1. From the article:

    In an interview with an anti-pipeline U.S. newspaper the Sundance Kid calls on President Barack Obama to veto the project, which has already passed stringent environmental hurdles.

    And while Obama ponders a decision that could create 20,000 jobs and wean the U.S. off oil from countries with a long list of human rights abuses and other atrocities, Republican politicians visited Alberta and slammed environmentalists for misleading the public.

    "They’re just wrong. Energy security and jobs trumps this environmental assault right now in the United States," Illinois Congressman John Shimkus said after a tour of the oilsands.

    Oh, really? Others disagree:

    The Canadian government insists that it has found ways to reduce those emissions. But a new report from Canada’s environmental ministry shows how great the impact of the tar sands will be in the coming years, even with cleaner production methods.

    It projects that Canada will double its current tar sands production over the next decade to more than 1.8 million barrels a day. That rate will mean cutting down some 740,000 acres of boreal forest — a natural carbon reservoir. Extracting oil from tar sands is also much more complicated than pumping conventional crude oil out of the ground. It requires steam-heating the sands to produce a petroleum slurry, then further dilution.

    One result of this process, the ministry says, is that greenhouse gas emissions from the oil and gas sector as a whole will rise by nearly one-third from 2005 to 2020 — even as other sectors are reducing emissions.

    Also, here’s a video of David Suzuki and his thoughts on carbon capture technology and underground storage (technology that Alberta has invested heavily in to deal with increased emissions from increased oil sands output).

    Relevant:

    Terry Macalister: Money spent on tar sands projects could decarbonise western economies. The Guardian 

    The Canadian Oil Boom: Scraping Bottom (slideshow). National Geographic

    (Source: climateadaptation)

     

     energy  oil  tar sands 

  2. From impolitical:

    It really is going to be a major turning point if Tim Hudak gets to proceed with his backwards looking promises and pulls the rug out from under the growing green energy industry in Ontario. So as election day looms and people are still mulling over the green energy issue, it’s worth considering what Germany’s head environmental official had to say last week when he visited Ontario. He’s been involved in developing renewable energy there for about 25 years. His comments highlight what we might be at risk of throwing away:

    Sharing the experiences of Germany, Lehmann said the kind of green energy program introduced in Ontario needs to operate for a few years before the economic benefits – the true vision of the initiative – become more visible. “Then it explodes,” said Lehmann, meaning in a good way.

    What Lehmann brought to the discussion was the benefit of hindsight. Twenty years ago renewable-energy represented less than 1 per cent of German power production. Today this production sits at 17 per cent, and the aim is to reach 35 per cent by 2020.

    As a result, according to Lehmann, Germany has 370,000 people working in the renewable-energy sector – wind, biomass and solar mostly—compared to virtually nothing in the early 1990s.
     

     energy  solar  wind  Tim Hudak  Ontario 

  3. inothernews:

Oil companies drilling for the stuff in places like North Dakota are happy to let perfectly good natural gas — a by-product of the drilling process — go to waste.  From the New York Times:

They are not wildfires caused by lightning strikes or other acts of nature, but the deliberate burning of natural gas by oil companies rushing to extract oil from the Bakken shale field and take  advantage of the high price of crude. The gas bubbles up alongside the  far more valuable oil, and with less economic incentive to capture it,  the drillers treat the gas as waste and simply burn it. 
 Every day, more than 100 million cubic feet of natural gas is flared  this way — enough energy to heat half a million homes for a day. 
 The flared gas also spews at least two million tons of carbon dioxide  into the atmosphere every year, as much as 384,000 cars or a medium-size  coal-fired power plant would emit, alarming some environmentalists. 
 All told, 30 percent of the natural gas produced in North Dakota is  burned as waste. No other major domestic oil field currently flares  close to that much, though the practice is still common in countries  like Russia, Nigeria and Iran. 

Yes, by all means, let’s trust oil and gas companies to do the right thing.
(Photo of natural gas being flared off near Ray, North Dakota by Jim Wilson for the New York Times)

    inothernews:

    Oil companies drilling for the stuff in places like North Dakota are happy to let perfectly good natural gas — a by-product of the drilling process — go to waste.  From the New York Times:

    They are not wildfires caused by lightning strikes or other acts of nature, but the deliberate burning of natural gas by oil companies rushing to extract oil from the Bakken shale field and take advantage of the high price of crude. The gas bubbles up alongside the far more valuable oil, and with less economic incentive to capture it, the drillers treat the gas as waste and simply burn it.

    Every day, more than 100 million cubic feet of natural gas is flared this way — enough energy to heat half a million homes for a day.

    The flared gas also spews at least two million tons of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere every year, as much as 384,000 cars or a medium-size coal-fired power plant would emit, alarming some environmentalists.

    All told, 30 percent of the natural gas produced in North Dakota is burned as waste. No other major domestic oil field currently flares close to that much, though the practice is still common in countries like Russia, Nigeria and Iran.

    Yes, by all means, let’s trust oil and gas companies to do the right thing.

    (Photo of natural gas being flared off near Ray, North Dakota by Jim Wilson for the New York Times)

     

     oil  natural gas  north dakota  environment  energy 

  4. From the Montreal Gazette:

    RCMP officers quickly started making arrests Monday as protesters against oilsands development and TransCanada Corp.’s proposed Keystone XL pipeline into the United States made their presence felt on Parliament Hill.

    A crowd of about 500 cheered “let them pass” as a small wave of protesters tried to get by a security fence.

    The first group was taken away by police, as activists on the sidelines shouted, “Thank you.”

     

     energy  protests  Keystone XL  tar sands 

  5.  

     energy  technology  solar  youth 

  6. From Inhabitat:

    Much to the disappointment of environmental activists nationwide, the Obama administration has given Transcanada the go ahead to construct the 1,711 mile Keystone XL pipeline, which would carry heavy oil from Canada to Oklahoma and all the way down to the Gulf Coast in Texas. In a rather ambitious statement, the administration has concluded that not only will the pipeline provide a more secure source of energy, but that there won’t be any significant damage to the environment.

    The Obama administration dismissed criticism from environmental advocates concerned with the devastating impact the pipeline stands to have on the environment; especially granted the possibility of a leak or rupture in the 36-inch diameter pipeline. Many are also concerned about how the pipeline will, “prolong the nation’s dependence on fossil fuels, threaten sensitive lands and wildlife and further delay development of clean energy sources.”

    Unfortunately, these grave warnings have fallen on deaf ears. The State Department is backing TransCanada, claiming that the oil giant has “reduced the risks of an accident to an acceptable level and that the benefits of importing oil from a friendly neighbor outweighed the potential costs.”

    Given the recent conflicts in the middle east, that might very well be true, and it does make sense diplomatically. But concerning the environment, the facts state otherwise. As we previously announced, construction of the pipeline would actually tear apart miles of land in the U.S, and would require Canada to double its tar sands production, destroying boreal forests while emitting high levels of greenhouse gas emissions – even more than traditional oil production.

     

     energy  oil  Keystone XL  tar sands 

  7. From leadnow.ca:

Environment Minister Peter Kent is about to announce  new rules for coal power that will require any new plant to drastically  cut its pollution. But the coal industry is trying to cheat, and build a massive coal power plant just before the new rules take effect.
Maxim Power’s new coal plant would pump out three million tonnes of pollution per year - which is like adding 600,000 cars to Canada’s roads. It is the only new coal power plant being proposed in Canada, and it’s far more dirty and dangerous than the new rules will allow.
Minister Kent needs to make a choice right now: is he  going to keep his own government’s promise to put real limits on coal  pollution? Or, will he hand Maxim Coal a free pass to pollute our air  and our climate for decades?
In June 2010 the federal government promised Canadians they would  phase out conventional coal in Canada. Then-Environment Minister Jim  Prentice made a clear commitment: “We will guard against any rush to  build non-compliant coal plants on the interim.” Yet the coal industry is now doing just that - rushing to break ground to avoid taking responsibility for its pollution.
The coal industry knows there’s no way this plant can meet Canada’s new environmental standards. That’s why they’re trying to sneak in under the wire and lock-in this polluting mega project before the new rules take  effect. Alberta’s utilities regulator just fast-tracked approval of the  500 megawatt plant, skipping public consultation completely to help Maxim Power evade the new federal regulations. But expert analysis of Alberta’s power sources shows Alberta does not need any new coal power plants. The province can easily keep the lights on with conservation and smart investments in renewable energy.
Over forty of Canada’s First Nations, environmental, faith,  business, and public interest groups just launched a challenge to  Minister Kent. This campaign has widespread support, and now it  needs direct people power to back it up. Minister Kent is making his  decision now - he needs to hear from Canadians like you.

 Alberta OK’s coal power plant, angering eco groups - CBC
Coal power plant races against regulation - The Globe and Mail

    From leadnow.ca:

    Environment Minister Peter Kent is about to announce new rules for coal power that will require any new plant to drastically cut its pollution. But the coal industry is trying to cheat, and build a massive coal power plant just before the new rules take effect.

    Maxim Power’s new coal plant would pump out three million tonnes of pollution per year - which is like adding 600,000 cars to Canada’s roads. It is the only new coal power plant being proposed in Canada, and it’s far more dirty and dangerous than the new rules will allow.

    Minister Kent needs to make a choice right now: is he going to keep his own government’s promise to put real limits on coal pollution? Or, will he hand Maxim Coal a free pass to pollute our air and our climate for decades?

    In June 2010 the federal government promised Canadians they would phase out conventional coal in Canada. Then-Environment Minister Jim Prentice made a clear commitment: “We will guard against any rush to build non-compliant coal plants on the interim.” Yet the coal industry is now doing just that - rushing to break ground to avoid taking responsibility for its pollution.

    The coal industry knows there’s no way this plant can meet Canada’s new environmental standards. That’s why they’re trying to sneak in under the wire and lock-in this polluting mega project before the new rules take effect. Alberta’s utilities regulator just fast-tracked approval of the 500 megawatt plant, skipping public consultation completely to help Maxim Power evade the new federal regulations. But expert analysis of Alberta’s power sources shows Alberta does not need any new coal power plants. The province can easily keep the lights on with conservation and smart investments in renewable energy.

    Over forty of Canada’s First Nations, environmental, faith, business, and public interest groups just launched a challenge to Minister Kent. This campaign has widespread support, and now it needs direct people power to back it up. Minister Kent is making his decision now - he needs to hear from Canadians like you.

    Alberta OK’s coal power plant, angering eco groups - CBC

    Coal power plant races against regulation - The Globe and Mail

     

     Conservatives  Energy  Tories  coal  environment  Peter Kent 

  8. From the BBC:

    Familiar propeller-style wind turbines with large sweeping blades have almost reached their limit of efficiency.

     

     wind  energy 

  9.  

     Canada  politics  energy  oil  oil sands  Conservatives  Tories  Joe Oliver 

  10. From Wayne Roberts:

    One nice thing about early posting of the fixed date for Ontario’s upcoming election (October 6, don’t you know?) is that the delay offers lots of time to dump stupidities without too many people noticing.

    The NDP would be smart to use the head start to bury their promise to phase out the harmonized sales tax on car fuel, home heating and electricity.

    […]

    In the NDP plan, Ontario residents would pay $1 billion less in energy taxes by 2015. Since the tax cut isn’t targeted, that annual billion-dollar windfall would apply equally to rich and poor – with one difference. The rich plug in more appliances, fill more tanks of oversized SUVs and heat more spacious and luxurious homes, and therefore would bag a bigger tax cut than the middle class.

    By contrast, the NDP pledge to freeze public transit fares and top up public transit operating costs – matters of greatest relevance to those facing inequity in travel costs and transit subsidies – gets budgeted little more than a third, $375 million, of the money lost to taxes on energy consumption. 

    The “you deserve a tax break today” approach to government borrows too much from ultra-conservative theory and practice. Traditionally, New Democrats identified a positive role for government, doing things for communities that individuals can’t do alone, like pooling the costs of health care, using public purchasing to encourage local sustainable farming or installing energy conservation equipment in seniors’ homes to reduce their energy bills.

    Government by tax cut reduces the power of government to fund programs in the public interest. Yet NDP tax cutters claim that an NDP government will be able to cap fuel prices set by the biggest companies in the world. Realistically, oil prices will only be capped when demand shrinks significantly thanks to either conservation or renewable fuels. 

    Energy tax cuts give no break whatsoever to those who conserve, and no premium to those who use renewable fuels. In this way, they indirectly support the high demand that keeps prices up.

     

     Ontario  politics  NDP  environment  energy  Andrea Horwath 

  11. Tyler Hamilton, Toronto Star:

    Cheol Woo Lee is feeling betrayed these days.

    The senior vice-president of Samsung C&T understands why Ontarians are getting frustrated by higher energy bills, but he’s disturbed that his company is taking much of the blame.

    He’s embarrassed that Samsung – its well-known brand and international reputation—has become a political punching bag to win votes. The unfolding drama is being watched closely at the company’s headquarters in South Korea.

    “We haven’t received one cent of money from Ontario,” said Lee, chatting over coffee at a downtown hotel. “We’ve only been spending money—and big money so far. Why do we have to be blamed or criticized?”

    He was talking about the well publicized but often mischaracterized “Samsung deal,” frequently referred to in the media and by Progressive Conservative leader Tim Hudak as that $7-billion “sweetheart” deal signed back in January 2010 by the McGuinty government.

    Hudak has said he will kill the deal if elected in October. Even if Hudak is bluffing, Lee said irreparable damage has been done. “The comment has affected our projects seriously. Our partners, our investors, are considering very seriously whether Samsung can manage the situation.”

    You’d think, the way it has been framed, that Samsung stands to get $7 billion from the deal, but in fact it’s the other way around – the agreement requires that a Samsung-led consortium deliver $7 billion in investment to Ontario.

    This will involve developing 2,000 megawatts of wind power projects, 500 megawatts of solar, and arranging for a manufacturing supply chain that will provide wind turbines and solar panels for those projects. In all, Samsung’s efforts and promised investments are expected to deliver 2,140 direct jobs and 13,860 indirect jobs.

    In return, the company gets a premium – called an “economic development adder” – that’s expected to amount to $437 million during the first 20 years of operation of its wind and solar projects. That works out to about $22 million a year, on top of feed-in-tariff rates that apply to all solar and wind projects.

    Getting that adder is conditional on Samsung reaching certain milestones related to investment, manufacturing and job creation. Manufacturers must maintain their operations for a certain period of time. A certain number of jobs must also be maintained.

    […]

    The $427 million that Samsung stands to get also needs to be put into perspective. The federal Conservative budget, for example, is throwing another $405 million at Atomic Energy of Canada Ltd. to cover “anticipated losses” and basically keep the crown company on life support.

    This is just for one fiscal year, and it follows past years of similarly large support payments. About $300 million in 2010, more than $800 million in 2009, and so on… Yet Hudak’s energy strategy depends heavily on building more nukes—from one sweetheart deal to another.

    For its part, Samsung seems to be following through. The Korean industrial giant and its partners, including Korea Electric Power Corp., have so far spent more than $100 million to get the ball rolling.

    They struck an agreement with CS Wind that will see a wind tower manufacturing facility established in Windsor that will create an estimated 700 jobs. They hooked up with Siemens Canada to build a wind-turbine blade manufacturing facility in Tillsonburg that will create 900 jobs.

    They most recently partnered with SMA Solar Technology, which through a contract manufacturing deal with Celestica will make solar inverters for Samsung’s projects. That will create more employment opportunities at Celestica’s facility in Don Mills.

    “We organized this investment, and we induced this investment,” said Lee, adding that construction and hiring has already started, though it has slowed since Hudak threatened to kill the deal. “Our manufacturing investors are concerned about whether they should continue.”

     

     Ontario  energy  Conservatives  Tories  Liberals  Samsung 

  12. Elizabeth Snell:

    Hudak blames higher electricity prices on green energy policy. He’s wrong. In the short term, renewable energy is still a tiny fraction of Ontario’s total energy, and programs to support its development have had very little effect on our bills. In the medium term, required investment means we’ll pay more for energy, whether from clean or dirty sources. In the longer term, as clean energy grows, the costs of renewable technology will decrease as will pay rates to producers. Meanwhile, clean air will save billions of health dollars.

    A National Defence report warns that Canada’s security is most threatened by global environmental change and the lack of energy sustainability. In that report, Conceiving an Army for the 21st Century, the best case scenario for a stable economy and secure future is Canada at the forefront of a prosperous green economy with priority to clean energy.

    A recent United Nations report, A Special Report on Renewable Energy Sources, urges the very policies Ontario introduced in the Green Energy Act.

    Hudak’s threat to gut the Green Energy Act — which would kill thousands of green jobs and eliminate thousands of kilowatts of clean energy — without providing any long-term strategy of his own, is simply irresponsible.

     

     energy  Tim Hudak  Ontario  Conservatives  Tories 

  13. science-toys-people:

    From Inhabitat:

    Cornish pasties are traditional savory snacks that are so beloved in the UK that they recently received protected status from the European Union. However now a group of scientists at Greenergy are planning to use the oil in stale pasties to create a biodiesel fit for use in public vehicles. Greenergy currently produces 10 billion litres of biodiesel and is investing £50 million into an additional facility in order to process used cooking oils from baked goods. In many cases, oil can make up 30% of their ingredients.

    Many baked products such as pasties, pies and crisps contain oil, which normally goes into the landfill when they turn stale. However Greenergy has found a way to extract it and combine it with a type of diesel to create an eco-friendly fuel.

     

     energy  technology  biofuels  pasties 

  14. From The Energy Collective:

    In a move that has generated serious uproar in the Canadian government, the Conservative dominated Senate has defeated a climate change bill that was passed in the House of Commons by holding a snap vote while several Senators were away.

    The move is shocking on several fronts.  Firstly, the vote took place while 15 Liberal Senators were away from the capital.  The vote to defeat the Climate Change Accountability Act passed by a margin of 43-32.  Even more shocking is the fact that the unelected body of officials known as the Canadian Senate overturned a bill that was passed by the House of Commons — government officials elected by the Canadian people.

     

     Canada  politics (CDN)  Stephen Harper  energy  environment 

  15.  

     energy  wind  technology