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.

Blackouts on the Horizon for Ontario?

The OCAA (Ontario Clean Air Alliance) joined with Environmental Defence and 23 other eco-warriors to sign a letter dated October 26, 2022 addressed to PM Trudeau and copied to Ministers Guibeault and Wilkinson. Needless to say, the letter is full of claptrap claiming: “Ontario can avoid the need for new gas plants and lower its electricity costs by up to $290 billion by investing in zero-carbon options to keep our lights on, including solar power, energy storage and smart efficiency programs.”

It is obvious those who claim those “lower electricity costs” fail to recognize the intermittent and unreliable nature of wind and solar “zero-carbon options” that can easily lead to rolling blackouts.

The foregoing was demonstrated via IESO data yesterday (October 27, 2022) as at Hour 1 those IWT (industrial wind turbines) were busy and generated 2,766 MWh (56% of their capacity) when Ontario’s  demand was very low at only 12,021 MW. By Hour 15 with demand at 14,210 MW those IWT generated a miserly 45 MWh or less than 1% of their capacity.  If we were in mid July or August demand at Hour 15 would have been in the 18,000/20,000 MW range so without gas plants or the 3,000 MW of Pickering Nuclear; currently offline for a VBO (vacuum building outage) we would have experienced blackouts throughout the province.

 Ontario’s peak Hour for October 27th came at Hour 19 reaching 16,592 MW and while IWT had ramped up a little they only managed to generate 279 MWh or 5.7% of their capacity and 1.7% of demand.  As one would surmise, solar was absent at Hour 1 and absent at Hour 19. At Hour 15 Ontario’s natural gas plants were generating 1,910 MW, hydro 4,007 MW and nuclear 6,628 MW and at Hour 19 they were respectively generating 2,604 MW, 4,983 MW and 6,642 MW.  Hour 15 also had IESO importing 1,703 MW, principally from Quebec but by Hour 19 we were importing 2,763 MW (16.7% of demand) from Michigan, NY and Quebec and even a little from Manitoba.  Thankfully those imports, coupled with gas and hydro generation saved us from rolling blackouts but as Quebec is a winter peaking province, we shouldn’t anticipate they can supply us during high demand winter days so hopefully the 3,000 MW of Pickering nuclear will be available on the upcoming cold winter days!

As an aside hydro has been a major source of generation during the Pickering VBO and perhaps is the reason Lake Ontario is currently 23 centimetres below it’s average level as noted by the US Army Corps of Engineers despite recent heavy rainfalls.  This heavy hydro generation could well mean it will be less available during the coming winter so we should pray for Pickering’s return to action and for those gas plants to be at the ready.  Also, as noted above, Quebec is a winter peaking province and Hydro Quebec encourages all their customers to be mindful of that, telling them: “In very cold weather, it’s best to reduce your electricity use during peak periods to avoid putting more pressure on the grid.“

IWT and solar cannot be counted on to deliver power when it is needed due to it’s intermittent and unreliable nature.  At the same time those politicians, et al, should become cognizant of the fact our neighbouring sources of imported power cannot be counted on to deliver what we may need to keep the lights on and our businesses operating during cold winter days or hot summer ones.

In summary, yesterday should be recognized by our politicians as a fortunate occurrence as we avoided a blackout. They should ignore the cultists such as those charities like the OCAA or Environmental Defence who continually fail to conduct proper research and push their net-zero” emissions are bad agenda!

Many well accredited scientists have shown conclusively that mankind’s emissions have little effect on Mother Nature’s climate events!

With COP 27 Around the Corner the Push to get us to Net-Zero is Mind Blowing

The UNFCCC (United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change Conference) or COP-27 is just around the corner and will be held in the Egyptian resort town of Sharm El-Sheikh in November (6th to 18th).  Tens of thousands of bureaucrats from around the world will be in attendance including (we must assume) hundreds from Canada including many from the Trudeau led governing party along with many from charitable institutions labelled (personally) as eco-warriors!  The very first COP (conference of the parties) was held in 1995 so for 27 years the concept that “mankind is responsible for climate change” has endured and we should all suspect; this upcoming conference will be no different! The race to achieve “net-zero” is progressing at a snail’s pace without the negative consequences continually professed by them! The developing countries in attendance will be seeking trillions of dollars from the developed nations to help them transition to that elusive “net-zero” target!

In support of the foregoing, Canadian eco-warriors living off charitable donations and government funding from coast to coast to coast are undaunted and continue to push their agenda believing mankind’s use of fossil fuels should cease. They do this seemingly, without the ability to weigh scientific facts against their angst and as each COP gets close, they ramp up their “end of the world is coming”, rants! Needless to say, COP 27 has raised their ire once again so let’s look at just two of the most recent apocalyptic rants from the climate cult.

The “Green New Bill”

A recent article appearing in “Branding.news” suggests if the federal government invests $20 in a “green and just recovery” it will mean: “$307.85 would be contributed to Canada’s GDP within 10 years”!  It also includes a video of less than two minutes outlining how and why that would happen.  “The banknote was designed with a coalition of Canadian grassroots groups including the Green Budget Coalition, the Strathmere Group, CAN-Rac, Corporate Knights, and the Task Force for a Resilient Recovery, led by the David Suzuki Foundation“.  Needless to say, the aforementioned “coalition” members have been around for years, and most have been included in previous findings pushing the “climate change” agenda. They have coalesced on numerous occasions using grants from cult supporting charitable foundations to push their views on government policy makers with great success!  The article includes a link to an Instragram AR filter to allow you to see how they calculate that $20 investment will translate to become the $307.85 in 10 years. A quick review suggests the overall concept has nothing to do with common sense or economics and is strictly cultist forecasts by the eco-warriors pushing us to eliminate the use of fossil fuels for the past 27 years.

Act Now to Expand and Decarbonize our Electricity System

Wow, it’s apparent Armageddon must be just around the corner or perhaps by 2035 or 2050 unless we electrify everything and end all use of fossil fuels if one is in agreement with a recent letter sent to the Prime Minister and Provincial and Territorial Premiers signed by 25 organizations.  The letter was reportedly signed by the David Suzuki Foundation, Pembina Institute, Blue Green Canada, CanREA and many others including the Canadian Chamber of Commerce, Electricity Canada, Mining Association of Canada, Global Automakers of Canada, etc. etc.  It seems very strange; capitalist associations have joined forces with eco-warriors pushing the net-zero agenda!  The letter makes many recommendations warning about our commitment to achieve “net-zero” emissions in only 28 years and how we must “prioritize the transformation of our electricity system”. The letter states the foregoing should be accomplished by procuring “non-emitting electricity generation” and the “build out of new transmission infrastructure”.  It also suggests “Increased use of electricity throughout the economy can also ultimately lower total energy costs for consumers – provided we act now to plan and implement the changes required in our electricity system.“  The letter doesn’t say how the foregoing will happen or once mention anything about estimated costs or who will pay for their recommendations.  This letter suggests we are living in strange times as pushback is lacking from those who will be most affected along with the dubious claim as to how it will lower energy costs for consumers. This was the message doled out by the UK, Germany and the EU and they are now living through what they have wrought on their citizens driving millions into energy poverty with skyrocketing electricity prices.  At the same time those increased energy costs have pushed up their inflation rates further damaging their economies.

Realism Versus Cultism

Some recent events strongly suggest the “net-zero” push may be similar to the Attenborough false claim back in 2019 when he suggested walrus’s falling off cliffs were caused by “climate change”.  Shortly after he made it, his claim was easily debunked by individuals with skill sets he lacked!  Could the same thing happen to the eco-warriors and those who have joined the fray for the net-zero push?  A few recent events suggest it is probable.

1.Germany is Dismantling a Wind Farm to Make Way For a Coal Plant was one such article posted October 26, 2022, which strongly suggests Germany is facing a bad “energy short” winter. For that reason, they are firing up three of their previously shuttered 300 MW capacity coal fired electricity plants.  As it happened the lignite coal mine is where a wind farm was located presumably back in the days when Germany was hell bent on managing their economy using wind and solar as their principal source of electricity generation.  My, how times have changed!

2.Yet another article on October 26, 2022, in the Financial Post referenced a recent poll conducted by Leger in respect to support for Europe in the form of our enormous supply of oil and gas and 72% of respondents supported the development and export of our oil and gas to reduce their dependence on Russia.  The article went on to state; “The Trudeau government seems to have taken its marching orders from the 13 per cent of Canadians who are either “strongly” or “somewhat” opposed to exporting more of our oil and natural gas.” Does Trudeau really believe him, and his minions are doing a good job at managing our economy with polling numbers showing support for just one of his policies at 13%?  Time for him to wake up and smell the roses!

3. Another recent shot at the impact of renewable energy with a US focus was articulated by Jeff Currie, economist, and Global Head of Commodities Research at Goldman Sachs in an interview on CNBC’s Squawk Box.  Currie stated in respect to the USA: At the end of last year, overall fossil fuels represented 81% of energy consumption. 10 years ago, they were at 82%. $3.8 trillion of investment in renewables moved fossil fuels from 82% to 81% of the overall energy consumption.”

Summary:

Canada contributes 1.6% of global emissions so no matter what we do, China, India and other developing countries will replace them quickly and well before we achieve our targeted reduction.

What the foregoing should communicate to our leaders in Canada and in the developed world is to expect a pushback from the developing countries at COP 27 and the “net-zero” push!  They will either need to promise trillions of dollars of support to the developing world countries or back away from the concept fossil fuels are the engine controlling climate change.

 

Unreliable Generation from Wind Generation

Yesterday October 22, 2022, those IWT (industrial wind turbines) demonstrated their intermittent and unreliable traits.  As is often the case in the Spring and Fall those IWT were humming but those seasons are when Ontario’s demand is at it’s lowest and yesterday was no exception as peak demand occurring at Hour 18, was only 15,242 MW.  

Wind at Hour 18 generated 3,037 MW or almost 20% of peak demand and for the full day generated about 79,100 MW with their (potential) peak generation at Hour 6 when they were forecast to generate 4,079 MWh. It appears at that hour, about 400 MW were curtailed. In addition to what was accepted by IESO into the grid IWT also curtailed around 3,700 MW over the full day.  If one does the math (79,100 MWh grid accepted + 3,700 MWh curtailed = 82,800 MWh) and multiplying the accepted MW X $135 and curtailed MW X $120 you see the full cost of IWT for the day was around $11,124,000 or an average of $140.63MWh (14.1 cents/kWh).

If one goes further and looks at net exports (exports minus imports), we note 40,619 MWh went to our neighbours in Michigan, NY, Quebec.  It is reasonable to assume those MWh sold were caused by the excess and unneeded IWT generation and what they were sold for, considering their costs, as noted in the preceding paragraph was somewhat shocking.  The average HOEP (hourly Ontario energy price) market price over the 24 hours was $13.26/MWh (1.3 cent/kWh) meaning the loss (based on the average price paid for the IWT generation less the revenue earned from their sale) represented a one-day cost to ratepayers of close to $5.2 million.

What makes the loss rather staggering is the fact that 3,000 MW of our baseload capacity (Pickering Nuclear) is down and going through a VBO (vacuum building outage) to ensure the integrity of the equipment and infrastructure.  Had Pickering been in service all the IWT generation would have been surplus to our needs and most of it would have been curtailed or sold for a few pennies! That would have represented a one-day cost of over $10 million for NOTHING!

With the above facts in mind, we Ontario ratepayers should all try to imagine how, or if, that surplus IWT generation could have been stored for our future needs during those upcoming cold winter days when peak demand is in the 20,000 MW range and those IWT are not spinning. We would need a mess of batteries and they are only capable of storing power for about four hours of demand!

Without Pickering Nuclear, Ontarians could be facing blackouts when of if they fail to receive approval for an extension or, natural gas generation is shut down by 2030 as proposed by 34 municipalities who have signed on to the OCAA push endorsing the “gas power phase out”. 

In respect to the latter perhaps consideration should allow those 34 municipalities to be delinked on the grids sending natural gas generation to them effective December 31, 2029.  If their municipal leaders have any common sense a promise to do that might trigger them to do some research to learn a little more about Ontario’s electricity generation sources and raise some real concerns.

In the interim perhaps we simply rephrase what Albertan’s rejuvenated when the last Trudeau was PM from, “Let the eastern bastards freeze in the dark” to: “Let the 34 municipalities phasing out natural gas freeze in the dark.”  

Conservative Conflicts Begets Confusion

Plato is credited with saying, “Strange times are these in which we live when old and young are taught falsehoods in school. And the person that dares to tell the truth is called at once a lunatic and fool.

A couple of recent events occurred that when viewed, should strike us all as “strange” but depending on one’s perspective who is telling the truth and who is the “lunatic and fool” may well differ.

Joe Oliver, former Federal Minister of Natural Resources and Minister of Finance under the Harper led Federal Conservative Party penned an article in the Financial Post on September 1, 2022 and it castigates the Justin Trudeau led Federal Liberal Party about the damaging consequences of its green policies. 

The opening two sentences of Oliver’s article were words of wisdom and common sense as he stated: “Prime Minister Justin Trudeau should be feeling isolated in his campaign against fossil fuels, especially Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG), as leaders around the world reduce their countries’ reliance on inadequate renewable energy and tone down their own rhetoric about lowering GHG emissions. But for political and ideological reasons his government cannot admit to the terribly damaging consequences of its green policies and the urgent need to fundamentally change course.”

When Greg Rickford was the Ontario Minister of Energy, Northern Development and Mines he appointed Mr. Oliver to the Board of Directors of IESO (Independent Electricity System Operator) and a couple of months later he was elected as Chair of the IESO Board of Directors. IESO is responsible for managing Ontario’s power system and defines their responsibilities as: “The IESO is the coordinator and integrator of Ontario’s electricity system. Our system operators monitor the energy needs of the province in real time – 24 hours a day, 7 days a week – balancing supply and demand and directing the flow of electricity across Ontario’s transmission lines.”

Ontario’s current Energy Minister, Todd Smith, (appointed June 18, 2021)  and formerly the critic on the “energy” portfolio when the Ontario Conservative Party were in opposition) on August 23, 2022 issued a directive to IESO which contained some surprising instructions to the President.  Needless to say, the directive was also copied to the Hon. Joe Oliver, P.C., Board Chair!

The directive from Minister Smith babbles on about how “Ontario is on track to acquire the electricity generation we need to power our government’s success in driving electrification and strong economic growth, including unprecedented investments that are creating new jobs in electric vehicle and battery manufacturing and green steel.”

Anyone who has followed the news about the foregoing investments in EV and battery manufacturing and green steel will be aware both the Ford led Provincial government and the Trudeau led Federal government joined hands and have handed out billions of our tax dollars to achieve those “unprecedented investments”.  It is also worth noting those “new jobs” are not new as the handouts to the various companies were simply to “retain” the jobs associated with the automotive and steel manufacturers that were already here in the province. 

The concept of a “net-zero” buy-in by Minister Smith seems evident with the push to both declare a moratorium on gas generation and “replacing natural gas with green fuels such as hydrogen and renewable natural gas, or the development of utility-scale carbon capture and storage” as a directive from October 27, 2021 via his “Pathway to Achieve Zero Emissions in Ontario’s Electricity System” suggests.  The above seems to have been confirmed based on his comments in a recent CBC article where he clearly states:

I’ve asked the IESO to speed up that report back to us so that we can get the information from them as to what the results would be for our grid here in Ontario and whether or not we actually need more natural gas,” Smith said Tuesday after question period.

I don’t believe that we do.”

No estimation of the costs of the “Pathway” are noted and no castigation of the Trudeau government by Minister Smith would strongly suggest he is on the same page as Trudeau and those in the Trudeau cabinet such as Steven Guilbeault, the Federal Minister of the Environment and Climate Change. The comment above: “I don’t believe that we do” implies he is obviously conflicted with the Honourable Joe Oliver, Chair of the IESO Board.

As Plato suggests and we Ontarians should wonder; is Oliver “the person that dares to tell the truth” and Smith the one who is calling him “a lunatic and fool” or is it the other way around?

Lion Electric, King of the EV Jungle Grants?

A recent article in the Financial Post titled: “Lion Electric posts profit as sales and subsidies pick up speed” was eye-catching simply for it’s inference on how it was worded, and suggesting “subsidies” played a role in it posting a profit. The article went on to quote their chief executive as follows; “We delivered the highest quarterly number of vehicles ever with 105 deliveries in Q2,” said Marc Bédard, Lion’s chief executive. The article went on to state: “The good fortune is set to continue, at least for the next little while. As of Aug. 4, the Quebec company’s order book was flush, with 2,357 vehicles valued at $575 million and 226 charging stations representing $3 million.”

Curiosity piqued, a look at how Lion Electric’s stock has performed on the TSE was a must and as it turned out the price over the past year fell from $18.47 CAD a share on August 9, 2021 to a close of $6.95 CAD on August 5, 2022 for a drop of $11.52 (-62.4%) a share over the past year.  Hmm, wonder why, as one would assume a company roaring to a profit would attract investors but that doesn’t seem to be the case for Lion Electric?  Maybe it’s not the king of the school bus and truck EV jungle?

Taxpayer subsidies

An article two weeks before the above article appeared in the FP and headlined “Lion Electric CEO predicts Ottawa’s new EV-truck subsidy will boost demand”.  The following quotes from the article might explain (partially) why Lion suddenly achieved profitability!  The article stated:“Stacking the Quebec subsidy of $144,000 on top of the federal grant would result in a total rebate of nearly $250,000 on the Lion6 model, putting it on par, price-wise, with a comparable diesel-powered truck.” And a further sentence said: “Similarly, stacking the Quebec rebate of $200,000 on the federal grant for the Lion8T would result in a total rebate of $350,000, making it just slightly more expensive than its non-electric competitors.”

An article two weeks before the above article appeared in the FP and headlined “Lion Electric CEO predicts Ottawa’s new EV-truck subsidy will boost demand”.  The following quotes from the article might explain (partially) why Lion suddenly achieved profitability!  The article stated:“Stacking the Quebec subsidy of $144,000 on top of the federal grant would result in a total rebate of nearly $250,000 on the Lion6 model, putting it on par, price-wise, with a comparable diesel-powered truck.” And a further sentence said: “Similarly, stacking the Quebec rebate of $200,000 on the federal grant for the Lion8T would result in a total rebate of $350,000, making it just slightly more expensive than its non-electric competitors.” 

Yet another article appearing in e-magazine Sustainable Bus in March 2022 was about how the Quebec government was investing $18 million into 120 school buses and stated “The subsidy for each bus is worth $150,000. The government’s plan is to electrify 65 per cent of its school buses by 2030.”  It also noted: “Quebec announced last year that the government will fund the majority of the $5 billion purchase of electric buses with $3.65 billion of the contract supplemented by the federal government”! If one goes back to examine the 2nd Quarter results for Lion you note the 105 deliveries consisted of 90 school buses and 15 trucks generating revenue of US $29.5 million  and if we use the $150K per school bus grant and $300K per truck grant the government subsidies amount to approximately CAD $15 million representing approximately 40% of gross revenue in the quarter. Without those subsidies the “operating loss” would have amounted to CAD $43 million!  With those kinds of subsidies, we shouldn’t be surprised Lion is receiving more orders.

Source of Grant Money

As noted above the grants to Lion are sourced principally from the Federal taxpayers with additional funds provided by Quebec taxpayers but in the latter case we should probably surmise it also is funded in large part via those same Federal taxpayers via the “equalization” payments the Federal government pass out.  As noted in the undated letter from Finance Minister Freeland sent to the Quebec Minister of Finance, Eric Girard, Quebec will be handed $13.666 billion or 62.35% of the total equalization payments to the five provinces who receive them, for the 2022-23 year.  Surely that kind of a handout goes a long way to allowing the Province of Quebec to be able to provide grants without tapping into their own tax revenues!

School Bus Orders

One of the largest orders received by Lion for those electric school buses came from First Student a company whose head office is in Cincinnati, Ohio with operations in the US and seven of Canada’s provinces.  Back on May 17, 2021 a press release they issued announced the “largest zero-emission school bus order of 260 buses”.  Assuming the Quebec government handed out the $150K per bus would suggest $39 million will go or has gone to Lion Electric for those buses. 

Another order for Lion’s buses came from Transdev Canadaa public private transport company limited with a Board of Directors and jointly owned by the Caisse des Depots Group (66%) and the Rethmann Group (34%) a German family owned company.  It should be noted CDPQ is the Quebec version of the Canada Pension Plan so they invest the contributions of all Quebec taxpayers to the plan. The order from Transdev Canada was made in early July for another 30 Lion electric school buses in addition to the 27 previously ordered and reputedly already in service.  So, at the $150K per school bus handed out by the province another $8.6 million will find its way into the Lion Electric bank account and future recipients of CDPQ pension payments should cross their fingers those school buses will be as efficient as those fossil fueled ones or Transdev might turn out as a negative investment.

It seems obvious that Lion Electric has twigged the politicians into being convinced electrifying everything is the way to go and will create jobs and benefits to the Quebec economy (possibly via Quebec Hydro for charging those buses)?  As a result Quebec politicians have somehow decided they need to hand out taxpayer funded grants to save the world from “climate change” while picking what they consider new technology and the companies that will benefit!  As an observer over several decades, I am skeptical politicians have ever been able to pick winners but have often picked losers’!

My vote for “King of the EV Grants” goes to Lion Electric!

Wind Energy once again displays its spasmodic and undependable nature

Another couple of warm (not hot) summer days here in Ontario on July 16th and 17th and guess what?  If you guessed those IWT (industrial wind turbines) were basically unreliable and failed to deliver what the eco-warriors believe in, you were absolutely right!

July 16th

Those IWT on July 16th at Ontario’s peak demand of Hour 17 (hour ending at 5 PM), generated 158 MW or 0.8% of the peak demand of 19,999 MW. That 158 MW represented 3% of their capacity at that hour but much earlier in the day they reached their high for the day at 3 AM when they generated 444 MW or 9% of their capacity.  At 9 AM however when demand is increasing, they once again hit their low point generating only 44 MW or 0.9% of their capacity. In total those IWT generated 4,906 MW over the full 24 hours and that represented only about 4.2% of their capacity. 

Fortunately for all of us Ontario’s natural gas plants were available to ramp up at 9 AM and generated 1,309 MW and at the Hour 17 peak for the day generated 4,483 MW.

July 17th

On July 17th the IWT were generating 531 MW at the Ontario peak demand hour which was once again Hour 17 and was 2.6% of the peak which reached 19,925 MW.  Those IWT peak for the day, was Hour 21 at 635 MW or 12.9% of their capacity. Earlier in the day at Hour 9 they generated 118 MW or 2.4% of their capacity

Once again, those natural gas plants came to the rescue generating 4,427 MW at the peak hour, and 1,563 MW at Hour 9 when those IWT were almost absent and because demand was still high at Hour 21 those gas plants generated 4,081 MW.

The Irony:

While the gas plants were demonstrating their necessity it is ironic as IESO is contemplating adding additional reliable supply via the addition of a 600-megawatt hydrogen-ready power plant project in Sarnia, Jack Gibbons of the OCAA (Ontario Clean Air Alliance) is pushing to stop it!  “The new plant would be designed to run on either 100 per cent natural gas or a blend of up to 65 per cent hydrogen and natural gas, according to a document the company submitted to the federal agency.”  The article in the Sarnia Observer went on to quote Gibbons: “Building a new gas-fired power plant would be moving Ontario in absolutely the wrong direction”. The OCAA’s list of supporters includes none other than George Smitherman, former Minister of Energy under the McGuinty led government and who enacted the GEA (Green Energy Act).  Another supporter is Peter Tabuns, Ontario’s NDP energy critic. It seems obvious the same individuals who caused Ontario’s electricity prices to spike by well over 100% in the past decade don’t recognize the importance of a reliable and competitively priced electricity supply.

Conclusion

All Ontario residents and businesses should be thankful our natural gas plants are at the ready to ensure we don’t suffer rolling blackouts similar to what is happening in Europe and in US states such as California and Texas who have embraced wind and solar in order to save the planet from the fictitious predictions of the eco-warriors!

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!

OCAF is bringing Holger Dalkman from Germany to speak to City of Ottawa Officials and Others

The excitement in Ottawa often keeps locals up at night but we should be pretty sure an upcoming event hosted by OCAF (Ottawa Climate Action Fund) will be nothing like a “truck convoy” with honking horns. Despite it’s more quiet nature it should cause excitement for other reasons! Let’s see why?

OCAF is Hosting an Event

OCAF was founded with $21.7 million of our tax dollars and endorsed by now retired MP, Catherine McKenna and MP Seamus O’Regan at their opening ceremony on May 14, 2021. The ceremony itself was hosted by none other than Diana Fox Carney (wife of Mark Carney), an acclaimed eco-warrior.

Just before OCAF was founded the City of Ottawa’s council (presumably smitten by the ruling Liberal Party) passed a plan (Energy Evolution) to reach “net-zero” emissions by 2050. The plan encompasses erecting 700 industrial wind turbines with a capacity of 3,218 MW and 1,060 MW of rooftop solar. The “plan” appears to have been generated by none other than Pollution Probe rather than the bureaucrats within the municipality.  That in itself seems very strange!

It appears the latest planned event by OCAF is aimed at Ottawa’s transportation and transit sector and they are bringing in a speaker from Germany to deliver the message outlined in the event title which is: Avoid, Shift, Improve: How can international best practices accelerate low-carbon, resilient transportation in Ottawa?

The invited guest speaker is Holger Dalkman whose LinkedIn profile claims he is the “CEO and Founder of Sustain 2030” (an extensive search of “Sustain 2030” on Google turned up nothing) and holds a Masters degree in geography! In searching his name, it appears he has had numerous appearances including with the WEF (World Economic Forum) the UN and many other organizations pushing the “climate-change” agenda. His forte according to his profile is “twenty years of experience working in the field of mobility, cities, sustainability and climate change”. 

It appears his presentation will be related to the transit and transportation system in the City of Ottawa. Perhaps he will recommend banning all trucks unless they are electric powered ones (sans horns).  He may also express delight that OC Transpo is on the path to converting all their buses to battery-powered ones but the foregoing is simply speculation on my part!

If an Ottawa citizen steps back and looks at how well Germany has done with its push to reduce “climate change” and push for “net-zero” emissions they might have second thoughts about Dalkman’s speech and recommendations.

Germany has one of the highest costs of electricity in the world as well as an extremely high cost for home heating.  A March 16, 2022 article stated “A new 5,000 kWh annual supply contract costs an average of 2,098 euros, or 42 cents/kWh, 23% more than in December”. To contrast that with Ontario the average annual household consumption is 9,000 kWh and the average price is about 15 cents/kWh.  It is also worth noting the “42 cents/kWh” is U.S. currency so the Canadian equivalent is about 56 cents/kWh! Germany’s households (half are heated with naturals gas) are also paying dearly for natural gas as it has been affected by the Russia/Ukraine war and are now facing annual heating costs of well over U.S. $4,000/annually.

One should presume many millions of households in Germany are currently experiencing energy poverty*.

The first question asked of Dalkman during the Q. and A. session after his presentation should be; how many of the 41 million German households are currently experiencing “energy poverty” and what has caused it? 

No doubt he will get all choked up as he ponders how to answer that question while continuing to push the “net-zero” target!

*The common denominator for “energy poverty” is 10% or more of household income goes to pay for those two staples of heat and electricity.

 

 

 

                                                                                                                                  

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.