Tracking the Evolution of Greenhouse Gas Emissions

Back on December 14, 1996 when Terence Corcoran was a journalist for the Globe and Mail’s Report on Business (ROB) section they published an article he wrote titled “Just say no to Rio target”. Twenty-six years later it is worth re-reading the article bearing in mind the continuing and unfolding debacle it started the developed countries on shortly after the Rio Earth Summit of 1992!

Here it is:

ROB Column The Globe and Mail TERENCE CORCORAN December 14, 1996, 

Just say no to Rio target

CANADA will not meet the greenhouse gas emissions target agreed to at the Rio Earth Summit of 1992. Thank goodness. If Ottawa and the provinces had tried to force us to live up to the unreal energy consumption target former prime minister Brian Mulroney signed on to four years ago during a Green binge, the Canadian economy would be in bad shape today.

To meet the target, Canada would have to reduce carbon emissions to 1990 levels by the year 2000. According to the latest sophisticated computer simulations and forecasts — which are invariably wrong, by the way — Canadian industries and consumers will emit about 500 megatons of carbon in the year 2000, about 9 per cent more than we did in 1990. To meet the targets, therefore, Canada would have to cut energy use by about 10 per cent, a $20-billion economic hit that would significantly lower growth  and employment.

Not meeting the target is, in any case, almost totally irrelevant. Canada is not, as Environment Minister Sergio Marchi said the other day, “behind the eight ball” over the target — unless we insist on shooting it at ourselves. Regardless of the spin put on the target by environment ministers and writers, the target will not and should not be met for several powerful reasons. In the first place, the summit agreement is not legally binding. We can just say no. The targets never had any legitimacy in Canada anyway.

The Rio Summit was an orgy of ultra vires agreement-signing and back-room politicking by thousands of bureaucrats and special interest groups. No Canadian other than lobbyists and envirocrats ever saw the Framework Convention on Climate Change that supposedly commits Canada to reduce carbon emissions by the year 2000. No public support was sought for the accord, no parliamentary hearings were held, nobody knew what the agreement meant, nobody even knew the thing had been signed.

No wonder Ottawa and the provinces can’t get Canadians to go along with the carbon taxes and other drastic measures proposed over the years. Most Canadians probably also suspect that the targets are arbitrary, and of no significance to the scientific problem they’re intended to resolve. As author Gregg Easterbrook said in A Moment on the Earth: “Will the goal of the treaty, stabilization of carbon emissions at the 1990 level, prevent global warming? The answer is: Not a snowball’s chance in, well, Alberta, should the warming occur.”

Note that last phrase: “Should the warming occur” is still the operative cautionary principle surrounding global warming. Despite the reams of material and reports, the scientific basis for predicting that human energy consumption will cause a significant increase in temperature, or that temperature increases are necessarily bad for human life, remains highly uncertain. But even if we assume the worst, that warming is something that should raise a global call for action, it makes little sense to load a country like Canada with major regulatory burdens and growth-hindering taxes. Canada’s share of the world’s energy market is minuscule by any measure that’s reasonably proportionate to the greenhouse gas problem.

Greens and envirocrats often make Canada look like a pollution hell by citing per capita energy consumption figures. For example, in 1995, Canadian per capita production of carbon dioxide was 4.4 tonnes, third highest in the world behind Australia and the United States. But there are many reasons for this, including our cold climate, heavy production of primary resources and secondary goods, and vast geography.

Another faulty measure of Canada’s role is the country’s share of energy production as a percentage of the global total: 2.2 per cent. The U.S. share is 25 per cent, China’s 13 per cent, France’s 1.7 per cent. However, this raw measure is also inadequate because it fails to take into account Canada’s geographic scale. Any proper assessment of Canada’s role in the global economy would have to incorporate the fact that Canada’s geographic land and air mass is massive.

A more accurate indicator of Canada’s relative role would be a measure based on the ratio of emissions to national air mass. Compared with other countries — France, the United States or just about any other nation — Canada’s share of world emissions as a proportion of total geography would be insignificant.Even if greenhouse warming is a looming crisis, assigning Canada emission reduction targets that are identical to other countries turns Canada into a sacrificial lamb to global environmentalism. Canada’s 30 million people could stop living tomorrow, and the trend of greenhouse warming would not change.”

Letter to the Editor December 20, 1996

Shortly after the article appeared Jack Gibbons, (current Chair of the OCAA) sent a letter to the Globe and Mail which they posted. Anyone following my blog and posts over the past number of years are aware of Gibbons push to shut down electricity generation from fossil and nuclear fuel in Ontario and replace it with unreliable and intermittent wind and solar.  The following is the Gibbons letter:

Toronto — According to Terence Corcoran, if Canada stabilizes its carbon dioxide emissions, our gross national product and our unemployment rate will rise (Just Say No To Rio Target — Dec. 14).

Fortunately for our planet’s life support systems and future generations, Mr. Corcoran is wrong.

Numerous studies have shown that there is not a tradeoff between substantial reductions in carbon dioxide emissions and economic growth. For example, the Ontario Carbon Dioxide Collaborative recently developed a strategy to reduce Ontario’s carbon dioxide emissions by 20 per cent by the year 2005 and reduce the energy costs of Ontario’s residential, commercial and industrial consumers.

According to the collaborative’s report, these dual objectives can be achieved by fuel switching from coal and oil to natural gas and by increasing our economy’s energy efficiency.

Canadian Institute for Environmental Law and Policy.”

At this point it is worth a brief look at where Canada is today (2020 stats) versus 1996 in respect to total and per capita emissions. The Government of Canada post of emissions is only to the end of 2020 and notes they were 672 megatonnes and if one examines their chart it suggests in 1996, they were at the same level.  On a per capita basis however, they declined as the 1996 Census indicated Canada’s population was 28.8 million whereas in 2020 the population level had increased to 38.1 million.  Doing the math suggests Canada has reduced emissions by 24.5% on a per capita basis.

Greenhouse gas emissions, Canada, 1990 to 2020

If we look at China’s emissions over that same time frame they have increased from 3,503 megatonnes in 1996 to 10,668 megatonnes in 2020 for an increase of 7,165 megatonnes or 204.5%. Total global emissions in 2020 were 34,810 megatonnes so China’s emissions in 2020 represented 30.6% of global emissions but back in 1996 they represented only 14.5%.

As Canada has increased its “Annual Canadian Crude Oil Production by Crude Oil Typefrom 1996 daily production of 2,000 barrels per day to 4,687 barrels per day for an increase of 134% it would suggest our emissions should have shown a massive increase but they haven’t!

Perhaps it’s time our inane political leaders under Justin Trudeau and his minion, Jagmeet Singh, stop doing what they are trying to do to destroy the Canadian economy!

Eco-Warriors are Strangling Energy Advances at a Cost to Consumers

Back in 1989 Greenpeace Canada lost it’s charitable status with the CRA and they kept trying to get it back without success but suddenly in late 2020 for some reason the CRA suddenly allowed the newly formed Greenpeace Canada Education Fund to have charitable status. The latter claim they are “focused on research, investigations and education” and reputedly have engaged “more than 17,000 students from K-12 and 328 presentations across Canada”.  One should presume those engagements have been to scare our children and grandchildren that the world will end unless we deal with “climate change”. 

As a coincidence an unrelated “Google” search led to finding an entity called the Green Energy Coalition which has been an “intervenor” with the Ontario Energy Board and on occasions; jointly with Environmental Defence.  Members of the GEC are none other than; Greenpeace Canada, David Suzuki Foundation, Sierra Club of Canada and the World Wildlife Fund.  The latter three plus Environmental Defence are all registered Charities and push the concept of eliminating fossil fuels and supporting expensive and unreliable renewable energy in the form of wind and solar.  One should note they are not the only eco-warrior intervenors pushing for the end of fossil fuel use.  Others include Pollution Probe, OSEA (Ontario Sustainable Energy Association), the Atmospheric Fund (created by the City of Toronto in 1991), Clean Air Council/Clean Air Partnership (funded by many municipal governments) and several others. One of the others is the School Energy Coalition Intervention Services (SEC) handled principally by the law firm Shepherd Rubenstein” who are also big supporters of “climate change”. The SEC (primary funding from school boards) intervenor awards alone for the April 1, 2019 – March 31, 2020 OEB year report totaled $840K which was 18% of all the awards for that year.

What becomes obvious is, our tax dollars; municipal, provincial and federal, not only pay for the Ontario Energy Board, school boards, etc. etc. via all the tax burdens we experience but also are used to create not-for-profits and charities that continually fight as intervenors and whose costs are also billed to us via our bills for both the electricity and natural gas, we use, which are also both taxed on our bills. 

A recent example was the intervenor costs associated with Enbridge’s effort to replace a deteriorating 19.8 kilometer pipeline (denied by the OEB) in Ottawa where intervenor costs for SEC were $63,319.55, for Pollution Probe $36,637.43 and $12,856.01 for Environmental Defence.

Not sure how the OEB can view intervention by those eco-warriors as a benefit to all of the households and businesses using electricity and natural gas in Ontario as we are also obliged to pick up those intervenor costs which has a multiplier effect on our tax costs. Just another tax on tax on tax!

This is but one example of why we should not wonder why Canada ranks so low in the OCED for getting things done due to our numerous regulations and the bureaucrats managing them! 

Perhaps the time has arrived to reduce our regulations and the numerous bureaucrats managing them!

Weird Happenings as Eco-warriors keep pushing the envelope on climate-change

The eco-warriors around the world have amped up their push for the “net-zero” target recently as demand for those damn “fossil fuels” keeps rising along with their price! It seems apparent, without oil, coal or natural gas mankind will suffer immensely but that’s not stopping the push to get us all to abandon them.  The eco-warriors and their puppet politicians believe we can count on unreliable and intermittent production of energy from wind and solar; stored in batteries at a cost of trillions of dollars globally.  The following are just a few of the weird happenings pushed by the eco-warriors and endorsed by elected politicians we have stupidly voted for in the developed world!

India and China ramp up coal production

While the developed world is doing what our politicians tell us to do to ween us off of fossil fuels, India and China have both announced they are collectively ramping up coal production by 700M tons (300M by China and 400M tons by India) per year which is more than total US output.  In the latter case even though the U.S. is also ramping up their coal production slightly it will only amount to a total of 598.3 million st, (short tons) according to the EIA projections for 2022!  Surely India and China will be castigated by the eco-warriors for ignoring them and the politicians from the developed world!  They will then backtrack on their plans to ramp up their coal production or perhaps they won’t, as they are more focused on improving the livelihood of their citizens?

Prince Charles’ prize backs face mask that cuts methane emissions from cow burps

Back in January 2021 Prince Charles launched the Terra Carta (named after the Magna Carta) whose purpose was defined as; “provides a roadmap to 2030 for businesses to move towards an ambitious and sustainable future; one that will harness the power of Nature”.  He sought pledges from the business community of $10 billion by 2022 and recently handed out the prize of “£50,000” for the inaugural winner of the Terra Carta Design Lab competition. The winning design was a face mask for cows to cut methane emissions from cow burps!  Interestingly enough, if one researches “cow burps” versus “cow farts” an article in Forbes in 2017 suggests those cow farts are worse than cow burps due to the fact that manure is not used much for fertilizer as in the past when it was spread rather then stored in open pits.

Perhaps the time has come for Prince Charles to suggest another competition to capture the methane from those “cow farts” Surely that will be an interesting design and worth that £50,000 prize or more or would it simply be more “Bull Shit”!

New Zealand’s plan to tax cow and sheep burps

A very recent article appearing in the BBC news suggests New Zealand’s astute politicians have also focused on not only cow burps but also sheep burps!  As a result of their observations, they plan to levy a tax on farmers for emissions from those sheep and cows. New Zealand reputedly host 10 million cattle and 26 million sheep grossly outnumbering their 5 million people. At the same time as they plan on levying the tax; New Zealand is involved in the launch of a trade dispute under the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP).  The trade dispute is against Canada and associated with our “supply management system” which protects our dairy farmers from cheaper imports.  So, should New Zealand’s “burp tax” become law it will presumably raise the price of their dairy products so one wonders will those increased prices result in their products becoming uncompetitive with the same products from our dairy farmers?  It appears that New Zealand’s politicians are trying to shoot themselves in the foot if they implement the tax making their diary products priced higher. Perhaps they are secretly hoping Canada will impose similar “burp taxes” or under the trade dispute will insist Canada impose the same tax!

As a matter of interest, the Chinese City of Shanghai emits two and a half times more emissions (200MT) than the whole country of New Zealand does even with all those cattle and sheep.   

Take your pick: Clean Energy Credits, Carbon Credits, Carbon Offsets, Voluntary Environmental Credits or Renewable Energy Credits

If you run a business these days you are forced to comply with the wishes of the politicians elected to run the country. Those politicians attended COP-26 and signed up to reduce those invisible emissions we have been told for well over 50 years will surely decimate the planet! The choices you make will drive up your costs but you are told you must comply regardless of what China, India or Russia do.  To reduce those emissions, you will pick one of the listed “credits” or “offsets” in the captioned headline and hope the cost(s) can be passed on in pricing your products or absorbed by increasing your efficiency. Either is a choice impacting your business and those you employ. Bearing in mind the choice you make it is interesting to note not only are the costs and choices varied but many selling them have been called out as false.  

One recent report out of Concordia University is critical of the fact that companies will purchase REC (renewable energy credits) to offset their emissions but are using electricity generated by fossil fuels.  Other reports have criticized purchases of “carbon credits” or “carbon offsets” which as one example found Nature Conservancy reputedly selling unendangered tree offsets.

Now here in Ontario back in January our Minister of Energy Todd Smith suddenly recognized Ontario’s electricity generation is very clean with only about 6% of it creating emissions. As a result he issued a press release suggesting Ontario may be heading to creation of a “Clean Energy Registry” that will make the province attractive for investments. Companies will be able to purchase those CEC from our renewable generators and the money will “reputedly” be returned to Ontario’s ratepayers to reduce electricity costs.

The foregoing looks to be the epitome of the “Circular Economy” and perhaps is what PM Justin Trudeau had in mind when he flew to California and signed the “Canada-California Climate Action and Nature Protection Partnership” on June 9,2022.

Apparently, it’s OK for Trudeau and others in his entourage to create a huge carbon footprint while the rest of us are told to reduce ours!  Seems just a little weird!

Are More Mask Mandates Coming to Capture CO2

Steven Guilbeault, Canada’s Environment and Climate Change Minister just announced his plan for the new federal carbon offset market and as he stated its focus is: “Climate change is the crisis that will persist,” he said. “That’s why we cannot pause and we must continue to go faster and further.”

From the text in the article, it appears the “crisis” initially will apply to municipalities who will be required to “install new methane capture systems at landfills will be part of the new compliance market.”  That will obviously be a financial burden for the municipalities who will simply raise their municipal taxes to recover the funding required to install those methane capture systems.

Minister Guilbeault went on to say; Over the next year, the government intends to finish the rules to add projects that cut emissions from refrigeration systems, forests and soil management on farms. The rules applied to refrigeration systems, forests and soil management on farms will raise the price of anything requiring refrigeration, logging or crop generation so the objective seems aimed at ensuring the current “inflation” we citizens are experiencing continues!

The one comment in the article that I found very strange was the sentence stating: “The government said it is also now starting to write the rules to add direct air capture technology that pulls carbon dioxide out of the air and traps it underground.” Immediately the Bill Gates plan to fund technology for “sun-dimming” and reflect sunshine out of the earth’s atmospheric came to mind but that plan was blocked for ethical reasons and postponed. 

The other thought was; perhaps Guilbeault was impressed with the ability of the government to make “mask mandates” compulsory during the Covid pandemic? Perhaps he is aware someone has created a mask that could capture the CO2 we expel when breathing”?  After we were “government certified” of having captured a ton of CO2 and buried it in our backyard, we would be given a “carbon offset” and perhaps then be allowed to take a vacation via an aircraft or take that ICE car in our garage out for a spin?

Surely the foregoing isn’t what he has in mind but with this current government we shouldn’t be surprised if that is what he envisages. We should expect it won’t apply to the almost 300 politicians and bureaucrats from Canada that will attend the next COP event or a WEF event in Davros, Switzerland or to our current Prime Minister Justin Trudeau who has flown over 38,000 kilometers around the world since May 1, 2022!

One would hope Guilbeault and many other politicians would spend a little time and watch a recent video posted June 3, 2022 titled “The Carbon Offset Problem” with over 800,000 views so far, to get a sense on the some of the scams taking place related to carbon capture!

Perhaps that is too much to hope for with this current crop of politicians as they are simply some of the scammers!

This happening brought to my attention and it is related:

Enbridge Inc Stymied by Ottawa Energy Evolution

As noted in the OEB’s (Ontario Energy Board) recent “Decision And Order” Enbridge Gas had applied to the OEB in March 2021 for approval to replace 19.8 kilometres of aging gas pipeline in Ottawa.  The pipeline is associated with the St. Laurent Pipeline which services approximately 165,000 Ottawa and Gatineau area customers. 

The OEB recently refused the replacement pipeline and basically told Enbridge to; “Plan for Lower Gas Demand” according to an article in The Energy Mix which noted: “The Ontario Energy Board sent minor shock waves through the province’s energy regulatory and municipal energy communities earlier this month with its refusal to approve the final phases of a $123.7-million pipeline replacement project in Ottawa proposed by Enbridge Gas.”  The article went on to note: “Several observers said this was the first time the OEB had refused a “leave to construct” application from a gas utility,”. 

The OEB, under Anthony Zlahtic,* the Presiding Commissioner, laid out the principal reasons for the decision and three of the five reasons were: City of Ottawa’s Energy Evolution Plan,”,Integrated Resource Planning Alternativesand “Downsizing the Pipeline due to Reduced Future Demand for Natural Gas.

Anthony Zlahic’s Background

Curiosity about Zlahic’s background led to examining his “Linkedin” file which lists his former jobs and co-incidentally claims he spent over 11 years working for Enbridge after which he worked for a subsidiary of EPCOR an electricity generation and distribution company owned by the City of Edmonton. EPCOR has subsidiary operations with one of those being Capital Power Corp of Toronto where Zlahic was employed and actively and successfully pursued wind power projects under the Ontario GEA (Green Energy Act).  He notes working with companies such as Pattern Renewable Energy as well as Samsung on industrial wind turbine projects for Capital Power and suggests he increased their “influence among key government agencies and companies directly and through the Association of Power producers of Ontario (APPrO) and Canadian Wind Energy Association (CanWEA)”. 

Based on Zlahic’s background and activities with both Enbridge Gas and his obvious belief in IWT (industrial wind turbines) as a reliable energy source one should wonder why the OEB appointed him and WHY he didn’t recuse himself (due to his background with Enbridge) from this hearing?

Also note, Zlahic ruled; Enbridge was responsible for all intervenor costs!

Ottawa’s Prejudicial Intervenor

One of the intervenor’s whom Enbridge is obliged to pay costs to is Pollution Probe** and they were represented by Michael Brophy both a director and team member of Pollution Probe.  Interestingly enough Brophy also was a former employee of Enbridge Gas.  One should wonder, did both Zlahic and Brophy part terms with Enbridge in a favourable way or do they hold some prejudices against them?

Another important fact associated with the ruling is in respect to the City of Ottawa’s Energy Evolution Plan which was actually written by Pollution Probe as an earlier article noted.  The foregoing was confirmed by another intervenor who advised that Michael Brophy told him he was a co-author of the 101 page “plan”. The “plan” suggests the costs to Ottawa for net-zero will be $57.4 billion and result in 3,218 MW of IWT capacity and 1,060 MW of solar capacity on rooftops by 2050!

Was the OEB outcome a result of self-flagellation by Enbridge?

It seems very ironic when examining the March 2021 annual statement of Pollution Probe and note their list of “Sponsors, Major Supporters and Partners” includes none other than Enbridge Inc.  

The Pollution Probe statement filed with the CRA indicates gross revenue of $1,839,737 for the year ended March 31, 2021 but only $113,516 or 6.1% was tax receipted by them so; is this an indication they are not much of a worthwhile “charity”?  

What is not surprising to see in their annual report are numerous government donors listed including: Environment and Climate Change Canada, Government of Canada, Natural Resources Canada, Transport Canada, Ministry of the Environment, Conservation and Parks (Province of Ontario) and TAF (Toronto Atmospheric Fund [Municipality of Metro Toronto]).

Interestingly enough Michael Brophy is also listed as a “Major Donor” meaning taxpayers are hit with a double whammy in that their taxes support the government grants which supply Brophy income from Pollution Probe and his donation(s) provides him with a personal tax receipt!

The tax dollars doled out to Pollution Probe according to a Federal Grant search is in the millions of dollars and is additional to the money handed out by them via Federal Contracts worth hundreds of thousands of our tax dollars!

More self-flagellation by Enbridge

Another exampleof Enbridge’s self-flagellation is related to the net-zero push and ESG (environment, social, governance) issues. A four-page letter sent to Larry Fink, the CEO of BlackRock back in March 2022 clearly demonstrates the foregoing.  The President and CEO of Enbridge, Al Monaco goes into detail on how the company is changing. In in Monaco tells Fink how they have invested in wind farms and solar facilities and enshrined ESG related initiatives, etc. into their business model. An example from the letter related to ESG states: “By 2025 we’re aiming for a workforce that will include 28% racial and ethnic group representation, 40% women, 6% persons with disabilities, and 3.5% Indigenous peoples.”

We should all find it dismaying that one of Canada’s most successful companies is basically kowtowing to BlackRock and in effect, the WEF (World Economic Forum) instead of fighting back knowing the world cannot survive with the wind and solar intermittent and unreliable energy pushed by the WEF and the numerous eco-warriors like Pollution Probe.

Appeal of the Masses

For the will of the people Mr. Monaco please stand up for the enormous benefits of fossil fuels and how they have lifted billions of people around the globe out of poverty and saved so many lives!

*The 2021 Ontario Sunshine list indicates Anthony Zlahtic’s annual salary was $169,349.82!

**One of the original founders of the Strathmere Group which this writer has written a series of articles about was Pollution Probe.

Hmm, One should wonder, do all the various taxes on fuels have anything to do with Canada’s current 6.8% inflation rate?

A Jack Mintz article in the Financial Post about the various “fuel taxes” inspired some research on how much taxes Canadians are burdened with in respect to the fuels consumed to bring goods to the stores, get us to work, manufacture products, used in agriculture and for food processing, etc.etc.

Most individuals are probably unaware how many variable taxes are applied by both the Federal and Provincial governments and how the layered effect creates a tax-on-tax situation we taxpayers absorb regardless of whether we bike to work or walk to the grocery store for our daily or weekly needs.

A short list includes: the “excise tax” (averaged at 10.5 cents/litre), the “carbon tax”* (currently at 11 cents/litre) and either the HST (harmonized sales tax) or the PST (provincial sales tax) plus the GST (federal general sales tax). The latter ie: “sales taxes” are applied to the final price after all the prior taxes are included on your purchase so, apply taxes-on-taxes, for both the excise and carbon tax. Please note I used 13 cents/litre as the average, with Alberta being the one exception as they have no sales tax.

The Feds and Provinces love high Gasoline and Diesel Prices

For some time I’ve wondered why no one has looked at the big picture with gas and diesel prices more than double what they were. Running the numbers based on what Statistics Canada reported we used for gasoline and diesel consumption for road vehicles and what diesel fuel is consumed for our railway industry for 2020 was targeted!  Interestingly the only government who offered a break by reducing taxes while prices increased was Alberta, where the current Provincial leader Jason Kenny agreed to eliminate their portion of the excise tax. Alberta is also the only province without a sales tax. The Ontario Ford led government has promised to cut sales taxes by 5.7cents/litre if elected starting July 1st, 2022 but we don’t know yet if that will actually happen.

I did a quick calculation on the fuel tax costs using an average of annual gasoline and diesel fuel sales from the Federal Government’s website(s) to determine how much more we pay annually now, versus prior to the doubling of pump prices!

Gasoline

For gasoline sales I used an average of 44 billion litres annually (6.4 billion litres consumed in Alberta was deducted from sales tax revenue calculations) as the years prior to the Covid-19 pandemic averaged above that consumption level. Alberta doesn’t have a provincial sales tax but the other taxes apply as they are federal not provincial.

For gasoline priced at $1/litre total costs including all taxes the total annual bill comes to $53.178 billion. That includes taxes of $15.578 billion with the latter broken down as $11.660 billion in Federal taxes and $3.918 billion in provincial taxes.

For gasoline priced at $2/litre the total costs including all taxes amounts to $95.666 billion with taxes of $20.466 billion and the latter broken down to $13.220 billion in Federal taxes and $7.246 billion in provincial taxes.

Diesel

For diesel sales from Statistic Canada the average used was 17.5 billion litres annually for “road motor vehicles” (3.6 billion litres consumed in Alberta was deducted from sales tax revenue calculations) plus an additional 2.1 billion litres of diesel used for the railway industry as per Statistic Canada.

For diesel priced at $1/litre the total costs including all taxes amounts to $28.330 billion including taxes of $5.790 billion with the latter split into $4.280 billion in Federal taxes and $1.510 billion in provincial taxes.

For diesel priced at $2/litre the total costs including all taxes amounts to $50.484 billion including taxes of $8.344 billion with $5.264 for the Federal coffers and $3.080 for the provincial tax kitty.

So, if we combine taxes for the $1/litre costs of both gasoline and diesel we can see total costs of $21.568 billion and at $2/litre combined federal and provincial taxes grows to $28.810 billion and is a year-over-year increase of $8.344 billion or 40.7%.

The $8.344 billion extracted from the taxpayers pockets by the Federal and Provincial governments clearly has had a negative effect on every Canadian household as it extracted our after-tax dollars and raised the cost of everything we consume. Those costs include simple things such as delivery costs added to the price of food to feed families and no doubt helped drive more households into energy poverty.

Oh, and less we forget, we also pay sales taxes (Federal and Provincial) for other necessities of life like electricity to keep the lights on and energy to heat our homes and keep us from freezing in Canada’s cold winters.

One should note the Bank of Canada has not noticed this inflation issue but bragged a few months ago about how they had “reduced electricity use in our head office by 50 percent—the equivalent of removing over 1,300 homes from the electricity grid.” One assumes they used our tax dollars to achieve the above reduction while ignoring inflation caused from increased taxes affecting each and every Canadian household.  

The Bank of Canada will have caused “energy poverty” in many more than the 1,300 homes their “reduced electricity use” reputedly saved by ignoring how tax policies of the Federal and Provincial governments are negatively affecting Canadian families and businesses!

NB: For the sales taxes (federal [5 cents/litre] and provincial [8 cent/litre]) the average used was 13%  combined and 10.5 cents/litre for the excise tax for gasoline and 4 cents/litre for diesel and for both a carbon tax (as at April 1, 2022) of 11 cents/litre.

*Scheduled to increase from $50/ton to $170/ton by 2030

Four Years Later and I Repeat: “If I were Ontario’s new Minister of Energy …”

Back on May 30, 2018 an article I penned, just prior to the last provincial election, listed ways in which the incoming ruling party could reduce electricity costs by $2 billion annually.  Electricity costs had more than doubled in Ontario under the reign of the McGuinty/Wynne led Liberals due to their enactment of the GEA (Green Energy Act) when George Smitherman was the Minister of Energy.

Ontario’s voters were expected to respond when casting their vote in early June 2018 and they did!  The ruling OLP (Ontario Liberal Party) were decimated turning them into what many referred to as the “mini-van party”.

My prior advocacy work had focused on the “electricity sector” and the cost of wind and solar generation. My efforts included frequent dialogue with the Conservative appointed “energy critics” so, at that time, I and many Ontario ratepayers in rural and urban communities had hopes the Doug Ford led Ontario Conservative Party would deal with the mess the Liberals had created. Potentially the savings would have amounted to around $8 billion over the past four years.

The Ford led government based on a recent report from the Ontario Financial Accountability Office seems to have simply transferred $6.9 billion in electricity costs for the 2021-2022 year and $118 billion to taxpayers over 20 years, even though taxpayers are also ratepayers!  In quickly reviewing recently released platforms for the OLP, the NDP and the recent OPCP budget it sure appears they all have plans aimed at “global warming” and want to spend billions continuing the push to jump on board with “The Great Reset” advocated by the WEF and our Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau.

The only dissenting voice amongst the political parties seems to be the newly formed “New Blue Party” whose “BLUEPRINT” states they will take “down wind turbines to reduce electricity costs”!

Following are the recommendations put forward in the article four years ago and I will leave it to the reader to pontificate as to whether or not, any of them were acted on!

“Green Energy Act

Immediately start work on cancelling the Green Energy Act

Conservation

Knowing Ontario has a large surplus of generation we export for 10/15 per cent of its cost I would immediately cancel planned conservation spending. This would save ratepayers over $433 million annually

Wind and solar contracts

I would immediately cancel any contracts that are outstanding but haven’t been started but may be in the process of a challenge via either the ERT (environmental review tribunal) or the court system. This would save ratepayers an estimated $200 million annually

Wind turbine noise and environmental non-compliance

Work with the MOECC Minister to insure they effect compliance by industrial wind developers both for exceeding noise level standards and operations during bird and bat migration periods.  Failure to comply would elicit large fines. This would save ratepayers an estimated $200/400 million annually

Change the “baseload” designation of generation for wind and solar developments

Both wind and solar generation is unreliable and intermittent, dependent on weather, and as such should not be granted “first to the grid rights”.  They are backed up by gas or hydro generation with both paid, for either spilling water or idling when the wind blows or the sun shines.  The cost is phenomenal.  As an example, wind turbines annually generate at approximately 30 per cent of rated capacity but 65 per cent of the time its generation is at the wrong time and not needed. The estimated annual ratepayer savings if wind generation was replaced by hydro would be $400 million and if replaced by gas in excess of $600 million

Charge a fee (tax) for out of phase/need generation for wind and solar

Should the foregoing “baseload” re-designation be impossible based on legal issues I would direct the IESO to institute a fee that would apply to wind and solar generation delivered during mid-peak and off-peak times.  A higher fee would also apply when wind is curtailed and would suggest a fee of $10/per MWh delivered during off-peak and mid-peak hours and a $20/per MWh for curtailed generation. The estimated annual revenue generated would be a minimum of $150 million

Increase LEAP contributions from LDC’s to 1 per cent of distribution revenues

The OEB would be instructed to institute an increase in the LDC (local distribution companies) LEAP (low-income assistance program) from 0.12 per cent to 1 per cent and reduce the allowed ROI (return on investment) by the difference. This would deliver an estimated $60/80 million annually reducing the revenue requirement for the OESP (Ontario electricity support program) currently funded by taxpayers

Close unutilized OPG generation plants

OPG currently has two power plants that are only very, very, occasionally called on to generate electricity yet ratepayers pick up the costs for OMA (operations, maintenance and administration). One of these is the Thunder Bay, former coal plant, converted to high-end biomass with a capacity of 165 MW which would produce power at a reported cost of $1.50/kWh (Auditor General’s report) and the other unused plant is the Lennox oil/gas plant in Napanee/Bath with a capacity of 2,200 MW that is never used. The estimated annual savings from the closing of these two plants would be in the $200 million range.

Rejig time-of-use (TOU) pricing to allow opt-in or opt-out

TOU pricing is focused on flattening demand by reducing usage during “peak hours” without any consideration of households or businesses.  Allow households and small businesses a choice to either agree to TOU pricing or the average price (currently 8.21 cents/kWh after the 17% Fair Hydro Act reduction) over a week.  This would benefit households with shift workers, seniors, people with disabilities utilizing equipment drawing power and small businesses and would likely increase demand and reduce surplus exports thereby reducing our costs associated with those exports. The estimated annual savings could easily be in the range of $200/400 million annually

Other initiatives

Niagara water rights

I would conduct an investigation into why our Niagara Beck plants have not increased generation since the $1.5 Billion spent on “Big Becky” (150 MW capacity) which was touted to produce enough additional power to provide electricity to 160,000 homes or over 1.4 million MWh.  Are we constrained by water rights with the US or is it a lack of transmission capabilities to get the power to where demand resides?

MPAC’s wind turbine assessments

One of the previous Ministers of Finance instructed MPAC (Municipal Property Assessment Corp,) to assess industrial wind turbines (IWT) at a maximum of $40,000 per MW of capacity despite their value of $1.5/2 million each.   I would request whomever is appointed by the new Premier to the Finance Ministry portfolio to recall those instructions and allow MPAC to reassess IWT at their current values over the terms of their contracts.  This would immediately benefit municipalities (via higher realty taxes) that originally had no ability to accept or reject IWT.

If one does a quick addition of the foregoing one will see the benefit to the ratepayers of the province would amount to in excess of $2 billion dollars which co-incidentally is approximately even more than the previous government provided via the Fair Hydro Act.

Hmm, perhaps we didn’t need to push those costs off to the future for our children and grandchildren to pay!

Now that I have formulated a plan to reduce electricity costs by over $2 billion per annum I can relax, confident that I can indeed handle the portfolio handed to me by the new Premier of the province.”

Crazy stuff from Polls, Surveys and Politicians

Youthful “Climate Anxiety’

An article from April 26, 2022 on CTV news reported on a CAMH (Centre for Addiction and Mental Health) survey on Ontario youth and labelled it “depressing”! The survey was about how the “Covid-19 pandemic” coupled with “eco-anxiety” had affected youth and the author of the article (Abby Neufeld) got the views expressed from a 17-year-old.  Leaving aside the section on the pandemic’s affect the shocking thing was how he responded to the question about climate-anxiety stating: “The first time it ever really hit home for me was in Grade 2 – we watched this informative video explaining the earth was sick,” he recalled, adding that he remembers feeling a sense of helplessness, unable to process what could be done.” One should assume when he was in grade two (2), he would have been seven (7) years old! As a parent one should ask why the local school board is allowing teachers to show videos that will obviously create anxieties in that age group? The CAMH survey indicated 24% of youth were “worried” about “climate change” and 50% were “depressed about the future”!

US Gallup Poll

As a counter to the CAMH survey a recent US Gallup Poll asked the question “What do you think is the most important problem facing the country today?” and 35% picked “Economic Problems” as their top concern.  A miserly 2% picked “Environment/Pollution/Climate change” as the “most important problem” facing the country! Perhaps the US education system doesn’t allow the showing of those scary “climate change” videos to seven (7) year old’s in Grade two (2)?

Ontarians Rank “Tackling Climate Change” Seventh

Global News recently commissioned IPSOS to poll Ontarians to determine their top three priorities before the budget was to be presented in Parliament on April 28, 2022. Interestingly, “Tackling Climate Change” ranked seventh just ahead of “Lower Energy Costs” but behind four other economic issues including; “Lower Taxes”, “help with day-to-day needs (like groceries and gas)”, “help to make housing more affordable” and “Economy and Jobs”.   With all those economic issues front and center one should wonder; why are our politicians continually supporting the elimination of fossil fuels and targeting that COP-26 “net-zero” pie in the sky target? It now appears the Covid-19 pandemic coupled with Russia’s invasion of the Ukraine have enlightened voters to real issues affecting their daily lives as they relegate the eco-warrior cries about “climate change” well down their list of concerns!

43% of Britons will struggle to pay their energy bills

An April 25, 2022, article in the Financial Post provided the results of an Opinions and Lifestyle Survey from the Office for National Statistics in the UK indicating energy poverty has affected many households.  The findings, collected from March 16th to March 22nd stated 43% of the UK’s household’s will struggle to pay their energy bills and 23% said it was difficult to pay their usual household bills.  The latter was up from 17% in November 2021. The increase obviously is in respect to the hit UK consumers have taken as electricity and natural gas prices have pushed up inflation to a 30 year high similar to what our inflation rates have climbed here in Canada.

An overwhelming majority of Quebecers, and all Canadians, want to supply Europe with energy

The media release of April 26, 2022 from the Montreal Economic Institute on April 26, 2022 noted they had engaged Ipsos to conduct a poll to determine how Canadians felt about exporting “our vast energy resources to European countries” to replace the Russian supply. Approximately 72% were in support and only 17% were opposed and that polling didn’t differentiate much with 65% of Quebecers also supportive. Another surprising result of the poll was the following from the media release: “While the provincial government has just adopted a bill aiming to put an end to all hydrocarbon development projects in Quebec, 59% of the population of the province is in favour of developing Quebec’s oil and gas potential in order to export the resources to Europe. Moreover, 53% of Quebecers want to revive the GNL Québec project in order to export liquefied natural gas to Europe, while only 29% are opposed.” 

The foregoing flies in the face of both the ruling Federal and Quebec politicians who continue to push for the complete elimination of fossil fuels. It appears however, the politicians plan to ignore what those who elected them, see as “sane policies” to actually protect the Canadian economy and our well-being!

New Federal Regulation makes new homes costlier

Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland’s budget launched April 7, 2022 promised to spend billions of tax dollars (north of $70 billion) aimed at making new homes affordable. Considering the budgeted spending one wonders WHY the same government just five (5) days before the budget was presented would propose a regulation making new homes costlier?

The primary objective of the new regulation(s) is to; “Reduce energy consumption and resulting GHG emissions associated with products used in homes, contribute to Canada’s commitment to reach net-zero emissions by 2050, reduce the load on the electricity system, and help Canadians save money on their energy bills.” The foregoing will reputedly reduce emissions by 1.2 megatons or 0.17% of Canada’s 2020 emissions and it applies to all appliances utilizing electricity in the house including; your furnace, air conditioner, etc. along with all other major appliances. We should be confident China or India will have no trouble increasing their emissions by that much in less than a week.

Shortly after the budget was presented the New York Post had an article that should prove shocking to all Canadians as it stated: “As of February, the Canadian Real Estate Association reported that the average price of a Canadian home stood at 816,720 Canadian dollars, or $646,809 — over nine times the average household income. In contrast, the US has seen slightly lower price increases, with home prices rising 27% over the same period, Fortune previously reported. In America, the median home price last month stood at $375,000, an all-time high and a 15% rise from a year prior.” That suggests the cost of the average home in Canada is almost double the cost in the US and is truly shocking.

One should wonder why the current government continues their agenda and appears intent on driving up our cost of living via inflationary regulations such as this?  Is it because the Trudeau led government is sold on the WEF’s (World Economic Forum) concept that we Canadians “will own nothing but be happy”?  We need to push back for the sake of all Canadians and our children.

Let’s have a Canada wide poll

Perhaps the time has come for a poll or survey that allows all Canadians to show our politicians what the U.S. Gallup Poll is telling the U.S. elected leaders! 

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.”