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

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

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

Ottawa is a Great Example of Municipal Idiocy

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

Province of Ontario Demonstrates Provincial Idiocy

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

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

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

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

Only a Few of Many Examples of Federal Idiocy

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Vestas Wind System Awarded Top ESG Score by Corporate Knights

A recent and very long article in The Oregonian titled “How an airborne blade exposed broader problems at PGE’s flagship wind farm” went into considerable detail on the effects of a turbine blade that was spinning and suddenly was launched in the middle of the night plowing a four-foot furrow in the wheat stubble where it landed.  The foregoing led to a full shutdown of the 217 wind turbines in the Biglow Canyon by PGE (Portland General Electric) and lots of responses from locals pointing out many other issues associated with those IWT (industrial wind turbines). The article elaborates on six major reported issues which included oil spills, metal debris appearances, etc. etc. and also states, how over the years, those turbines (manufactured by Vestas and Siemens) underperformed in respect to generation they originally promised. The article reports on more unfavourable information about the Vestas turbines versus the Siemens ones but both are criticized. It is somewhat surprising the article does not even mention how those IWT also kills birds and bats or how their associated noises (both high decibel and infrasound) affects humans and animals in a negative way.

Vestas is a company with their head office in Denmark and is touted as the world’s largest supplier of IWT.  It may seem oxymoronic to many that Denmark has the highest household electricity prices in the EU currently at “0.3448 euro per kWh”!  The prior fact illustrates what many around the world have experienced due to the favourtism, tax dollars and tax benefits accorded companies awarded contracts to erect IWT to save us from “climate change”! The end result of those IWT installations is much higher electricity prices and unreliability due to the intermittent nature of wind versus dependable energy generation from nuclear and fossil fuels!

Interestingly, Vestas was favourably recognized by Corporate Knights of Toronto* in their January 2022 ESG (environmental, social and governance) assessment of 6,914 companies with more than US$1 billion in annual revenues.  Corporate Knights ranked Vestas Wind Systems as the world’s most sustainable corporation, granting them as the only company, to achieve an A+ rank! Needless to say Vestas tout that ranking in their 74 page  2021 Sustainability Report stating they were “The most sustainable company in the world”. One should wonder about the qualifications of Corporate Knights staff and their ability to examine those 6,914 companies as it relates to ESG accounting standards.  Those ESG accounting standards have been widely criticized as being far too vague as noted in a recent article by Bloomberg.

So, one should wonder did the “top of the heap” award by Corporate Knights spotlighting Vestas ranking higher than the other 6,913 companies provide a benefit to Vestas’s shareholders? The quick answer is no!

If one looks at the Vestas share price on January 3, 2021 it was US$17.23/share but by September 9, 2022 it was US$8.17/share having dropped by 52%.  Looking at the share price on the Corporate Knights release date of the “World’s 100 most sustainable corporation” on January 19, 2022, the Vestas share price was US$9.21 but as noted it fell to US$8.17/share by September 9th down by 11.3%. 

It seems obvious those involved in investing our funds through assets management companies or private pension plans** are not convinced renewable energy is a sound investment.  A recent article notes fossil fuel companies have out performed renewable energy companies by a factor of ten in the current year. Renewable energy companies beat the S & P by an average of 4.3% whereas fossil fuel stocks have outperformed the S & P by an average of 43%.

From all appearances it should be apparent the population who view the possibilities of renewable energy providing the world with all the energy we need are in short supply no matter what Corporate Knights or politicians tell us minions!

*Corporate Knights describe themselves as “The Voice for Clean Capitalism” but seem quite happy to take tax dollars from the Federal Government for their “magazine” as well as obtaining contracts from them to report on “decarbonization trends in Canadian industry sectors”.

**Public pension plans have jumped on board to support renewable energy and have suffered the consequences as pointed out in a recent article about Caisse de Depot and OMERS who took a pounding on just one of their investments.

Was Hour 16 on September 8th a Future Blackout Signal?

Pleased to confirm if your lights flickered at Hour 16 yesterday it had nothing to do with a power outage in Ontario.  At that hour the market price or HOEP (hourly Ontario energy price) was $180.67/MWh and the grid was in a shortfall position from Ontario electricity generators.  As a result, we were importing power from NY, Manitoba and even Michigan at that hour. 

Ontario is almost constantly in a surplus position and either exporting power or curtailing those IWT (industrial wind turbines) or spilling hydro but not yesterday!  In all we were net importers for six (6) continuous hours starting at Hour 16 and Quebec also were called on for imports during those hours.

Ontario’s peak demand came at Hour 17 (hour ending at 5 PM) and was 19,731 MW but didn’t qualify for one of the top 10 demand hours in the current year.  At hour 16 those approximately 4,900 MW of grid connected IWT managed to generate only 254 MWh and for Hour 17 they only managed to produce 235 MWh meaning they generated less than 5% of their rated capacity.

For the full 24 hours IWT generated 5,287 MWh, operating at an average of 4.5% of their rated capacity while our natural gas plants generated 72,505 MWh over the same period. What that suggests if those natural gas plants were non-existent, we would have needed another 67,000 MW of wind capacity to avoid blackouts and produce the 72,505 MWh the gas plants provided.  An additional 67,000 MW of IWT capacity is almost double Ontario’s current total grid connected capacity of 38,079 MW IESO reported we had at the end of 2021.

One should wonder, is the foregoing what Minister of Energy, Todd Smith has in mind with his recent directive to IESO wherein he states: “I asked IESO to evaluate a moratorium on the procurement of new natural gas-fired generating stations in Ontario and to develop an achievable pathway to phase out natural gas generation and achieve zero emissions in the electricity system. I asked IESO to report back to me with its analysis and results by November 2022.”

It should be recognized with the forthcoming closure of the Pickering Nuclear Plants in 2025 and their hourly generation of 3,000 MWh (72,000 MWh per day) it’s not clear what he anticipates will provide that replacement power.  If its IWT we may need another 67K of those IWT to perhaps provide reliability to prevent blackouts or we will all be forced to reduce our electricity consumption to much lower levels. 

We should also be concerned about the future of our manufacturing and business sectors who will be impacted by the lack of reliable energy! 

From all appearances it seems our politicians lack planning skills so we should expect in the near future “blackouts” may well be a common occurrence.

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?

Norway and Canada, Hmm, Which One Benefits from Net-Zero Targets?

Norway, in respect to “energy” is very similar to two of Canada’s provinces and the two provinces are Quebec and Alberta.

Similarities to Quebec

Norway are more similar to Quebec than Alberta as almost all of their electricity generated is hydro power and much of it is exported to the Netherlands, Germany, Denmark, Sweden, Finland and the UK. In 2020 Norway generated 154.2 TWh (92% hydro) and exported 20.5 TWh.  Quebec has also been blessed with hydro power and in 2020 Hydro Quebec generated 202.7 TWh and exported 33.3 TWh to the USA. 

Another similarity is both Quebec and Norway have embraced EV (electric vehicles) and Quebec have pushed sales via grants (including the Federal grant) and in Norway’s case by a stack of other incentives including free parking, approval to use bus lanes, etc. In addition, buyers pay no taxes as the following chart illustrates. One should find it humorous that the “scrapping fee” is identical in the chart but perhaps Norwegians have figured out how to deal with those EV batteries at end of their life?

Cost of EV versus ICE Automibles in Norway

In 2021 plug-in (EV + Hybrid) sales in Norway represented 90% of all auto sales. In Quebec EV sales were 9% of auto sales and the only province in Canada who beat them was BC whose EV sales were 11.6%. Quite the difference from Norway but the chart certainly shows why!

Yet another recent occurrence in Norway has led to the creation of another similarity to Quebec. it’s related to the lower snow and rainfall in the current year meaning Norway may reduce Its electricity exports to the countries with whom they have interties which are; Sweden, Denmark, Germany, the United Kingdom, Finland and the Netherlands. As noted in a recent article just several days ago, “reservoirs in Norway are less than half full, even though the average for this time of year is 74.4%.”

While Quebec doesn’t appear to currently have the “reservoir” problem Norway’s experiencing they nevertheless ask their consumers to reduce consumption during peak periods which occur during winter because most Quebec households heat their homes with the “emissions free” hydropower. In Quebec’s case they have firm contracts with US energy companies guaranteeing them supplies so it’s Quebecers who are affected rather than buyers of their electricity. Perhaps Norway is concerned all those EV owners will want to charge their batteries so to hell with the other European countries that will be in a power shortage come the winter?

Similarities to Alberta

Norway’s similarities to Alberta are related only to the fact they produce oil and gas and export much of it.  In Norway’s case they have eleven (11) gas pipelines to Germany, the UK, France and Belgium and also have an LNG terminal as well as a number of oil pipelines. Pretty well all of these pipelines emanate from the offshore Norwegian continental shelf where Norway mines it’s oil and gas. Their access to oil and gas has benefited them to the extreme particularly since the Covid-19 pandemic and the Russia/Ukraine war!  To wit: “In the last months of 2021, the value of Norway’s oil and gas exports amounted to more than 100 billion kroner (€10 billion) per month. That is almost three times more than in the same period in 2020. In the course of the year, production of oil increased to 102 million standard cubic meters and natural gas to 113 billion cubic meters.” Norway’s world ranking for oil and gas reserves are respectively 22nd (13th in annual production) and 17th (3rd in annual production).

Canada’s oil and gas reserves respectively rank; 3rd (4th in annual production) and 18th (6th in annual production) in the world however, Canada’s principal market for both is the U.S.  The latter is unlikely to change as it is almost impossible to get pipelines approved and built due to control by Federal regulations and certain provincial politicians such as those in BC and Quebec as well as the Biden administration in the US who in his first day as President, cancelled the Keystone pipeline. Canada also doesn’t have an LNG export terminal yet built, meaning gas is for Canadian consumption only or sold to the US via pipelines far below market prices.  US buyers convert it to LNG for sale to European and Asian countries at much higher prices. Canada also imports oil and gas for our eastern provinces as the one and only LNG terminal in Canada operates for import purposes only.  Canada’s eastern oil refineries use mainly imported oil including a small amount from Norway with the highest imports from Saudi Arabia.

Due to Canada’s almost complete lack of pipelines to ports on both its Atlantic and Pacific shorelines we were, and still are, unable to achieve the benefits current world prices for both oil and natural gas could provide! We could have assisted European and Asian countries in obtaining those energy supplies if we had those pipelines but all except one of those planned were cancelled by the Trudeau government.

A recent editorial in the Sun newspaper chain referencing the lack of Canadian pipelines stated; “Estimates are this costs the Canadian economy $15 billion annually in discounted oil prices and $9 billion annually in discounted prices for natural gas.” Collectively the value of those two exports (two of Canada’s top three exports) in 2021 were US$97 billion but they could have been US$24 billion or 25% higher which could have gone a long way to, increasing revenue for oil and gas companies while producing additional taxes to service debt and (slightly) help reduce the Federal deficit. 

Our politicians do this to Canada, a country 30 times larger than Norway, and watch them generate huge benefits from fossil fuels allowing them to reduce their debt while increasing benefits for their citizens while our leaders harpoon our economy!

The question is; why is our Federal Government under leadership of Justin Trudeau and his minions so intent on destroying the Canadian economy by pushing the “net-zero” emissions agenda?  Canada represents 1.6% of global emissions which China and India will replace in a couple of months.

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!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Marc Patrone Show on Sauga 960 AM on August 3, 2022

Marc had me on his show today and my chat with him was preceded by his conversation with Jocelyn Bamford the Chair and founder of the CCMBC (Coaliation of Concerned Manufacturers and Businesses of Canada. You can listed to her discussion with Marc starting at 48:00 of the podcast followed by yours truly at 1:04:12 and ending at 1:18:24.

Jocelyn covered lots of subjects related to what the Trudeau led government is doing that is negatively affecting the economy and businesses in Canada and my chat with Marc was related to renewable energy here in Ontario and how it has badly affected the EU and in particularly Germany and the UK. Naturally we also talked about industrial wind turbines and EV (electric vehicles) reflecting on a couple of my recent articles.

You can listed to both Jocelyn’s and my chat here at the times noted above:

The EV transition in the eyes of the Beholden Part 3

Part 1 of the EV transition highlighted some of the costs associated with it and Part 2 of this series outlined some of the negative issues of EV and their batteries. In an effort to keep it readable at less than 1,500 words it was stated a Part 3 would be a requirement so here it is!

EV Fires

Should one do a simple Google search using the words “tesla car fire” and then hit the video button you will get dozens of videos of intense fires (presumably caused by the batteries) including some simply parked in a garage or stopped at an intersection. Some news story with videos where deaths have occurred note Tesla is being sued.  It surely makes one hesitant to consider their next vehicle should be an EV as it’s not just Tesla EV catching fire as another Google search discloses. As these happenings gain more publicity the push-back on the government decrees in the developed world, including here in Canada where the decree is; “all vehicle sales (cars and trucks) by 2035 will be electric” will surely grow!

Battery Storage Fires

An article by S&P Global on May 31, 2022 titled; “Battery blazes, breakdowns underscore ‘growing pains’ for energy storage” highlights the problems associated with battery storage and the fire occurrence in Southern Australia back in 2021 when it was claimed to be the largest battery storage unit in the world.  The article also outlines the latest problem with the 400 MW unit in California (Moss Landing Energy Storage) and now the largest unit in the world which recently experienced their second incident.  The article notes: “The breakdowns are among more than 50 known failures at medium- to large-scale battery storage projects in the U.S., Europe, Asia and Australia. Daily outage reports from the California ISO, which has more battery storage on its network than any other grid operator, point to additional frequent “plant troubles” curtailing capacity that the state is counting on to keep the lights on during critical periods of peak demand.” The article goes on to state: “Ranging from limited operational hiccups to catastrophic explosions, such incidents are likely to continue to accompany the proliferation of battery peakers, technology and safety experts said.” This certainly suggests the continued use of natural gas plants to back up the intermittent and unreliable nature of wind and solar generation will be with us for a few decades unless our politicians and the bureaucrats advising them are OK with frequent blackouts.

Transit EV Bus Fires

As the push to eliminate fossil fuel use for all the developed world continues the concept of electrifying all transit and transport vehicles gathers steam so, with lots of government support many transit authorities are working to convert their bus fleets.  As just one example the City of Ottawa under its $57.4 billion “Energy Evolution” transition plan, have a target aiming to have a zero-emission transit sector by 2030. One should presume the 944 transit buses currently in Ottawa will be converted to battery operated ones by that date. Ottawa isn’t the only city in Canada or around the world with these plans and many European cities are much farther ahead.  One example is Stuttgart (check out video) with two of EV transit buses and in the fall of 2021 one of them “is believed to have been the source of a massive fire that destroyed 25 buses in the city and also heavily damaged part of the depot they were parked in.” Once again there are dozens of videos and stories of EV bus fires from various locations around the world including one a few days ago in Connecticut which would make one somewhat reluctant to step on board for a trip or be content to allow your child to take an EV school bus.  Needless to say, investigations into these fires are going on wherever they occurred and many of the fleets have parked their EV buses until the investigations determine the cause of the fire(s) is complete and the cause known.

Child Labour mines for Cobalt in the Congo and Zambia

Cobalt is one of the principal ingredients in an EV lithium-ion battery and the Congo has the highest known cobalt reserves in the world representing close to 70% and another African country, Zambia has the 2nd highest known reserves.  Interestingly enough CNN back in May 2018 did some investigative work resulting in them posting a video titled “CNN FINDS CHILD LABOUR IN COBALT TRADE.” The video highlights the use of child labour to mine the cobalt and supply those EV battery manufacturers in China, the U.S.A, Europe and shortly, presumably Ontario. The latter have joined hands with PM Trudeau and the Province to provide grants for a new $1.5 billion plant to be built in Windsor with our tax dollars. Obviously, those tax dollars will be supporting the continued use of child labour in the Congo and in Zambia.

Supply Shortages Loom

Another major problem with the whole “energy transition” push is the probable upcoming shortages of key components required for the electrification of everything and one of those is copper.  As noted in an article in the Financial Post a couple of weeks ago, “Numerous metals and minerals have been hawked as “the next oil,” but according to veteran energy historian Daniel Yergin, only one metal represents the linchpin of the energy transition away from fossil fuels — copper.“ Yergin “sees a looming supply-demand gap in copper that risks “short-circuiting” the energy transition and stalling global ambitions to slash greenhouse gas emissions to “net zero” by 2050.” The article cites a report estimating copper supply would need to double from current production of 25 million metric tons to 50 million metric tons by 2035. The report concludes: “copper shortages could delay how long it takes to reach net-zero emissions; Yergin also acknowledged that various other critical minerals — lithium and cobalt, for example — could well have an impact on climate goals too.”

It sure looks as if the electrification of everything is a pipe dream that will continue to exhibit dire consequences on mankind except perhaps for the small but very rich segment of the population. The time has come to kill the wishes of the eco-warriors and those politicians who have consumed their Kool-Aid.

Opinion: The summer wind is Ontario’s fickle energy friend

My latest in the Financial Post is a slightly different version of a recent post which I think you will appreciate.

Find it here:

https://financialpost.com/opinion/opinion-the-summer-wind-is-ontarios-fickle-energy-friend