition of Concerned Manufacturers and Businesses of Canada

April 15, 2022

by Robert Lyman and Parker Gallant

On March 8, 2022, the government of Canada published a document entitled, “A Clean Electricity Standard in Support of a net zero electricity sector”. The stated purpose of this document was “to send a clear signal that the Government of Canada intends to move forward with regulations to achieve a net-zero electricity system by 2035; to outline considerations related to this objective; and to solicit comments from Canadians regarding the scope and design of the CES”.

The Coalition of Concerned Manufacturers and Businesses of Canada (hereafter referred to as “the Coalition”) is a not-for-profit association that represents small- and medium-sized manufacturers and other businesses in Canada.  The goal of the Coalition is to advance policies that promote economic growth and retain good jobs in Canada. 

General Comments

Much of the current public discussion concerning future energy transitions is based on speculation about the timing, cost, and pace of commercialisation of new technologies. It would seem more prudent to base one’s judgments on what has actually happened in past energy transitions rather than try and predict the future.

The period from scientific discovery to widespread commercialisation of technologies has been much longer than is currently estimated by advocates of rapid decarbonisation. None of the steps in the innovation pathway – research, discovery, testing, demonstration, initial market development or widespread commercialisation – operates according to a fixed or predictable schedule.

Professor Vaclav Smil of the University of Manitoba, perhaps the world’s foremost expert on energy transitions, has argued that past transitions have been slow, painstaking and hard to predict. Existing technologies, both for generation and consumption of electricity, have a lot of inertia. Smil observes that the changes in technology and infrastructure required to decarbonise the world in a few decades as a ‘grand delusion’.

The proposed CES seems premised on the view that, in the face of high market costs and barriers, governments can force the pace of change and retain the support of the electorate in doing so. Outside of the centrally planned economies, however, no government has attempted to prescribe the timelines for commercialisation of new technologies or the dates by which a large share of society’s needs must be met by a new technology. ‘Picking winners’ may be an increasingly popular aspect of national industrial policy (despite its history of failures), but a prudent government should be hesitant about committing billions of taxpayers’ dollars to technologies that are not ready and cannot compete without permanent subsidies.

Those who pursue the net zero goal will be confronted with the reality that hydrocarbons are nature’s most efficient embodiment of primary energy. The combination of high energy density, abundance, stability, safety, portability, safe storage and affordability is unmatched by any other source of energy. Governments cannot wish those advantages away.

The electricity sector offers good examples of the immense barriers to net zero. Just meeting the additional generation requirements needed to power proposed conversion to electric vehicles would require a major expansion in the electricity generation capacity across Canada, sometimes estimated as the addition of 10,000 megawatts of capacity from today’s levels. The provinces of New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, Saskatchewan and Alberta still have coal fired capacity collectively totalling over 9,000 MW which will also require replacement, adding considerable additional costs.

The two largest power projects being built in Canada today, Site C in British Columbia and Muskrat Falls in Labrador, have a combined design capacity of 1,944 megawatts. To meet just the additional EV-related  power demand, at least eight more projects of the same size would have to be built. It generally takes at least 15 to 20 years to bring such a project to production in Canada. There are none even being contemplated at this time.

Central to the vision on which the proposed CEP is based is the thesis that in future Canada must rely primarily on wind and solar power generation for incremental supply, notwithstanding that these sources are intermittent and frequently unreliable.

The Issue of Costs

The discussion paper presents the transformation of Canada’s electrical energy system from one which is predominately reliant on low- or zero-carbon dioxide emissions to one that has virtually no carbon dioxide emissions as though it can be accomplished at low cost. Indeed, considerations of cost seem barely to enter into the presentation of facts, which is a highly unrealistic approach.

Canadians’ experience with efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from electricity systems in Ontario and Alberta have already revealed the significant economy-damaging costs of seeking to increase reliance on wind, solar and biomass energy. In Ontario, electricity rates for consumers doubled over the past decade and, according to the Ontario Auditor General, the cost of the move to increased wind and solar energy will be $90 billion over the life of the existing contracts.

Those who have studied the experience of other countries that have sought to increase reliance on renewable energy sources for electricity generation have found consistent patterns. These efforts bring about large increases in the actual prices that must be paid for electricity by consumers and businesses. Further, the price increases grow and accelerate as the percentage of electricity generated from intermittent renewables increases. This is due to the need for large and increasing amounts of costly backup and storage – things that are not needed at all in conventional hydrocarbons-based systems. Jurisdictions that increased generation from renewables up to as high as 30 per cent to total electricity supply have seen an approximate tripling in the price of electricity to ratepayers, except where a large portion of the increased costs is off-loaded to taxpayers.

In the remainder of these comments, the Coalition will address four specific aspects of the proposed CES:

  • The paper’s treatment of energy technology pathways
  • The paper’s proposal to minimize use of natural gas-fired generation
  • The cost of bulk electricity storage
  • Issues related to transmission

Technology Generation Pathways

The concept of technology is touted in the discussion paper as a way to achieve “net-zero” electricity for which wind turbines (onshore and offshore), solar (photovoltaic and concentrated), hydro and nuclear are considered to be zero emissions! It goes on to claim: “low and non-emitting generation technologies are becoming more cost-competitive, the pace of low-carbon electricity deployment must accelerate for Canada to reach NZ2035”.

The paper also opines favourably on possible energy sources under development such as SMR (small modular reactors), hydrogen fuel cells and carbon capture as zero emission. It also favours biomass (cogeneration and simple cycle) ahead of any form of natural gas generation. 

Biomass:  The treatment of biomass as low emissions flies in the face of reports from the UK where one of the world’s largest biomass power plants (DRAX)1. ranks third in the EU for emissions (if they were counted) and also received more than £800m in subsidies.

Solar photovoltaic is also a questionable source of energy in Canada (weak winter solar) and where it has been developed has cost more than estimated and produced considerably less power than forecast.  The larger projects started on the Nevada deserts have had many problems and the State 2. is dependent for over 60% of its electricity needs on natural gas plants. It would also need storage which would add considerably to its costs.

SMR technology is in process in many locations around the world but to date only a small number are operating, with Russia’s Akademik Lomonosov,3. the world’s first floating nuclear power plant which began operation in May 2020 producing energy from two 35 MW SMRs. China’s Huaneng Group Co.’s 200-megawatt unit 1 reactor at Shidao Bay is now feeding power to the grid in Shandong province, the China Nuclear Energy Association 4. said in a December 2021 article. Other SMRs are under construction or in the licensing stage in Argentina, Canada, China, Russia, South Korea and the United States of America.  SMR, dependent on costs, appears to be a possible “net-zero” energy source before several others but is unlikely to meet the targets committed to by the Canadian Federal Government at COP26.

Wind and solar are touted as playing a “key role”in reducing the electricity sector’s emissions but it will be very costly as demonstrated in Ontario5. where prices more than doubled in less than 10 years as they rose to represent over 15 per cent of capacity but generated only 9 per cent of demand, often when not needed. It must be recognized they receive “first-to-the-grid” rights meaning clean hydro is spilled and clean nuclear is steamed off to maintain grid stability and ratepayers are saddled with those costs in addition to what is paid to wind and solar developers. Due to their unreliable and intermittent nature they require backup from natural gas generation and ratepayers are saddled with that cost too.

Carbon capture utilization and storage (CCUS) is a major part of the discussion paper.  Based on the following excerpt however it seems to be viewed as temporary: “Over time, however, natural gas coupled with CCUS will increasingly be in competition with other emerging options that are both non-emitting and flexible in the roles they can play in electricity systems.” The issue of CCUS has gained interest from the Government of Alberta 6. and six major oil patch participants who are seeking “carbon capture credits” to assist in recovering some of the costs. While Canada is a leader in the development of CCUS the costs involved will be billions of dollars. Those costs will add considerably to electricity generation costs from flexible fossil fuels required to back up intermittent and unreliable wind and solar generation.  A report from June 2020 from Rutgers University 7. stated: “The analysis suggests coal-sourced CO2 emissions can be stored in this region at a cost of $52–$60 ton−1 , whereas the cost to store emissions from natural-gas-fired plants ranges from approximately $80 to $90.”  Note the foregoing are US dollars and those costs will be added to each kWh delivered. Transferring part of these costs from emitters to taxpayers through the use of investment tax credits for CCUS will not reduce the cost to society.

Hydrogen blending with natural gas will raise consumer costs and risk public health while barely reducing emissions, a US think-tank 9. reported in a March 30, 2022 article. It goes on to state “A blend of 20% green hydrogen in natural gas would raise fuel costs for heating and cooking by a factor of two to four, as renewable H2 is currently six to 14 times more expensive than fossil gas, the study explains. Green hydrogen prices would have to fall by roughly an order of magnitude to achieve parity with the price of natural gas for use in buildings.”  The “Discussion Paper” suggests “releasing the Hydrogen Strategy for Canada to position Canada as a world-leading producer, user and exporter of clean hydrogen, and associated technologies”.  It appears once again the blending of hydrogen and natural gas would further drive up the cost of electricity should this be cast as another regulation.

Natural Gas

Natural gas has long been favoured as a clean, efficient, plentiful and affordable source of energy supply for multiple uses. In absolute terms, natural gas is the fastest growing source of supply for energy consumers, and through the use of liquification one of the fastest growing sources of international energy trade. In the United States, the increasing domestic supply of natural gas and its affordability have allowed the US to convert a large amount of previously coal-fired electricity generation to the lower cost and cleaner fuel.

In Canada, natural gas is used both for reliable base-load power generation and a back-up source to help cope with the serious problems of intermittency that plague wind and solar generation sources that have been used for political reasons. According to Canada’s Emissions Inventory, published by Environment and Climate Change Canada, in 2019 natural gas fired generating plants produced 46,100 GWh of electricity, 8 per cent of Canada’s total, and emitted 22 megatonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent, 32 per cent of the emissions from power generation. This, however, is only illustrative of how extremely low greenhouse gas emissions already are from electricity generation in Canada. Emissions from natural-gas generated power are only 3 per cent of Canada’s total emissions.

Increasingly, natural gas electricity generation in most provinces will come to represent a backup source produced from plants constructed a decade or more ago. The Independent Electricity Systems Operator of Ontario (IESO) recently completed a study to determine the feasibility and cost of phasing out natural gas generation by 2030. The findings of that study are very relevant to the federal government’s consideration of the Proposed Clean Electricity Standard. These included the following:

  • Gas generation offers a set of services, including quick response time and assured availability, that keep the grid reliable and help balance the variability of wind and solar.
  • Completely phasing out gas generation by 2030 would lead to blackouts.
  • Replacing gas generation in Ontario by 2030 would require more than $27 billion to install new sources of supply and upgrade transmission infrastructure. This translates into a 60 per cent, or $100 per month, increase in the average monthly residential bill.
  • There are many other practical considerations that make a 2030 phase-out impossible, including the time that it takes to plan, get regulatory approvals for, and build new infrastructure and non-availability of storage as an alternative. Those impediments are likely to last well beyond 2030.

The IESO report did not address the fact that many natural gas generation facilities, including those operated by private firms (i.e. the so-called non-utility generators, or NUGs), while often signed to 20-year contracts, generally operate for much longer than that. In fact, it is not surprising to see them operating under 40-year contracts. The premature cancellation of these contracts could cost well over $600 million, which would also be added to consumers’ bills.

Anyone considering the termination of existing contracts across Canada and the construction of new generation, transmission and storage facilities to replace the services now provided by natural gas-fired generators would have to take these factors into account.

Storage

Battery Storage is only cited once in the Discussion Paper in the following context: “leveraging Canada’s competitive advantage in mining to build the Canadian battery and critical mineral supply chains”.  The foregoing suggests the author(s) do not regard it as a means to significantly support the electricity sector, perhaps due to its high costs.  A report from June 2021 by the US NREL 8. (National Renewable Energy Laboratory) estimated the cost as; “(e.g., a $300/kWh, 4-hour battery would have a power capacity cost of $1200/kW).” That translates to a cost of U.S.$1.2 million for just 1 MW (megawatt) of storage for 4 hours and if done to any scale would drive up electricity prices.

No jurisdiction has yet succeeded in getting the percentage of its electricity generated from intermittent renewables past 50 per cent on an annualized basis. As the reliance on renewables increases, the grid operator must rely more on coal or natural gas-fueled backup power, and where these are prohibited, on some form of storage, most likely from large batteries. The cost of batteries is high and increases with the period of time for which storage is required, and whether the storage is needed only to balance daily or seasonal variations in demand

The cost of batteries sufficient to power a jurisdiction of millions of people would be enormous. In jurisdictions where a calculation has been made, the costs of the batteries exceeds the full annual GDP of the jurisdiction, and implies an increase in the price of electricity by a factor of 15 or more. For example, according to a study by Roger Andrews[1], the total amount of storage needed to provide secure supply in California amounts to about 25,000 GWh per year, more than a full month’s current rate of usage. Even assuming a substantial reduction in current battery prices, the cost of that would be in the range of US $5 trillion. And these batteries would need to be replaced regularly. Ken Gregory[2], a Canadian engineer, has assessed the cost of electrifying the United States economy without hydrocarbon-based generation, including the cost of battery backup. Simply to meet 2020 demand for 31 days would require storage that would cost $77.4 trillion, almost four times current US annual GDP.

Bulk electricity battery storage is hopelessly insufficient, no matter the cost. David Wojick, a Virginia-based Ph.D. in the logic and philosophy of science, explains this well in his article “California secretly struggles with renewables” (January 19, 2021).

Here is an excerpt:

California has hooked up a grid battery system that is almost ten times bigger than the previous world record holder, but when it comes to making renewables reliable it is so small it might as well not exist. The new battery array is rated at a storage capacity of 1,200 megawatt hours (MWh); easily eclipsing the record holding 129 MWh Australian system built by Tesla a few years ago. However, California peaks at a whopping 42,000 MW. If that happened on a hot, low wind night this supposedly big battery would keep the lights on for just 1.7 minutes (that’s 103 seconds). This is truly a trivial amount of storage…Barely time to find the flashlight, right? “This one reportedly utilizes more than 4,500 stacked battery racks, each of which contains 22 individual battery modules. That is 99,000 separate modules that have to be made to work well together. Imagine hooking up 99,000 electric cars and you begin to get the picture.”

Large-scale battery storage of electricity is still an infant industry, with enormous costs and technological risks, It is foolish in the extreme for Canada to commit to a pattern of electricity generation dependent on large-scale batteries for security of supply.

[1] Roger Andrews, The cost of wind and solar power: batteries included. Energy Matters, November 22, 2018

[2] Ken Gregory. The Cost of Net-Zero-Electrification of the USA. Friends of Science. December 20, 2021

Transmission Costs

The Discussion Paper notes; “Achieving net-zero electricity will require coordinated efforts. Provinces and territories hold jurisdiction over electricity planning and operation, while the federal government holds jurisdiction over emissions reduction regulations, interprovincial transmission projects, and international commitments, among others.” 

What the foregoing infers is either conflict or agreement will occur between the two parties as to how to achieve “net-zero electricity” which will obviously depend on projected outcomes and the current generation sources in each province/territory. 

One example is referenced as the “Atlantic Loop” project which aims to transmit hydro power from Muskrat and Churchill Falls (both located in Labrador) to other Atlantic regions, principally Nova Scotia which has 8 coal fired plants that federal regulations says they must close by 2030.  No doubt Nova Scotia would be happy to replace those coal plants with hydro power but what cost would Quebec, Newfoundland and Labrador charge for that power? The other consideration is that Quebec is a winter peaking province so has little surplus energy available during that period meaning little or no generation from Churchill Falls. 

To top things off, Muskrat Falls is way over budget, having ballooned from an estimated $7.2 billion to $13.1 billion. The Federal 10. government stepped in to provide up to $5.2 billion with $1 billion of that as a loan guarantee and another $1 billion for transmission costs.  The latter $1 billion is 20 per cent of the estimated cost of the Atlantic Loop which in late January 2022 Intergovernmental Affairs Minister Dominic LeBlanc said his Ministry required more information before they could “justify a federal investment”. 

Based on the comments in the Discussion Paper it appears the government is prepared now to “justify” that investment as it states: “The ‘Atlantic Loop’ project is an example of collaboration to bring clean power to where it’s needed in Eastern Canada. The Government of Canada and the Canada Infrastructure Bank are currently collaborating with provinces and regional partners to advance this intertie project, which could greatly reduce emissions and maintain electricity affordability in the Atlantic region.” So, Nova Scotians should now wonder what will the cost be for the power combined with the costs of the transmission.  Will the cost of electricity be truly affordable? To top things off, GE 11. (who supplied the turbines) has been having problems with the software for the LIL (Labrador Island-link) slated to bring power to the Northeast Avalon.   

High voltage transmission projects vary in terms of costs per kilometer. As one example the 301-kilometer Eastern Alberta Transmission Line 12. completed several years ago cost $1.8 billion or about $6 million per kilometer.  Two major power lines under construction in northwestern Ontario are estimated to cost much less!  Those are the East-West Tie Line, 13. a 450-kilometre line stretching from Wawa to Thunder Bay, at a cost of $777 million makes its projected cost per kilometer $1.7 million. The other project is the 1,800 kilometer Wataynikaneyap Power 14. line serving many small indigenous communities on its route.  In total it will serve 15,000 people for a total cost of $1.9 billion or just over $1 million per kilometer and $126.6K per person and over $500K for a family of four.   

An article in the Financial Post on March 31, 2022 penned by Francis Bradley, CEO of Electricity Canada titled “The clock is ticking on Canada’s electricity grid15. stated “Under net-zero, Canada will stop its reliance on fossil fuels by mid-century. However, by the government’s own estimation, to do so Canada will need two to three times the amount of electricity it produces now in order to decarbonize other sectors of the economy.”  The article went on to note: “Transmission lines — the big power lines that move electricity long distances — are hugely complicated to survey and then build. Even making sure the electricity infrastructure on your street is ready for the increased load will take years of investment.”  Mr. Bradley went on to say; “Decarbonizing Canada’s economy by 2050 will be a herculean task. Decarbonizing the electricity system in less than half that time will be doubly so. If either is to have any chance of succeeding, the electricity industry will need to do more, faster, as Prime Minister Trudeau has said. But that also works the other way. The countdown clock is ticking. And we’re still waiting for vital leadership.”

What the above illustrates is that just the costs associated with ensuring the transmission lines delivering the “clean green” renewable energy will require significant upgrades costing billions of dollars.  Those costs coupled with those associated with the desire to eliminate fossil fuel generation will drive up power costs for families and businesses. It will affect the provinces of Nova Scotia, Alberta and Saskatchewan to a much greater degree due to their current use of fossil fuels in the generation of their electricity needs.

The foregoing suggests costs in the tens of billions of dollars which in turn will damage Canada’s ability to attract new business, it’s related capital and will decimate the economy and drive-up unemployment levels. 

Conclusion

This analysis outlines the impossibilities of achieving the goals set by the Government of Canada within the proposed time frame.  Any push towards the unrealistic outcomes included in the planned government policies will badly damage the Canadian economy.  As well, they will lead to millions of Canadian households living in energy poverty, spending well over 10 per cent of disposable income on trying to stay warm in winter and cool in summer. It is no accident that Canadian government climate plans never include reputable, independent cost/benefit analyses, as to do so would reveal to Canadians just how unachievable and punitively costly the stated goals are. 

It is important to recognize Canada’s total emissions in 2019 (last reported year) were 20 Mt lower than China’s emissions increased in the two years between 2019 and 2021 during the pandemic. China’s emissions reported by the IEA (International Energy Agency) rose to over 11.9 billion tonnes which represents 33 per cent of total global emissions. China was also the only major economy to experience economic growth in both 2020 and 2021, questioning the often-cited claim that “the environment and the economy go hand in hand”.

Sensible, measurable policies to achieve tangible benefits to the environment are welcomed by the Coalition.  Unfortunately, the approach in the Clean Electricity Standard document does not qualify as either measurable or achievable.

  1. https://atlantic.ctvnews.ca/ottawa-hands-n-l-5-2-billion-for-troubled-muskrat-falls-hydro-project-1.5526011
  2. https://www.saltwire.com/atlantic-canada/business/muskrat-falls-power-in-march-2022-could-be-too-optimistic-according-to-pub-consultant-100661743/
  3. https://www.transmissionhub.com/articles/transprojects/eastern-alberta-transmission-line
  4. https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/thunder-bay/thunder-bay-power-contracts-valard-1.5726667
  5. https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/thunder-bay/wataynikaneyap-power-proceeding-1.5340793
  6. https://financialpost.com/opinion/francis-bradley-the-clock-is-ticking-on-canadas-electricity-grid https://news.sky.com/story/climate-change-draxs-renewable-energy-plant-is-uks-biggest-co2-emitter-analysis-claims-12428130
  7. https://www.eia.gov/state/?sid=NV
  8. https://world-nuclear-news.org/Articles/Russia-connects-floating-plant-to-grid
  9. https://www.bnnbloomberg.ca/china-is-home-to-world-s-first-small-modular-nuclear-reactor-1.1698791
  10. https://www.ieso.ca/en/Corporate-IESO/Media/Year-End-Data
  11. https://financialpost.com/commodities/energy/oil-gas/oilpatch-looks-to-ottawa-for-carbon-capture-tax-credit-as-alberta-pushes-six-projects-forward
  12. https://royalsocietypublishing.org/doi/pdf/10.1098/rsfs.2019.0065
  13. https://www.nrel.gov/docs/fy21osti/79236.pdf
  14. https://www.rechargenews.com/energy-transition/hydrogen-blending-will-raise-consumer-costs-and-risk-public-health-while-barely-reducing-emissions-us-think-tank/2-1-1193416

Other related observations

Peak emissions occurred in 2007 at 752 megatons and our population was 32.89 million so per capita emissions were 22.86 tons per person.

Emissions in 2019 (latest from Government of Canada) were 730 megatonnes and our population was 38.19 million so our per capita emissions were 19.11 tons per person a drop of 16.4%.

https://www.canada.ca/en/environment-climate-change/services/environmental-indicators/greenhouse-gas-emissions.html

Canada had wind capacity at the end of 2021 of 14,304 MW and 2,399 MW of solar which reputedly generated slightly less than 6% of total electricity of 647.7 TWh!  https://www.cer-rec.gc.ca/en/data-analysis/canada-energy-future/2020/results/index.html  From this “variable renewable energy (VRE) sources such as wind and solar. Figure R.21 shows that by 2050, total non-hydro renewable capacity in the Evolving Scenario is over triple 2018 levels. Total wind capacity rises to 40 GW and total solar capacity rises to 20 GW.” It also has a key uncertainty “Export market developments: Climate policies, fuel prices, electrification and power sector decarbonization in export markets could impact future projects and transmission intertie developments.”


CanREA’s Magic and PM Trudeau’s Net-Zero Target by 2050

As we have all seen and heard over the past several days our Federal Minister of the Environment and Climate Change, Steven Guilbeault, has launched his plan to eliminate our emissions and reach the “net-zero” target by 2050.  Minister Guilbeault put out a “discussion paper” titled: “A clean electricity standard in support of a net-zero electricity sector”. The paper seeks input from the general population which, rest assured, will be ignored!  The paper notes the “electricity sector” is the “4th largest source of emissions accounting for 8.4% of Canada’s total GHG emissions in 2019”.  Based on the emissions reported for 2019 of 730 megatons that would equate to 61 MT but if one looks at another release by Guilbeault’s ministry analyzing the 2019 emissions it shows emissions of 69 MT.  That other report also states when comparing emissions with 2005, “a 42-Mt increase in combustion emissions from Oil and Gas Extraction and a 24-Mt growth in Road Transportation emissions were largely offset by a 56-Mt decrease in emissions from Public Electricity and Heat Production”. 

So, one should wonder why is he attacking the electricity sector when their emissions declined by almost 45%?

Collusion or Cooperation

Perhaps Guilbeault and his family’s investments are in companies involved in wind, solar generation and battery storage and perhaps their investments are in companies who have those lucrative contracts signed by the McGuinty/Wynne government? Perhaps some are also being supported by other ministries via the CIB (Canada Infrastructure Bank) which as one example, has supplied lots of traction and our tax dollars to battery storage?

Why is Guilbeault’s Ministry attacking the sector that has reduced emissions by 45% since 2005 and is delivering energy to households and businesses that depend on cheap and reliable power to keep the heat and lights on and their small businesses functioning? Is his objective to drive households and small businesses into energy poverty?

Birds of a Feather?

The other occurring thought is perhaps Guilbeault and Robert Hornung, CEO of CanREA (Canadian Renewable Energy Association), know each other from Guilbeault’s time at Equitere. A letter they jointly signed (with others) dated November 23, 2016 was addressed to the then newly elected Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau and his ministers.  The letter applauds Trudeau’s initiative in establishing the Pan-Canadian Framework for Clean Growth and Climate Change and recommends “a price on carbon, to reflect the real environmental costs”.  Those eco-warriors who signed that letter must be rubbing their hands with glee at this point and now with the further attack on the electricity sector, Hornung and the members of CanREA are presumably looking forward to the wealth to be created from this latest move by Minister Guilbeault.

In addition, Hornung and others from CanWEA appear to have been active lobbyists with numerous Ministers and Ministries under Tudeau’s leadership before CanWEA became CanREA in 2020.

CanWEA’s 2050 Vision

The reason for the foregoing speculation and concern is related to a 60 page report from CanREA titled: “CanREA’s 2050 Vision Powering Canada’s Journey to Net-Zero” with a smiley picture of Hornung providing the introduction. 

One is struck immediately by his claim that: “We will need an almost ten-fold expansion of Canada’s wind energy, solar energy, and energy storage capacity, in addition to significant investments in other forms of electricity generation and electricity infrastructure”. Later in the report, they note Bloomberg suggests the “global” investment required to achieve the proposed “need” would be $12 trillion dollars (7.2 times Canada’s 2021’s GDP)

A chart on Page 23 indicates wind capacity in 2050 should be 109 GW (gigawatts) and solar 47 GW and  Page 21 suggests we would also need 3,000 GW of storage. On page 47 the diatribe notes: “The numbers are significant: building out 3,800 MW of new wind energy capacity and 1,600 MW of new solar energy capacity annually for the next 29 years, as our illustrative scenario suggests is needed to support our nation’s legislated net-zero objectives, would represent $8 billion dollars of annual investment.”

The forgoing suggests spending of $232 billion without the 3,000 GW of storage.  The estimates for 4 hours of battery storage varies widely but a report by NREL (National Renewable Energy Laboratory) of the US suggests an average of about $200/kWh (kilowatt) for storage.  The 3,000 GW of storage would therefore cost upwards of $3 trillion or almost double Canada’s current annual GDP and drive up the cost of electricity consumption to incredible levels. Reducing Canada’s emissions by just 8.4% could potentially represent 25% of Bloomberg’s forecasted global costs.

Based on the above linkages between the various parties, the pie in the sky net-zero push and the costs associated, all Canadian citizens should be very concerned this government (married to the NDP) will embrace the CanREA recommendations and Canada will turn into CANEZUELA. Those who can afford the expense associated with the conversion of the electricity sector coupled with expensive storage will be a minority.  The rest of us lowly Canadians will experience frequent blackouts due to the unreliable and intermittent nature of wind and solar. That intermittency coupled with the huge costs of the conversion will drive the majority of Canada’s households into “energy poverty”!

Ah, the magic of it all!

My Chat on the Marc Patrone Show on Sauga 960 AM March 29, 2022

Marc Patrone kindly had me on his show today and we covered a lot of ground. We chatted about some facts a friend sent to me which I forwarded to Marc and others. As a result we talked mainly about climate related stuff and the reputed cause of climate change and its effects (oil, natural gas,batteries, water levels, etc.). Geographically we covered happenings in different parts of the world including Canada, Australia, Ontario and about certain people connected with both sides of the related claims on climate change.

The podcast of our chat starts at 33:11 and finishes at 50:35 and the link is:

Eco-Warriors + Dumb Politicians + Climate Change + Net-Zero– Fossil Fuels = Energy Poverty

The foregoing is emerging as an equation gathering speed as we start to recognize the results falling out from its implementation in most democratic countries. The evidence was available for all to see from Ontario as an outcome of the McGuinty/Wynne led governing party and their implementation of the GEA (Green Energy Act) and its push for renewable energy in the form of wind and solar. It’s unfortunate the rest of the democratic world didn’t seek the data that was out there and are now experiencing what Ontario’s ratepayers did many years ago. Energy poverty is popping up everywhere!

Energy Poverty in New York

Next door in the state of New York a recent headline noted “Utility Debt Mounting for New Yorkers Looking for Current Help”!  One of the sentences in the article noted: “Across the state, almost 1.3 million residential gas and electric customers are 60 or more days behind on their bills to the tune of over $1.7 billion, according to an analysis by THE CITY of data provided to the state by 10 utility companies.” To put the foregoing in perspectives the U.S. 2021 census stated there were 7.417 million households in the state so 1.3 million customers experiencing energy poverty would represent 17.5% of all households.

Energy Poverty in California

It one looks at California an article back in July 2020 noted “18.1% of the state’s residents are living in poverty” according to the U.S. Census Bureau.  The article went on to state: “A growing element of this problem is the cost of electricity; rising electricity prices disproportionately impact lower- and middle-income families who lack the disposable income to absorb the extra costs.” The article said the “average” home in California uses about half as much energy as an average American household. There is little doubt the number of households living in “energy poverty” will grow further as California is pushing to restrict the use of natural gas and 31 local governments have enacted regulations to do that. They are certainly one of the “greenest” states pushing to achieve net-zero emissions by 2045.

 Energy Poverty in the UK

 An article in The Telegraph on March 18, 2022 titled “While Boris bans fracking, one in four British households will fail to pay energy bills” and went on to say “One in four adults will be unable to afford their bills if prices rise by £145 a month in October as expected, according to charity Citizens Advice.” It is obvious to anyone following the news that the events happening in the UK and Europe are much worse than we are experiencing in North America as the above headline notes. The article went on to say “The Government has previously said it will offer a £200 energy rebate, to be deducted from customers’ bills in October and paid back over the next five years.” AND, “However, experts said this would no longer be enough to help struggling households after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine caused wholesale energy prices to spike further.”

Energy Poverty in Germany

Science Direct completed a study for the period prior to the recent events (data ending in 2019) driving up energy costs in Germany titled “Determinants, persistence, and dynamics of energy poverty: An empirical assessment using German household survey data”!  A couple of the highlights from the study clearly indicate things were bad before the current events as the following clearly articulates: “In 2019. 17% of household spent more than 10% of their income on domestic energy” and “Between 4.5% and 14% of households permanently experience energy poverty.” We should assume things are much worse now since the price of natural gas has shot up due to Russia’s invasion of the Ukraine and Germany has been forced to fire up its coal plants.

Energy Poverty in Ontario

Back in 2013/14/15 I endeavored to try as best I could to determine how many households in Ontario suffered from “energy poverty” as a follow up to the GEA. I discovered it was nearly impossible and the findings I kicked out were significant but meaningless as they were focused only on certain municipalities.  My findings can be found on Energy Probe

Energy Poverty in Canada

The only viable information related to “energy poverty” in Canada appears to come from CUSP (Canadian Urban Sustainable Practitioners) with members from cities across Canada reputedly representing about half of Canada’s population. CUSP released a 2019 report dealing with “energy poverty”.  The report is based on: “Percentage and number of households in each province experiencing high home energy cost burdens (greater than 6% of after-tax income spent on home energy bills).” One chart in the report suggests just over 20% (2,810,905) of Canadian households were experiencing “energy poverty”!   One should be aware the latter number would be considerably higher should the data be refreshed as CUSP used 2016 census data.

The foregoing only touches on a few developed democratic regions around the world but many more could have been included having all experienced a huge climb in the creation of “energy poverty” within the confines of their land over the past decade or two.  As one should recognize, the reason for the climb can be attributed to the eco-warrior’s push to eliminate fossil fuels as the prime energy source that brought us prosperity, longer and better lives and all the attributes we have enjoyed. The eco-warriors have substantially infiltrated the political realm convincing politicians we citizens elected! Most of those now in power in democratic countries have drunk the “cool-aid” and seem determined to push more of us into “energy poverty”!

Its time to turn the equation around and push the notion; CO 2 is not the control knob of “global warming” nor does wind, solar and battery storage represent a sound replacement for fossil fuels which still represent 80% of mankind’s energy needs. 

The new equation needs to be:

 Voters + Smart Politicians – Eco-Warriors + Sustainable Fuels (Fossil Fuels Included) = Prosperity!

Unrealistic Paths for Net Zero: You Can’t Get There From Here

Pleased to let you all know I was contacted recently by Ian Harvey a Toronto journalist who spent 21 years with the Toronto Sun.  Ian picked my brain for some info on an article he was writing for a client which I was happy to provide.

His article is excellent and I recommend you read it on his website Pit Bull Media.

Bits and Pieces Related to the “Net-Zero” Push

There were a few recent announcements and events that should have caught the attention of the general population over the past couple of weeks so let’s look quickly at a few of them!

Largest private storage battery in North America’ to help Imperial Oil cut emissions in Sarnia

This one was in the Financial Post back on February 16, 2022 and stated an Italian company would build a 20 MW battery storage unit for Imperial Oil that would reputedly reduce “their energy expenditures by millions of dollars per year.” They would download cheap energy in the middle of the night to charge the battery storage unit and then use it during peak hours. Many of the “Class A” customers in Ontario already take advantage of this using gas generating units firing them up during peak hours saving millions.  Scott Luft noted in a post a couple of years ago; since the ICI (industrial conservation initiative) inception in late 2011 through to the end of 2019 the cost to Class B ratepayers was approximately $1.4 billion (average of about $170 million per annum) paid to reduce the GA for those large industrial ratepayers. One should assume the Ford government could have changed the way the burden is put on Class B ratepayers to subsidize Class A ratepayers but they have done nothing. The burden continues to fall on Class B ratepayers and part of that has been transferred to taxpayers first by the Wynne led government and then increased by the current Ford led government. Hmm, wondering, would it be cheaper for Imperial Oil to buy those Clean Energy Credits (CEC) Minister Smith is considering instead of using that battery storage unit?

Wind Turbine Setback Promises Not Kept

Before and during the last election campaign the Ford led Ontario Conservative Party promised if elected they would review the setbacks for industrial wind turbines (IWT) as well as the contaminated well water in the Chatham/Kent region.  In the almost four years they have been in power they have done nothing related to either of the two foregoing promises.  WCO (Wind Concerns Ontario) have recently (for the umpteenth time) pointed out the 7,000 complaints filed about IWT noise levels and also posted an article from four years ago about the Chatham Kent well water problems which have also been ignored.  Sure, looks to be almost one of those “Promise Made, Promise Missed” sayings which Premier Ford loves to cite except for that final word.

OPG Year-end 2021

OPG released their 2021 year-end results March 10, 2022 and despite a 4.5 TWh drop (5.5%) in generation they still managed to generate $1,325 million a slight (2.6%) fall from 2020.  Forgone generation due to SBG (surplus baseload generation) dropped from 4.3 TWh in 2020 to only 1.9 TWh in 2021 meaning “water rental payments” declined by $30 million. Currently two of the Darlington nuclear units are down for refurbishment with Unit 3 scheduled to be returned to service in the first quarter of 2024 and Unit 1 in the second quarter of 2025. With both those units undergoing refurbishment we should expect greater dependency on our gas generation plants meaning both OPG’s Napanee and Lennox plants should benefit by supplying more peak generation and maintain profitability for OPG without driving costs up.

Bitcoin mining data centre opens in Sarnia

It seems back in yesteryear, mining referenced; “the business or process of working mines” and extracting ore! In recent years it seems all about setting up an elaborate data centre with complicated math problems which when solved supposedly create a “bitcoin”!   One of those bitcoin mines has recently started operations in Sarnia.  Established by “Bitfury Group, an Amsterdam-based Bitcoin mining and crypto tech company” it will start with a 16 MW capacity and expand by 12 MW by May end. It may eventually expand to 200 MW.  To put the latter number in context; a plant capable of generating 200 MW per hour is about what 200,000 average Ontario households would consume annually. The power to support the “mine” will be provided by TransAlta’s Sarnia Cogeneration Plant, a 499 MW capacity natural gas-powered plant. The TASarnia plant is also under contract to IESO and several other Sarnia located companies. Curiosity piqued about how much energy “bitcoin” operations consume globally led to an almost one year old article in the Harvard Business Review. The article suggested, at that time, it was 110 TWh (terawatt hours) which is equivalent to about 80% of Ontario’s annual consumption.  One should assume all of that 110 TWh was/is provided by reliable fossil fuels or nuclear power as intermittent wind and solar could never be relied on to ensure those mining data centres continued to operate.

As one should assume from the foregoing “bits and pieces” the path to net-zero is full of pot-holes eco-warriors and inane politicians seem unable to visualize!

PS:  I was called out on the following “(Scott Luft noted in a post a couple of years ago; since the ICI (industrial conservation initiative) inception in late 2011 through to the end of 2019 the cost to Class B ratepayers was approximately $1.4 billion (average of about $170 million per annum) paid to reduce the GA for those large industrial ratepayers.)”.  I would point out I always have a lot of faith in what Scott posts so I must assume it related to something as simple as a misplaced period “.”!  It turns out the OEB, Market Surveillance Panel back in December 2018 evaluated the ICI and in their report stated:  “In 2017, the ICI shifted $1.2 billion in electricity costs to households and small businesses—nearly four times greater than the amount in 2011. In 2017, the ICI increased the cost of electricity for households and small businesses by 10%.”

Minister Smith Supports Cheap Charging for EV

Confusion reigns supreme amongst our politicians and that has become more and more evident particularly as it relates to their plans to reach those “net-zero” emissions targets.

As a recent example Ontario’s Minister of Energy, Todd Smith has suggested he wants to lower the overnight electricity rates so the owners of EV can charge them at that time. Apparently, he is convinced Ontario has this enormous surplus of generation during the night coming from those renewable sources such as wind or solar. He also seems to want to shut down all natural gas generation, seemingly buying into the concepts proposed by the OCAA (Ontario Clean Air Alliance) and the 32 municipalities that have pressured the provincial government to do that.

Minister Smith badly needed to do some research before jumping on the bandwagon in support of those municipalities!

Just looking at IESO data for February 13, 2022 might just open his eyes!  At hour 15 those IWT (industrial wind turbines) spread throughout the province were generating 39 MWh so were probably consuming more electricity than they generated. That hour indicated Ontario’s demand was running at 17,128 MWh so wind was supplying 0.2% of that demand and solar was producing 216 MWh or 1.3% of demand. Ontario’s gas plants were generating 3,918 MWh at that hour representing 22.9% of demand

Fast forward to Hour 19 when daily demand peaked at 20,272 MW and IWT generation had climbed to 370 MWh representing 1.8% of demand.  By that hour the sun had set so solar’s generation was nil!  Gas generation at that hour was 6,067 MWh providing 29.9% of our electricity needs!

Hour 19 screenshot

It is beyond the pale as to why, Minister Smith is unable to discern the inevitable future of our electricity system should he push the agenda to allow EV to cheaply charge up at night and close our gas plants!

Is he unaware EV owners are not suffering from “energy poverty”!

Surely, Minister Smith can see how the future will bring us blackouts but perhaps that is too much to hope for from those we elect to run the province?

What Should Ontarians Take Away from Energy Minister Todd Smith’s recent Speech

The very recent article concerning where Minister Smith said Ontario ratepayers are heading in directives issued to IESO and his speech at the Empire Club noted responses were sought from a few knowledgeable individuals that had been intimately involved with the province’s energy sector! Here is their Feedback:

From the first responder who didn’t watch the speech:

“However, I did read the associated press release:

My initial impression is that it strikes me a lot like the “buy wind” BullFrog material.

All I can see it giving is an opportunity for some friends of the government to make an extra buck.  Trouble is, every time somebody is making an extra buck, someone else at the bottom of the pile has to pay a buck-fifty to ensure that the administrative charges get dealt with.  Does it make anything better?  Not very likely.

Will it be used to justify more expensive power, wind solar, and battery / storage – for sure.

Does it mean the government are devoting the attention they should – to actually addressing the problems with wind turbine located too close to homes, or paying non-dispatchable sources a premium, instead of those who should be paid a premium, who can be available 24/7.  Not that I see,

So, in summary, am I impressed … no. I’m finding myself stuck between the proverbial rock and hard spot.  The PC’s have had 4 years and done next to nothing to improve the situation with our energy supply, or addressing the harm done to citizens.  Conversely, had we had a Liberal or NDP government, they might have made the situation even worse.  Not much of a choice.”

From the second responder:

“Good Morning Parker. I am about 20 minutes into the Todd Smith epistle. The PC’s are sounding more like Liberals and NDP every day. Here’s why. They have no shame.

Small Modular Reactors – Doug Ford – LIUNA – BWXT (subsidiary of AECON).
FYI … it is AECON whom are the prime contractor in the nuclear reactor refits for both OPG Darlington and for Bruce Power at Tiverton / Kincardine.

Aecon has their collective labour agreements with ….. (drum roll svp) …. LIUNA.

It was AECON who sought suitors in 2016 and 2017 … offering control of the company in exchange for access to greater amounts of working capital; which in turn would increase the leverage of Aecon to build the massive P3 regional rail electrification projects proposed by Metrolinx; as well as the municipal LRT projects in GTA, Hamilton and Ottawa (2nd phase).

Aecon went so far as to sell their lucrative Ft Mc Murray oil sands mining division in order to raise more cash.

You may recall the Chinese takeover of the company that was quashed by Ottawa in May 2018 … due to concerns of “national security”.

Aecon was bullish on building all of the electric rail projects proposed for Ontario. They formed a new division by poaching people from other companies. To my knowledge as of this date their record of rail electrification contracts obtained still remains at .. zero. As a result, some of those whom were “poached”; left Aecon and went elsewhere.

I will finish listening to the Todd Smith epistle … but so far, it is crystal clear the PC’s are heading in the direction that LIUNA and Aecon wants them to go.”

As is obvious the responses received to the direction Minister Smith has put forward, are not seen as very positive by those whom I consulted despite the enthusiasm exhibited by the Minister in the press release and his speech.  I was particularly struck by the following comment from the first responder:

The PC’s have had 4 years and done next to nothing to improve the situation with our energy supply, or addressing the harm done to citizens.