LONDON — Europe’s largest bank HSBC said on Friday it would mostly stop funding new coal power plants, oilsands and arctic drilling, becoming the latest in a long line of investors to shun the fossil fuels.
Other large banks such as ING and BNP Paribas have made similar pledges in recent months as investors have mounted pressure to make sure bank’s actions align with the Paris Agreement, a global pact to limit greenhouse gas emissions and curb rising temperatures.
“We recognize the need to reduce emissions rapidly to achieve the target set in the 2015 Paris Agreement… and our responsibility to support the communities in which we operate,” Daniel Klier, group head of strategy and global head of sustainable finance, said in a statement.
As a general rule I find that most North Americans are unaware that there is a growing movement of countries that are banning new sales of vehicles powered by gasoline or diesel and may also include other fuels such as propane, compressed and LNG (liquid natural gas).
The local news is rife with plans to grow our exploitation of natural resources and build more pipelines for anticipated expansion to new markets such as China. The federal government is in the process of colluding with the petroleum industry to force the construction of a dil-bit pipeline in a densely populated region of Greater Vancouver. Meanwhile our future markets are vanishing as other governments are phasing out fossil fuels and their engines.
Image #1: A rendering of the Silent Utility Rover Universal Superstructure (SURUS) platform with truck chassis.
SURUS was designed to form a foundation for a family of commercial vehicle solutions that leverages a single propulsion system integrated into a common chassis. (1)
Fuel cell technology is a key piece of GM’s zero-emission strategy.
General Motors’ Silent Utility Rover Universal Superstructure (SURUS) is an electric vehicle platform with autonomous capabilities powered by a flexible fuel cell. GM displayed it at the fall meeting of the Association of the United States Army, as the commercially designed platform could be adapted for military use.
SURUS leverages GM’s newest Hydrotec fuel cell system, autonomous capability and truck chassis components to deliver high-performance, zero-emission propulsion to minimize logistical burdens and reduce human exposure to harm. Benefits include quiet and odor-free operation, off-road mobility, field configuration, instantaneous high torque, exportable power generation, water generation and quick refueling times. (1)
Table 1. List of Countries Banning the ICE & Timeline (2)
At an automotive conference in Tianjin, China revealed it was developing plans towards banning fossil fuel-based cars. Though China has not set a 2040 goal like the U.K. and France, it said it was working with other regulators on a time-specific ban.
“The ministry has also started relevant research and will make such a timeline with relevant departments. Those measures will certainly bring profound changes for our car industry’s development,” Xin Guobin, the vice minister of industry and information technology, said.
Both India and Norway have also said they have electric car targets set for the next few decades. India, home to heavily polluted cities, said by 2030 it plans to have vehicles solely powered by electricity. (3)
I explain this worldwide movement to the electric vehicle and the impact this will have oil markets, however, most of whom I discuss this issue with are unaware of these vital facts. In addition we are seeing growing alternate forms of power sources for our electrical grid, such as solar, wind, tidal, hydro-electric, geothermal and others.
If you ran a business that called for a major investments in capital for infrastructure, would you make it knowing that your market is non-existent? Maybe it’s time for Canadians and Americans to wake up and smell the coffee.
Figure 1: Chart showing recent drop in Diesel Car sales, AID Newsletter
“[…] Germany’s Bundesrat has passed a resolution to ban the internal combustion engine starting in 2030,Germany’s Spiegel Magazin writes. Higher taxes may hasten the ICE’s departure.
An across-the-aisle Bundesrat resolution calls on the EU Commission in Brussels to pass directives assuring that “latest in 2030, only zero-emission passenger vehicles will be approved” for use on EU roads. Germany’s Bundesrat is a legislative body representing the sixteen states of Germany. On its own, the resolution has no legislative effect. EU type approval is regulated on the EU level. However, German regulations traditionally have shaped EU and UNECE regulations.
EU automakers will be alarmed that the resolution, as quoted by der Spiegel, calls on the EU Commission to “review the current practices of taxation and dues with regard to a stimulation of emission-free mobility.”
- “Stimulation of emission-free mobility” can mean incentives to buy EVs. Lavish subsidies doled out by EU states have barely moved the needle so far.
- A “review the current practices of taxation and dues” is an unambiguously broad hint to end the tax advantages enjoyed by diesel in many EU member states. The lower price of diesel fuel, paired with its higher mileage per liter, are the reason that half of the cars on Europe’s roads are diesel-driven. Higher taxes would fuel diesel’s demise. […]
With diesel already on its tipping point in Europe, higher taxes and increased prices at the pump would be the beginning of the fuel’s end. As evidenced at the Paris auto show, the EU auto industry seems to be ready to switch to electric power, and politicians just signaled their willingness to force the switch to zero-emission, if necessary. Environmentalists undoubtedly will applaud this move, and the sooner diesel is stopped from poisoning our lungs with cancer-causing nitrous oxide, the better. Cult-like supporters of electric carmaker Tesla will register the developments with trepidation.
When EU carmakers are forced by law to produce the 13+ million electric cars the region would need per year, the upstart carmaker would lose its USP, and end up as roadkill. Maybe even earlier. Prompted by a recent accident on a German Autobahn, experts of Germany’s transport ministry declared Tesla’s autopilot a “considerable traffic hazard,” Der Spiegel wrote yesterday.Transport Minister Dobrindt so far stands between removing Germany’s 3,000 Tesla cars from the road, the magazine writes. Actually, until the report surfaced, the minister’s plan was to subsidize Autopilot research in Germany’s inner cities. “Let’s hope no Tesla accident happens,” the minister’s bureaucrats told Der Spiegel. It happened, but no-one died.”
Via Forbes: http://bit.ly/2e8HSQf
“When the price of oil was above $100, many of the less developed oil exporting OPEC members decided to capitalize on the high price and cash out by taking loans using the precious liquid as collateral … However, few oil exporters anticipated such an acute oil plunge in such as short time span, which resulted in the value of the collateral tumbling by 70%, and now find themselves have to repay the original loan by remitting as much as three times more oil!”
Here’s one of the dumber borrower schemes out there, and a bunch of clueless governments in oil producing countries are at the heart of it: borrow money and agree to pay back the equivalent amount in barrels of oil, not using the market value of oil at the time the deals are struck, but at the time the loans must be repaid. So loans incurred when oil was above $100 a barrel now must be repaid with oil that is only valued at $40-$50 a barrel, meaning debtors must repay 2 to 3 times the amount of oil they would have had oil prices stayed high. The Chinese, the creditor on the other side of these transactions, receive a lot more oil, but they’re running out of storage and refinery capacity. From Tyler Durden at zerohedge.com:
When the price of oil was above $100, many of the less developed oil…
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The Trans Mountain pipeline expansion project has failed to gain social licence from the provincial government, or any Lower Mainland municipality or First Nation, and the National Energy Board (. . .
Sourced through Scoop.it from: www.burnabynow.com
“[…] In a fiery double-barrel blast, Gregory McDade, legal counsel for the City of Burnaby, fired one barrel at Kinder Morgan Inc., the company behind the expansion project, and the other at the NEB panel itself.
Citing Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s promise to overhaul the NEB, which he criticized for becoming politicized, McDade said, “Burnaby should not be the last victim of a flawed process.
“The City of Burnaby calls upon this panel to suspend these hearings,” McDade said. “We call upon this panel to reset the process in a way that keeps faith with the public trust that the prime minister of Canada has claimed he has.”
McDade quoted Trudeau, who said, “Governments grant permits, but only communities grant permission.”
“Let me be clear, this pipeline does not have community permission,” McDade said. “Not from the community of Burnaby, nor from any of the Lower Mainland municipalities, nor from the public or the Government of British Columbia.” […]
The Trans Mountain pipeline was originally built in the 1950s and fed a number of B.C. refineries that made gasoline, diesel and jet fuel for domestic use.
The Chevron plant in Burnaby, where the pipeline terminates, is the only refinery left in the Lower Mainland. As it stands, it has to compete with other companies for the oil that moves from the pipeline.
A twinning of the pipeline would triple its carrying capacity. But that’s by no means a guarantee that the Chevron refinery will necessarily have access to more oil. Of the 890,000 barrels per day an expanded pipeline would move, 707,500 barrels are spoken for by 13 shippers in offtake agreements, with the oil destined for refineries outside of Canada.
“This is not a pipeline, I say, to bring oil to the Lower Mainland to supply local industry, to bring us gasoline, as the pipeline was in the 1950s,” McDade said. “This is a pipeline solely for export. No benefits to B.C. at all, but all the burdens and all the risk are borne here.”
Of the 49 interveners making oral presentations at the Burnaby public hearings, 19 are B.C. First Nations, including three key Lower Mainland groups – the Squamish, Musqueam and Tsleil-Waututh – all of whom are opposed to the project.
The expanded pipeline would increase oil tanker traffic to 34 per month from the current five. Musqueam Councillor Morgan Guerin said on Jan. 19 that the wake caused by tankers means small fishing vessels would have to stop every time a tanker goes by.
The Musqueam would view that as a potential infringement of their aboriginal rights to fish – a right that was affirmed in the landmark Sparrow case. […]”
Author: Duane M. Tilden, P.Eng (January 14th, 2016)
Abstract: Energy sources and pricing are hot topics world-wide with the Climate Change agenda leading the way. Last year at the 2015 Paris Climate Conference long-term goal of emissions neutrality was established to be by as soon as 2050. Alberta currently produces more atmospheric carbon emissions and other pollutants than any other Province in Canada, and in order to meet clean air objectives the energy sectors which consume & mine the natural resources of the Province will have to shift to non-polluting & renewable energy sources and be more efficient in energy utilization. To achieve these goals new infrastructure will have to be built which will have the likely consequences of raising energy pricing as well as alter consumption rates and patterns.
Transportation is a vital link in modern society, and often a personal vehicle is chosen as the main mode of mobility to work, leisure, & social purposes. Cars and trucks also provide means of work and commerce & are essential to our way of life. Most of these vehicles are fueled by gasoline, some by diesel, propane, and more recently the electric vehicle (EV) and hybrids.
Graph #1: Average Cost Comparison of Gasoline in Major Canadian Cities
In Alberta, using Calgary as a basis for comparison, it is apparent that pricing to consumers for gasoline is below nation-wide market averages when measured Province by Province, as demonstrated in Graph #1 (1). While if you live in Vancouver the cost is considerably higher, due to included carbon taxes and a transit levy among additional charges. Additional means of moving growing populations efficiently have been seen by the development of LRT mass transit for the rapid movement of citizens to work, school, or social events.
Rapidly moving the large segments of the population in a cost effective manner is important to growth. Buses are an important link in this mix as are cycling routes, green-ways and parks. Changes in fuels for trucks, buses and trains by converting from diesel fuel to LNG will also provide for reductions in emissions while providing economic opportunity for utilization of the existing plentiful resource. While EV’s show promise, the battery technologies for energy storage need further development.
Alberta Electricity Production
Alberta still relies on out-dated coal plants to generate electricity. According to a CBC article coal provides power to 55% of homes in Alberta, and is the second largest contributor to emissions (2) and GHG’s to the Oil Sands projects. However, it has been noted that the utility is reluctant to decommission recently constructed coal plants, until they have earned back (or are compensated for) their investment in capital costs.
Photo #1: Highvale coal mine to feed the nearby Sundance power plant (3)
Photo credit: John Lucas / Edmonton Journal
There are power purchase agreements in place, which may extend 50 to 60 years from the construction date of the plant (2). It may be possible that the coal fired power plants could be converted to burn natural gas, which Alberta has in abundance, rather than be decommissioned. However, this would still require the closure of the coal mines and mining operations currently supplying the existing power plants. Also, combustion of natural gas will still release GHG’s into the atmosphere, while less than coal, they are not a total elimination of emissions.
Residential Energy Consumption
When comparing monthly residential electrical energy costs across Canada, using data obtained from a survey performed by Manitoba Hydro, we see that Edmonton and Calgary are in the lower middle range of pricing (4). Variances in all regions will occur based on average home size, building codes and insulation requirements, heating system types and other factors. Some homes may be heated with electric baseboard which will result in a higher electric bill while other homes may be heated using natural gas as a fuel. Also household hot water generation can be by electric or gas-fired heater, so consumption of natural gas must be considered with electrical power usage to get a complete picture of energy consumption.
Charts #1 & 2: Average Monthly Cost For Residential Electricity in Major Canadian Cities For Equivalent Usage in kWh (4)
Inspecting these charts it is proposed that a price increase of 10 to 20% to Alberta electrical energy consumers by a separate tax or fee to pay for a shift in technology would be reasonable when compared to other Canadian Cities. Additional tariffs on natural gas consumption would also be recommended. Such an increase would likely have a secondary benefit of creating an incentive for energy efficiency upgrades by home owners such as increased insulation, better windows and heating system upgrades. Such improvements would in turn lead to reduced demand at the source and thus to lower GHG & particulate emissions to the atmosphere.
Climate and the Proposed Energy Code
Energy consumption in populations is normalized in a number of ways, generally defined by habits and patterns. We observe that in traffic as volumes increase early in the morning as commuters travel to work, and in the opposite direction as they head home in the evening. Often people will attempt to “beat the traffic”. This is an admirable goal in energy usage as well, for consumption of electricity will follow other such predictable patterns as people eat meals, shower, and perform other rituals that interface with electrical, heating, ventilating, elevators, water supply and disposal systems that form infrastructure and services provided by municipalities and utilities.
As these systems need to be energized and maintained, it is desirable to be able to predict and control the consumption and distribution of resources. The greater of these is the electrical generation and distribution system. Also, emerging technological advancements in energy efficiency such as CFL, LCD displays, computers, refrigeration, energy storage and more. Advancements in co-generation, district energy systems, and other end use distribution of energy which provide economies of scale are also possible as strategies to obtain goals.
Map #1: Partial Map of Heating Degree Days for South-Western Canada (5)
Opportunities will exist for building mechanical system enhancements and upgrades as they may provide energy savings and cost reductions to users often calculated with a minimum nominal payback period of 5 to 7 years (and should be determined in every case). The HDD map can provide a source of information which is used in energy models to determine predicted building energy costs when calculating payback periods to justify system upgrades or design decisions. Obtaining and monitoring building energy consumption rates and year over year changes are important resources in determining where systems are running at below optimal rates and require replacement.
In new building construction the National Energy Code for Buildings 2011 (NECB) (6) has been adopted by Alberta (7) for all municipalities. As there are higher HDD values attributed to Calgary and Edmonton as seen in the HDD Map of Western Canada, a requirement for stringent construction methods and materials to higher standards ensure new buildings meet carbon emissions reduction goals.
Photo #2: Construction of Towers in Calgary with High Window to Wall Ratios
Photo Credit: Duane Tilden P.Eng
Increased requirements in glass U-values and shading coefficients, maximum window to wall ratios (WWR) to reduce undesirable solar heat gain and heat losses, energy consumption and improve occupant comfort. Buildings with excessive glazing are difficult to heat and cool, requiring sophisticated mechanical systems to offset poor performance by the building envelope.
Code mandated higher insulation values & better materials; moisture and heat control of the envelope through better design. Higher efficiency requirements for mechanical systems; (fans & ducts, pumps & pipes, and wires & motors), lighting, controls, and other components of the building and it’s envelope. Energy modeling should be performed of larger significant buildings to optimize operations in the design phase. Commissioning of the building is integral to ensuring compliance throughout the project to it’s final phases at substantial completion and occupancy.
Renewable energy technologies including solar power and wind generation have been gaining rapid adoption elsewhere in the world, while in Alberta (8) carbon based fuels currently provide over 80% of electrical power generation. This has not been for a lack of wind and solar resources in Alberta but to be attributed to the large capital investments in fossil fuel resource extraction. Other renewable technologies such as bio-mass, hydro, and geothermal may also be employed and should be investigated as alternatives to existing thermo-electric power plants.
Table #1: Installed Electrical Generating Capacity by Fuel Source in Alberta (8)
Currently, Alberta has the third highest installed wind power capacity in Canada behind Ontario and Quebec. Wind energy not only represents a means to green the power production, it also will contribute jobs and income to the economy. As one source of electricity and revenues is removed another source will fill the void.
Map #2: Installed Wind Power Capacity by Province in Canada (9)
While significant inroads have been made in Alberta for wind power which is already established as a major power source for the future, there is unrealized potential for the installation of solar power production. It has been noted that a photo-voltaic installation in Calgary is 52% more efficient than one installed in Berlin, Germany. Meanwhile, Germany has 18,000 times more solar power generation capacity than installed in Alberta (10).
Map #4: Solar Resource Comparison for Alberta & Germany (10)
Alberta has significant solar resources, even during the winter when daylight hours are shorter. Lower temperatures improve PV efficiency, and properly tilted south facing panels optimize light capture, while the flat terrain of the prairies provide unobstructed maximum daylight. Light reflection by snow on the ground would further enhance light intensity during the colder months. Thus solar represents a relatively untapped potential source of significant electrical power for Alberta and an unrealized economic opportunity for consumers and industry.
Map #5: Solar Resource Map for Canada With Hotspots (11)
Energy Efficiency, Smart Grid & Technological Advancements
Renewable energy produces electricity from natural resources without generating carbon and particulate emissions. Another method of controlling emissions is to reduce the amount of energy consumed by being more efficient with the energy we already produce. We can achieve this by using higher efficiency equipment, changing consumer patterns of use to non-peak periods, use of Smart Meter’s to monitor consumer usage and to alert homeowners when there is a problem with high consumption which could result in higher bills than normal if the problem remained unreported.
There are other advancements in the electrical grid system which are on the horizon which will enable a utility maximize resources by such means as energy storage, micro-grids, demand response to name a few. Also, property owners and businesses could be able to grid-tie private solar panel (PV) and storage systems to supplement the utilities electrical system with additional power during the day.
In order to meet the goal of atmospheric emissions neutrality as agreed to at the 2015 Paris Climate Conference Alberta is posed with making decisions on how electricity is to be produced in the future. Eliminating coal power plants and replacing them with Renewable Energy power sources such as solar and wind power are proven methods to reducing GHG and particulate emissions as these power sources do not involve combustion and discharge of waste gases formed during the combustion process. Coal combustion is well documented as a major contributor of GHG’s to the atmosphere.
To make the transition will require capital for financing to build new infrastructure. Funding of these projects should be raised proportionally charged to users with increased rates. These rate increases will provide further incentives to reducing energy consumption and thus air emissions. Jobs will shift and employment will be created in new forms as the old is phased out and replaced with new technology. These new systems will have to be designed, built and maintained while the workforce will require training in new methods. There will be many new opportunities for growth and advancement resulting from the implementation of these changes to meet Canada’s International commitments.
The amount of water required to hydraulically fracture oil and gas wells varies widely across the country, according to the first national-scale analysis and map of hydraulic fracturing water usage detailed in a new USGS study accepted for publication in Water Resources Research, a journal of the American Geophysical Union.
Sourced through Scoop.it from: www.usgs.gov
>” […] from 2000 to 2014, median annual water volume estimates for hydraulic fracturing in horizontal wells had increased from about 177,000 gallons per oil and gas well to more than 4 million gallons per oil well and 5.1 million gallons per gas well. Meanwhile, median water use in vertical and directional wells remained below 671,000 gallons per well. For comparison, an Olympic-sized swimming pool holds about 660,000 gallons.
“One of the most important things we found was that the amount of water used per well varies quite a bit, even within a single oil and gas basin,” said USGS scientist Tanya Gallegos, the study’s lead author. “This is important for land and resource managers, because a better understanding of the volumes of water injected for hydraulic fracturing could be a key to understanding the potential for some environmental impacts.”
Horizontal wells are those that are first drilled vertically or directionally (at an angle from straight down) to reach the unconventional oil or gas reservoir and then laterally along the oil or gas-bearing rock layers. This is done to increase the contact area with the reservoir rock and stimulate greater oil or gas production than could be achieved through vertical wells alone.
However, horizontal wells also generally require more water than vertical or directional wells. In fact, in 52 out of the 57 watersheds with the highest average water use for hydraulic fracturing, over 90 percent of the wells were horizontally drilled.
Although there has been an increase in the number of horizontal wells drilled since 2008, about 42 percent of new hydraulically fractured oil and gas wells completed in 2014 were still either vertical or directional. The ubiquity of the lower-water-use vertical and directional wells explains, in part, why the amount of water used per well is so variable across the United States.
The watersheds where the most water was used to hydraulically fracture wells on average coincided with parts of the following shale formations:
Eagle Ford (within watersheds located mainly in Texas)Haynesville-Bossier (within watersheds located mainly in Texas & Louisiana)Barnett (within watersheds located mainly in Texas)Fayetteville (within watersheds located in Arkansas)Woodford (within watersheds located mainly in Oklahoma)Tuscaloosa (within watersheds located in Louisiana & Mississippi)Marcellus & Utica (within watersheds located in parts of Ohio, Pennsylvania, West Virginia and within watersheds extending into southern New York)
Shale gas reservoirs are often hydraulically fractured using slick water, a fluid type that requires a lot of water. In contrast, tight oil formations like the Bakken (in parts of Montana and North Dakota) often use gel-based hydraulic fracturing treatment fluids, which generally contain lower amounts of water. […]”<
Thyne says he’s not the only one who’s been subjected to undue pressure from the oil and gas industry. He says he knows of faculty around the nation who have been targeted as well, including an engineer at Cornell University who called for an outright fracking ban in his state.
“Industry did a bunch of nasty pieces on him, trying to make him look like a wild-eyed, pistol-waving lunatic,” Thyne says.
There was even one woman from the tiny town of Raton, N.M., who claimed she was being followed and harassed after complaining about her water well being contaminated by nearby drilling operations.
“This ain’t shit,” Thyne says of his own situation. “I’ve talked to people who’ve been shot at. … It’s a real sticky situation, because there are some people getting jobs in the community, because of the development, and they’re good-paying jobs, and this is changing our economy, so it’s all positive, and then you say, ‘Yeah, well, so-and-so screwed up my well, and they won’t compensate me for it, so I’m going to take them to court, or I’m going to make waves.’ And you’ve got your neighbors mad at you.”
In addition, taking a big oil or gas company to court isn’t a walk in the park.
“You’ve got to have really deep pockets, you’ve got to go to court for a couple of years,” Thyne says. “They’re going to push it back and push it back and push it back, and then they’re going to wait until the last second, literally, and they’re going to settle. And they’re probably going to simply buy your land for what you paid for it, and get you to sign a nondisclosure [agreement] and say bye bye.”
Sourced through Scoop.it from: www.boulderweekly.com
Vancouver gas prices topped $1.30 per litre Tuesday, more than $0.15 higher than next most expensive city.
After dipping below a dollar per litre earlier this year, gas prices in Vancouver are now the highest in North America.
Fuel costs tipped the scales at more than $1.30 per litre Tuesday morning, nearly 16 cents per litre higher than Quebec City, the second-most expensive Canadian city for gas, according to GasBuddy.com.
Since then, a shortage of gasoline coupled with higher demand has contributed to the spike.
Last month, an Exxon Mobile oil refinery in California exploded, while Shell’s Puget Sound refinery in Washington State went down for maintenance.
Experts say brutal winter weather has also increased demand for gasoline in eastern Canada and the U.S.
CTV News spoke with some Vancouver drivers who say they’re exhausted from the up-and-down costs.
“We pay the most for gas, we pay the most for houses, we pay the most taxes. What’s up?” asked Jeremy Wilson. “I pity the people in the Mercedes and the Beamers, how can they afford it?”
Josh Sharber, who uses his truck for work, said it now costs him around $130 to fill up his tank.
“I basically work two days a week just to keep my truck running,” he said. “It’s pretty much all you can do. No gas, can’t get to work.”
Elsewhere in the Lower Mainland Tuesday, gas prices in Abbotsford topped $1.19 per litre, while Chilliwack, where prices are traditionally low, hovered around $1.21 per litre.
That’s still higher than other major North American cities, including Toronto ($1.07 per litre), Los Angeles ($0.93 USD per litre) and Edmonton ($0.91 per litre).”<
North Dakota’s Senate is considering legislation that would drastically cut the time oil companies can burn off and waste natural gas from an oil well.
>”[…] Democratic Sen. Connie Triplett is sponsoring the bill that would require companies to begin paying royalties and taxes on natural gas within 14 days after an oil well begins production. Companies are given a year at present.
Triplett and others told the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee on Friday that mineral owners and the state are being shortchanged because revenue on the wasted gas is not immediately being collected.
North Dakota Petroleum Council President Ron Ness says the industry has invested $13 billion to capture the gas. But he says there is still a challenge obtaining permission to place gas pipelines in some areas.”<