What’s Best at emissions control; Trees, Wind Farms or Solar Farms?

It is amusing to do a Google search with the simple words:  trees cut down to have solar farms, or trees cut down to have wind farms. The former generates over 26 million hits and the latter over 88 million.  Examining just a few dozen from either search alerts you to how convoluted and twisted the eco-warriors are about the either/or arguments in respect to; clearing trees or not clearing them to erect those IWT (industrial wind turbines) or lay down solar panels!

Leading to the searches was an article out of India titled:  “Felling of trees for solar power plants in Jodhpur raises hackles of locals, environmentalists”.  What catches the eye is the sentence: “While solar parks are being encouraged for providing clean energy, environmentalists and local communities in Rajasthan are concerned over their impact on the natural vegetation of the desert state.”  Wow, are people finally catching on?

A few of the Searches Catching the Eye on Solar Farms

A Korea Herald article from April 2019 noted “Since the government strongly pushed for solar power business in 2017, 4,407 hectares of forest have been damaged, 15 times the space of the Yeouido area of Seoul,”. It noted 2 million trees had been cut down to make way for solar panels and went on to state it was the opposition politicians of the Liberty Korea Party’s view that renewable energy shouldn’t be a replacement for nuclear energy.  Interestingly enough a recent announcement indicated Korea will expand its nuclear power in order to meet its climate targets.

Another article from May 2015 said Six Flags amusement park were seeking to clear-cut 90 acres for a solar farm in Central New Jersey to power their park but they received push-back from several environmental groups including the New Jersey Conservation Foundation. Those environmental groups even filed a lawsuit against Six Flags and the solar developer.  Amusingly the article went on to note; “The lawsuit was filed on the same day as a legislative panel in Trenton approved an aggressive ramping up of how much electricity in the state must come from renewable energy, a goal endorsed by most environmental groups.” The lawsuit was somewhat effective and wasn’t settled until 2018 and Six Flags was only allowed to clear-cut 40 acres so had to cover some of their parking lots with solar panels.

Yet another article from February 7, 2019 announced Georgetown University of Maryland was planning to get nearly half of its electricity power from solar power and went on to note:  “However, the university drew ire when it was announced that the solar farm it would construct in Nanjemoy, Maryland, would require clearing 210 acres of forested land on a peninsula near the Potomac River.  That raised the hackles of the environmentalists resulting in push-back. As a result; “Bonnie Bick, the political chair of the Southern Maryland Sierra Cluban organization famous for fighting for emission reduction with renewable energy – said, “I’m very much in favor of solar, but the solar needs to be properly sited. The question is not forest or solar, it’s where is the proper place to install solar?”  The push-back worked and Maryland blocked the project which resulted in the University instead contracting with existing solar farms in Maryland to purchase power from them under a PPA (power purchase agreement).

 A few of the Searches Catching the Eye on Wind Farms

One of the early finds in the Google search was one titled “A green paradox: Deforesting the Amazon for wind energy in the Global North” and curiosity piqued; it was viewed. The sub-heading was more enticing as it stated: “A shift to wind energy is leaving a trail of destruction in Ecuador, with a brutal impact on Indigenous communities and fragile ecosystems”. Reading the article, one discovers that the “trail of destruction” has been caused by the demand for balsa wood, a major component in the construction of wind turbine blades due to it being flexible and yet hard, while also being both light and resilient.  The article states: “The increased demand led to the deforestation of virgin balsa in the Amazon basin, in what came to be known as ‘balsa fever’. Balseros began to illegally deforest virgin balsa from the islands and banks of the Amazonian rivers in an effort to overcome the shortage of cultivated wood. This has had a terrible impact on the Indigenous peoples of the Ecuadorian Amazon,” The demand for balsa has come from both Europe and China.  The article claimed; “In 2019, Ecuador exported $219m worth of balsa wood, up 30% from the previous record in 2015. In the first 11 months of 2020, it exported $784m worth.”  It sure appears the push by eco-warriors and their political followers to reach “net-zero” is “leaving a trail of destruction” and the Indigenous communities on the Amazon basin by clear-cutting those balsa wood trees.

A series of articles about Scotland’s push to create wind power also disclosed how it resulted in clear-cutting 17,283 acres and wiping out 14,000,000 trees to save the planet.  The foregoing claim was also backed up by a citizen inquiry to the Scottish Forestry arm of the Government who provided a partial response which stated “The area of felled trees in hectares, from 2000 (the date when the first scheme was developed, is 6,994 hectares. Based on the average number of trees per hectare, of 2000, this gives an estimated total of 13.9M.” For privacy reasons Scottish Forestry would not disclose the clear-cut trees or acres affected on private property.  An attempt to determine how many IWT (industrial wind turbines) were located in Scotland only seemed available on Wikipedia which said as of June 2020 they were 8,366 MW (megawatts). If the average IWT was 2 MW it suggests a total of 4,183 IWT. In order to secure the bases of those turbines scattered throughout the Scottish countryside those bases would need about 500 tons of concrete to secure each of them. That results in over 2 million tons of cement scattered underground throughout Scotland’s countryside. We should all wonder how that will save the planet from “global warming”?  There has been lots of push-back from Scottish anti-wind groups for years but without much success until very recently when ministers actually refused planning permission for a 39 turbine wind farm in the Highlands’ Monadhliath mountains as it would have a “significant visual impact”.

Perhaps the Scottish politicians were enamored by the fact it was a Scottish engineer, James Blyth who first generated electricity via a wind turbine back in 1887 to power the lights in his cottage but we will probably never know why they bought into the concept?

Conclusion

It seems obvious that not only are wind and solar generation intermittent and unreliable but are also costly and detrimental to forestry and all the nature existing in the forests they decimate.  They have done absolutely nothing to alter the climate under the pretext of saving the planet from climate change.

One should surmise, trees; not solar panels or IWT, are much better at reducing emissions so, STOP the push to replace the world’s forest with those unreliable energy sources!

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!  

Canada’s Emissions per billions of dollars of GDP and Per Person have fallen (except for Prime Minister Trudeau and his sheeple)

As the UN COP26 Conference got rolling on November 1, 2021 politicians took the stage to make their announcements about what their country would do to save the world from global disintegration caused by that dreaded “climate change”.  Canada’s Prime Minister stepped up and the highlights of his presentation were embodied in the announcement on the PM’s website which contained the following:

The Prime Minister today announced that Canada is the first major oil-producing country moving to capping and reducing pollution from the oil and gas sector to net zero by 2050. To help do this at a pace and scale needed to achieve the shared goal of net zero by 2050, the government will set 5-year targets, and will also ensure that the sector makes a meaningful contribution to meeting Canada’s 2030 climate goals. In a letter sent today from Ministers Guilbeault and Wilkinson, the government is seeking the advice of the Net-Zero Advisory Body on how best to move forward on this approach.

Trudeau’s pronouncement at COP26 was old news though as back on November 19, 2020 in Ottawa he stepped outside to announce the 2050 net-zero target while his then Minister of the Environment and Climate Change (MECC), Jonathon Wilkinson, tabled the legislation in the House of Commons.  In February 2021 Wilkinson announced the “Net-Zero Advisory Body ”. Needless to say, it is impossible to find any of those named to NZAB with a dissenting opinion to either the PM or his prior or current MECC Ministers and their overall belief in mankind’s ability to control the climate!

It is worth mentioning the current MECC Minister, Steven Guilbeault, took 29 of his current ministerial staff to COP26, suggesting he was deathly afraid of being questioned about something (related to “climate change”) out of his depth of knowledge.  It also seems strange Ministry staff are not capable of telling the Minister and his boss, Justin Trudeau, how to achieve those “net-zero” targets! Were their “skill sets” not a requirement of employment in the MECC?

Falling emissions

Finding Canada’s emission statistics is not difficult and a report from the Canadian Energy Centre from July 26, 2021 has data defining how Canada’s emissions compare to the rest of the world and how we have done since the year 2000.

Their report shows Canada’s emissions per unit of GDP have fallen by 30 per cent since 2000 and notes:Between 2000 and 2019, GHG emissions in Canada fell from 0.5 MT of CO2e per billion dollars of GDP to 0.35 MT, a decline of 30 per cent”.  The report references Environment and Climate Change Canada (ECCC) as the data source. 

The CEC report also states Canada’s emission intensity per person has also fallen since 2000. It notes: “Between 2000 and 2019, GHG emissions in Canada fell from 23.9 tonnes of CO2e per person to 19.4 tonnes, a decline of 19 per cent”.  The report again references ECCC as the data source.

If one ventures to the ECCC website it is easy to confirm the CEC’s claims and at the same time find other interesting information on the source of emissions. The ECCC report dated April 2021 also has the following chart that clearly shows what the CEC reported but The ECCC has emissions data going back two decades; 1990 to 2019.

The ECCC report states: “Between 1990 and 2019, crude oil production more than doubled in Canada. This was mostly driven by a rapid increase in production from the oil sands, which are more GHG-intensive than conventional sources

Specifically, the ECCC report says; “Between 1990 and 2019, GHG emissions from conventional oil production have increased by 20%, while emissions from oil sands production have increased by 468%.”

What the ECCC report doesn’t tell you however is oil sands bitumen production from 1990 to 2019 increased from 123K barrels per day to 1,549K barrels per day or 1,159%! Obviously, oil sands producers have done an impressive job of curbing emissions.

By avoiding the foregoing major fact, the ECCC report intentionally obscures the contribution to the Canadian economy by the oil sands.  It appears the intent may be to negatively influence media reports from the CBC and others who receive taxpayer support!

Minister Steven Guilbeault should take the 29 staff members of his Ministry we taxpayers paid for to travel to Glasgow and start planting some of those two billion trees Trudeau once again promised to do at COP26 much as he did when he met with Greta Thunberg back in September 2019!

Let’s see the Trudeau government set “targets” to plant those trees to “ensure that the” Minister of the Environment and Climate Change “makes a meaningful contribution to meeting Canada’s 2030 climate goals”!

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”!  

What Caught my Eye this Past Week or so!

Not sure if it’s the lock-down or just a normal week but a few things caught my eye because they seemed out of place and interesting.  Here they are!

Russia to Offer Carbon Credits With Far East Digital Forest Platform

I happened to read an article in the Moscow Times (credited to Bloomberg) claiming, “Russia is creating a digital platform to collect satellite and drone data on its vast forests in the Far East with the aim of offering them on the carbon offset market.” What that implies iswhen it launches later in 2021, will allow the government to lease sections of forest to enterprises, which can then invest in planting new trees or protecting existing ones.” 

What came to mind after reading the article is the opportunity something similar could do for Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau who promised that young Swedish “climate change” warrior, Greta Thunberg, he would plant 2 billion trees. The answer to his prayers perhaps, as he has been far too busy at his Rideau cottage to actually plant anything since the pandemic broke. He could also unleash the same concept on Canadian businesses to do what the Russian’s propose as between the Federal and Provincial governments about 89% of the land (almost 8.9 million square kilometers) in Canada is owned by either the Federal or Provincial governments.  He will just have to tell them where to plant the trees.

The other thing that struck me was as Canada’s forests are the 2nd largest (347 million hectares versus Russia’s 763 million) in the world why not make the same claim they did!  Russia claims their forests absorb 38% of their emissions so, based on that premise; Canada’s forests would be absorbing about 140 million tonnes which would bring us very close to our 2030 emissions target.  The Trudeau led government has increased the carbon tax imposed on all Canadians to $170/tonne by the time 2030 arrives so, adopting Russia’s concept would allow them to cancel future “carbon tax” increases.  Yahoo!

IESO Board Determination on a Market Rule Amendment

The second thing that caught my eye came from Ontario’s IESO (Independent Electricity System Operator).  IESO manage Ontario’s electricity grid doing what they can to ensure we are not impacted by brownouts or blackouts as Texas recently experienced. IESO announced: “A market rule amendment proposal to limit the IESO indemnity to losses caused by gross negligence, subject to the current limitations on recoverable damages, was adopted by the IESO Board of Directors and is currently planned to take effect on May 3, 2021.”  

Outward appearances suggest should events (blackouts) similar to what happened in Texas occur in Ontario, IESO want to limit potential lawsuits to actions proving “gross negligence” only!  ERCOT, the Texas grid operator is facing many huge lawsuits due to the winter storm the week of February 14, 2021 so presumably this is what inspired IESO to amend this Market Rule.

 Ontario should follow the recent Texas lead

Texas’s political leaders have reflected on the recent blackout and about two weeks ago, the Texas Senateunanimously approved a bill that would slap fines of up to $1 million a day against electricity and natural gas companies that balk at weatherizing facilities and would set up a system for warning the public about the risk of impending blackouts similar to one now used for hurricanes.”

As one would expect the renewable energy crowd, big tech and the financial institutions are upset about the bill but it appears to be a great idea following the review on the causes of the blackout. 

While Ontario’s electricity system is fully weatherized, the precedents of the Texas bill do open up an interesting possible act here in Ontario.  What is suggested is an act to reduce our costs of electricity!  Our Minister of Energy, Northern Development and Mines, Greg Rickford should consider an act penalizing renewable energy generating surplus electricity during low demand times such as the middle of the night or on weekends.  That surplus energy creates huge losses as IESO are forced to sell or curtail our surpluses (to avoid blackouts) to NY, Michigan, etc. at very low rates which are subsidized by Ontario ratepayers. Those events cause Ontario’s ratepayers to pay considerably more than $1 million a day. Here is an opportunity to reduce those ratepayer/taxpayer costs but let’s up the costs to generators to $5 million per day!

The time has come for Minister Rickford to act and deliver on the promise to reduce electricity rates by the 12% we were told would happen should the Ford led OPC party be elected. Here is the chance for them to prove they meant what they promised to those who voted for them!

Maine transmission lines, Texas Cold Snap and Tree Planting

For some reason I forgot to let you all know that I was once again on the Marc Partone Show on SAUGA 960 AM on Monday February 22, 2021 and Marc and I covered several topics. They naturally included some chatter about what happened in Texas, the transmission line to connect Hydro Quebec with Massachusetts running through Maine and tree planting. Our conversation starts at 46:45 in the podcast.

Here is the link to the Marc Patrone podcasts:

Podcasts

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau; How Dare You

Back on September 27, 2019 a Swedish teenager, Greta Thunberg spent 15 minutes speaking with Prime Minister Trudeau and during the chat she reportedly told him; “he is not doing enough to fight climate change”! Later that day Trudeau took part in the “Global Climate Strike” in Montreal along with Greta and at some point, during the day, promised to plant 2 billion trees to help reduce global emissions, should his government be re-elected.

Well, we know they were re-elected with a minority but face no opposition on the purported upcoming pandemic, referenced as; “climate change”!  The question then becomes; how’s that tree planting coming along as it’s now 17 months since your promise to Greta?

As it turns out the Ministry of Natural Resources has finally developed a questionnaire related to Trudeau’s promise.  It’s a 12 page “Request for Information” which asks a series of 26 questions (some with several parts) and even includes one on your company/group’s “Diversity and Inclusion” (not sure what the latter has to do with planting trees). The deadline for submission is March 25, 2021.

It took the Ministry 17 months to develop the questionnaire but they expect responses should only take just over a month. 

Perhaps Trudeau and his cabinet were far too busy working on sourcing Covid-19 vaccines (sarcasm intended) to follow up on his promise or; should it be blamed on Jonathan Wilkinson, Minister of the Environment and Climate Change? Wilkinson included the cost ($3.16 billion) to plant those trees in his December 11, 2020 report titled “A Healthy Environment and a Healthy Economy”?   Why so long to calculate the costs and so precise (rounding to $3.2 billion would represent less than 1.3% of the estimated total costs), with a government who have been unable to table a budget for two years?

Had Trudeau actually done some research before meeting with Greta he would have discovered a Washington Post article from 2015 contained global tree counts by country and it stated;  Canada had 318.3 billion trees second only to Russia!  It went on to note, “There are a whopping 8,953 trees per person in Canada” placing us # 1 In the world whereas Sweden is well down the list with only 3,200 trees per person.  Had he gone further he would have also found out on another measure that Canada ranks third in “Forest area by hectares” after only Russia and Brazil.

We are # 1 in the world but Trudeau wants to up the count by another 600/700 trees per person at a cost of approximately $4,000 in additional taxes supplied by an average family of four. We should truly wonder how that in any way benefits Canada when China has only 102 trees per person and Greta (to the best of this writer’s knowledge) has not challenged them.

Canada’s Ministry of Natural Resources states Canada has 347 million hectares of forest (40% of its total land mass of 979 million hectares) and 77% of them are on Provincial Crown Land.  The other issue is availability of the 1.5/2 million hectares required for the 2 billion trees! Presently that amount of land is not available! Is the plan to reclaim land currently used for agricultural purposes? Will farmers be required to allow their land to be used or acquired, at what cost recognizing that would harm our agricultural sector?  One should assume the Ministry of Natural Resources has not included those costs in their estimates!

What Prime Minister Trudeau should have done is simply told the “how dare you” teenager from Sweden, she and other Swedes, should get busy planting trees!  Instead, he bailed and Canadian taxpayers will wind up paying the price.

To reiterate, on behalf of all Canadians; how dare you, Prime Minister, Trudeau!