SaskPower Correcting the Record Feels Like Lying

Letter: carbon capture project doesn't double cost of electricity

Mike Marsh, president and CEO of Sask-Power, writes:
…The technology at Boundary Dam is the first of its kind and, as with other technologies, we expect the price to drop as it develops. The BD3 CCS project is on track to meet our goal of capturing 800,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide in 2016 – equal to taking over 200,000 cars off our roads.

People are using more electricity than before and we need to expand our fleet. We also need to invest in costlier forms of generation to meet challenges presented by climate change and record growth. These types of investment will impact rates, but to suggest CCS doubles rates is simply false.

SaskPower never had commitment to sell 100 per cent of C02 to Cenovus

They were spreading misinformation about solar power just the other week. This is the organization whose VP told me solar wouldn’t be cost effective for utilities in the “northern hemisphere”, as Spain already had a utility solar plant in production, and many more have since been built all over North America.

ADDED:

SaskPower was just “required to supply a minimum volume of CO2 to Cenovus, with Cenovus having the option to buy 100 per cent of production”, Wall’s office said, adding the contract was renegotiated and that Watson’s 2013 comments “were aspirational at the time, not reflective of the contract that was signed in the end.”

In no small irony, this information came to the Leader-Post the same day the newspaper ran a letter to the editor from current SaskPower president and CEO Mike Marsh, who felt he needed to “correct the record” on “misinformation about the cost of carbon capture and storage.”

Leader Post Sees Coal Future As Reality

The Leader Post published my letter, and a couple weeks later Murray Mandryk cites the same inexplicable 30-40 years canard. He also makes the same conclusion as Johnstone, which is to not cut our losses on the project.

“Even some strident environmental groups recognize clean coal technology”
Can anyone name even one?

“replacement of dirty coal with clean energy (wind, hydro and solar) comes at a substantial cost we cannot instantly bear.”
Wind Water Solar 100% conversion costs less than #climatechange and other air pollution costs on society, actually.

“The simple reality is, as Wall has repeatedly noted, 40 per cent of world’s electrical needs still come from coal-powered generation. And this will remain the reality for the next three or four decades.”
Why do Leader Post columnists insist on pushing this false “reality”, which it’s actually a prediction about power sources that we must make incorrect if we’re to avoid damaging climate change? The reality remains that if all built coal plants continue to operate until their constructed Ends of Life, we’ll end life as we know it on Earth. The International Energy Agency has calculated this about coal plants, at least 6 years ago when their calculations gave us a deadline of 2015 to stop building new coal plants to avoid 2 degrees of warming.

Take Your Mind Off Things

Sometimes The Beaverton really understands me.

This morning on CBC Morning Edition, Sheila Coles had Mark Jacobson as a guest. He’s a Stanford professor who I mentioned in my letter to the editor a couple weeks ago. Anyway, I learned a lot of great points about transitioning to a Wind, Water, Solar (WWS) electrical system for Canada. It was a report basically making the point I brought up last week here about Brad Wall. The contrast between the informative and interesting interviews CBC provides compared to the hit music of other stations, is really stark.

Gas Production, not Power Byproduct

This clip makes it seem as if CCS is more about producing gas to enhance oil recovery, and not so much about trapping a dangerous byproduct of dirty electricity production.

As a result of the renegotiation though, Cenovus is not required to take 100 per cent of the CO2 output, meaning less revenue coming into SaskPower.

Marsh said Cenovus is buying “more than 50 per cent of the production, but I’m not going to give you an exact figure.”

He said specifics of the new deal won’t be disclosed, citing a confidentiality agreement.

Marsh said Boundary Dam is capturing about 2,700 to 2,800 tonnes of CO2 each day, or a little less than 90 per cent of the output of which it’s supposed to be capable.

Production has been slowed, he said, because Cenovus “does not need the full amount, so we don’t need to produce the full amount.”

Why would production of gas be slowed? Wouldn’t it depend entirely upon how much electrical demand there is, not demand for the waste carbon dioxide? After all, BD3 has been sold to the public as a means of offsetting greenhouse gas production of coal electricity. If gas is produced, just store it, right?

I hope the geniuses at SaskPower and the Sask Government calculated the lost revenue from selling less gas to Cenovus, and we’re not going to lose more than $91Million from the renegotiation. Because they won’t give us the figure roughly between 50-90%, calculation may be harder for the public to confirm they didn’t screw up again to the tune of millions.

Is the Premier still planning on selling this technology if it depends upon a hidden sale value the public can’t even see now?

UPDATE: And important update is now available to this story

 

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Oil’s Four Letter Word Defender

Brad Wall seems to only ever be speaking to oil executives about oil and gas. Does he understand anything else? Are there any examples of our Premier meeting recently with organizations other than Big Oil and Gas? Anytime he’s trying to boost the province’s economy, it’s coal this, oil that.

Meanwhile, the renewable energy sector is growing significantly, and BP the petrol company, admits that it’s competing with fossil fuels already. Yet, how many renewable energy companies has Wall courted to come and provide manufacturing jobs in Saskatchewan? I bet it’s a goose egg.

Brad Wall claims the most powerful companies (Big Oil) on the planet are under an “existential threat” from such powers as the Raging Grannies and the Sierra Club.

Don’t know if he’s checked their comparative bank accounts or the number of oil lobbyists checking into the Prime Minister’s inbox over say, the last 100 years, but he’s out of touch with reality.

His hack calls plans to deal with pollution “a set of incredibly stupid proposals that would lock in poverty for all Sask people and families”, but makes budget cuts to poverty reduction programs. No,  Wall thinks the Sierra Club and Naomi Klein are coming for Saskatchewan’s economy. He’s attempting to portray good people as boogeymen, so he can ‘protect’ us and be the hero.

The Government of Saskatchewan released the Poverty Reduction Strategy on Wednesday (Feb. 24, 2016).

The strategy aims to reduce the number of people who experience poverty for two years or more by 50 per cent by the end of 2025.

“We’re going to need a lot of help from community based organizations, from the community, from all levels of government,” Social Services Minister Donna Harpauer said.

Mandryk about Wall’s speech to Big Oil in Calgary:

Wall must do more than shill for the oil industry

“That might seem alarmist or overly dramatic, but it’s not,” Wall said.

Well, sir, it was both alarmist and overly dramatic.

“”It’s not borne of science. It doesn’t respect the reality of where our energy sector is at in this country or even its proportionate share of global emissions in the case of climate change,” Wall said.”

Sorry Wall. That excuse sounds like you’ve been caught peeing in someone’s pool, and you say the reality is that the amount of pee isn’t proportionate to any problem we need to worry about, because it would have been more bothersome for you to go to a proper washroom.

Stranded Assets, Saskatchewan Style

A report by a little known government entity says what I have been saying about pipelines stranding assets:

Its overall conclusion, however, urges caution when it comes to long-term investments in pipelines and other oil and gas infrastructure.

Such investments “could be at high risk of becoming economically unviable as prices in renewable electricity further decline,” it warns.

I happened to also be writing the Leader Post to question why its columnist wrote that coal isn’t going away for a foreseeable 30-40 years!

Dear Editor:

In response to Bruce Johnstone’s “Carbon capture critics see the world the way it should be, not the way it is”, there are some apparent inaccuracies.

One needs only to look to SaskPower’s own predictions of the power mix in 2030 to learn that coal-fired generation as it exists today, will cease to exist in only 14 years. The Conservatives, hardly traditional climate change fighters, passed this into law. Johnstone’s prediction that it “is unlikely to decline significantly in the next 30 or 40 years.” seems out of step with what is most likely.
It’s unclear why a technology that doesn’t exist is listed as a possible silver bullet, rather than examining geothermal which the Premier and SaskPower both have said could come to our aid in short years.

Johnstone feels the $1.5 billion invested in CCS is a solution, but in his own words “defeat[s] its own purpose”, through its enhanced oil recovery. Isn’t it a bit like taking material to patch a hole in the bow of your boat, from the hull of the stern?

Johnstone cites MIT’s Herzog as believing “that renewables alone cannot help us achieve our climate change goals”, but there are other experts like Stanford’s Mark Z. Jacobson who believe they can. Regina’s Dr. Brett Dolter can explain other possibilities for Saskatchewan’s grid that leave coal and CCS in the past, while renewable energy sources build the province and economy.

“It is increasingly plausible to foresee a future in which cheap renewable electricity becomes the world’s primary power source and fossil fuels are relegated to a minority status,” concludes Policy Horizons Canada.
Yet Johnstone concludes with, “So it would be a huge mistake, not to mention a huge waste of taxpayers’ money, to give up on carbon capture now.”

This runs completely contrary to the advice from Policy Horizons Canada.
“[We] suggest that governments ensure that the risks of further investments in oil and gas infrastructure be borne by private interests rather than taxpayers,” the report reads.”

SaskPower is a public interest and bears the risk of CCS. While Cenovus, a private venture, benefits from the waste CO2 production.
Whose perspective is Johnstone arguing for?

Sincerely,
John Klein
Regina

http://leaderpost.com/opinion/columnists/johnstone-carbon-capture-critics-see-the-world-the-way-it-should-be-not-the-way-it-is

Alternate shorter version below, the word limit was 250, instead of 350.:
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Wall’s Government Denies Climate Change

Wall had the Lieutenant Governor read to the Legislature that opposition to climate change is a “misguided dogma” in his throne speech.

https://you.leadnow.ca/petitions/tell-saskatchewan-s-premier-to-stop-denying-climate-change-and-act

The Premier and the Sask Party are making it government policy that a contributing factor in the wildfires that caused thousands of refugees to flee their homes last year in Saskatchewan, is actually a hoax intended to harm our economy. A misguided dogma contributed to the partial razing of Fort MacMurrray, chasing almost a hundred thousand people from their homes and jobs?

“Lots of talk about the environment,” Wall grumbled [at COP21] in Paris. “But not a lot of talk about the economy right now.”

That’s Wall’s usual response whenever climate change comes up: portray the issue as a false choice between the environment and the economy.

But even Wall’s old friend Preston Manning thinks that line of argument is tired and worn out.

Let’s entertain Wall’s ridiculous claim for a moment, and say that climate change and shifting to a low-carbon economy are not based in reality. What is his government doing with official webpages devoted to something he now claims is not real? Is his “God bless” multiple times at the end of his speech not enough evidence that he’s actually a fan of some dogma not based in reality?

“In a world where China and India are going to continue to build new coal (plants), we think that Canada can contribute to the global effort on climate change by cleaning it up, making it cleaner than natural gas even,” said Wall.

Why has Wall spent $1,500,000,000 on purportedly reducing climate change gas emissions to clean what he yesterday claimed is a “misguided dogma’ designed to rob people of work? From his misguided, indefensible perspective, is he admitting to investing over a billion dollars into a job stealing scam?

From a Government webpage:
Wall said CCS has a pivotal role to play in the mitigation of climate change […]”, “some misguided dogma that has no basis in reality.

On CBC:
“I don’t know how Saskatchewan can be an outlier in this when we are offering a potential solution,” to “some misguided dogma that has no basis in reality.”

What’s the Premier’s reaction to being called out for his attack on climate science, and the people supporting action based on it? More defiance in supposed defence of carbon burning jobs that help make us a world leader in emissions per capita.

His speech tone was very much like the one he uses when talking with Big Oil executives, and unlike the more balanced tone when speaking more publicly with people less biased toward carbon-burning industries.
I was reminded of this gaffe: