Is Hydrogen the Answer to Reaching Net-zero—Apparently, it’s not!

The following was sent to me by a contact with the “knowledge, skills sets and experience to highlight the fallacies of pushing the green hydrogen agenda” and it’s related to the concepts of my prior articles about “energy storage”. NB: the knowledge he displays in the following are beyond the scope of yours truly!

Text from the contact!

“Hi Parker

Converting “excess” electrical generation by electrolysers (e.g. as built by Hydrogen Optimized in Owen Sound), will permit wind generators (like Enbridge, K2 Wind, etc.) to operate at maximum possible output even when the electrical demand is low (like at night), so that the proponents (like Enbridge at their “Power to Gas” pilot plant in Markham, or Calsun at their proposed plant at the former Bluewater Youth Detention Centre) can make BIG money producing “green” hydrogen, thereby ensuring lots of Government (i.e taxpayer) support.  

The wind generators (like Enbridge) will be able to be paid full price for their power, approximately $135 a MWh or so, instead of the somewhat reduced rate paid for curtailed power. However, they will be able to buy the surplus at about $0 to $10 a MWh, to produce hydrogen, to add to their distribution system, so when electrical demand is high, they can sell it to natural gas generators to produce power to sell at maybe $200 a MWh.  Yes, they certainly win.  

The consumer, well, let’s see. We’ll pay $135 for the bought wind power, sell it for $10, and then buy it again at $200, so the consumer cost is maybe $125 + $ 200 = $325 a MWh.  (About 4 x the price paid for nuclear generated power in Ontario).  The more surplus we create, the more we’ll be able to sell at low price, and buy back at high price, so the cost for us will go up even more.

Winners = Enbridge, Hydrogen Optimized, Carlsun, and the Government policy hacks who want a hydrogen economy.  

Losers = those who live near wind farms (present and future, as there will be more justified), the electrical consumers, and taxpayers.

You can do a google search for Forbes March, 29, 2022 for their article, “Gas Utilities are Promoting Hydrogen, but it could be a dead end for consumers and the climate.”  Admittedly it is a biased article (every writer has their agenda) and in this case the writer’s agenda is that full electrification of the economy is better for the environment than burning natural gas.

Some highlights from the article, and the logical extension from them:

  • 26 projects to add hydrogen to natural gas lines have been proposed across 12 states since 2020  (so, nearly everybody is doing it!).
  • BUT, the blend can only be from 5% to 20% hydrogen in the natural gas lines  (elsewhere I read 7% max) as consumer appliances can only safely burn a blend up to that concentration.
  • It’s not clear what adding hydrogen to the natural gas lines at the Bluewater Detention Centre will mean to % hydrogen in the lines locally, but the amount added will probably not be huge.
  • Burning hydrogen (H2) produces less energy than natural gas (methane, or CH4) so a 20% blend would reduce greenhouse gas emissions only 6% to 7% as you lose energy in electrolysis.
  • price of green hydrogen will raise price of the blended fuel 2 to 4X above standard natural gas (good for Enbridge, bad for the consumer).
  • burning hydrogen produces water vapour (H2O), a more potent green house gas than CO2, but its residency in the atmosphere is less than CO2, so it is considered to have less impact.  Burning methane (CH4) produces CO2, H2O, and nitrous oxide NOX.  The results are complicated by the fact that methane (natural gas) leaks have an effect some 80X higher than CO2, but it has a less residency time in the atmosphere, so the overall result is considered to be only 25X as much.  NOX has a higher impact yet.  Let’s just say the overall impact of burning H2 is not zero, but it’s probably slightly better than burning CH4.

So is it realistic to consider we’ll have much impact on the environment by producing “green hydrogen”?

in 2020 Ontario’s energy usage was: (figures from Canada Energy Regulator – Provincial Energy Profile), converting all data to Peta Joules for equivalency comparison).

  • 1435 Peta Joules from refined petroleum (gasoline and diesel mostly)
  • 935 Peta Joules from natural gas
  • 514 Peta Joules from electricity (58% nuclear, 24% hydro, 9% gas, 8% wind, <1% solar, < 1% biofuel)
  • 37 Peta Joules from biofuels (wood mostly)
  • 127 Peta Joules from other fuels (like coal & coke)

From the above, we see that in 2020, less than 1.5% of Ontario’s total energy consumption came from wind and solar.  It gives a rough idea of the feasibility of moving all of Ontario “off oil and gas” to all “renewable sourced electricity” by 2050.

So, if we could convert 5% of the natural gas in the distribution system to hydrogen, that would be about 47 Peta Joules, or if we assume 15% loss in the conversion, needing 54 Peta Joules of electricity (more than 1/3 of the total electricity produced).  Let’s just say that’s unlikely.

In passing, let’s just say the probability of converting all new vehicles bought in Canada by 2035 to electrical vehicles, or vehicles powered by hydrogen, to convert that 1435 Peta Joules that come from petrochemicals of gas and oil as called for by federal law is … well remote.  Does anyone ever consider these things before passing laws?  Does not appear so!

The Globe and Mail published an interesting article (attached below) Nov. 25, 2022, noting,that while 72% of all new cars in Norway are electric vehicles, oil consumption in the country hasn’t changed.”

That should be enough numbers to set your heads spinning.  Apologies, but every now and then a dose of reality is needed.

Let’s conclude that the governments are all “hell bent” on producing hydrogen and keep telling us it will make a BIG difference in climate change.  Unh- unh,  T’ain’t; gonna happen, but what WILL happen is that costs for consumers will go up drastically, the results will be minimal, and certain investors will become VERY rich.”

Electric Vehicles Demonstrate Inept Governments via Grants, Mandates and New Taxes

Developed countries around the world are literally throwing money at trying to electrify the transportation sector (passenger cars and light trucks). Canada is no exception as at both the Federal and Provincial levels many announcements and articles have displayed how they have handed out grants to manufacturers of the vehicles, batteries to power them as well as charging stations. Depending on where you are around the world EV buyers receive a variety of incentives, including direct grants, tax breaks (no sales or VAT taxes), low-cost charging stations, etc. all  with taxpayer dollars.

Surprisingly despite all the billions of our tax dollars being handed out Canadians are not buying those EV at the same pace as the rest of the world as an article a few days ago noted: “Statistics Canada data show EVs made up one in 14 new vehicles registered in the first half of this year, compared with one in 20 a year earlier.“ The article went on to state China was responsible for 56% of global sales and for Canada to achieve the 60% sales target for 2030 they would have to grow from 55,600 to about 480,000 over six months to hit that target. Perhaps it has something to do with the fact the Canadian Automobile Association lists 80 EV models with an average sales price of $82,000 and, EV lose considerable range in our cold winters?

Two of Canada’s taxpayers smaller handouts

Lion Electric Company: Back onMarch 15, 2021 a joint announcement made by PM Trudeau and Quebec Premier Legault handed Lion Electric $100 million of our tax dollars and labelled it as an “investment”!  The grant they handed out was 54% of the cost ($185 million) of building a “battery assembly plant” in the Laurentians but labelling it as an investment seems a stretch as, if, and when, Lion Electric generate a profit we taxpayers will not be recipients of dividend payments or appreciating shareholdings.  On the latter note it is an interesting exercise to see how the shares have performed since the grant announcement.  Shares in the entity appear to have had an initial value on the NYSE of US$16.31/share on March 1, 2021, and as of November 18,2022 were valued at US$3.01 a drop of 81.54%! Interestingly Lion recently announced their third quarter 2022 results and stated their revenue was up 244% but losses increased by 316%! Quite the investment!

Taiga Motors Corporation: On July 12, 2021, the Mayor of Shawinigan and the Federal and Quebec Governments announced forgivable loans and grants to Taiga which would allow them to manufacture electrically  powered “personal watercraft, snowmobiles, electric motorization systems and battery packs.“ The collective amount was $50 million (40%) towards the $125.17 million cost of the new plant. Car and Driver tested one of the Taiga snowmobile models in March 2022 and while they didn’t disparage it, they suggested you better not stray too far from your base due to their limited miles range (62 miles for the one tested).  The price was also rather startling with the “Nomad” priced at US$19,490 whereas a Ski-Doo or Polaris model would be in the US$10/12,000 range with much higher mileage. Taiga’s initial share price after their launch in April 2021 was $13.25 and it now sits at $4.00 meaning it has dropped 70% and if one looks at their year over year results their losses as of the 9 months ended September 30th were down from $88.8 million to $35.9 million. Can we really trust politicians to create wealth using our tax dollars to electrify our transportation and other sectors?

As noted, the foregoing handouts were small ones, but we Ontarians have been subjected to handouts by the Ford and Trudeau led governments totalling in the billions aimed at the same goal of electrifying the transportation sector (automobiles and light trucks). They handed out $1 billion to Stellantis, $590 million to Ford $518 million to GM and $260 million to Honda meaning $2.368 billion of our tax dollars were committed to ensure we retain some of the jobs we have had for decades in the auto sector. The province and the feds have also been trying to attract battery manufacturers and will supply LG Energy with $1 billion of our tax dollars as well as an unknown amount to Umicore, a Belgian global metals refiner who will build a battery materials facility.

In addition to the foregoing taxpayer grants, the Federal Government also have the ”Zero Emission Vehicle Infrastructure Program aimed at handing out $680 million to entice people and companies to build “charging and refueling stations”. They apparently see this as “one of the key barriers to ZEV adoption“ but we taxpayers should suspect its related to the average sale price of those EV as noted above and our concern about them losing range during our cold winter days.

What’s happening elsewhere? 

Norway: A recent article; “Norway Became an EV Paradise, Now It’s Imposing a Weight Tax and Bringing  Back the VAT“ noted upcoming legislation in Norway will rescind most of the favourable benefits that have made it the country with the highest EV sales per capita. The new legislation will remove the many perks granted to EV buyers displayed in a graft posted in an article a few months ago. The VAT in Norway alone will add 25% to the purchase price of an EV and the weight tax another 2/3%.  As that occurs, we would expect, the 78 % EV sales have so far represented in 2022, will fall, as they will cost considerably more than a new ICE vehicle once those new taxes become legislated.

United Kingdom:  It appears the UK has recently become  concerned  the net zero target may well lead to “five fuel taxes: fuel duty, vehicle excise duty, landfill tax, the carbon price floor and the emission trading schemedrying up according to an article in the Financial Times!  As a result of that concern a “tax vacuum” will be created during a time when the country is running significant deficits so, as a start, they plan to charge EV owners with the vehicle excise duty.  Grants being handed out are also on a downward trail as purchase grants for new EV have been reduced from £5,000. to £1,500.

Targeted EV sales in Canada

The 2022 Federal budget expanded the push to electrify the transportation sector in Canada requiring 20% of all vehicles sold in Canada to be EV by 2026, 60% by 2030 and 100% by 2035. In addition, the budget extended the $5,000 per vehicle grant to help achieve those targets. Annual new auto sales in Canada vary between 1.5 million to 2 million so by 2035 at the low end $7.5 billion of our tax dollars will possibly wind up supporting those “mandated” sales. The other issue relates to lost sales taxes etc. from ICE vehicles as outlined in a January 17, 2022 article, published by the CPA (Canadian Professional Accountants), noting: “The federal government collects nearly $6 billion per year in gas and diesel excise taxes, not including the GST or HST on those purchases. Add in provincial fuel taxes and over $16 billion in annual government revenue that will disappear once Canadian drivers are weaned off the gas pump. It’s enough to rip a large hole in public finances.“ It is worth pointing out the CPA article was using 2021 data and the price of both diesel and gasoline have climbed considerably since then meaning the revenue lost added to government grants will increase taxpayer costs to over $30 billion annually.

Conclusion:

Looking only at the Trudeau led government’s plan to electrify the transportation sector in Canada demonstrates their inept ability to govern the country responsibly due to their insane belief Canada’s emissions reduction from the transportation sector will impact the climate. Not a chance!

Ontario’s Perfect Demonstration of Wind’s Intermittent and Unreliable Nature

A Short History about wind’s electricity generation arrival

“Scottish engineer and physicist James Blyth (1839-1906) was credited as the first to generate electricity by constructing a windmill attached to a dynamo to light his cottage in his home village of Marykirk, Scotland in 1887.  He offered to allow his current to be used to light the main street of the village, but superstitious residents reportedly considered the mysterious electric light to be “the work of the devil“!

The Ups and Downs of Industrial Wind Generation

 A day in the life of industrial wind turbines in Ontario

On November 11th Ontarians were treated to the up and down vagaries of IWT (industrial wind turbines) spread throughout the province. They did a great job exhibiting their spasms and inability to generate power when needed but cranked it out when unneeded. A few examples over the day follow!

Hour 1

At Hour 1, IESO forecast IWT would generate 3,936 MW but only accepted 3,253 MWh on the grid so we should assume the difference (683 MW) was curtailed at a cost of $120/MWh allocated to ratepayers.  The market price (HOEP) was 0.00/MWh over the hour as we supplied Michigan, New York, and Quebec with 2,428 MWh. The 2,428 MWh represented 74.6% of the above noted grid accepted IWT generation so clearly wasn’t needed but, we ratepayers picked up their costs of over $327,000.  To drive the point home IWT frequently generate power when its unneeded! Ontario’s peak demand in Hour 1 was only 12,591 MW and could have been easily supplied by nuclear and hydro alone but the “first-to -the-grid rights allotted to IWT companies usurps our other generation sources! Hydro at that hour generated only 3,307 MWh, their lowest hourly generation for the day!

Hour 4

Moving on to Hour 4 (hour ending at 4 AM) IESO reported it as the lowest Ontario peak demand hour (12,095 MW) for the day and those IWT were still humming and forecast to generate 2,938 MW. IESO accepted 2,718 MW (22.5% of demand) and sold off 2,497 MW (91.9% of accepted IWT generation) to the same Hour 1 buyers for the princely sum of $3.49/MWh generating $8,714.53 of revenue but it cost (assuming it was all IWT generation) us Ontarians $337,095.00 without including curtailed costs.

Hours 1 to 7

Hours 1 to 7 saw IESO forecast IWT generation of 19,866 MW (58% of their capacity) and 17,884 MW was accepted while exporting 16,422 MW (91.8% of IWT grid accepted generation). The HOEP average was $8.90/MWh for those 7 hours meaning if those exports were either all IWT generated power (very likely) or caused by them the net cost to Ontario ratepayers was: $1,963,000 (16,422 MW X $135 plus 1,982 MW [curtailed] X $120 minus 16,422 MW X $8.90) for those 7 hours!

Hours 8 to 19

As the day progressed Ontario peak hourly demand increased while generation from IWT fell and at Hour 18 they only supplied 267 MW or 1.5% of Ontario’s daily peak demand of 17,237 MW! IWT failure at that hour to provide generation meant “net imports” were 1,004 MW as we purchased power from Quebec and even some from Michigan.  We paid an average of $46.93/MWh for that imported power greatly exceeding the cost of our sales to them in the middle of the night when those IWT were generating power we didn’t need.  As IWT generation fell the HOEP market price climbed and from hours 8 to 19 averaged $50.12/MWh a vast improvement from the early morning prices.

Hour 17 and hours 20 to 24

IWT generation at Hour 17 was at its lowest for the day generating only 240 MW but it started to ramp up slowly and by hour 20 was generating five times what it generated at hour 17.  For hours 20 to 24 IESO accepted 10,357 MW as peak demand fell and exports climbed.  Needless to say, as demand fell over the final five hours IWT generation increased while the HOEP fell from $34.40/MWh during Hour 20 to $2.11/MWh in Hour 24 as our unneeded generation from those IWT climbed!

The “first-to-the-grid” rights granted to the IWT owners by the Ontario McGuinty/Wynne led government(s) continue to burden us ratepayers with costs as the foregoing clearly demonstrates! As it turned out November 11th, 2022, captured the intermittency and unreliable nature of IWT over a 24 hour period clearly demonstrating how they operate not just daily but, weekly, monthly and annually! 

Based on what Ontarians and many others around the world are currently experiencing, due to the unreliable and intermittent nature of those “windmills”, we should, perhaps reconsider the events from 135 years ago! Eco-warriors around the world have pushed to have IWT replace reliable electricity generation from fossil fuels in their push for “net-zero” so perhaps the label by the residents of Marykirk, Scotland in 1887 should be resurrected and applied to IWT but not the electric light.

Perhaps it really is the “work of the devil” posing as an eco-warrior out to save the world from “climate change” that brought on the push for those intermittent and unreliable IWT! 

High Carbon Prices sure Appear to Create Energy Poverty

A recent chart was posted by the OECD (Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development) whose membership consists of 38 “high income” democratic countries. The chart lists countries around the world with a “carbon pricing instrument” for the year 2021 with the lowest (Brazil) at the top and the highest (United Kingdom) at the bottom.  Canada was ranked as the sixth (6th) highest and four of the top six were European countries (Germany, France, Italy, and the UK) and the only other one in the top six slightly outranking Canada was South Korea!

The chart coincidently popped up when doing research on how countries were reporting on “energy poverty” amongst their households/populations.  All energy costs have risen considerably higher than they were even a year ago as we; in the Northern Hemisphere, face the upcoming winter so we should be concerned about how those higher energy costs will affect the general population.  Viewing the chart suggested a look at the six (6) countries, who have imposed the highest “carbon price”, to see what their “energy poverty” data disclosed. Data was not readily available in all cases but what was available told the story that “energy poverty” certainly affects a large percentage of the population in all six of those countries except for South Korea where no specific “energy poverty“ data could be found!

 Energy poverty country by country NB:

Korea:  A search demonstrated no articles or studies defining the percentage of households suffering from “energy poverty” but it is worth noting South Korea imports 95% of its energy needs so we should suspect “energy poverty” is high.  Korea’s overall poverty rate is estimated to be 15.3% by Statista as of the end of 2021 so we would expect a similar percentage of their population would be at or close to that level in respect to “energy poverty”!  

United Kingdom: There are many articles and research papers related to “energy poverty” in the UK and a recent report from the University of York states: “More than three-quarters of households in the UK, or 53 million people, will have been pushed into fuel poverty by January 2023, according to a new report authored by York academics.“ The article about the report goes on to note: “On 26 August Ofgem (Ofgem is the energy regulator for Great Britain) announced the energy price cap will increase to £3,549 per year from 1 October 2022. The electricity and gas price cap will rise again in January 2023. The size of the January increase has not yet been announced, but it is expected to take bills to £4,200 per year, with some sources predicting even larger increases.“  It’s worth pointing out the OECD chart claims the UK has the highest “carbon pricing instrument” which currently is 136% higher than Canada’s. With our rates scheduled to rise by $15/tonne annually it won’t be long before our rates surpass those of the UK. 

Italy: The above chart indicates Italy has the second highest carbon price in the world but there seems to be relatively scarce recent information reported about “energy poverty”.  One article from September 3, 2022 did disclose “One in six Italians, or up to nine million people, could sink into energy poverty due to soaring bills across the EU, Italy’s ANSA news agency reported on Saturday, citing the Italian General Confederation of Crafts.“ The foregoing suggests 15.3% of Italy’s current population will be or are now suffering from energy poverty. The article also notes: “Italy’s Ecological Transition Minister Roberto Cingolani planned to ask the entire population to turn the heating down, starting from October. Italy has already introduced some limits on the use of central heating in public buildings and apartment blocks, and these are expected to be tightened under the new measures.“  The article goes on to say: “Italy’s Serie A football league announced plans to put a four-hour limit on the use of floodlights in stadiums on match days, as part of energy-saving measures“. Does that suggest future games will be played partially in the dark or only during daylight hours?

France: France shows up on the chart as the country with the third highest carbon price and there is a fair amount of data about “energy” and “fuel poverty”!  One study titled “Energy Poverty in the EU” notes “the inclusion of transportation increases the energy poverty rate in France from 18% to 21%. This is particularly relevant as CO2 prices and thus fuel prices are expected to further increase to protect the environment and combat climate change.“  The foregoing indicates as many as 14.3 million people in France are experiencing “fuel poverty” whereas another article suggests in 2019 there were 3.5 million households facing “energy poverty”. Residents per household in France is lower than most countries with only about 2.4 residents per household suggesting, at that time, about 8.4 million were experiencing “energy poverty”!

Germany: A very recent article about “energy poverty” in Germany contained the following rather disturbing statement: “One in four Germans (approximately 21 million) are currently energy impoverished, up from one in six in 2018. The poor and disenfranchised are far more likely than others to slip into energy poverty. A member of Germany’s lower-middle class is now twice as likely to fall under the “energy poor” category compared to only one year ago. The German government is scrambling to ease the pressure of increasing prices for suppliers and consumers. “  The article says Germany is doing the “scrambling by various means such as: “One of Germany’s efforts to curb energy poverty is through reducing the use of natural gas, through both energy-saving measures and switching to different fuels. Most public buildings are lowering their thermostats, and monuments will no longer be lit at night. Heated swimming pools are banned. Germans are being encouraged to take cold showers. The government is also reducing taxes on other forms of fuel, giving discounts to people who switch to public transportation, and reopening old coal power plants.

Canada: Once again it is difficult to locate recent reports or articles related to how many households or individuals in Canada are experiencing “energy poverty” though yours truly has tried on numerous occasions over the past many years.  Natural Resources Canada published a 145 page “2021-2022 Energy Fact Book” which has one page (#37) providing a chart for 2019 suggesting “energy poverty” affected just 6% of Canadian households.  The foregoing would mean 1,060,000 households and with 2.9 people per household would be, 3.1 million Canadians (8.5% of our population) who experienced “energy poverty” in 2019!  One should suspect; as the data is from 2019, it came before energy prices from natural gas, electricity, furnace oil, propane, etc. jumped to current levels as pointed out in a very recent article.  Amusingly the NRCan report on page 38 notes “Canada’s energy prices in 2019 are relatively low” with comparisons to [surely coincidental to the OECD chart] France, Germany, Italy, and the United Kingdom. The only outlier was the USA and the latter beats Canada except for “electricity” costs possibly due to Quebec’s low hydro prices.  

It is interesting to note countries with the highest “carbon pricing instrument” in the G20 are those countries where energy poverty is the highest and Canada seems to be quickly heading in the same direction under the policies of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and his minions such as Ministers, Freeland, Guilbeault and Wilkinson.

Surely with our carbon price scheduled to rise to $170/tonne by 2030 and the push to shut down fossil fuel extraction and generation it won’t be long before Canada’s “energy poverty” rates surpass those of the UK, Germany, etc. and Canada will be able to claim the title for both “highest carbon price” and for highest percentage of people living in “energy poverty”. 

Quite the legacy PM Justin Trudeau will leave our children and grandchildren!

NB: The data found in some cases specifically was related to “energy poverty” but in other cases it was referenced as “fuel poverty” which presumably includes fuel travel costs in addition to energy required by households.

The Federal and Provincial Governments Hit Us with Luxury Taxes to Heat Our Homes  

As winter approaches one can’t help but notice the increasing number of articles pointing out how energy required to heat our homes has become a significant and concerning news issue. The articles point out the cost of natural gas, furnace oil and propane have increased along with the numerous taxes levied on them by the Federal and provincial governments and is driving up fuel poverty.

Here in North America, we have been observing the panic ensuing the UK, Germany, and other European countries as their move to green their energy supply to meet the elusive “net-zero” target has darkened the future for households and businesses.  They have discovered without fossil fuels to back up intermittent wind and solar many countries will see from 40 to 60% of households experience “energy poverty” and many businesses face closure through bankruptcy or via movement to countries with lower energy prices. Employment will no doubt rise, and inflation will continue it’s upward move!

Fortunately, North America hasn’t been as badly affected as Europe, however, it will not be an easy winter for many Canadian households and particularly those depending on fossil fuels to keep their house warm in our cold winters. While Canada has not experienced the incredible increases Europe has, in the price of those fuels, we nevertheless have been affected negatively by much higher market prices of natural gas, furnace oil and propane despite our abundant supply of those fuels in the form of oil and natural gas. We have also been negatively affected by increasing taxes levied by the Federal government and sales taxes increasing as they are applied to the increased costs of those fuels.

In Canada approximately 50% of all households (6 million) heat with natural gas, 7% with furnace oil (850,000 households) and just over 1% (150,000) with propane. As all of those are fossil fuels or derivatives; the Federal “carbon taxes” apply, as well as provincial and federal sales taxes. We should note the latter (sales taxes) are also applied on the Federal carbon tax, so they become “a tax on a tax”! The carbon tax is currently set at $50/tonne and is scheduled to rise to $65/tonne on April 1, 2023 and will continue to rise annually reaching $170/tonne in 2030.

Having read several articles, the decision was made to determine how households will be affected in the upcoming winter months; by reviewing both the cost of the fuels (natural gas, propane, and furnace oil) and the taxes applied on them at their increased market price.  According to the OEB (Ontario Energy Board) “Historical natural gas rates“ have increased 115% from late October 2021 to late October 2022 whereas NRCAN (Natural Resources Canada), suggests furnace oil has increased by 57.5% and propane by 20% over the same timeframe.

Because our household uses natural gas it is relatively easy to review a monthly bill from the past 2021/2022 winter to determine how much it will increase should we consume the same amount for a 2022/2023 winter bill.  I will leave it to other households heating with furnace oil or propane to review the potential upcoming costs to heat their home this coming winter!

It is worth pointing out; in Ontario* the OEB set price adjustments (natural gas only) on a quarterly basis, so the year-over-year comparison may be modestly affected!  If our household consumes the same amount of natural gas the fuel costs and the associated taxes levied will result in our monthly bill increasing by approximately 74.5%.  Fuel costs will represent 29.6% of the upcoming bill and taxes 30.7% versus 33.2% and 26.7% in the prior year should all the other related costs remain static. 

Please note the foregoing discloses despite those fuel costs climbing considerably; Federal and Provincial taxes will climb faster!

One should take note when Ontario published their March 31, 2022 financial results, sales tax revenue had increased $3.8 billion from 2021 and were $2.8 billion over their forecast and surely played a role in allowing them to claim a budgetary surplus of $2.1 billion. Obviously, a lot of that revenue came from taxes on our energy bills and one should assume the Federal government also benefited greatly via their various tax levies on those fossil fuels we consumed to heat our homes.

It is apparent our two levels of governments seem to believe it is a luxury to heat our homes using fossil fuels based on their continuing levels of increasing taxation.  Time for them to recognize heating our homes during our cold winters in Canada is not a luxury!

*67.2% of Ontario households heat with natural gas.

Energy Poverty Set to Balloon, Not Just in Ontario

We here in Canada have been observing the tragedy hitting the UK and Europe with their skyrocketing energy costs and many here have not even noticed what we are going to experience this winter. It shouldn’t be as bad as Europe but we should be prepared for the shock that will impact many of our households!

Our jump in costs to heat our homes will not be the multiples of three- or four-times last years costs as Europeans will experience but they will be pretty nasty despite our abundance of natural gas, oil and their derivatives such as furnace oil and propane. While our household is heated with natural gas and our small cottage with propane the cold weather hasn’t descended on us just yet but we’re pretty sure its just around the corner.

What impacts Ontarians, and most Canadians, is the inclusion of the Federal and Provincial taxes and the increased price of the above-mentioned heating fuels since the start of this year.

Curiosity piqued; a review of our household’s natural gas and propane bills came to mind. After reviewing them both I discovered, from a late December 2021 natural gas bill, the “carbon tax” levied by the Federal Government coupled with the “HST” (the provincial sales tax plus the federal sales tax) together represented 36.5% of the total bill and for the late January 2022 propane delivery it represented 33% of the bill.  Please note both of those bills came before the “carbon tax” had increased to $50/tonne on April 1, 2022 and is scheduled to increase by another $15 on April 1, 2023!

The other ongoing issue is: for some time, a large percentage of Canadian households have indicated via quarterly surveys they are only $200.00 a month away from bankruptcy.  In the latest survey they have reiterated that point and noted: “Moreover, more than half of Canadians say they’re concerned about the impact of rising interest rates on their financial situation and their ability to cover all living and family expenses in the next year without going further into debt.”

It sure appears the $200 a month will soon disappear and drive more households into “energy poverty” based on the increased costs of natural gas, furnace oil and propane. In Ontario (approximately) 3.6 million homes heat with natural gas, 350,000 with furnace oil and 100,000 with propane. The following chart shows price increases (approximate) for the above over the first 9 months of 2022:

Prices:

Natural Gas at the start of 2022 was 18.0529 cents/M3 and by the first of October 2022 was 36.0901 cents/M3 for an increase of 100% since Jan. 2022.

Furnace Oil at the start of 2022 was 138.4 (C/per litre) and by the first of October 2022 was 207.1 C/per litre for an increase of49.6% since Jan. 2022.

Propane at the start of 2022 was 109.9 (C/per litre) and by the first of October 2022 was  139.9 C/per litre for an increase of 27.3% since Jan. 2022.

As is obvious the costs of the above three fuels have all increased will above the rate of inflation and have no doubt played a role in helping to drive it up. Those increased costs will negatively impact many households in Ontario and elsewhere in Canada this coming winter along with the increased taxes that will make those bills more damning!

Hard to believe this is happening in a country with an abundance of natural gas and oil but our governments (Federal and Provincial) seen determined to stop the use of fossil fuels while grabbing increased taxes on their use and helping to create “energy poverty”*!

Households that spend more than twice this value on home energy services, can be said to experience high home energy cost burdens. For purposes of policy discussion, CUSP uses this 6 per cent threshold of home energy cost burden to define households that experience energy poverty.”

NB: Please note CUSP is the Canadian Urban Sustainable Practitioners and the “6 per cent” references after-tax household income!

Perhaps Voters Should Demand IQ Tests for Anyone Running for Public Office

Numerous events recently have caused yours truly, and hopefully many more, to wonder; are we are being led by elected politicians, federally, provincially and municipally with IQs (intelligent quotients) that would easily qualify them for a place in the “Dumb & Dumber” cast of the movie of the same name!  Those politicians take it upon themselves to direct bureaucrats; responsible for managing public services (entities paid with our tax dollars), to do what they are told. The bureaucrats do as they are told as they are well paid with lots of perks so they don’t “pushback” no matter the stupidity of the directives!

Let’s have a look at a few issues related to mankind’s need for “energy” firmly under control of politicians. Energy, until recently, has caused the world to become a better place; reducing poverty, climate related deaths, increasing lifespans, and damage from weather anomalies i.e.; not “climate change”!

Ottawa is a Great Example of Municipal Idiocy

With municipal elections just around the corner, Ottawa’s Mayoralty Candidates are having “eco-debates”!  The candidates include Bob Chiarelli a former mayor of Ottawa and when he was Ontario Minister of Energy is famous for suggesting the $1 billion cost associated with moving the planned Oakville gas plant was the cost of a Tim Horton’s coffee. It should come as no surprise the debates relate to the city councils approved; “Energy Evolution”, an 86 page document forecast to cost $57.4 billion and will reputedly transition Ottawa to a “net-zero” city by 2050. With a population of about 1.1 million that represents a cost per resident of about $52K or more than $200K for a family of four. An earlier article about Ottawa’s plan to get to “net-zero by 2050” strongly suggests it was written by Pollution Probe a group dedicated to convincing us all to abandon our use of fossil fuels to achieve the COP-26 targets. As if to exacerbate the push to spend those billions of dollars the City of Ottawa contracted Innovative Research Group to conduct a survey* that seems destined to produce favourable results for the Ottawa politicians due to the skewing of the questions. Perhaps Pollution Probe also had a hand in generating those survey questions?  It would be great if those municipal politicians running for mayor or council took the time to look at what has happened in the UK or Germany where energy prices have skyrocketed due to their push to “green” the electricity sector. This winter they plan to control the temperature households set to heat their homes! It seems apparent research isn’t something those seeking reelection or election to the City of Ottawa have bothered to do!

Province of Ontario Demonstrates Provincial Idiocy

From all appearances it seems almost conclusive the Premier Ford led government is simply carrying on with what Ontario experienced under the McGuinty/Wynne led government which brought us an almost tripling of the cost of electricity in the province.  While Ford did cancel the GEA (Green Energy Act), it is obvious they are still committed to eliminating fossil fuels completely which affects reliability and will surely drive-up generation costs. 

Beyond the announcement OPG would be adding a 300MW SMR (small modular reactor) which may be in service in 2028 at the Darlington site we have seen nothing from the current Ontario government aimed at ensuring we have a reliable supply of electricity in the future!  With the approximately 3,000 MW of the Pickering Nuclear plant scheduled to close by 2025 the Ford government (via his Minister of Energy, Todd Smith) is pushing the Pathways to Decarbonization (P2D)” which fearfully, doesn’t seem to project reliability. The latter is concerning, as via a recent directive Minister Smith “asked IESO to evaluate a moratorium on the procurement of new natural gas-fired generating stations in Ontario and to develop an achievable pathway to phase out natural gas generation and achieve zero emissions in the electricity system.”  From all appearances the directive has led to the upcoming (September 19, 2022), Ontario Energy Conference “Navigating to Net Zero” classified as “Ontario’s Energy Transition”!  According to the page describing the conference a key issue is; “Energy customers are demanding clean energy solutions with some urgency” but doesn’t disclose who those “energy customers” are. My (personal) guess would be they are not small/medium sized businesses or households suffering from inflation but may include eco-warrior charities like Environmental Defence, David Suzuki Foundation, etc. etc.  In reality, it appears to be simply Ontario’s politicians complying with the wishes of Prime Minister Trudeau and his Minister of the Environment and Climate Change, Steven Guilbeault; famous for his actions when he was an eco-warrior climbing on the roof of former Alberta Premier, Ralph Klein’s home and scaring his wife as well as his criminal action of climbing the CN Tower!

It is worth noting that IESO had previously been asked by Minister Smith to evaluate the phaseout of natural gas and their report indicated the cost to eliminate it by 2030 would be $27 billion and raise electricity prices by 60%.  Interestingly on the page with the link to the foregoing report IESO note; “Did you know that natural gas provides just 7% of Ontario’s electricity needs, but on the hottest summer days can provide up to 30%?”  This was a clear message from IESO that without natural gas, Ontario would have to increase its generation considerably to ensure reliability and prevent blackouts.

A clear message about vulnerability totally ignored by Minister Smith and the Ford Government!

Only a Few of Many Examples of Federal Idiocy

Looking back to August 19, 2021 and viewing a video of Trudeau announcing one of his handouts before the upcoming election is an interesting exercise! At the press conference in BC he promised to provide funding “to support the training of 1,000 new community-based firefighters and the purchasing of new equipment to continue to fight the impacts of climate change across the country”. A question presented to him asked about inflation and the Bank of Canada possibly loosening inflation controls and his response was: “You’ll forgive me if I don’t think about monetary policy”!  We should also suspect his Minister of Finance and Deputy PM, Chrystia Freeland, is of a like mind so, spending our tax dollars on the “net-zero” pledge requires no thoughts about the consequences on Canada’s future despite the federal deficit having reached $314 billion in the year that had just ended on March 31, 2021.

German Chancellor Olaf Scholz recently visited Canada with the presumed hope Canada might be able to supply some natural gas via LNG shipments but all he got was a promise that maybe, sometime in the future, we might be able to supply Germany with “green hydrogen” generated by IWT (industrial wind turbines) out of Newfoundland. An article out of Germany however about the latter titled“Will rescue come from Canada?”casts serious doubt on that possibility as the following from the article notes (from the Google translation):  “So does this prove the feasibility of LH2 imports from Canada? The technical possibility may be given. However, the profitability is more than questionable. If you look at the whole supply chain: wind energy – electricity – electrolysis – liquefaction – ship transport – distribution – storage – generation in fuel cells – feeding into the grid – then you have to be very skeptical. It would be maddeningly expensive. Maybe then the LH 2 tax will be introduced in Germany and the kilowatt hour will ultimately cost one euro.” This was the best PM Trudeau could offer as the Liberals have stifled the generation of fossil fuels and the pipeline that would have brought them to export terminals.

The Trudeau led government during their reign in Canada have continued their efforts to achieve “net-zero” crippling our natural resource sector, advocating for EV to replace ICE vehicles by subsidizing their purchase and increasing the carbon tax on gasoline and diesel fuels. He and his minions such as Steven Guilbeault, Minister of the Environment and Climate Change and Jonathan Wilkinson, Minister of Natural Resources, despite having some of the largest reserves of natural gas in the world, have refused to allow the building of the infrastructure needed to export our oil and gas resources!

TheBuild(ing) Back Better” advocacy pushed by the WEF (World Economic Forum) has become the recent version of the former communist “Five Year Plans” by the Liberal Government and enshrined in past budgets of the Trudeau government. It appears they haven’t realized Russia abandoned those Five Year Plans many years ago!  Canadians are now experiencing the results of those plans with inflation climbing, record Federal Debt, taxes rising and investment fleeing the country despite Canada’s abundance of resources.  It sure appears “Building Back Better”, by eliminating Canada’s exploitation of our natural resources is cripplingly us and harming those citizen’s who are not members of the elite’s of the Canadian Liberal Party.    

We should all find it fascinating a couple of months ago PM Trudeau was in Nova Scotia for a staged presence once again handing out $255 million of our tax dollars with $125 million destined for wind projects and $130 million for battery storage.  While making the announcement he was standing in a farmer’s field and in the background were several wind turbines that were totally dormant. We should doubt Trudeau actually noticed how those IWT demonstrated their intermittency and unreliability!  

The foregoing event occurred shortly after Trudeau displayed his new haircut patterned after Jim Carrey when Carrey stared in the movie series, Dumb & Dumber.  Now isn’t that ironic in how his new haircut and those dormant wind turbines enunciate how incredibly incompetent our current crop of elected leaders appear!

The time has come for politicians to take off the blinkers and do basic research before accepting what the eco-warriors incorrectly see as the end of the world unless we achieve “net-zero” emissions.

*Full disclosure:  I completed the survey twice using my e-mail address without pushback so eco-warriors from Pollution Probe or others may well have completed it dozens of times.

For Cement Plants, Natural Gas is Out but Biomass, and Garbage is in as an Energy Source

It is apparent the “greening” of the world is upon us as the politicians and bureaucrats in charge continue to tell us about their belief in “climate change” and the necessity for mankind to contain the emission of CO 2 by eliminating the use of fossil fuels!

The weird thing is they wonder into pits that make absolutely no sense.  The latter includes telling all sectors of our economy what they must do to contain those emissions.  They have applied their stupidity now to the manufacturers of cement and presumably bricks.  As it happens our township sits on an immense amount of limestone and a cement plant, Lehigh Hanson (LH), has operated here for decades as noted in an article about their contribution to the local hospital foundation. One should suspect the new hospital planned for the county will require a considerable amount of cement and bricks but depending on when the build starts the energy used to produce the cement will be the epitome of what eco-warriors consider “green” and reputedly non-emitting.

The following screenshot of part of a public announcement by LH discloses what their future energy source may be instead of natural gas.

According to the above, future energy used by LH to produce cement will be 200 tonnes per day of what are referred to as ALCF’s (Alternative Low Carbon Fuels) consisting of; wood from construction and demolitions, non-recyclable paper and plastic, textiles, tire fibre, fluff, as well as non-recyclable household waste. The “daily throughput” of 200 tonnes per day might mean the local community of less than 25,000 people will have to UP their generation of those “energy” sources to at least 3 tons of garbage per resident annually or will it be imported driving up the costs of producing the cement? 

The other issue not mentioned, concerns what the emissions will be after conversion, versus those from the natural gas previously used and that may be a concern!

Residents of Bowmanville raised the alarm a year ago about the use of ALCF as noted in an article on DurhamRadioNews!  “Some local residents say the Ministry of the Environment has failed to protect people living in Bowmanville, after St. Marys Cement plant was given the go-ahead to burn more types of waste as fuel.”  The article went on to state; “The group says the cement plant is “putting out approximately 14 times more dioxin, 29 times more cadmium, 82 times more mercury, and 260 times more lead than Durham-York incinerator. They’re calling on local decision-makers to “find their voices” and fight against this expansion.

Surely the local politicians in Bowmanville and those resident in the Provincial Government researched the potential pollutants before granting approval to St. Mary’s Cement or was it driven by the Federal Government who are pressing to eliminate natural gas due to its classification as a “fossil fuel”?

We should surmise it’s the Federal Government with PM Justin Trudeau and his minion, Steven Guilbeault, holding the title of Minister of the Environment and Climate Change, as the driver of this conversion!

Did Anyone Notice Wind Wimped Out Again

Yesterday, July 13, 2022, was one of those; not so hot summer days in most of Ontario so according to IESO (Independent Electricity System of Ontario) peak demand at hour 16 only reached 18,135 MW during a five (5) minute interval.  At that hour those IWT (industrial wind turbines) with a capacity of 4,900 MW were contributing 108 MW or 2.2% of their capacity and 0.6% of demand. Had they been absent they wouldn’t have been missed!

The two generation sources the OCAA (Ontario Clean Air Alliance) insist the government shut down, ie:  Nuclear, generated 9,430 MW and Natural Gas plants generated 4,093 MW at that hour.  Had the latter two generation sources not been operating at that or any other hour Ontario would have experienced wide-spread BLACKOUTS with a negative effect on businesses and our daily activities.

Once again at hour nine (9) as daily demand was increasing on a regular work day, those IWT were generating 36 MW which was probably less than they were using just to keep their lights blinking! 

The foregoing unreliability and intermittency of IWT is not an occurrence for Ontario only as it has been demonstrated around the world where they have been endorsed and promoted by politicians.  On their own, without other generation sources, such as natural gas or coal fired generation backing them up, most of the developed world would find ourselves back in the dark ages.

It seems truly unbelievable the push to go fully “fossil fuel free” has gained so much momentum around the world collectively as one example: the push for EV (electric vehicles) to replace ICE (internal combustion engines) is occurring. 

Plugging those EV in to recharge them without fossil fuels generating electricity is nothing more than a pipedream by the eco-warriors and their obedient and obtuse politicians as recently noted.     

Marc Patrone Show Sauga 960 AM July 13, 2022

Marc Patrone had me on his show today and we covered a lot of ground and much of it was about the Farmers Protests in the Netherlands, Poland, France and Italy as well as the overthow of the government in Sri Lanka. We also spent some time talking about politicians and the Ford led 2nd term majority and what he might do about the electricity file if anything. Rising energy costs and the upcoming “Clean Fuel Standard” (another tax) were also discussed!

You can listen to the podcast here starting at 49:00 and ending at 1:04:30: