Money On the road to a low-cost, carbon-free Alberta: Don Pittis
Canadians must think like investors in oil and gas: Don Pittis
Jason Kenny says oil is a good investment for Alberta and for Canada, but is that where you would sink your pension savings?There is lots of money to be made in oil and gas stocks.
Criticism by environmentalists of Alberta's new Canadian Energy Centre might leave you thinking the province was stubbornly resisting fixing global climate change for the sake of their economy.
Instead, the province is home to world-leading innovations that in just over a year will see carbon-free transport trucks hauling freight on Highway 2, the busy corridor that connects Calgary, Canada's fossil fuel business capital, to the provincial political capital, Edmonton.
Alberta government won't seek meeting with teen enviro-activist Greta Thunberg
EDMONTON — The Alberta government won't seek out a meeting with teen climate activist Greta Thunberg, but Environment Minister Jason Nixon said he hopes the Swedish girl takes time to learn about the province's oil and gas industry. "I think when you look at some of Miss Thunberg's comments, she doesn't understand our province, that she doesn't understand the reality that to accomplish climate change goals worldwide, we need Alberta as part of that solution," Nixon told reporters Tuesday.
It's called AZETEC for the Alberta Zero-Emissions Truck Electrification Collaboration, and people behind the new scheme say that rather than shying away from climate change advocates like Greta Thunberg, currently visiting the province, Albertans have every reason to boast.
Not only will the trucks be carbon-free, they will be cheaper to run than existing diesel transports, and the fuel they use will be produced by the Canadian fossil fuel industry.
And while the new vehicles that hit the road in 2021 will be a pilot project, the scheme's leader, David Layzell, says its economics make AZETEC a credible step toward the kind of low- and no-carbon world that climate scientists and activists insist is the only way to save the planet.
Conservative carbon tax 'resistance' showing cracks after Liberals re-elected
The so-called "resistance" force of Conservative premiers waging war against the carbon tax implemented by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau began showing cracks on Tuesday, following the Liberals' re-election. While some of the five provincial leaders who had publicly criticized or legally challenged the carbon tax maintained their attacks in the hours after voters elected a minority Liberal government, at least one appeared to back down. TheWhile some of the five provincial leaders who had publicly criticized or legally challenged the carbon tax maintained their attacks in the hours after voters elected a minority Liberal government, at least one appeared to back down.
Making the fuels people want
"Our focus has been on how do we produce gasoline and diesel without carbon emissions, but those are the fuels that the whole world is trying to stop using," says Layzell, director of the Canadian Energy Systems Analysis Research (CESAR) Initiative at the University of Calgary, describing the thinking that launched the project.
"Why don't we actually start producing the fuels people really want?"
From the comment by Alberta Environment Minister Jason Nixon that Thunberg "doesn't understand" the province to the statement that "No one's ever asked me to declare a climate emergency," as Medicine Hat Mayor Ted Clugston told the Medicine Hat News, some Alberta politicians are clearly not on side with climate change activists.
"I'm tired of people calling carbon dioxide 'pollution.' It's a basic building block of life," Clugston said.
The carbon tax is probably here to stay. Can Conservatives adapt?
If the 2019 federal election accomplished anything, it might be this: the carbon tax is no longer the third rail in federal policy. In fact, the Conservatives' loud rejection of carbon pricing probably didn't do them any favours."Carbon taxes are widely unpopular and become more so once people actually have to pay them," Harper wrote. "Political parties, including mine, have won elections just by opposing a carbon tax.
Perhaps such comments are based on out-of-date thinking. That's not unreasonable, because the technology to make Layzell's plan cost effective has only recently begun to gel.
And rather than abruptly ending oil and gas production and switching to a brand new disruptive business model, this set of innovations that have all arrived about the same time could set the Canadian fossil fuel economy on a gradual transition to an economy that produces almost no carbon at all.
The Canadian industry has focused on reducing the carbon intensity of oil and gas production. Clearly those are steps in the right direction.
The main reason people like Thunberg and investors like the Norway pension fund have objected to bitumen production is the high carbon cost of extracting the stuff, which in traditional methods requires the burning of huge quantities of another fossil fuel, natural gas. But there is a second problem.
While cutting back on the amount of carbon dioxide produced in processing is constructive, fossil fuels generate another round of greenhouse gases during their ultimate combustion.
Online name calling between Alberta, N.L. an unexpected post-election fallout
Alberta and Newfoundland and Labrador have a lot in common, including a shared economic reliance on oil, but the comments of social media users took on a disturbing twist after Monday night's federal election.In Newfoundland and Labrador, six of the seven seats went to Liberal incumbents; in Alberta, voters chose Conservative candidates in all but one of its 34 ridings, shutting out the Liberals.
When end users burn the fossil fuel, whether oil, gasoline, diesel or natural gas and whether for transportation, electric power or heat, it generates between two and three kilograms of the greenhouse gas carbon dioxide per litre for the two liquid fuels we use in cars and trucks.
Part of the power of the AZETEC energy system is that it avoids that final step. Rather than burning fossil fuels directly, creating combustion pollutants such as nitrous oxides and particulates plus carbon dioxide, the AZETEC trucks will use carbon-free hydrogen fuel manufactured from natural gas.
Not just better but cheaper
But the magic that makes this plan work is that the cost of running a transport truck carbon-free is a fraction of the cost of the conventional alternative. Measured in units of energy, or gigajoules, the compelling business case is that the low-carbon substitute is significantly cheaper.
"The wholesale cost of making diesel fuel is about $19 per gigjoule or 75 cents a litre," said Layzell. "The cost for us to make hydrogen is only about $10 or $11 a gigajoule. So we can actually make a zero-carbon fuel with very low carbon emissions — we'll put the carbon back in the ground — and we can do it at about half the price."
Ford 'going to pursue' carbon tax challenge to Supreme Court
Doug Ford said Thursday his government is “going to pursue” its legal challenge of the federal carbon tax, days after Justin Trudeau’s Liberals secured another mandate in the form of a minority government. Speaking in his first media interview since Monday's election, Ford told CP24 "we will see it through" when asked about the fate of the challenge.In June, Ontario's top court struck down his government's case against the tax, saying the federal legislation — the Greenhouse Gas Pollution Pricing Act, enacted in April — is constitutionally sound.
One of the innovations that makes this possible is the Alberta work done on carbon capture and storage, reliably and permanently injecting carbon dioxide into porous rock deep underground. Whereas the process has been difficult and costly when attempted on post-combustion CO2, as tried in Saskatchewan coal plants, trapping the concentrated carbon dioxide produced by the hydrogen-making process can be as cheap as $4 a gigajoule.
Not only is the cost per unit of energy lower, the fuel cells used to turn hydrogen into electricity to run the truck engines are up to twice as energy efficient due to the same technologies that make battery and hybrid cars cheap to run.
Despite the favourable economics, the AZETEC system has not proved itself yet. The trucks being produced by Ballard Power Systems, operated by Alberta trucking companies Trimac and Bison Transport, must survive their 18-month experiment.
To make fuel distribution cost-efficient will require about 50 trucks operating on Highway 2, using about five tonnes of hydrogen a day.
But if carbon-free transportation can be shown to work in the heart of Canada's oil country, in a Canadian climate, it is a technology that could reasonably conquer the world.
Other sources of hydrogen, including from the oilsands and eventually from electrolysis when technology brings costs down, would allow the technology to spread from this highway to other roads and to other uses.
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Alberta tables climate plan for industry; retains key parts of old legislation .
EDMONTON — Alberta has introduced a new climate plan for the province's big greenhouse gas emitters that it says will achieve similar emissions cuts as the former NDP government's plan and at less cost. "Our projections are that we're looking at getting similar results for less price for industry," said Jason Nixon, environment minister for the United Conservative government.