Energy & Resource Protection

Federal emissions caps challenged

Alberta Premier Danielle Smith said today that she is prepared to use her province’s Sovereignty Act in a pushback against the federal government’s planned emissions reductions over concerns that they could result in local power blackouts. “I’m hoping we don't have to use it,” she said. “But we are going to defend our constitutional jurisdiction to make sure that we develop our oil and gas industry at our own pace, and that we develop our electricity system so that it achieves the goal of reliability and affordability.” [node:read-more:link]

Huge battery plant for Quebec

Northvolt, a Swedish battery manufacturing giant, confirmed today that it plans to build an electric vehicle battery plant east of Montreal, its first outside Europe. The first $7-billion phase would have annual cell manufacturing capacity of up to 30 gigawatt-hours and the plant is expected to create 3,000 jobs at full production. [node:read-more:link]

Wildlife Refuge leases cancelled

President Joe Biden’s administration today cancelled oil and gas leases in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge approved by his predecessor but has not reversed his own recent approval of a drilling project in the same region. The reversal of Donald Trump’s decision is being lauded by some indigenous groups but Republicans in the state argue that it will reduce those populations’ potential economic opportunities. [node:read-more:link]

Norwegians expand East Coast exploration

The Norwegian energy giant Equinor has hired a semi-submersible platform owned by Odfjell Drilling, headquartered in Scotland, to do exploratory oil drilling in the Bay du Nord region 500 kilometres off Newfoundland. Equinor says the drilling is part of a plan to “optimize” development of a field the Newfoundland & Labrador regulator says has nearly a billion barrels of recoverable crude [node:read-more:link]

Major plug for electricity

Nearly 85% of Canada’s electrical power grid is already “clean” but the federal government today released a proposed regulatory framework designed to further reduce carbon emissions from non-renewables even as demand is projected to surge. Already opposed by Alberta and Saskatchewan which both rely heavily on natural gas-fired generation, the draft is open for comment until late October, potentially setting the stage for a final version in January. [node:read-more:link]

Ottawa threatening Alberta?

Alberta Environment Minister Rebecca Schulz has suggested that federal Energy & Natural Resources Minister Jonathan Wilkinson is being disingenuous about funding electricity projects that do not curb carbon emissions “We see Wilkinson saying it isn’t his style to have fights and wanting to work with the provinces,” she said August 8. “Announcing in a press conference a threat to withhold funding isn’t really the right way to start a conversation.” [node:read-more:link]

TC Energy selling stake in gas network

Calgary-based TC Energy announced today that it is selling a 40% stake in a North American pipeline network which meets a substantial share of daily U.S. domestic natural gas needs as well as liquefied gas for export. TC announced last year that it would divest non-core assets by the end of 2023 in order to help finance expansion goals, notably the Coastal GasLink project in B.C., without assuming further debt. [node:read-more:link]

Australia blocks mining sale

The proposed takeover of a lithium-mining operation by a China-linked company has been blocked by Australia. Treasurer Jim Chalmer was acting on a recommendation by his Foreign Investment Review Board. [node:read-more:link]

Energy policy called stifling

Provincial and territorial leaders say the federal government’s clean energy policies could stifle Canada’s competitiveness while increasing costs to consumers and industry. They aired their grievances July 12 at the close of their latest annual conference. [node:read-more:link]

U.S. think-tank founder charged

An Israeli-American who founded and co-directs the Washington-based Institute for the Analysis of Global Security faces charges of trying to illegally broker sales of weapons and Iranian oil as well as being a Chinese agent. Evidently arrested earlier this year in Cyprus on what he said is “a politically motivated extradition request” by federal prosecutors in New York, Gal Luft fled after being granted bail. [node:read-more:link]

Energy minerals market soars

Volatile prices, supply chain snarls and geopolitical tensions remain a challenge in global market for minerals crucial to development of “clean energy” options. Reporting this today, the International Energy Agency said that the global value of the market for minerals such as lithium, cobalt, nickel and copper has doubled since 2017. [node:read-more:link]

Ontario wants more nuclear

Facing surging electricity demands, the Ontario government announced July 6 that it wants to add a third nuclear generating station at its station on the shore of Lake Huron on the Bruce Peninsula. Bruce Power has two stations with eight reactors and Energy Minister Todd Smith said the goal is an addition 4.8 gigawatts of generating capacity, which would nearly double current output as the province moves away from fossil-fuel options. [node:read-more:link]

Fukushima water release pending?

Despite opposition from South Korea and China, the International Atomic Energy Agency says Japan’s plan to release waste water from the tsunami-wrecked Fukushima nuclear plant complies with international standards. The operator, Tokyo Electric, is running out of storage space for the slightly-irradiated coolant. [node:read-more:link]

Largest national park at risk

Wood Buffalo National Park on the Alberta-NWT border, the country’s largest national park and a UN World Heritage Site, remains at risk due not only to climate change but also hydroelectric and petroleum development, according to a UN agency. “Expansion of existing oilsands projects has continued without full consideration of the potential impacts,” it says. [node:read-more:link]

Deforestation remains a global challenge

New data from the Washington-based World Resources Institute indicate that the political will to end deforestation continues to fade. The latest agreement, at the 2021 climate summit in Glasgow, was supposed to improve things from a pledge seven years earlier, but the world in 2022 was more than a million hectares short of being able to achieve net zero deforestation by the stated goal of 2030. [node:read-more:link]


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