Why Did Obama Kill the #KXL Pipeline?

Everything in this article isn’t perfect, but these parts are:

Alberta’s problem is twofold: Its oilsands have been buried by fracked American oil that is both higher-value and cheaper to produce, while longer-term they face marginalization in a world committed to weaning itself off carbon.

So another pipeline isn’t needed; oilsands production won’t be expanding much in the foreseeable future, if it all. Alberta needs to figure out how to make the most of the infrastructure it has in place. Money spent on a pipeline right now would be money wasted. But Notley can’t say that aloud — not while also delivering the bad news on her province’s finances and fighting back against the implications of the so-called Leap Manifesto.

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“As long as I’m president of the United States,” Obama said as he officially pulled the plug on Keystone XL, “America is going to hold ourselves to the same high standards to which we hold the rest of the world.” Now, if Obama really wanted to have an impact on carbon emissions, he would have shut down the 500,000 barrels per day of California heavy crude — which is ‘dirtier’ than oilsands bitumen. He didn’t; he didn’t even mention it.

Saskatchewan Democracy’s Unsolved Problem Didn’t Fix Itself

Please show you support democracy in Saskatchewan.

Last Saskatchewan election, this happened instead thanks to our lackluster media ignoring the Greens who fielded a full slate of 58 candidates.

A snooze fest of a debate took place, and CBC couldn’t find anyone not involved in the broadcast who watched it. Basically it had the viewership my blog has on a Sunday morning.

I made some effort to fix the problem by showing the broadcasters there was public opposition to their method. Even newspaper columnists who usually have a rosy view of the world were disappointed in the prospects of the following four years.

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.

Wall’s Faulty Logic

“Showing leadership matters, signals matter, examples matter, but the numbers are the numbers,” Wall said.

Essentially, Wall appears to be suggesting that because no single action by itself will solve the problem, we shouldn’t take that single action.

Applying this logic to other situations reveals just how faulty it is.

When China surpasses the amount & proportion of green electricity generation of Saskatchewan, who’re we going to use as scapegoat for lagging?

Saskatchewan Royalty Is Oil?

The debate rages in Saskatchewan now about if federal money should go directly to oil companies and contractors capable of sealing defunct oil wells abandoned by irresponsible and ancient corporations. Those wells are left in the trust of our politicians, the people who tend to tell us that without oil jobs, Saskatchewan doesn’t amount to much.

Tucked away in our piggy bank is about $10 Million dollars, built up since 2007. I guess before then there was no plan to clean things up, or at least make those making the holes, pay for it. Wall’s savings are off by more than a factor of 10, because he wants over $156 Million to get the work done quickly.

Am I opposed to getting over a hundred million from the feds to clean up environmental disasters? Nope. Do I think taxpayers should bear the bulk of the burden? Heck no.

It’s clearly something oil companies both old and new should be doing for the rest of us, because of the reasons Scott lists in his video. Royalties should have been, and should now be paying for this sort of predictable mess. Budgeting of the past very clearly bequeathed this festering inheritance to us, and tough times in oil country are making it apparent just how much the Boomers and the Greatest Generation prepared for now.