Wind Turbine Collapse in New Brunswick will create “Green Jobs”

Just over a year ago our PM, Justin Trudeau was caught talking about a “reset” during a UN virtual conference stating: “This pandemic has provided an opportunity for a reset,“ and went on to say; “ This is our chance to accelerate our pre-pandemic efforts to reimagine economic systems that actually address global challenges like extreme poverty, inequality and climate change.” Trudeau was pilloried by Conservative MP Pierre Poilievre for the remark as it seemingly connected with; “The Great Reset” propagated by the WEF (World Economic Forum) where the rich elites of the world gather annually to plot the global transition to a “great reset” with “climate change” as their main focus!

The calls from the WEF and others pushing the “net-zero” transition have overcome the Federal Liberal Party and they have proffered different titles such as “Building Back Better” the “Just Transition” etc. and in all those scenarios they claim; executing them will create a million jobs! 

Needless to say, those calls, now spanning six years, are failing to create those jobs but continued support of the concept by the MSM (main stream media) has convinced many citizens and corporations to jump on board. The latter have done this by doing what they believe they can to reduce their emissions (based on what they are told) by transitioning their business in different ways in order to, presumably, avoid the increasing “carbon taxes” they would face. 

One such company is Alberta based, TransAlta Corporation via their 60.09% ownership in TransAlta Renewables (as of December 31, 2020) and the Federal Regulations imposing “coal-to-gas” regulations sped up by Catherine McKenna, when Minister of the Environment and Climate Change.  TransAlta, as of December 31, 2021 reported they had completed the latter task well ahead of the 2030 deadline.  TransAlta is pushing hard to achieve the “net zero” pinnacle and based on their annual 2020 ESG report their “greenhouse gas emissions are now down to just over 16 tonnes from 42 million tonnes in 2005.

Those green jobs are shrinking

The other thing that’s fallen as well as emissions, is the number of people TransAlta employ. The oldest annual report posted on their website is for 2017 and at that time they reported having 2,341 employees in 2016 but their 2020 annual report indicates employment fell to 1,476 at December 31, 2020, a drop of 865 jobs or almost 37%!  Gross revenues also fell from $2,397 million in 2016 to $2,101 million in 2020 for a drop of $296 million or 12.3%.

The foregoing push by TransAlta to reduce emissions appears to be having the opposite effect Trudeau promised us in his “build back better” speeches as both revenue and staff levels fell!   

TransAlta’s majority-controlled subsidiary; “TransAlta Renewables” near the end of 2021 got some bad news too, as an industrial wind turbine at their Kent Hills 167 MW (megawatt) IWT (industrial wind turbines) complex in New Brunswick collapsed. An investigation determined all 50 of the 3 MW turbines bases would need to be replaced whereas the remaining five (5) were OK! The estimated cost to replace the bases could be as high as $100 million and take until the end of 2023.  They estimate their revenue base will decline $3.4 million per month until the turbines are back up and running.

Here come those “green jobs”

One assumes the $75 to $100 million estimate to replace the bases will require lots of cement (close to 2,000 tons per turbine) and rebar and a crew plus equipment to first disassemble the 50 turbines and later to reassemble them.  It’s unclear as to whether they will remove the cement from the flawed bases but if they do it will require a crew plus equipment and quite a bit of dynamite.

All of the foregoing activities will play a hand in creating jobs over the two years of the rebuild but will, no doubt, create emissions.

When the workers have completed the reassembly, it will be seen as a perfect opportunity for Prime Minister Trudeau and his Minister of the Environment and Climate Change, Steven Guilbeault, to have a media appearance to tell us how the great “reset” is proceeding and the myriad of jobs* it created!

Any questions about the full carbon footprint of those rebuilt IWT and the jobs temporarily created at the media event will be tossed aside as will the intermittent and unreliable nature of wind generation which always requires dependable power (frequently fossil fueled) to back it up. Trudeau and his “climate change” Minister, Guilbeault, will insist the “transition to net-zero” and “building back better” is working to the benefit of all Canadians!

Canada’s taxpayers need to initiate a “political reset” and dump those Liberal politicians who seem intent on creating Venezuela north!  We voters in Ontario did it by recreating the Ontario Liberal Party as the “minivan party” so the time has come to do it again at the next election!

*Ontarians will remember the same promises from the McGuinty/Wynne Liberal years!

 

More Carbon Taxes in the New Year Brought to us by the Justinflation Government

The monthly natural gas bill arrived and intrigued by the upcoming (April 1, 2022) increase in the carbon tax jumping to $50/tonne I thought it would be interesting to compare the taxes levied to the cost of the gas supply.  A quick evaluation indicated that the “Federal Carbon Charge” coupled with the “HST” was 80.3% of the “Gas Supply Charge”. The increase arriving April 1, 2022 will increase that tax from 7.83 cents per cubic meter (m3) to 9.79 cents/m3 (+1.96 cents or 25%).  Assuming the price of natural gas is the same; as of that date it would mean taxes (note that the HST is charged on it also) will then represent 93.2% of fuel costs.

As if to keep that “Justinflation” target moving the OEB (Ontario Energy Board) just announced natural gas rates would increase effective January 1, 2022.  The OEB doesn’t bother to tell us the percentage increase and instead only tell us the price will increase by 1.2333 cents/m3.  A “penny and a bit” doesn’t sound like much but it amounts to a 9.3% increase in the fuel price meaning your monthly gas bill will be about $5.00 higher. If one couples that $5.00 with the upcoming increase in the “Federal Carbon Charge” ($6/7.00 per month) the combined monthly additional cost will be $11/12.00. That increased cost will suck another $130/$140,00 annually from your after-tax income should you wish to stay warm, cook your meals and have a shower. The percentage of households using natural gas for heating purposes is just over 67% in Ontario so those increased taxes and gas costs will affect most families.

If you are a household dependent on natural gas and one of the 53% of Canadian households just $200 away from being able to pay your bills and debt payments the monthly increase could be the breaking point!  It may come down to the decision to; “heat or eat” for many.

It doesn’t seem right, during this period of high inflation, our Federal Government should be imposing tax increases having already impacted the price of natural gas by both blocking pipelines and scaring away capital that would have invested in finding and delivering increased supplies!

If this is the concept described by Prime Minister Trudeau and Minister of Finance Freeland in their “Building Back Better Plan” as “inclusive, sustainable and creates good jobs”, I and most of my fellow Canadians don’t believe it will produce those results!  

We are quickly seeing the foregoing plan, preceded by The Great Reset, coming out of the WEF (World Economic Forum) where Canada’s Finance Minister, Chrystia Freeland sits as a trustee can be seen as nothing more than a socialist agenda.  The resulting activities displayed by her as Finance Minister with PM Justin Trudeau’s support have gone a long way in creating “Justinflation” as Pierre Poilievre was able to get him to admit in parliament!

At a time when Canadian households are suffering from increased prices on everything is not the time to increase taxes to bring us even more of that “Justinflation”!

Quebec has joined the BOGA(man), Beyond Oil and Gas Alliance

When first viewed, the word “BOGA” created mind thoughts of things like, boogieman, bafflegab, the Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy, etc. etc.  Looking further clarified it as the acronym for a COP 26 creation known as “Beyond Oil and Gas Alliance”!

The article where “BOGA” appeared was dated November 11, 2021 and headlined as; “COP26: Denmark and Costa Rica launch ambitious alliance to phase out oil and gas”. The article went on to state: “Led by Costa Rica and Denmark, the Beyond Oil and Gas Alliance (BOGA) saw six full members, France, Greenland, Ireland, Quebec, Sweden and Wales, announced at COP26 today“ and further stated; ‘Each member will commit to ending new licensing rounds for oil and gas exploration and production. They must also set an end date for oil and gas production and exploration that is aligned with Paris Agreement objectives.“  Reading further it disclosed California and New Zealand also joined the alliance as associate members and Italy became a ‘Friend of BOGA’.

Looking at the two founding countries of BOGA is interesting:

Costa Rica generates 72% of its electricity from hydro, almost 15% from geothermal sources, 12% from wind and a small amount from biomass and solar.  Costa Rica consumes just under 10 TWh (terawatt hours) of electricity annually. (NB: For context, Toronto Hydro delivered almost 24 TWh in 2020)

Denmark’s electricity consumption in 2019 was 33.7 TWh.  Generation from fossil fuels and waste was 20% (7.4 TWh), wind was 57% (19.2 TWh), solar 3% (1 TWh) and the balance came from net imports. Up until very recently Denmark held the # 1 spot as the EU country with the highest electricity rates but they recently were relegated to 2nd place by Germany.

The other issue with Denmark is related to their purpose in creating BOGA! They are home to the world’s biggest wind turbine manufacturer, Vestas, the fourth largest employer in Demark with 29,000 employees. Denmark is also home to the world’s top developer of offshore wind farms, Orsted. It seems obvious why Denmark played the major role in creating BOGA as those two companies will reap the benefits going forward and the Government will reap the rewards from any jobs created as Denmark also has the highest personal tax rates in the EU.

As if to exacerbate the BOGA affect, Denmark’s Minister for Climate, Energy and Utilities Dan Jorgensen, in early September announced they were looking for partners in respect to their plan to construct a $34 billion manmade “energy island” and hundreds of “offshore industrial wind turbines” to help the country achieve “climate neutrality by 2050.”  Missing from the equation and braggadocio of Denmark’s Jorgensen, was how those “hundreds of offshore industrial wind turbines”; kill birds and bats, affect marine life or how they will be recycled when they reach their end-of-life.   As demonstrated by countries around the world many parts of those IWT along with solar panels will simply be buried as has continually happened with those fiberglass turbine blades.

Costa Rica, the other co-founder of BOGA, as noted above, appears to generate 100% of its electricity from renewable sources and one can easily find articles supporting that fact.  Funnily enough, despite those commendations about renewable electricity for Costa Rica their main import is “refined petroleum” which in 2019 was $1.52 billion.  An article in the Guardian from 2017 headlined: “All that glitters is not green: Costa Rica’s renewables conceal dependence on oil” went into considerable detail including the fact “renewables make up less than a quarter of the nation’s total energy use.”  The article went on to note an “explosive growth in private vehicles is causing more than just pollution. Traffic in the capital, San José, has become almost unmanageable, with the city earning the worst ranking for congestion in Latin America, according to a study by the navigation app Waze.”

The foregoing suggests things are not as they appear despite the “back slapping” at COP26 associated with powering the electricity sector with industrial wind turbines, solar or hydro. Those few locations around the world fortunate enough to have been graced with an abundance of hydro power by mother nature like Costa Rica and the province of Quebec should not be critics of those less fortunate.

Apparently, it is perfectly acceptable to claim you are going all out to push the “renewable energy” button while you import oil to refine it, as Quebec does, or import it in a refined state as Costa Rica does, or in the case of Denmark, extract it for sale to others.

The obvious hypocrisy of the whole UN COP 26 climate conference is easily exposed from just this small segment of what those 30,000 Glasgow attendees developed over the two-week event.

Dialing the temperature up or down is beyond the control of humankind except to a very small extent as many scientists (not invited to attend COP 26) have stressed in various peer reviewed studies over many years. 

We should all be afraid of the UNIPCC “BOGA man”!

Maybe Alberta’s Premier should hold off asking for Constitutional Changes to the Equalization Formula

The past week was an interesting one here in Canada as a couple of major provincial announcements from the east (Quebec) and west (Alberta) suggest what appears to be a major conflict on energy sources and the flow of tax dollars related to the “Equalization Formula”.

On the latter; in 2019 Alberta contributed $22 billion more in tax revenue than they got back from the Federal government according to a Fraser Institute review whereas Quebec in that year, received $13.2 billion or 66.9% of total equalization payments.

Those equalization payments have seemingly annoyed Albertans as clearly demonstrated via a recent referendum resulting in almost 62% voting to revise the “constitution”. The principal reason expressed by Alberta Premier Kenney why Albertans supported the referendum was; “to demand a repeal of “discriminatory” environmental laws that hurt Alberta’s energy sector.”  Needless to say, the push to eliminate fossil fuel generation has impacted the Alberta economy and forecasted to do more harm.

While many of those “environmental laws” were imposed by the Trudeau led Liberal minority government another recent “related event” presumably played a role!  That event was how Quebec Premier Legault suddenly announced: “The government of Quebec has taken a decision to renounce, definitively, extraction of hydrocarbons in its territory,” and labelled it as “a recipe for prosperity in an emerging age of international consensus on preventing drastic climate change by cutting fossil fuel carbon emissions blamed for global warming.” Needless to say Premier Legault will attend COP-26 where he presumably hopes to be honoured for Quebec being blessed with hydro dams. Legault noted those dams “enable us to attract investment because, in future, enterprises that want to produce goods without emitting greenhouse gases are going to find in Quebec an incomparable land of opportunity”.

As is to solidify Premier Legault’s anticipated blessing at COP 26 it is interesting to note Quebec accounts for 46% of all EV (electric vehicles) registrations in Canada perhaps related to their generous grants and cheap electricity rates. 

It seems ironic Albertans contribute their tax dollars to allow Quebecers to receive an $8K grant from Quebec (coupled with one for $5K from the Feds) to purchase a Tesla EV!

Does Premier Legault see lithium demand fueling Quebec prosperity?

The foregoing question is one that could be weighing on Premier Legault’s mind and why he dismissed exploration and extraction of hydrocarbons (fossil fuels) in Quebec even though they may well have untapped and significant resources particularly related to natural gas.  As it turns out Quebec also has lithium reserves which are currently in high demand and recently forecast to reach as much as US$30,000 per metric ton in the spot market. Couple those lithium reserves with another forecast suggesting its demand will grow at average annual rates of 30%* and one can see why Premier Legault is excited about the net-zero push.

As it to top things off back in late March of this year the US Department of Commerce “held a closed-door virtual meeting with miners and battery manufacturers to discuss ways to boost Canadian production of EV materials, according to documents seen by Reuters.”  The article describing the meeting noted a month before; President Biden and PM Trudeau committed to building an EV supply chain between the two countries. Interestingly two US mining companies (Livent and Pallinghurst) have invested in Canada jointly purchasing “the Nemaska lithium project in Quebec, in what will be North America’s largest lithium mine.” Livent was one of the 30 or so companies present at the ”closed-door” virtual meeting as was Tesla.  Another interesting article from July 2020 noted a California based company; KoBold Metals, “financed by well-known billionaires including Jeff Bezos, Ray Dalio, Michael Bloomberg, Richard Branson and Gates” has been attracted to Quebec.  KoBold’s principal focus is on finding “cobalt” and nickel deposits (secondary) both used in the manufacturing of those EV batteries.  They have acquired “rights to an area (in Quebec) of about 1,000 square kilometres (386 sq. miles), where it plans to begin collecting geophysical data before the end of the year.” It should be apparent why many of the “billionaires” behind KoBold push the “net-zero” concept. It is to simply make themselves even richer at a huge cost to the rest of us commoners. 

From all appearances Premier Legault sees the push for net-zero and elimination of fossil fuel use as a gamechanger for Quebec by attracting investors seeking minerals for EV.  Those incoming investments will (he believes) create well-paying jobs and rocket Quebec’s economy up to surpass Alberta’s on a per capita basis. His wish perhaps, is to see Quebec vault to become Canada’s richest province.  Should that happen because of the demise of fossil fuels Quebec may find itself as “The Province” doling out those “equalization” monies.

Maybe Premier Kenny should hold off before insisting on revisions to the equalization formula, as in the future, when the world has achieved the goal of the eco-warriors and our demented politicians, Quebec will be rife with cash and the rest of Canada will be the beneficiaries. 

We will all surely need it, should the foregoing happen, as we will be struggling to survive without reliable power to keep us warm in our cold winters and many of us will, by then, be living in poverty.

*BYD a major Chinese battery manufacturing company recently announced they will raise battery prices by 20% due to raw material costs.

Coal’s comeback as gas prices surge, and COP 26 climate gabfest in Glasgow, Scotland

I was on the radio station NEWSTALK SAUGO 960 AM with Marc Patrone once again and we covered some interesting local and global issues including coal’s comeback and some of the events that will plague the COP 26 upcoming gabfest in Glasgow.

You can tune in here to the Marc Patrone radio podcast for October 13th starting at 1:07:50 for our chat.

or you can WATCH and listen to our conversation on NEWSTALK CANADA here:

https://www.newstalkcanada.com/?page_id=22

Mark Carney Got One Thing Right But Seems Wrong About His Other Preaching’s

Recently I received Steven E. Koonin’s book “Unsettled” in which he eloquently analysis the 2018 UNIPCC report that served the eco-warriors with some scary scenarios they amplified in their push to stop the world from consuming fossil fuels.  Fossil fuels have served the world in a meaningful way by reducing poverty and climate induced deaths and those issues are highlighted in Koonin’s book with facts.  He is not overly critical of the actual results reported by the scientists who produced the report but castigates the media and politicians for their apparent overzealous approach inferring mankind will perish should we continue to emit CO 2.

Amusingly he does cast aspersions on Mark Carney highlighting him as “the single most influential figure in driving investors and financial institutions around the world to focus on changes in climate and human influences on it.”  Koonin first paints Carney as an outstanding central banker but than clearly highlights one of his faulty claims about the future as it applies to climate change with the verbiage; “it’s surprising that someone with a PhD in economics and experience with the unpredictability of financial markets and economies as a whole doesn’t show a greater respect for the perils of prediction-and more caution in depending upon models.”  

The take from yours truly in respect to Carney was much more critical in a recent article I penned but, having no concerns about offending fellow humans pushing to destroy our economy allows yours truly to point out their fallacies in a less gentle way!

Below is the full text of Koonin’s criticism of Mark Carney as it appeared in my hard copy.  I recommend you take a couple of minutes to read what he had to say and note; it is a reflection on all the other “climate change” issues he opines on.  He calls everyone out with facts, and I would encourage all to acquire and read this excellent book to dispel any false beliefs you may have.                                    

Unsettled by Steven E. Koonin

The following was selected from pages 145 to 147

Mark Carney, former head of Canada’s central bank and later head of the Bank of England, is probably the single most influential figure in driving investors and financial institutions around the world to focus on changes in climate and human influences on it. A learned man, with a PhD in economics from Oxford University, he has been an outstanding central banker. Carney is now the United Nations’ Special Envoy on Climate Action and Finance. He is also a UK advisor for the 26th annual UN Conference of Parties (COP26), a follow-on to the 2015 Paris climate conference that’s due to take place in Glasgow, Scotland, during November 2021.  So it’s important to pay close attention to what he says.

                In a 2015 speech just before the Paris conference, speaking as governor of the Bank of England, Carney laid out many aspects of “the insurance response to climate change.” Extreme weather costs insurance companies a lot of money, so perhaps it is no wonder that his appeal included a warning about flooding:

Despite winter 2014 being England’s wettest since the time of King George; III; forecasts suggest we can expect at least a further 10% increase in rainfall during future winters.

To support that assertion, he cited Britain’s Met Office “research into climate observations, projections, and impacts,” These were model forecasts for the next five years, so you might expect they’d be more accurate than those attempting to project climate fifty years out. Let’s turn to the data and see.

                Figure 7.13 shows the observed winter precipitation (December through February) in England and Wales up through 2020; it’s one of the longest instrumental weather series available, beginning in 1766.  The average rainfall looks pretty constant over decades from 1780 to 1870 and again from 1920 to the present.  A shift occurred somewhere over the fifty years in between, when human influences on the global climate were quite negligible.

                Carney was correct that 2014 was a record wet winter (455.5 mm or 17.9 inches), and it was indeed the “wettest since the time of King George,” since George III’s reign lasted until 1820. But the Met Office models Carney cited back in 2014 all turned out to be dead wrong. Rainfall during the six winters after 2014 was well in context with the previous century, and it averaged 278 mm, 39 percent less than the 2014 record and nowhere near the “at least” 500 mm implied by the predicted increase. And a Met Office analysis published in 2018 found that the largest source of variability in UK extreme rainfalls during the winter months was the North Atlantic Oscillation mode of natural variability not a changing climate.

                Of course Carney could take refuge in his speech’s subjunctive “forecasts suggest” and the indeterminate hedging of “future winters.” Nevertheless, it’s surprising that someone with a PhD in economics and experience with the unpredictability of financial markets and economies as a whole doesn’t show a greater respect for the perils of prediction-and more caution in depending upon models.”

Climate Change Armageddon Has Arrived or so it Seems

Quite the week with some interesting things going on globally related to the electricity sector and how havoc has struck in some parts of the world! The following are just a few that caught my eye!

South Australia big Tesla battery sued for not helping during Queensland coal power station failure

South Australia has gone bigtime into renewable energy and back in 2016 they experienced a major blackout and in March 2017 the blame was squarely laid on renewable energy (wind and solar) by AEMO (Australian Energy Market Operator).  The blackout had triggered Elon Musk to step into the fray via a winning bid to build a battery storage unit which they did successfully in the 100 days promised. Since then other (TESLA) battery storage units have been added and one of them failed to deliver the power stored when called on back in 2019 and now are being sued by the AER (Australian Energy Regulator).  As it to top things off in Australia; a fire broke out at another big TESLA battery storage unit (300/450MW) under construction.  One article about the fire stated; “More than 150 people from Fire Rescue Victoria and the Country Fire Authority responded to the blaze, and it is expected to burn throughout the night for 8 to up to 24 hours.”  The foregoing lawsuit and the recent fire suggests battery storage may not be what will supply us with reliable power to back up intermittent wind and solar.

As one would expect California has also gone full bore into battery storage and they too recently experienced an event which forced the shutdown of Moss Landing reputed to be “the largest battery storage facility in the world“. The owners, Vistra Corp. claimed; “a limited number of battery modules” at the storage facility overheated on Saturday night, resulting in the facility going offline.“ Another more current article on September 16, 2021 had the following: “Now, only nine months into operation and less than three weeks after Vistra cut the ribbon on an expansion, most of the largest battery storage facility in the world has gone dormant with no timeline for a return.“  It certainly appears, based on these recent events that unreliable power generation storage should not be the back-up for unreliable and intermittent power generation.

Close to home and a recent Hydro One Bill

Receipt of a recent Hydro One bill and the information contained in it led the writer to do a quick calculation to determine the “total cost” per kWh (kilowatt hour) on what I was required to pay. Simply dividing my total bill by kWh consumed showed the all-in cost was 14.3 cents/kWh. Flipping the bill over however one notes, a little box titled “What do I need to know?”  That box had a fairly large amount listed as “Total Ontario support:” followed by a dollar amount. When the latter amount is added to what I have to pay and divided by our consumption the cost per kWh comes to 23 cents/kWh.  The difference of 8.7 cents/kWh multiplied by the kWh delivered to “residential customers” (13.448 billion kWh) by Hydro One (according to the 2020 Yearbook of Distributors recently released by the OEB (Ontario Energy Board), indicates tax dollars paid to them to keep residential rates at 14.3 cents/kWh amounts to $1.170 billion but their pretax net income was only $414 million.  Now they are applying to the OEB for approval to spend $13.5 billion over the next five years which will undoubtedly further increase rates and tax subsidies. 

China’s sudden hate for cryptocurrency mines

An article in the Financial Post about theft of electricity to create a bitcoin mining operation by a public employee of a NY State County suggested he will face a myriad of criminal charges.  The FP article referenced a NY Times estimate that bitcoin mining uses 91 TWh globally which is about what 8 million average Canadian households consume annually. Another article noted a Cambridge University study suggests; “Globally, Bitcoin mining consumes around 121 TWh a year

The bulk of bitcoin mining has been in China which was once said to contain about 75% of all cryptocurrency mines but China has been forcing out the miners who were using their low-priced electricity meaning many of them have either moved or are looking elsewhere. We should suspect China’s move is associated with the upcoming COP 26 Conference in Glasgow.  China will not be stepping up to agree to reduce their emissions at COP 26 but by booting out the bitcoin miners (63% reputedly used coal generated electricity) they will reduce the need to add more coal fired electricity.  One should also understand that the current price for coal per ton has soared over the past 12 months which presumably is driving up energy costs in China. Where those cryptocurrency miners relocate to however, will directly impact emissions from the countries they move to.

The Circular Economy

The WEF (World Economic Forum) in one of their posts stated: “The circular economy, which promotes the elimination of waste and the continual safe use of natural resources, offers an alternative that can yield up to $4.5 trillion in economic benefits to 2030.“ Is the following picture (sent to me by a contact who asked me to spot the bulldozer) what the founder of the WEF, Klaus Schaub and one of his advisors; Mark Carney, had in mind?

Unrecyclable wind turbine blades being buried in a landfill seem to form part of the “Circular Economy”!

One should wonder why the WEF and others push renewable energy from wind and solar and believe the world’s population will not recognize the lies they are advancing to simply increase their wealth?

If the UK’s PM Boris Johnson was smart, he would cancel COP 26 as the world struggles to cope with the faulty unreliability of the “green energy” adopted by so many politicians and caused a cessation in investment for reliable fossil fuels and a significant spike in their costs due to green energy’s failures.

The results around the world of the “green” push continue to illustrate the fallacy of exiting fossil fuels without having anything resembling reasonably priced reliable power at the ready!  

Strathmere Group Declaration target # 4:

Strengthen investments in renewable energy and in energy efficiency and conservation through creating new clean energy jobs and increasing prosperity through new technologies.

This “declaration” went on to state: “energy security is best achieved through investment in the cleanest available energy and through ending our dependence on fossil fuels.”

Needless to say, Ontario ratepayers are well aware this particular “declaration” had already started to unfold prior to the signing of the joint letter in Washington on June 2, 2009.  Gerald Butts, one of the signatures on the joint declaration as the CEO of the WWF-Canada (World Wildlife Fund) was instrumental in the creation of the GEGEA (Green Energy and Green Economy Act) in Ontario.  The Act received third reading and royal ascent on May 14, 2009 almost a month before the “joint declaration” was signed. An excellent article by Terence Corcoran of the Financial Post from five years ago noted: “Prior to the 2007 election, Butts was a McGuinty insider. After the election, he became McGuinty’s principal adviser. As one of his biographical notes describes it, Butts “was intimately involved in all of the government’s significant environmental initiatives, from the Greenbelt and Boreal Conservation plan to the coal phase-out and toxic reduction strategy.”

What followed was spelled out in the Ontario Auditor General’s press release of December 2015 disclosing the cost of renewable contracts under the GEGEA was $37 billion to the end of 2014 and would cost another $133 billion up to the end of the contracts. To add fuel to the fire Ontario’s Liberal Party, under Kathleen Wynne, on January 1, 2017 launched their “cap & trade” program joining Quebec and BC.  The foregoing may have occurred because PM Justin Trudeau had announced in early October 2016, he would impose a price on carbon beginning in 2018 if any provinces didn’t have one.  At that time Gerald Butts was his Principal Secretary and his puppet master.  Again, as we in Ontario know, when the Ford government was elected, he cancelled Wynne’s “cap & trade” program! 

In early 2017 the Pan-Canadian Framework on Clean Growth and Climate Change was issued and recommended a carbon tax starting at $10/ton on January 1, 2018 increasing by $10 each year to a maximum of $50 per ton. The Framework only loosely focused on achieving “net-zero” targeting only “new buildings”.  Suddenly on December 11, 2020 with the country in a Covid-19 lockdown Trudeau and his new Environment Minister, Jonathon Wilkinson announced the carbon tax would be expanded to $170 ton to wean us all off of “fossil fuels”. The pretext was it was being done so Canada could meet its Paris Agreement targets.

The impact of raising the tax to that level was spelled out in a Fraser Institute report which noted: “In this study, we present an analysis using a large empirical model of the Canadian economy that indicates that the tax will have substantial negative impacts, including a 1.8% decline in Gross Domestic Product and the net loss of about 184,000 jobs, even after taking account of jobs created by new government spending and household rebates of the carbon charges. The drop in GDP works out to about $1,540 in current dollars per employed person.” The report forecasted the carbon tax of $170/ton would create additional debt of $22 billion and noted almost 50% of the job losses (78.000) would be in Ontario.

To top things off when Minister of Finance, Chrystia Freeland tabled her budget on April 19, 2021 it was full of spending plans aimed at supporting renewable energy and ending fossil fuel use. The budget contained $17 billion in spending plans and tax relief measures including $5 billion for the “Net Zero Accelerator” additional to the $3 billion previously committed! The $8 billion seems aimed at large emitting companies like those in the steel and cement business.  Another $4.4 billion was earmarked to “retrofit” residential buildings.  Also included were generous tax breaks (50% for 10 years) for companies manufacturing electric vehicles, (NB: They and the Ontario government handed Ford $590 million of our tax dollars a year ago for EV manufacturing at their Oakville plant), solar panels and presumably the world’s largest wind turbine blades at 107 metres long to a Quebec company who just received $25 million! 

The Trudeau led government also on June 29, 2021 announced they were speeding up the goal to have every light duty vehicle sold by 2035 to be “zero emissions” vehicles rather than 2040.  The Minister of Transport, Alghabra has already handed out $600 million of our tax dollars as rebates to those purchasing EV and now wants more!

It seems pretty clear the Strathmere Group, with the leadership of Gerald Butts in respect to this particular declaration, will brag they have been successful at achieving it. It was done with great pain to taxpayers, ratepayers, Canadian families and our business community with an emphasis on small and medium sized companies who due to the financial effects of escalating costs lost their competitiveness or moved to a more welcoming community.  

What they actually accomplished was neither the creation of “clean energy jobs” or increased “prosperity”!

UN doomsday scenario more bogus fearmongering

I was on 960 AM this morning on the Marc Patrone show and we discussed the release of the UNIPCC’s latest release forecasting more doom and gloom coming to us via “climate change”. This forecast is similiar to all the prior ones going back to the formation of the UN Environment Programme when Maurice Strong was the Programme Director and released the 1972 report. We covered a fair amount of ground and talked a short while about “tree planting” in Canada related to Trudeau’s promise to Greta Thunberg in 2019 that Canada would plant two billion trees. You can tune in on the podcast for August 10, 2021 starting at 48:13 up to 1:05:58 here:

For those who subscribe to NEWSTALK CANADA you can listen here:

https://newstalkcanada.com/?page_id=2527

Strange Things that Caught My Eye Over the Recent Week

Should you, as I do, consider recent events to be off the scale of normal, it is worth pondering the cause!  Is it related to the Covid-19 pandemic, climate change, the “woke” generation, government bureaucrats or those in political power or perhaps a combination of some or all of them?  Some recent examples:

Planting Trees in Brampton as Part of Two Billion Trees                                                                             

I’m sure most will recall just before the last Federal election in 2019 our PM Trudeau met with Greta Thunberg and promised her we would plant 2 billion trees.  Well, it appears the process, under the Minister of Natural Resources, Seamus O’Regan has finally started according to a press release on August 4, 2021 which contained the following:

Today, Maninder Sidhu, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of International Development and Member of Parliament for Brampton East, on behalf of the Honourable Seamus O’Regan Jr., Minister of Natural Resources, announced $1,280,000 to the City of Brampton in support of the Government of Canada’s plan to plant two billion trees over 10 years. This project will see 8,000 trees planted across the region this year and contribute to the rehabilitation of the city’s urban tree canopy.”

Quick math on the cost per tree being planted comes to $160.00 each meaning if Minister O’Regan Jr. continues at this level the total cost to Canada’s taxpayers will be $320 billion for the 2 billion trees. Those 8,000 trees will, eventually, absorb about 174 tons of CO2 meaning the cost per ton of emissions removal is about $7,400. Pretty sure O’Regan could have purchased “carbon offsets” for a few dollars each from former Governor of the Bank of Canada, Mark Carney and saved the taxpayers money!

CONFIDENCE IN CHARITY LEADERS HAS FALLEN SHARPLY OVER THE LAST TWO DECADES – WHAT DOES THAT MEAN FOR THE SECTOR?

In late June Charity Village released a report that tracked “four research streams that asked about perceptions of charity leaders over time, representing 27 distinct surveys.” The surveys cited go back as far as 2000.  One of the comments in their report stated: “In 2000, 27% of Canadians reported a lot of trust or confidence in charity leaders, but in the Environics Institute’s research, only 8% reported having a lot of confidence in 2020,”. Another finding was, “between 2009 and 2020, confidence in charity leaders dropped by 22 percentage points, compared to only eight percentage points for business leaders, six for union leaders, and three for government leaders.” The preceding findings may (in my mind) be a reflection of the growth in eco-charities who provide no real charitable benefits to those in need and are well funded by domestic and foreign charitable foundations. The former includes many of Canada’s colleges and universities with departments focused on “climate change”! Needless to say, the drop in confidence has resulted in fewer Canadian tax filers donating: “In 2000, 25.5% of Canadian tax filers reported charitable donations, but by 2018 it was only 19.4%.” 

Toyota CEO Agrees With Elon Musk: We Don’t Have Enough Electricity to Electrify All the Cars

Toyota’s CEO at the company’s year-end press conference in mid-December 2020 said; “The current business model of the car industry is going to collapse. The more EVs we build, the worse carbon dioxide gets…When politicians are out there saying, ‘Let’s get rid of all cars using gasoline; do they understand this?” 

Interestingly enough, Elon Musk, the founder of Tesla just a couple of weeks earlier noted “Increasing the availability of sustainable energy is a major challenge as cars move from combustion engines to battery-driven electric motors, a shift which will take two decades, Musk said in a talk hosted by Berlin-based publisher Axel Springer.”  Musk also said; “electricity consumption will double if the world’s car fleets are electrified, increasing the need to expand nuclear, solar, geothermal and wind energy generating sources.” In respect to “wind energy” it is interesting to note the Global Wind Energy Council in an article claimed, at the end of 2020 there were “743 GW of wind power capacity worldwide”.  To put that in perspective the Federal Government’s “Canadian Centre for Energy Information” tells us at the end of 2017 Canada’s total electricity capacity was 145,214 MW which is only 145.2 GW! 

As industrial wind turbine’s (IWT) life span is around 20 years we should expect about 50% of those in operation globally will reach their end-of-life in the next 10 years and the rest by the time Musk forecasts capacity must double.   Approximately the same life-span applies to solar panel and batteries for storage. Those politicians and Musk should also understand the USA in 2020 generated 60.3% of it’s electricity consumption from fossil fuels!  I would therefore suggest the “politicians” cited by Toyota’s CEO along with Musk himself have no understanding of what EV will do to the electricity system globally and why both are way off base and have no bearing on getting us to “net-zero” emissions by 2050!

Hydro One submits five-year Investment Plan to the Ontario Energy Board to energize life for communities

Just a few days ago Hydro One issued a press release announcing they had submitted a 5 year plan to the OEB (Ontario Energy Board) seeking approval to spend $17 billion over that time to reputedly: “reduce the impacts of power outages for its distribution customers by approximately 25 per centand “enable economic growth and prepare for the impacts of climate change.” The proposed capital expenditures are about double what they have been over the past several years (eg: 2019 was $1.667 billion and 2020 was $1.878 billion).  The press release claims “If approved, the five-year Investment Plan will have bill impacts below the expected rate of inflation, with the monthly bill for a typical year-round residential customer increasing by an average of $1.68 each year from 2023 to 2027.” Reviewing the OEB’s Yearbook of Distributors to get a sense of how those “power outages” compare due to “defective equipment” the 2015 report states the hours interrupted due to “defective equipment” were over 4.6 million hours and in 2019 (2020 report is not yet published) they had dropped to just under 4.4 million hours.  Since 2015 Hydro One’s residential customer base also increased by 60,000 so hours per customer have dropped.

As a former banker I don’t believe the approximately $2 million the 1,2 million residential customers will cough up at the suggested $1.68 annual increase will be sufficient to pay the interest on the $1.9 billion of new debt (the foregoing additional debt assumes Hydro One will maintain is debt to equity ratio at 2020 year-end levels) they will incur annually.  By 2027 it will be a pipe dream!

Let us all hope the OEB does its job for the benefit of Hydro One’s customer base of which I am one.

Let’s thank our lucky stars Hydro One was not allowed to buy Avista

While on the subject of Hydro One it should remind all that back a few years ago they were intent on purchasing Avista Corporation via an all-cash purchase at $53 (US) per share.  The total cost for the all-cash offer was estimated at Cdn$6.7 billion.  The closing price on Avista’s stock on Friday July 7, 2021 and over three years after the purchase offer was $42.67 (US).  At the time the purchase offer was made Glen Thibeault was the Ontario Minister of Energy and was keen on the takeover saying: “One of the benefits of broadening the ownership of Hydro One was to unlock the potential for precisely this sort of transaction,”.  Thibeault went on to say; “As the single largest shareholder in Hydro One, the Ontario government would benefit from the company’s receipt of additional regulated returns expected to begin in 2019. Those benefits will be above and beyond the proceeds already attributed to the Ontario Trillium Trust as a result of the IPO and subsequent secondary offerings.”

Needless to say, those of us who felt Hydro One should focus on Ontario’s ratepayers were delighted US regulators in the states where Avista operated refused the takeover. Hydro One had planned to borrow $3.4 billion and issue another $1.4 billion of debentures convertible into Hydro One shares which would have, in all probability, detrimentally impacted all of their existing Ontario ratepayers.

Conclusion

Unfortunately, it appears those we elect as our representative politicians often are more influenced by those lobbying them continually such as the “climate change” advocates or they bow to the bureaucrats who are the beneficiaries of our tax dollars for their pay. Combine the foregoing with the “woke” generation screaming and their mainstream media support along with the push for globalization and we should unfortunately recognize what is continuing to happen appears to be the “new normal”!