When The Tories Left Office

I was too young in 1991 to put the news I was hearing into context. My family had worked for months on my Dad’s campaign for the Sask Liberals in Moose Jaw, and he’d come away in second place. Roy Romanow was the new Premier of Saskatchewan, and Grant Devine would soon fade into political obscurity as some of his cabinet and other MLAs would go to jail, and in the sad case of Jack Wolfe an early grave. Future Lieutenant Governor Linda Haverstock was the only Sask Liberal MLA in the Saskatchewan Legislature.

Soon, the new hospital in Lafleche was turned into a band-aid centre; babies no longer permitted to be born there. In the next four years, my school was closed despite it costing more to bus kids to other towns than it did to run the entire school in Wood Mountain. The railway was closed and ripped out everywhere near my hometown (but not through it, because of a clean-up bylaw imposed by the Village council). Rural Saskatchewan was both dying, and being killed. The NDP were in charge, and their eyes turned to urban Saskatchewan, as they shunned their rural roots.

In 2007, The Saskatchewan Party came to power. Brad Wall was the new Premier. The NDP faded from the scene, and wherever there was big industry, private or public, they got the support of the government. Our huge resource revenues were utterly spent. There was nothing put away into a savings account, and now that oil has come crashing down, there is nothing in the tank.

Another provincial election is coming, Wall’s 2nd as Premier. Will the oil crash of 2014/15 expose how badly the province is being managed? Is Wall’s extended honeymoon over? Probably not, but now there’s a chance of him reaping what he’s sown.

SaskPower Says Bigger Is Better, Even Losses? #PowerToGrow

As a followup to the Star Phoenix’s article on the hugely expensive, and (public) money losing CCS plant at Estevan, comes word of further cost overruns. The overruns, in the hundreds of millions of dollars, would have been sufficient to buy Regina its Stadium II, outright, fix its pension shortfall, or replace its Waste Water Treatment Plant.

SaskPower has apparently been misleading people by saying we need coal for “baseload” power, when Saskatchewan’s abundant wind source, coupled with Manitoba’s hydro, could safely provide a reliable power supply to homes, schools, etc.

And it appears that viable, cleaner, lower-cost solutions are readily available. According to a recent New York Times article, the cost of utility scale wind energy is now as low at 3.7 cents a kilowatt hour (without subsidies), well under the price for conventional coal, let alone CCS.

Emissions-free wind energy could have generated the same amount of electricity as the coalfired Boundary CCS power plant at a fraction of the cost.

SaskPower argues that wind can’t replace baseload coal because electrical generation from wind is intermittent. But numerous studies have found that installing substantial amounts of variable wind energy does not require additional backup capacity.

All types of power generation require backup, even coal. All utilities, including SaskPower, have substantial backup supply. New wind capacity would rely on the backup provided by existing “idle capacity,” which in the case of SaskPower is about 40 per cent.

Most authorities agree that incorporating at least 25 per cent variable power sources like wind or solar is feasible right now, and many jurisdictions are doing just that.

But SaskPower seems committed to a fading 20th-century paradigm of large-scale generation using fossil fuels. The 21st century paradigm being adopted by progressive utilities involves a shift toward conservation, efficiency and multiple sources of renewable energy, often provided by private industry, and in some cases by thousands of small co-operatives and community investors.

In the 21st century model, the utility becomes more the manager of power supply, demand and transmission. This emerging model – which in some ways resembles the Internet – is more nimble and resilient than a traditional utility.

CCS is an attempt to keep the old model alive.

Premier Wall owes Saskatchewan at least $1,500,000,000 in renewable energy investment after gifting billions of dollars to Cenovus for oil development through CCS. It’s time to stop letting money blow through our fingers, and stop burning coal like we’re from the 19th Century.

Harper Has No Plan B

The Hill times regarding the recent plunge in oil, and unspent money on renewable energy:

Liberal MP John McKay (Scarborough-Guildwood, Ont.) said the report is evidence the government of Prime Minister Stephen Harper (Calgary Southwest, Alta.) has favoured Alberta’s oil and gas industry at the expense of other sectors.

“We’re not nearly dead last in climate change progress for nothing, we worked at it, and we worked at it by emphasizing the oil sands in preference to everything else,” he said.

“So when we have this impending oil deflation, the price of oil deflation, all of our eggs are in that basket and because all of our eggs are in that one basket, we’re just watching that basket sail down the river, and there is no plan B,” Mr. McKay said.

Export The Immigration Minister Please

It’s so fantastically shameful the Immigration Minister discriminates based on religion, denying Syrian refugees especially if they are Muslims. This would violate the Charter of Rights were these people Canadians. Not a good Christian case of “do unto others”, is it?

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http://business.financialpost.com/2013/02/18/canadas-natural-resources-ad-campaign-light-on-facts-heavy-on-patriotism/?__lsa=6aad-e563

Harper’s “crazy” Comments

Here’s an impressive takedown of the Prime Minister’s “crazy” comments in the House the other day. Since 2006 he’s promised to regulate oil and gas. Now he admits that would be “crazy”. Harper is nuts, and a liar, and he’s our Prime Minister for another year.

Who Needs Water Anyway?

A delusional remark in a CBC article:
“Canada, which has long been criticized for being heavily dependent on shipping natural resources to the rest of the world.”
Our Prime Minister, and Saskatchewan’s Premier spend millions, hundreds of millions actually, to tell Canadians and the world how many resources we should be sending elsewhere.

Estevan

Consider the stat from Gasland II, where about 60% of some wells’ casings are expected to fail within 30 years.
Naturally that stat is going to err on the sensational, but even the more conservative ~10% estimates are extremely worrying.
“Leaky plumbing on energy wells seen as threat to climate, water and resources”
“Serge Fortier has been trying for years to raise awareness about leaking wells along the St. Lawrence River. Nothing has been quite as effective as setting them on fire.

“The reaction came very rapidly,” says Fortier, an environmental activist whose fiery demonstration near Ste-Francoise has prompted the Quebec government to acknowledge it has a problem – one that regulatory officials are often not keen to discuss.” And industry officials play this ad instead of discussing the problem:
(The ad playing on the Gazette report is by TransCanada promoting their disastrous Energy East project. They claim “the more you know, the more the pipeline makes sense”, when they mean, “the more propaganda we produce you see, the more likely you’ll fall in line.”)

Basically our options are constant monitoring of hidden/lost wells that produce no more value, or STOP making new holes. Canada is making tens of thousands of new planned holes. When you’re in a hole the first step is to stop digging.
Severn Suzuki said it well at her UN speech 2 decades ago:

Are Gore, Suzuki, and Neil Young Hypocrites for Using Oil?

No. They are victims of circumstance, and despite their wealth and fame, they alone cannot change ‘the system’.

A voice from the Facebook-sphere intones: “I appreciate your commitment and respect what you are trying to achieve but bashing fossil fuels while you continue to use them adds no value to your cause.”

Not true. As Shane’s made plain, there’s no means for someone to hop off the oil bandwagon, because we’ve built our society around it for generations. It will take generations to leave it behind (completely), but that isn’t an argument to stop trying. Quite the opposite, it’s time to get started in a more serious way than the last generation.

I’m sick to death of the people mindlessly attacking people like Gore, Young, and Suzuki for “using oil” while speaking against it. Obviously they have to use mass transportation and mass communication presently available to reach people. To command that they stop today, or be hypocrites, is a very thinly veiled attempt to outright silence them.

The Blue Dot Tour

There’s a particularly nasty and brainless bunch on Twitter who earlier this year said I should shut up because I owe my life to oil. Bow down, and tremble like them before thy oily god. They owe their lives to a stable climate and clean water, so why then do they work against the availability of those supposed ‘commodities’ while using what’s left of them? These same twerps are the sorts who claim that “CO(2) isn’t a pollutant because plants eat it“, except they’d never agree to be trapped in a contained environment with “too much” of it, or contemplate its greenhouse effect.

Here are solutions to the problems we all face: