Canada 100% Renewable Electricity by 2030?

Read this, and think of Energy East pipeline Brad Wall is pushing hard for.

Most of the globe’s coal, natural gas and oil investments will ultimately be affected by the transition, Seba suggest, at risk of becoming “stranded assets” — resources that lose their value before the expected end of their economic life.

“They are going to be stranded over the next five to 15 years,” he maintains. “It’s not going to take us over 40 years.”

Saskatchewan could strand assets, or we could build the future starting now.

Solutions Project calculates that 70 per cent of all the net new electricity generation in the U.S. last year was from wind and solar; another 25 per cent came from natural gas.

Meanwhile in Europe, Jacobson says if you look at the net gains minus losses, “100 per cent of new generation was from clean-energy sources.”

Here are some figures regarding present energy and electricity use across Canada.

And here’s a cool one about solar:

“At this point, 20 U.S. states have reached what economists call “grid parity” for solar power: the point at which solar energy costs no more than fossil fuels. Energy research company GTM estimates 42 states will reach that point by 2020.”

Stanford business professor Tony Seba, …whose advice has been sought in boardrooms from Tokyo to Paris, is confident that solar and wind are key to sweeping away the industrial age of transportation and energy — and fast. He suggests we can reach that magic number of 100 per cent within 15 years.

“The solar-installed capacity has doubled every two years since the year 2000. Doubled every two years,” he says. “If you keep doubling that capacity, all you need is seven more doublings in order for solar to be 100 per cent of the world’s energy supply.”

For math lightweights, that’s 7 times 2 years. 14 years from now is 2030. If you go out tonight and get pregnant, by the time the child becomes a teenager, Canada could have no coal plants, or natural gas plants in operation to produce our electricity. That’s awesome!

Boundary Dam 3 CCS Could have Cost Less and Been Solar

SaskPower writes about its comparably sized “clean coal” project:

This project transformed the aging [sic] Unit #3 at Boundary Dam Power Station near Estevan, Saskatchewan into a reliable, long-term producer of up to 115 megawatts (MW) of base-load electricity, capable of reducing greenhouse gas emissions by up to one million tonnes of carbon dioxide (CO2) each year, the equivalent of taking more than 250,000 cars off Saskatchewan roads annually.

– Emphasis mine.

Before the Boundary Dam CCS plant was to be built, CBC reported:

The new generating unit will have a capacity of 110 megawatts.

Q: But the sun doesn’t shine every day, and not at night. Clean Coal can be burned any time, right?

A: SaskPower admits:

Our [SaskPower’s] target is to operate [Boundary Dam CCS] for 85% of the hours in the year, leaving room for scheduled and unscheduled maintenance.

Outside Las Vegas, see the Crescent Dunes Solar Energy Project

But a massive new solar plant, sprawling over 1,670 acres near Las Vegas, was designed to solve that problem. It provides energy on demand, even when it’s dark.

“Whether it’s in the daytime or the nighttime, it provides base-load stable power,” says Kevin Smith, CEO of SolarReserve, the company that built the new plant. “If you get a bit of cloud cover that goes across at three o’clock in the afternoon, we’re always drawing out of storage, so we continue to operate at 110 megawatts. We don’t miss a beat, and the utility doesn’t see any fluctuations in the power output over the day.”

-Emphasis again mine, to compare to Boundary Dam 3 CCS.

Q: But I thought solar couldn’t provide “baseload”, that’s what SaskPower says?

A: That will teach you how much you can trust a coal-burning utility company influenced by a political party who takes oil company donations.

The CCS plant cost SaskPower, its customers, and Canadian taxpayers $1.5 billion CAD.

Crescent Dunes cost around $1 billion [USD] to build.

At 2012 exchange rates, through to the present inequitable 140%, the most a Crescent Dunes style plant would have cost Saskatchewan for an equivalent CSP plant, would be the same $1.5 billion CAD we instead spent on Boundary Dam 3 CCS. SaskWind projects the CCS plant to lose taxpayers $1 billion in the coming decades, not counting the millions paid in penalties to Cenovus for failing to deliver greenhouse gas to them as promised.

Continue reading

Canada Falling Behind in Renewable Energy Because It’s Never The Time For Wall

Wall said. “Our principle here … is that we do no further harm to an economy that already has its hands full.”

Canada is dropping behind its major trading partners in renewable energy investment, according to a study from a clean energy advocacy group.

Merran Smith of Clean Energy Canada suggests government-set targets and goals for wind and solar power in regional energy grids is the best way to spur that investment and keep Canada in the game.

“Clean energy is taking off around the world and in the countries that we consider our markets,” she said. “This is really a wake-up call for Canada.”

Wall has set an unambitious target of only 50% renewables by 2030.

“Premier Wall said last week that Ottawa might not be allowed to impose a carbon tax on electricity-utility SaskPower, because it’s a provincial Crown corporation.”

Here’s a better effort than some I’ve seen lately* from Regina journalism:

Cenovus Energy — the oil company that most benefits from the $1.5-billion carbon capture and storage experiment at Boundary Dam — is the Sask. Party’s biggest donor. It donated $14,618 to the party in 2014, $16,852 in 2013 and $16,020 in 2012. In its previous existence as Encana, it gave the Sask. Party more than $30,000 between 2007 and 2009.

If Wall is truly appalled by the costs consumers and business might have to pay for a “carbon tax,” shouldn’t he be equally appalled at the way oil companies gouge us at the pumps with near $1-a-litre gas when oil is at $30 to $40 U.S. a barrel?

[Wall’s] Sask. Party government passed (in the spring 2010 session) environmental legislation such as the Management and Reduction of Greenhouse Gases Act.

… this Saskatchewan law would require large emitters to pay into a technology fund that would invest in technologies aimed at lower emissions. However, the Wall government hasn’t bothered to proclaim the law in regulations, largely because it said it needed to wait on Ottawa to move on its own carbon initiative.

Well, the federal government (now under the Liberals) is moving forward, so Wall owes us a bit more than that he won’t support “a carbon tax” because $30-a-barrel oil is not the right economic climate in which to discuss such laws.

And when the floods and/or forest fires hit Saskatchewan this Summer, it won’t be time to talk about the disasters in the context of climate change from our pollution contribution either. Continue reading

Wall Can’t Cut Pollution? Cut the Crap.

WEYBURN, Sask. – Saskatchewan Premier Brad Wall says a federal government cannot tax a provincial government and that might play a role in any potential national carbon tax.

Wall says he might be able to make the case that Ottawa can’t impose a carbon tax on SaskPower because it’s a Crown corporation.

OK, let’s play along in Wall’s fantasy and say Ottawa can’t “tax” the plant. They can limit pollution though, and since coal can’t cut its pollution, it simply has to close or pay large fines until SaskPower is out of money to convert our system to something clean like solar, wind, and geothermal. One way or another, the Conservatives’ restriction on coal plants is coming if not earlier if the Liberals revise the deadline. Lives are at stake, and Wall is making noises that he wants to drag his heels on saving them.

Where’s Wall’s Western Strategy Now?

It wasn’t very long ago that Brad Wall was a part of shaping western Canada. He wanted BC, Alberta, Saskatchewan, and maybe even Manitoba to agree on LCD wage and labour codes, so we could more easily trade workers around. Now that he’s surrounded by NDP provinces, he’s not involved?

http://calgaryherald.com/business/energy/alberta-manitoba-to-co-operate-on-energy-efficiency-and-climate-change

We’ve got SaskPower supposedly committed to reducing fossil fuel electricity to 50% in less than 15 years, but looking to rebuild coal plants that will strand billions in assets well into the next generation!

SaskPower has recommitted to coal, signing two contracts with Westmoreland Coal to supply 60 million tonnes from its Estevan mine to 2024 and 58 million tonnes from its Poplar River mine to 2029. Doesn’t this suggest SaskPower effectively has decided to build two more carbon capture and storage facilities at its Boundary Dam Power Station?

“it seem that a decision has been made all but officially to convert the pre-1975 units to CCS by 2020.”

Meanwhile, Brett Dolter has done an economic analysis of Saskatchewan’s electricity generation options, and one of those is to partner with Manitoba to build hydro capacity we can use.

Former Journo and Former Minister, For Good Reasons

One of my fondest memories in politics is when Prime Minister Justin Trudeau called Peter Kent a POS in the House of Commons.

Suzuki’s No Slave To The Economy

I hope we see meaningful changes in our economy, in time. There’s not a great understanding in our society that the economy is a system of resource distribution. We’ve enshrined it, even creating a phony holiday today when our retail gods go into the black.

It’s not that Canadian oil patches use slavery (don’t seem to, and they pay workers well), but an economy shouldn’t thrive on creation of injustice. An economy is supposed to create the conditions for prolonged success of people participating in it. When it’s found to be causing harm, it must change to adapt, or the harm grows and creates threats to societal success.

Yet Suzuki did offend people.

“People caught … working for the fossil-fuel industry will have to make a transition, they are not the target of my ire,” he reportedly said.

“But who would say today that the economy should’ve come before slavery?” Suzuki said.”
He could have said the same about child labour, or the factory disaster in Bhopal, India that killed tens of thousands of people. It was 50 years ago that #Nader held an industry to account for a product that was unsafe when used. Today, it’s fossil fuels.
“People dare to say it’s more important to make money?!” – Suzuki
Yes, people dare say it, just as they did when justifying child labour too.

Is seeking an analogy with which to compare an industry presently essential to our economy, yet undeniably harming our atmosphere, destined to cause offense? There are fainting couches ready all over the Saskatchewan Legislature, lest someone mention a reduction in fossil fuel output in the presence of Brad Wall. Some of those couches are staffed by the media with great big feather fans at the ready while asking if people want to “nuance” their message opposing a growing fossil industry. Does that mean we should never bring up the subject about how he’s going to meet the increase in renewable energy by 2030, if he doesn’t reduce fossil fuel dependency?

Suzuki also understands the urgent importance in reducing pollution.

About having Suzuki on his show, “Because I’m a shit disturber” – Suzuki
“The twerp in me loves it!” – Solomon
Continue reading