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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Find it here:

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

THE PROPOSED CLEAN ELECTRICITY STANDARD

Comments by the Coalition of Concerned Manufacturers and Businesses of Canada

April 15, 2022

by Robert Lyman and Parker Gallant

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

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

General Comments

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Issue of Costs

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

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

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

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

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

Technology Generation Pathways

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Natural Gas

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

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

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

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

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

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

Storage

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

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

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

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

Here is an excerpt:

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

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

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

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

Transmission Costs

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Conclusion

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

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

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

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

Other related observations

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

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

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

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


Eye Catching Happenings, a Look Around

Item 1: Ontario Working to Secure Clean, Affordable and Reliable Electricity

When discovering Minister of Energy, Todd Smith, had asked OPG to “Investigate New Hydroelectric Opportunities”, it immediately had yours truly paraphrasing the Britney Spears song, “Oops, they did it again”!  The January 20. 2022 press release announced he had “asked Ontario Power Generation (OPG) to examine opportunities for new hydroelectric development in northern Ontario.”  If Minister Smith had dug though some of the files prior ministers had left behind, he would have discovered that an investigation had taken place before as Hatch Ltd completed one titled “Developing Hydroelectric Potential in Northern Ontario”.  The report even had the following quote from Bob Chiarelli, former Minister of Energy: “Our 2013 Long-Term Energy Plan expands the target for waterpower to 9,300 megawatts and establishes a priority for connecting remote communities. This report helps identify opportunities for hydroelectric projects that can help Ontario be ready to generate power when and where we need it.”  Ontarians know; that never happened!

It sure appears for some reason the current Minister is pleased to hand out our tax dollars to repeat the same review which serves to only further delay the potential to increase Ontario’s hydroelectric power.

Item 2: India’s solar irradiance 7 per cent below long-term average

The foregoing article from a few days ago stated:  “In what could have significant ramifications for productivity and returns from solar power projects in India, a latest study has found solar irradiance over the country over the past ten years was 7 per cent below long-term average.” What that suggests is generation from the 49.3 GW (gigawatts) reportedly in place in India at the end of 2021 will not deliver the generation anticipated because of those damn clouds. To make matters worse, another article, indicated India has recently experienced several very high demand periods which came close to breaking the record set in 2021. The article goes on to suggest India could face “widespread blackouts this summer”. The issue of energy security seems to be spreading further afield beyond countries who have adopted the “net-zero” COP-26 mantra.  It’s a bit of a surprise that India is facing those blackouts as they have targeted solar as their principal renewable source coupled with nuclear power. Additionally India did not commit to net-zero by 2050 at COP-26 but have instead said they “will aim” at 2070 as the year they consider it as possible.

Item 3a: McMaster University looks to install four gas-powered generators on Cootes Drive

A couple of weeks ago I penned an article pointing out the fallacies of the ICI (Industrial Conservation Initiative) program and how taxpayer funded institutions, such as York University, are taking advantage of it to the detriment of small and medium sized companies and their status as Class B ratepayers. On the same day the article was posted another article came to my attention from the Hamilton Spectator which was about McMaster University’s plan to install four gas-powered generators specifically aimed “to reduce the university’s energy costs” under the ICI program.  Curiosity piqued led to the examination of expenditures in their financial statements but I first looked at the budget expenditures by the Ontario Ministry of Colleges and Universities and noted those expenditures for the 2019-2020 year were just north of $6.655 billion.  Looking at York University’s financial statements disclosed for the 2017-year expenditures on “Taxes and Utilities” were $33.3 million and those had declined to $23 million for their 2021 year-end suggesting the installation of two gas-generators may have saved them $10 million annually.  Looking at McMaster’s financials discloses their “Utilities and maintenance” in 2017 were $38.6 million and for their 2020 year-end showed a small increase to $38.7 million. Presumably by installing four gas-powered generators they too will be able to reduce those costs utilizing the ICI program.  It seems there is no end to the taxpayer funded bureaucracies need for more and more taxpayer and ratepayer dollars.  The time has come for the Ontario Minister of Energy to kill the ICI program and stop the continual pocket picking of us taxpayers/ratepayers.

Item 3b: Phasing out gas plants by 2030

So, while 32 municipalities have teamed up with Jack Gibbons and the OCAA (Ontario Clean Air Alliance) insisting Ontario phase out all the gas plants by 2030; they are ignoring bureaucracies in their backyard who are installing gas-powered generators. Both Toronto and Hamilton have signed on despite the universities in their municipalities installing those gas-powered generators to reduce their energy costs. That seems extremely ironic as the gas generating plants provide back-up power for that intermittent and unreliable wind and solar generation whereas these gas generators have the sole purpose of reducing energy costs. It is also fascinating to note who some of those who donate to the OCAA are too, as they include none other than George Smitherman who when Minister of Energy during the McGuinty era brought us the GEA (Green Energy Act) which he promised would only raise rates by 1%.  Another supporter of the OCAA is Peter Tabuns of the NDP who supported Smitherman and the GEA. The supporters also include renewable energy companies and their founders as well as individuals like Mark Winfield of York University and Glen Estill, past president of CanWEA (Canadian Wind Energy Association) etc. etc. Those profiting from wind and solar seem happy to donate to help Gibbons continue his false premise that wind/solar and Quebec will supply all the electricity we need!

Item 4: Ottawa reveals its latest plan to plant 2 billion trees by 2030

No doubt many Canadians will remember when our PM Justin Trudeau, met with Greta Thunberg on September 27, 2019 before they marched in the “climate” rally in Montreal and then shortly after the march promised he would plant 2 billion trees in the next 10 years.  An article in the CBC dated December 21, 2021 indicated two years after the promise only 8.5 million trees had been planted so at that rate it would take 470 years before they were all planted rather than the 10 years he promised Greta. Not to worry though as the intention is to speed things up by using our tax dollars to get the annual planting up to levels of 320 million annually by 2025 and spending up to $355 million per year. We should find it amazing that a teenager without any scientific training has so much influence on politicians such as Trudeau that he commits to spend $3 billion of Canada’s tax dollars just so he can get a photo op with Greta and later one with him actually planting a tree. 

Conclusion: Climate Science is Unsettled

One hopes the foregoing demonstrates the ineptitude of our political leaders in respect to their worries about “climate change”!  Their worries have been imposed by guiding lights such as Greta Thunberg, Jack Gibbons and results in those politicians refusing to give up on the “net-zero” push despite the many qualified individuals such as Steven E. Koonin, telling us “Climate Science” is Unsettled!  

Marc Patrone Show on Sauga 960 AM Radio April 14, 2022

First my apology for forgetting to let you all know Marc invited me on his show today so you could tune in and listen live!  Nevertheless, that forgetfulness was of benefit to me and the following suggests why.

As a result of my forgetfulness, I decided to listen to the full podcast and discovered he had Dan McTeague, the Gas Price Wizard on, starting at 34:00 right through to 1:05:30. As Dan is a former Liberal Member of Parliament, he had much to say about the current party led by Trudeau as well as chatting about EV (electric vehicles) and the fact they are not environmentally friendly no matter what we are told.  They also got into discussions about the current leadership race in the Conservative Party.  So glad I tuned it!

Right after Marc said goodbye to Dan none other than Jocelyn Bamford, who founded the CCMBC (Coalition of Concerned Manufacturers & Businesses of Canada) was his guest and they covered issues such as the possible Liberal adjudication of a “truck tax” and its potential harm to the Canadian economy.  They also talked about the “censorship bill” currently under discussion and other issues. All good stuff!

The Jocelyn/Marc chat finished at 1:23.20 and mine followed right after.  Marc and I talked about the Ontario Ministry of Energy’s plan to instigate another time-of-use rate to help out all the EV owners in the province, the buildout of charging stations by us taxpayers as well as closing down Canada’s remaining coal generation electricity plants and the potential cost. We hit a few funny spots along the way.

Listen to the podcast here:

Ontario Minister of Energy’s Plan Will Save TESLA Owners 25 Cents Per Day

Many of us here in Ontario will remember back in late 2013 Bob Chiarelli Minister of Energy, shortly after a legislative justice committee investigating the cancellation of the TC Oakville gas plant; told reporters the cost’s claiming; “It’s less than a cup of Tim Hortons coffee a year.” The final cost of the cancellation turned out to be in excess of $1 billion but if you do the math over 20 years he probably wasn’t lying!

Fast forward just a bit over eight years later and the current Ontario Minister of Energy, Todd Smith seems intent on adding another TOU (time-of-use) pricing mechanism to reduce your rates; if you happen to drive an EV (electric vehicle) or are a shift worker. The OEB (Ontario Energy Board) provided him with the report he was presumably looking for with some input from IESO! The report did note risks and this one should be of some concern: “A Low Overnight price design may result in more EV owners charging at home and may overload the electricity distribution grid in residential areas, resulting in blackouts and costly upgrades

If the proposed price plan announced in the April 12, 2022 press release becomes a reality, you can charge your EV for only 2.5cents/kWh between 11 PM and 7 AM seven days a week while the current peak rate of 17 cents/kWh will climb to 25 cents/kWh or 47%.  Reputedly this additional TOU option will save those who charge their vehicles $90 annually or 25 cents per day which will be sufficient to purchase a medium sized “Timmies” each week!  One would have thought those purchasing an EV could afford the extra cost of charging their EV at the existing off-peak rate of 8.2 cents/kWh particularly as they receive a $5K grant (our tax dollars) from the Feds.

The purpose behind the rate reduction for EV drivers appears as an attempt to both reduce our night time surplus and entice people to purchase an EV as the Ford government has been handing out our tax dollars to Ford, General Motors and others to ensure they manufacture some of those EV in Ontario.  Our night time surplus electricity is sold off at the HOEP (hourly Ontario energy price) to our neighbours in NY, Michigan and Quebec and due to ongoing nuclear refurbishment has not been as high as it used to be.  The result of the latter is the HOEP has climbed from its low of 1.39 cents/kWh in 2020.  As examples, the off-peak HOEP averaged 3.9 cents/kWh in January, 3.5 cents/kWh in February and 3.4 cents/kWh in March of this year or slightly more than the 2.5 cents/kWh now (perhaps) to be offered to people owning EV.  

Based on 2021 sales of automobiles in Ontario it appears the prime objective is aimed at trying to justify the hundreds of millions of Ontario tax dollar grants to the manufacturers of EV and some of their related parts.  2021 new motor vehicles sold in Ontario were 496,529 of which only 9,949 were EV representing 2% of total sales. 

What the foregoing suggests is, to achieve the targets set by the federal government; ie; “half of all new passenger cars sold in Canada to be zero-emission vehicles by 2030, and reach 100% by 2035” appears to be a pie in the sky dream!

Despite the above however, we should hope the IESO, OEB and Ministry bureaucrats pay attention to the EV penetration in Ontario before we are faced with the potential “blackouts and costly upgrades” or Minister Smith’s legacy will be similar to that of Chiarelli’s but only for 25 cents per week!

The Liberal NDP/Cartel Working to Eliminate Billions in Tax Revenue by increasing Taxes

Many of Canada’s economists must be scratching their heads trying hard to follow the Trudeau/Singh marriage that seeks to overturn economic concepts by “Building Back Better” or via “The Great Reset”!

The basic premise; from the writer’s perception, seems to be; by further taxing fossil fuels they will create utopia eliminating its use and the future will see us all using only clean, green electricity. In order to achieve their goal, increasing taxes for using fossil fuels will not only create those “green” jobs and eliminate poverty but will also save the planet as we (Canada only) aim to achieve net-zero emissions.

Taxes (Levies) Imposed on Fossil Fuels

Natural Resources Canada have posted a chart referenced as “Fuel Consumption Levies in Canada” which sets out what should be called taxes as they simply raise the price of the fuel(s) for the benefit of the Federal and Provincial governments.  The page is inclusive covering those “levies” for: gasoline, diesel, propane (motor vehicle), furnace oil and natural gas (for heating). The chart also includes the 2021 Federal and Provincial “Carbon Levies”. Funnily enough “biomass” and coal are not included in the chart, however, interestingly enough Canada is one of the 120 members of the “Powering Past Coal Alliance” and has committed “$275 million to the World Bank in December 2018 to create the Energy Transition and Coal Phase-Out Program.” Your tax dollars at work somewhere else in the world!

Annual Taxes (Levies) on Natural Gas

According to CIEC Data Canada’s average consumption of natural gas “was reported as 10.868 Cub ft/Day bn in Dec 2020”. That translates to 11,466.35 gigajoules and for a full year is just under 4.2 million gigajoules.  Based on the current levy referenced as the Federal Carbon Charge the tax (Levy) would generate approximately $10.4 billion per annum. On a personal basis I noted on my latest natural gas bill: the Federal Carbon Charge (tax) was 45.7% of the “Gas Supply Charge” and coupled with the HST total taxes represented 80.3% of the cost of the natural gas our household consumed. 

In the future we should wonder; how will the Federal and Provincial governments replace that $10.4 Billion of taxes/levies?

Annual Taxes (Levies) on Gasoline and Diesel Fuel

The number and amount of taxes and levies on gas and diesel fuel is mind-blowing and include; Federal Excise Tax, provincial fuel tax which can vary within each province (highest is Vancouver, BC at 27.5 cents/litre and lowest is the Yukon at 6.2 cents/litre), the carbon tax and  of course, the PST and GST either combined (HST) or individual (Quebec).

So, lets look at the revenue those numerous taxes/levies generate annually from their consumption to get us to work and back, take our kids to school and to move goods and services across our very large country.   

As it turns out the most recent information of consumption Statistics Canada posted is for 2020 which was the first year of the Covid-19 outbreak.  The Covid outbreak created lockdowns, business and school closures, etc. and as a result our consumption of gasoline and diesel fuel fell from 2019. Gasoline consumption fell by 13.8% from 44.8 billion litres to 38.6 billion litres and diesel fuel consumption fell from 17.8 billion litres to 16.2 billion litres or 8.9%.  Despite the drop in consumption the taxes/levies funds rolled into the Federal and Provincial coffers. 

Based on the taxes levied if one does a simple calculation using fifty cents a litre (.50 cents/litre) which is approximately what they would be in Ontario one discovers those 38.6 billion litres would have generated approximately $19.3 billion from gasoline sales.  Diesel taxes are slightly higher so at fifty-two cents a litre (.52cents/litre) the 16.2 billion litres would have generated about $8.4 billion.   Collectively gasoline and diesel sales contributed around $27.7 billion dollars to Federal and provincial revenues.

Once again how will the provincial and Federal governments replace that $27.7 billion of taxes/levies they collected and spent?

Provincial kickbacks due to high fossil fuel costs

As if to make the potential drop in taxes more acute a few provinces have kicked back some of their taxes/levies as a response to the costs associated with fossil fuel consumption as the price of both gasoline and natural gas climbed to record levels.  Ontario has dropped license fees no matter if you drive an EV (electric vehicle) or a vehicle labelled as an ICE (internal combustion engine) saving vehicle owners $120 per year. That will result in lost revenues of almost $1.1 billion annually based on over 9 million vehicles registered in the province.  Alberta has dropped it’s .13 cents/litre fuel tax until the price of WTI (West Texas Intermediate) drops below $80/barrel! BC’s Premier Horgan, said vehicle owners insured with ICBC (a provincially owned monopoly) will be receiving $110 each to “relieve the pain at the pump” which should result in approximately a $400 million payout. What the foregoing suggests is those three provinces will be short of about $2 billion plus during the current year.  As we get closer to the complete elimination of fossil fuel use to drive our ICE cars or to heat our homes, we should expect these kickbacks to disappear due to the billions of taxes/levies that will be lost along with the jobs they support.

The foregoing implies the Federal and Provincial Governments will miss the almost $40 billion dollars annually extracted from taxpayers for using fossil fuels! The $40 billion doesn’t even include the billions coming directly from the fossil fuel companies or the income taxes from those they employ!

Maybe it doesn’t make economic sense to raise taxes to eliminate taxes!  Perhaps it’s time for many of our politicians to take an economics course or spend a little time with some of those impacted by their efforts to achieve “net-zero”!

Over the Top: The WEF and Canadian Banks, Hydro-Quebec and Canada’s Minister of the Environment

Digital identity is all the rage amongst banks around the world and the WEF (World Economic Forum) is pushing for its adoption having recently released a 46 page report with the concept covering not just financial services but pretty well every interface mankind has. It is alarming to watch Neil Parmenter, President and CEO of the Canadian Bankers Association in a short YouTube video, he appears to have done on behalf of the WEF! In the video he pushes the concept: we should trust our banks to maintain the security of our “digital ID”!  

Canada’s banks recently displayed their position by doing absolutely nothing to push-back when the Trudeau led government enacted the Emergencies Act and instructed the banks to freeze any account that had contributed funds to the Truckers Convoy! They did what they were told to the detriment of thousands of Canadians who had simply stood up to protect their basic rights by donating a small portion of their earnings.  Now, try to imagine what might happen if we are all impregnated with a “digital ID”?

Shopify, Royal Bank pledge to be some of the first buyers of energy from Warren Buffett’s Alberta wind project

The captioned article appeared in the Financial Post a few days ago and should strike all who read it as a wimpy pledge! The article stated: “Shopify Inc. and Royal Bank of Canada, the country’s largest technology company and lender, respectively, said this week they had signed a “purchase power agreement,” or PPA, that commits them to buying 90,000 KWh of electricity annually from the Rattlesnake Ridge Wind Power Project, which is located southwest of Medicine Hat.” To put the foregoing in perspective the current average price per kilowatt hour (kWh) in Alberta is about 11.3 cents/kWh so this commitment represents a cost of around $10,170 dollars or just over $5K each.  Pretty sure multi-billionaire, Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway Energy Inc., who are constructing the 130 MW (megawatt) IWT (industrial wind turbine) farm are not as excited about this as the RBC or Shopify. As it turns out the 90,000 should have referenced MWh (megawatt hours) rather than kWh. The 90,000 MWh would represent about 26% of the probable full annual output of the IWT generation from it meaning the three companies (Bullfrog Power was also a signatory to the agreement) would be paying somewhere in the neighbourhood of $3.4 million each.

One should assume when the wind isn’t blowing those three companies will happily accept gas or coal generation to ensure they can keep the lights on.  The hypocrisy is mind blowing and presumably is a result of the continued push by the Trudeau government and his Minister of the Environment and Climate Change, Steven Guilbeault who is determined to eliminate the use of fossil fuels completely!

For industrial Promotors, no more all-you-can-eat buffet at Hydro-Quebec

An article published in Le Journal de Montreal in mid-January carried the following (translated): “In a letter obtained by Le Journal , the state company warns one of them that although it still has a “significant volume of electricity”, the reception of an “exceptional quantity of projects” forces her to review her ways of doing things, even to choose the projects she can supply in the future.’’  The article went on to note: “The energy transition, the sudden interest of companies in green energy has caused demand to explode, justifies Maxence Huard-Lefebvre, director of communications for the state-owned company. And today’s projects have nothing to do with those we received before. Their energy needs are quite different. Result: in its “pipeline” for the next few years, Hydro-Quebec would have projects totaling “more than 10,000 MW of power”. However, such power represents neither more nor less than 25% of Hydro-Québec’s total capacity (40,000 MW) in the province. “It’s too much, slice (said?) the spokesperson for Hydro-Quebec. Even if we wanted to, it would be impossible to support all these projects

What the foregoing suggests is Hydro-Quebec has reached the end of the line for being able to supply “green” emissions free hydro as they have long-term commitments to supply several New England states as well as their own population.  To add fuel to the proverbial fire one should note Statistics Canada reported in 2020 Quebec accounted for almost 50% of all EV registrations in Canada, no doubt due to the $8,000 grant they offer coupled with the Feds $5,000 grant.  Those EV will require charging particularly during the cold winters (Quebec’s peak demand season) when Ontario is frequently called on to supply power to Quebec.

Ontario’s approach to tackling climate change ‘disappointing’: environment minister

The captioned was the headline in the National Observer’s article on March 16, 2022 and carried the following quote from Minister Guilbeault: “I believe that every level of government in Canada needs to do their fair share when it comes to climate change and the climate crisis, and frankly, when you look at what Ontario’s been doing, it’s been disappointing, and I’m not the only one who’s said that,”.  The National Observer is a left-wing anti-fossil fuel periodical that regularly receives government handouts which from what I was able to find has amounted to at least $368,000 according to the Government Grant website.  

The remark from Guilbeault is humorous should one first read Lorrie Goldstein’s article in the Toronto Sun on March 16, 2022.  It outlines how Ford is sucking up to the Trudeau Liberals by kowtowing to their whims including their reaction to the Trucker’s Convoy and the “Emergencies Act”; mirrored by the Ford government.  Ford also praised the Liberals for how they dealt with the pandemic and are jointly aligned on the fight against Michigan’s Governor Witmer in her efforts to shut down Line 5.  All those kudos from Ford heaped on the Trudeau minority Liberal Government apparently are not enough based on Guilbeault’s disappointment.  Is Guilbeault unaware, Ontario has one of the cleanest electricity grids in the world and how their taxpayers and ratepayers are paying dearly for wind and solar generation?  Is he not aware Ontario’s Minister of Energy seems to be pushing for closure of our gas plants, giving EV owners cheap charging rates, etc. etc.?  Perhaps he is ticked that over 60% of Ontario households use natural gas as their heating source but that is not something most households can afford to change.

Summary

Hopefully the foregoing demonstrates the mess created by eco-warriors and their infiltration of Federal and Provincial governments to the detriment of Canadian households who must bear the brunt of their push to eliminate fossil fuel use in the crazed objective to reach “net-zero” where we will all be “digitally identified”! 

Time to reclaim our independence and reject the WEF’s Great Reset!

The Ford led Government Wants the Cost of Living to Climb More

Premier Ford and his minions have ramped up the diatribe as we approach election day.  Back in the McGuinty/Wynne days I signed up to receive press releases from the Ontario Provincial Government and they have arrived in my in-box since then. This February I received 82 press releases.  A few of them were associated with Covid-19 but the bulk were aligned with bragging about handouts of money.  As I commenced writing this article on March 4, 2022 by 3 PM I had received 9 (nine) press releases from the Ford led Government. A few of those in the February group were associated with the energy sector and the obtuse plans emanating from other ministries in addition to the Ministry of Energy.  Here is a look at a couple of them:

Clean steel gets $900 million from taxpayers:

The headline was; “Province Invests in Clean Steelmaking Technology in Hamilton to Support Future of Ontario’s Auto Sector” and profligates the reputed ability of politicians to pick winners in the “climate change” battle. “The Government of Ontario is contributing up to $500 million in loan and grant support to the project, which will reduce carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions by about three million tonnes annually.”  Todd Smith, Minister of Energy said: “As companies like ArcelorMittal Dofasco make significant investments to electrify and reduce emissions, they do so knowing they can rely on Ontario’s clean and affordable electricity system giving them a competitive advantage,”  One of the “facts” in the press release also stated:  “The Government of Canada announced a federal investment of $400 million to support ArcelorMittal Dofasco’s adoption of innovative low-carbon technology.”  Wow, $900 million of tax dollars dedicated to reducing our emissions using our “clean and affordable electricity system” sounds fantastic, or does it?  The conversion of the steelmaking from using coal to hydrogen will apparently reduce our emissions but no mention is made how it affects our electricity system and if we will have sufficient “clean” generation when the Pickering Nuclear plants have been shut down.  Also, no mention of whether the hydrogen energy will be “carbon-footprint” free!  An article from Forbes suggests hydrogen may not be as clean as our politicians believe: “On an apples-to-apples basis, it depends on several factors but it is likely that the conversion of hydrogen into power will have a carbon footprint greater than that of natural gas-fired power, but less than that of coal-fired power.”

Electric Vehicle Battery Innovation Lab

Another news release was headed up: “Province Invests in Windsor Electric Vehicle Battery Innovation Lab to Boost Regional Economy”.  It stated; “Investments like this one ($1.5 million) will help further develop Ontario’s EV battery supply chain and play a pivotal role in Phase 2 of our Driving Prosperity auto plan.”  While the amount of the recent investment is not overly large if one harkens back to October 2020, one will recall the province committed $295 million to match the Feds commitment to convert the Ford Oakville plant to manufacture EV (electric Vehicles). It should send a signal to all taxpayers the Doug Ford led government seems fully committed to the concept EV are the future of our automotive sector and is fully prepared to use our tax dollars to push the initiative.

It Appears Future Press Releases will cause more inflation  

As noted above I subscribe to the province’s press releases and additionally also do so for weekly bulletins from the OEB (Ontario Energy Board) and the IESO (Independent Electricity System Operator). A couple of IESO bulletins recently caught my eye as they referenced Ministerial directives from Minister of Energy, Todd Smith to IESO. One was related to “Clean Energy Credits” and the other to “Pathways to Decarbonization”.  He also has told the OEB to investigate options for a “New Ultra-Low Overnight Electricity Rate”.

All three of the foregoing directives/instructions are reflective of actions under the McGuinty/Wynne days when their Energy Ministers were busy instructing the OEB and IESO how to reorganize the generation of electricity in order to get the blessings of people like Al Gore, David Suzuki, Jack Gibbons as well as Bruce Lourie and Rick Smith!  It’s looking like a repeat of the days when the Green Energy and Green Economy Act drove up our electricity rates to the point where Ontario’s taxpayers are now picking up almost $7 billion in costs related to the disastrous effects the GEA created.   We will deal with those above directives in a future article.

It appears the Ford government wants the blessing of PM Trudeau and his henchman Steven Guilbeault, Minister of the Environment and Climate Change! For that reason, we should be confident the “cost benefit analysis” associated with the projects receiving taxpayer grants and/or cheap financing simply comes down to Premier Ford doing whatever PM Trudeau and Minister Guilbeault want him to do.

Based on what we are seeing we should expect electricity rates to climb or the $7 billion taxpayers are now absorbing grow larger. 

It will probably be both so stayed tuned!

The Ford Government Brings us More Promises and More Tax Dollars Down the Drain

It’s become hard to understand exactly why the Ford led OCP (Ontario Conservative Party) seems set on imitating the Trudeau government who are hell-bent on destroying Canada’s fossil fuel sector but, many recent and past announcements and actions by the OCP suggest they are two peas in a pod!

As one example Minister of Energy Todd Smith issued a press release about the taxpayer subsidized ONroute Electric Vehicle Charging Stations recently and the release noted there were 72,655 EV currently registered in the province and “by 2030 one out of 3 vehicles sold will be electric”.  That would represent sales of around 170,000 EV! Presently the currently registered EV represent 0.85% of all vehicles weighing less than 4,500 kilograms in Ontario (2019 stats) and most if not all, received provincial and/or federal tax grants.  One should wonder will this Ford government’s sudden love affair with EV trigger a return of the provincial grant that the Ford government killed when first elected?

Another announcement by Minister Smith in the Belleville Intelligencer had the following quote in an article about his plan to lower electricity rates during the night: “Our government has reversed the trend of skyrocketing electricity prices and given families and businesses more control when it comes to their energy bills,”.  The article failed to note the recent Financial Accountability Office of Ontario (FAO) report indicated taxpayers would be picking up $6.9 billion of costs in the current fiscal year associated with his claim. What the foregoing infers is, “the trend”, seems to be; lets increase the provincial debt to burden future taxpayers.

Cheaper Nighttime Rates May Produce Blackouts

The article in the Intelligencer was headlined: “Energy Minister Todd Smith eyes ‘ultra-low overnight electricity plan“, and suggested it was to “benefit shift workers and support EV adoption”. Minister Smith has directed the OEB (Ontario Energy Board) to review the concept of implementing the reduction, “for residents who charge their electric vehicles overnight”! This looks to be simply another burden on future taxpayers with little benefit to those “shift workers” who, if they drive EV, will have to charge them during the day when rates are at peak levels. It will also result in higher rates during “peak demand” times of each day and a further burden on future taxpayers.

The issue of cheaper rates during the night may also benefit municipalities who have jumped on the “net-zero” concept and have told the province to shut down our gas plants that serve to back up the unreliable and intermittent wind and solar generation.  One wonders if Minister Smith is familiar with the fact that several municipalities such as Ottawa are aiming to convert their transit buses and other municipal vehicles to battery fueled vehicles. Ottawa alone intends to purchase 450 E-buses by 2030 and have a full E-bus fleet by 2036.  One should assume those buses will be charged principally at night and if so, what impact will it have on demand if all 32 municipalities who have told the province to shut down the gas plants convert their fleets?  Obviously, they will also demand they can charge those buses, etc. with those lower nighttime rates too! The City of Ottawa will borrow $400 million from the taxpayer owned “Infrastructure Bank” (a Trudeau led government creation) to assist in the purchase of those buses which further burdens all of Canada’s taxpayers!

Those buses charging at night also may have other issues as some cities who have moved to E-bus fleets have had bad experiences due to sudden fires. Germany has had several flareups in different cities. Recent events where fires broke out are of concern; meaning E-buses will require more stringent regulations such as separate garage stalls further raising conversion costs. Insurance companies have not yet dealt with those issues but will undoubtedly raise their premiums as a result of those events.   

In his push to support EV to reduce emissions Minister Smith ignores the fact the Pickering Nuclear generating station that supplies Ontario with 2,500 MWh every hour of the day will be shut down in 2025!  So far, the ministry has not identified what will replace that emission free power.

The absence of generation to meet demand in the future can be visualized by the following chart Scott Luft recently posted on his twitter page showing demand increasing substantially in the future! 

The plans and targets the current Ontario government has to reputedly reverse “the trend of skyrocketing electricity prices” seem destined to continue throwing our tax dollars down the drain.  A recent report by the Fraser Institute forecasts Ontario’s net debt will reach $503.3 billion or about $130K per household by 2023-24!

The time has come for this government to take action and stop spending money that serves to increase the possibility of a future debt crisis!

PS: Stay tuned for the next plan by the Ministry of Energy to drive up our Cost of Living.