Jenn Ackerman’s speech Oct 29 as the cranes and trucks were rolling in to dimantle White Pines Windfarm

Image result for cranes and trucks white pines windfarm demolition

Image result for jenn ackerman prince edward countyFirst I want to thank each one of you for showing up here today, It is inspiring and hopeful to know that so many people careabout the fate of our beautiful wind farm, and also the fate of our planet.. We know that this wind farm is small but has had a huge impact on us, We also know that there has been controversy and mixed feelings from day one, Everyone is entitled to an opinion , and we are not here today to rip those who don,t support us to pieces, Even though they need to be……… They will have to live with the consequences of climate change, and will then have to deal with knowing that their own actions, and those of like minded people, are the contributing factor that has put us in this dire situation. , Who knows, maybe when they see their own children go hungry , or cry in distress,for being unbearably hot, , , they finally might realize that each and every one off them have turned away from being part of the solution, Our own political leaders that were elected to look out for the best interests of their constituants, have disappointed us and continue to drag us in the direction we need to be turning away from, A path of environmental catastrophy Those of us here today are all trying to move forward and do our part, As the Green movement continues to grow, around the world, We recognize the need to make dramatic changes in our lives Obviously, we also that in order to construct a wind farm , there is a certain amount of negative environmental impact, There is no way of producing and building a wind farm without using fossil fueled machinery, Clearing some land , and transporting these large turbine parts, to their destination, This all contribute to the damage being done to the atmosphere, We have never denied that, The reverse side of this , of coarse, is that we are building something, that, after the first six months of operating, , any negative impact will be offset with positive, and will continue to do so for another twenty years,Tearing them down doubles the negative impact without ever contributing an ounce of good at all, . . , Are these turbines coming down because of a turtle that doesn,t even live here,? Look around you,,, If you were a turtle would you want to live here where there is no food or water source ? Are these turbines coming down because a lot of birds are going to go out of their way to fly directly into the path of a moving blade. ? Birds are much smarter than that, and this is not a migratory route for any bird. Are these turbines coming down because they take up too much space? A wind turbine takes up very little space, as you can see, The farm crops can still grow a matter of only a few meters from the foundation, Are these turbines being torn down because they are dangerous to your health or because nuclear is a safer way to go, or because they are dirty and harmful to the atmosphere, ? Studies have been done and all of these reasons have been proven untrue, The only reason that these turbines are coming down , is because of politics , dishonest politicians, rich NIMBY,s moving to the County, who think that a wind farm would for some reason devalue their property , or quite simply ,, they don,t like the look of them, These are such selfish and inconsiderate reasons, that hurt us all, So , today we should put our anger aside and instead feel sympathy for these fools and their money, We need to feel good about who we are and grateful that we do not have that mentality, It is people like us that put the health of the planet, not the size of our bank accounts, first and foremost. I have been accused so many time that I am in this for the money, If that were true I would not still be doing all I can to save this project, The landowners , including myself , are so grateful to WPD , for their genuine concern for us, We have been well taken care of, in every way, and I want to thank Ian Macrae, for all his efforts, I also want to thank Ken, the site manager for accomadating us today, Also, Thankyou to Tony Knight for keeping us so well informed,for the past decade, By all of us being here today we are also showing our support to the two German owners of WPD, and despite the actions of a few, we in Prince Edward County hope that you will one day consider re building another wind farm here, because We are a willing host, Soon these bad politicians will be replaced by good ones , and we will move ahead instead of backwards, So lets hope for the best, that one day we will be standing here proudly watching beautiful turbines spinning as they give us hope and piece of mind for a healthier , happier planet, . THANKYOU EVERYONE FOR CARING ENOUGH TO TAKE TIME OUT OF YOUR BUSY SCHEDULE TO SHOW UP TODAY, WE ARE MAKING A DIFFERENCE, WE MAY JUST BE MAKING PEOPLE THINK TWICE ABOUT WHO THEY VOTE FOR AND WHOS HANDS THEY PLACE THEIR CHILDRENS AND LOVED ONES FUTURES , THANKYOU TO EACH AND EVERY ONE OF YOU !!!!!!!!! , Jenn Ackerman

Should billionaires continue to exist?

How taxing wealth could tackle both wealth concentration and the climate crisis


Wealth taxation is back on the progressive political agenda. It is both a refreshing new idea and a return to vogue of a policy established decade ago in Europe. Some remember it as part of François Mitterrand’s 110 propositions pour France, a joint electoral platform in 1981 with the Communist Party that carried him into the Élysée Palace. The solidarity tax on wealth survived multiple right-wing presidents, only to fall recently to President Macron.

Even so, it is an idea whose time has come in North America. It continues to exist in three OECD countries, and both Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren, two of the leading three Democratic contenders for U.S. president, have a plan to tax wealth in their platforms. The NDP also included a proposal for a wealth tax in its 2019 election platform, which was met with backlash and bad-faith critiques from the usual suspects.

Matthew Lau, who has written for the right-wing Fraser Institute and Atlantic Institute for Market Studies, called it “class warfare” and “confiscatory” in a Financial Post column. This was followed by another piece in the same publication by the Montreal Economic Institute’s Gael Campman, who claimed taxing wealth would be a “tragic mistake,” seemingly oblivious to the existence of property taxes in Canada. Calling it a “demagogic ploy that ends up being counterproductive,” Campman brings up the prospect of the widely discredited “Laffer effect” of falling tax revenues from increasing taxation.

In a slightly more serious challenge, Robin Broadway and Pierre Pestieau call the wealth tax “Over the Top” in their recent C.D. Howe paper of the same name, stating that it isn’t needed, and it would be more efficient to raise taxes on capital gains. Why not do both? Recent studies such as the CCPA’s Born to Win have shown that Canada’s wealthiest 87 families now own the same amount as the lowest-earning 12 million Canadians, which is approximately equivalent to what everyone in Newfoundland and Labrador, Prince Edward Island and New Brunswick collectively owns. In Canada, just two billionaires (David Thompson and Galen Weston) own as much wealth as a third of Canadians.

A bold tax policy package is sorely needed to address this kind of wealth hoarding, which contributes to soaring inequality. Along with a host of other progressive measures, the wealth tax in particular sits in the enviable position of being at the nexus of both good policy and good politics.

According to a recent Ipsos poll, 67% of Canadians believe that “Canada’s economy is rigged to advantage the rich and powerful.” Another poll conducted by Abacus Data found that 67% of Canadians also support the idea of a wealth tax, including 58% of Canadians self-identifying as “right-wing” and 64% of those who say they are in the political “centre.”


In his critique of the NDP’s modest wealth tax proposal, Campman alleges it would force poor farmers to sell their land and cause capital flight. Lau asks how the tax could work when wealth in financial assets can vary day by day depending on the stock market. As the OECD has pointed out, there are ways of getting around all these problems.

The best wealth tax systems have a series of exemptions regarding most forms of middle class wealth, such as pensions and primary homes, as well as exemptions for agricultural property. Assessments can occur every 3–5 years with options to apply for reassessment if a significant change in value occurs, and payments can be made in instalments for those taxpayers facing liquidity constraints.

Wealth taxes can apply to both domestic and international assets, be tied to citizenship and be negotiated by international tax treaties—to eliminate the incentive for capital flight. As proposed by Elizabeth Warren, you can introduce an “exit tax” at the same rate as an estate tax to seize assets from those who do choose to renounce their citizenship. With a rigorous enforcement regime, along with legislation to tackle tax havens, taxing wealth isn’t a pie-in-the-sky or unrealistic idea. It just takes political commitment and good policy design.

Casting aside the nitty gritty, the fundamental question we really should be asking ourselves when we design our wealth tax is should we allow billionaires to continue to exist?

Gabriel Zucman and Emmanuel Saez, two economists at the University of California, Berkeley who advised Elizabeth Warren on her wealth tax proposal, write that the “revenue maximizing rate” runs as high as 6.5%—far beyond the NDP proposal of 1%. According to the economists, such a low rate would provide permanent revenues due to its quite limited effect on wealth concentration. Higher rates of wealth taxation, say, up to 10%, would more effectively dismantle entrenched wealth concentration over time with the trade-off being the loss of a permanent and reliable source of tax revenue.

Bernie Sanders’s recently unveiled wealth tax plan would cut in half the wealth of the typical billionaire over 15 years, according to Saez and Zucman. When the New York Times interviewed Sanders about his plan, they asked if he thought billionaires should exist in the United States. “I hope the day comes when they don’t,” he responded, adding, “It’s not going to be tomorrow.”

Sanders’s wealth tax (see box) is much more aggressive and much more steeply progressive than Warren’s plan, which begins at a 2% tax on wealth above US$50 million and adds an additional 1% surtax above the billion-dollar mark. The revenue differences are large: over 10 years, Warren’s plan would raise US$2.75 trillion while Sanders’s would raise US$4.35 trillion. The other significant difference is how the Sanders plan obliterates wealth concentration while Warren’s plan has a much more limited effect due to the fact that the wealth of the richest Americans grows at an average rate of 6.6% a year.

By comparison, the NDP’s plan for a 1% flat tax rate on wealth above $20 million seems quite modest. The Parliamentary Budget Officer estimates the NDP proposal would rake in approximately $70 billion over 10 years, a value that includes the assumption that revenues from the wealth tax will be reduced by about 35% due to tax avoidance.

Rather than being “confiscatory,” as Lau suggests, Saez and Zucman write that “the marginal utility of a billionaire’s wealth is close to zero” and therefore “the revenue consequences of taxing billionaires outweigh the welfare consequences on billionaires.” Imagine for a moment what we could do if Canada plowed $70 billion into reducing poverty, fighting climate change or tackling the housing crisis. Canada’s oil barons can manage with one less yacht.


We can see that a wealth tax would be good for redistribution. What of wealth concentration? Should we not also tax inheritances in order to stop the out-of-all-proportion pooling of family wealth through massive intergenerational transfers? The issue here is political. Sometimes inheritance taxes poll poorly, even when the tax only targets the passing down of unearned wealth. Even so, should we continue to allow oligarchs to control so much wealth and power while other Canadians continue to live in poverty?

The proper design of any wealth tax system ought to both balance revenue generation and target wealth concentration. Which is why if we swear off an inheritance tax, we should be jacking up wealth tax rates. And if we shy away from steeply progressive wealth tax rates, we need to at least implement an inheritance tax.

French economist Thomas Piketty, best known for his best-selling book Capital in the 21st Century, has just put out a new book entitled Capital and Ideology. In it he proposes a wealth tax with a rate that goes as high as 90% for those worth over two billion euros (almost $3 billion). He also states that billionaires actually harm economic growth and should be completely taxed out of existence. In a world in the midst of a climate emergency, it may also simply be necessary.

Piketty writes in Le Monde that “it is increasingly clear that the resolution of the climate challenge will not be possible without a strong movement in the direction of the compression of social inequalities at all levels.” This is because, “at world level, the richest 10% are responsible for almost half the emissions and the top 1% alone emit more carbon than the poorest half of the planet. A drastic reduction in purchasing power of the richest would therefore in itself have a substantial impact on the reduction of emissions at global level.”

When designing our wealth taxes, we should perhaps consider not only their redistributive power but also how they can attack the entrenched power of economic elites—and how this might help us save the planet along the way. As Piketty suggests, a wealth tax could be instrumental in shifting carbon intensive and socially useless elite consumption patterns.

Looking forward into the next decade, when large-scale economic decarbonization is on the agenda, we should also ask ourselves if this should mean moving toward a billionaire-free world. In the future we want to build, if we are asked the question, “Should billionaires exist?”, we should be able to confidently and resolutely answer: no.



How Elizabeth Warren’s wealth tax would work
New York Times: The Rich Really Do Pay Lower Taxes Than You




If learning from past mistakes were a government tradition in Nova Scotia, the current government would not be exhibiting all the symptoms of gold fever. But it is, and it looks like a raging bout of the affliction.

In the past few years, it has amended legislation based on recommendations made by the industry’s cheerleader-in-chief, the Mining Association of Nova Scotia (MANS) led by Sean Kirby, 1 It has also been aggressively promoting gold exploration and mining in the province, and handing out money to gold-seekers and gold-diggers.

According to the Department of Energy and Mines (DEM) website, between 2012 and 2018 the government’s Mineral Incentives Program dished out roughly $3.2 million in grants. The vast majority of the grants went to mining companies and individual prospectors, with a fair amount of double-dipping by prospectors who received funds for their own exploration and also for exploration by their companies.

That annual $800,000 incentives program has now given way to the larger $1.5-million Mineral Resources Development Fund or MRDF.

Insiders all round

The public may be a little surprised at the names of some of the companies and prospectors who have received grants in recent years — or perhaps not, given the composition of the Advisory Council to the MRDF.  The council “may be assigned” responsibilities to provide “advice and direction regarding potential Major projects which may be supported by the Fund,” although it is not supposed to be part of any grant application process.

There is no one on the council representing citizens or scientists with genuine concerns about the environmental effects of mining, let alone of open pit gold mining being promoted in the latest gold rush. Three of the five members represent industry:

Mr. Rick Horne, Mining Association of Nova Scotia
Mr. John Wightman, Prospectors Association of Nova Scotia
Mr. Christian West, Mining Society of Nova Scotia
Dr. Jacob Hanley, the geology departments of the province’s universities
Mr. George O’Reilly, Minister’s Nominee [former mineral deposits geologist at Department of Natural Resources]

Since 2012, Wightman has benefited from $190,250 in prospector grants. In addition, Magnum Resources, of which Wightman is president, received $90,000.

The Department of Energy and Mines has yet to post the 2019 MRDF grants on its website, but as the Halifax Examiner reported here, Vancouver-based Osprey Gold has announced that it received “generous provincial grants” for geophysical surveys in Caribou and Goldenville, both historic gold mining areas in Nova Scotia. Perry MacKinnon, a prospector who has received a total of $57,500 in grants over the years, is also Osprey’s vice president of exploration.

I emailed both DEM and Osprey president and director, Cooper Quinn, to find out the value of those grants. Quinn sent a quick and cordial reply. Unfortunately, it was just to let me know that “Full information will be disclosed on the Department’s website as it becomes available.” Government media relations advisor Bruce Nunn later replied that Osprey received $50,000 for the aerial survey work at the two sites.

While it may sheer coincidence, the same week Osprey announced the grants, its shares moved 22.22%, more than recovering what they had lost the previous year.

Between 2012 and 2018, 30 different mining companies received public funds for mineral exploration in the province. Some are small local ones, but others are neither local nor obvious candidates for public charity.

Among them are mining giant IAMGOLD, which received $50,000 to explore for gold in the Cape Breton Highlands.

Atlantic Gold, which owns the gold mine at Moose River and has proposed three more as part of its Moose River Consolidated Project that involves an additional three open pit mines in eastern Nova Scotia (and one of Atlantic Gold’s earlier incarnations, DDV Gold) has been given $131,000 to look for gold in the province. MORE

Minister says decision coming soon on water bottling permits

Image result for water taking ontario

TORONTO — A decision on how to proceed with water bottling permits is expected by early to mid-December, with a review nearly complete, Ontario’s Environment Minister Jeff Yurek said Thursday.

A moratorium on new and expanded permits to take water for bottling, which was put in place by the former Liberal government in 2017, and was extended last year by the Progressive Conservatives, is set to expire on Jan. 1.

Yurek said his decision will be based in science, though if the government can’t find a “conclusive way to go forward” he would extend the moratorium again.

“We’ve been listening to communities and Indigenous communities and also businesses,” he said. “If we don’t have a conclusive way to go forward we will extend the moratorium, but I’m believing with all the consultation and the scientific study that’s been completed that we’ll have a definite answer.”

Yurek would not tip his hand, saying he is looking at all options.

The moratorium was put in place after bottled water giant Nestle purchased a well near Guelph that the township of Wellington Centre wanted for its future drinking water supply.

The Liberals also hiked the fee that water bottlers must pay for every million litres of groundwater they take from $3.71 to $503.71.

Water bottling companies have been allowed to take millions of litres per day.

Kelsey Scarfone, the water program manager at Environmental Defence, said she wants to see the moratorium extended.

“Even if there is an announcement mid-December, there needs to be time for the public to understand what the results of the review were, what the science actually said, and there needs to be a new direction proposed for how we’re going to handle this industry in Ontario,” she said.

Green party Leader Mike Schreiner said he wants to see all water taking permits — which span various purposes such as construction and agriculture — prioritized.

“Water taking permits should prioritize water for people, so public drinking water, people’s private wells,” he said. “Second tier would be food and farming and things like that.”

NDP Leader Andrea Horwath said the government’s plan should address not just how much water companies are allowed to take right now, but also ensuring the resource is available for generations to come.

The Canadian Bottled Water Association has previously said that water bottling permits make up less than a per cent of all Ontario permits to take water, so the industry shouldn’t be singled out.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Oct. 31, 2019.

Canada’s Out-of-Date First-Past-the-Post Voting System is Fuelling Talk of Alberta Separatism, Experts Say

Does Canada’s outdated voting system encourage regional divisions? Political scientists say yes.


Canada’s outdated first-past-the-post voting system is fueling Western alienation and amplifying regional divisions in Confederation, according to analysts.

Following the defeat of Andrew Scheer’s Conservatives, prominent right-wing voices in Alberta began floating separatist talking points, resulting in extensive media coverage on the rise of separatist sentiment in Alberta and calls for a “Wexit.”

Emotions have gotten so out-of-control that the CEO of one major oil company asked employees to share an e-mail chain letter with their friends and family warning Alberta could separate from Canada.

Those who question Alberta’s place in Confederation note Scheer’s Conservatives swept the province Monday night, winning 33 out of the 34 seats and receiving a resounding 69.2% of the vote.

“The election results, brought about by the distorted electoral system, will increase Western alienation,” Robert Finbow, a political scientist at Dalhousie University told PressProgress.

Finbow said that since the first-past-the-post voting system produced an outcome that leaves no “Western voices” in the government caucus, it will likely “not be easy” for Trudeau’s government to de-escalate tensions.

Fair Vote Canada@FairVoteCanada

Distribution of votes by geography impacts # votes/seat. FPTP exacerbates regionalism.

“We have definitely seen another election where, contrary to what the supporters of first-past-the-post say, which is that it helps to create broad coalitions that knit the country together, in fact what it’s doing in this country is polarizing the electorate in a way that doesn’t actually reflect the voting patterns,” Pilon told PressProgress.

“No one’s going to deny that Alberta and Saskatchewan saw considerable support for their conservative parties, but there was also significant support in those provinces for other parties.”

In Alberta, non-Conservative parties won 2.9% of the seats despite receiving 30.8% of the votes, while in Saskatchewan, non-Conservative parties won zero seats even though they received over one-third (35.7%) of all votes.

Andrew Coyne


FPTP rewards parties that bunch their votes in regional strongholds. As it happened, Libs bunched their votes in the most populous regions.

Pilon noted prime ministers typically try to fill their cabinet with representatives from across the country, however, “the voting system and its proclivities make it very difficult for government to do this.”

“A proportional system, if Mr. Trudeau had lived up to his promise, would have given his current minority government a number of seats in Alberta,” Pilon added. “At least he would have had some foothold there.”



Watch 2 straight minutes of Justin Trudeau promising to end Canada’s first-past-the-post system @acoyne @davidakin

Embedded video

Fair Vote Canada president Réal Lavergne agrees, noting that a more proportional voting system would increase the number of voices in government who can speak up for different regions.

“If you have MPs from Alberta that are Liberal, you are likely to get ministers from Alberta, and so you have somebody there who can speak for the province, and is likely to do so,” he told PressProgress.

“First-past-the-post certainly divides us way more than we need to be, and aggravates all these kinds of problems.” SOURCE

It’s time to affirm – and celebrate – Indigenous equality

It was inspiring last week to see the government of British Columbia become the first jurisdiction in Canada to move to enshrine in law the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP). This was the culmination of a process that began in 1981 with the inclusion in the Canadian Constitution of a clause recognizing and affirming the existing rights of Canada’s aboriginal peoples. Now, as we await passage of the B.C. legislation and the formal endorsement of UNDRIP by other provinces and by the federal government, we should think about why this journey has taken so long and faced so many obstacles.

The ceremony in the B.C. Legislature on October 23rd was one of high emotion.  With the support of all political parties and senior representatives of the business community and B.C.’s highly valued resource industries, Premier John Horgan welcomed First Nations into the chamber and promised to initiate a comprehensive review of provincial laws to protect Indigenous peoples’ rights and to support reconciliation.

The all-party solidarity shown upon the introduction of the bill was particularly important given our divisive history on the issue. During constitutional debates in the early 1980s, Canada’s Indigenous leaders argued passionately that their rights should be included in the country’s foundational document. The New Democratic Party agreed, withholding support until then-Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau acceded to what became Section 35, which states: “The existing aboriginal and treaty rights of the aboriginal peoples of Canada are hereby recognized and affirmed.”

Note that this clause, controversial at the time and influential in the years since, did nothing to expand Indigenous rights. It simply “recognized and affirmed” existing rights that, even then, were being enforced by the courts – though often only after long and expensive legal battles.

The UN Declaration is similar in intent. It doesn’t create new rights or define Indigenous rights in a way that would supersede the rights of others. It simply reinforces the rights and freedoms recognized in the UN Charter, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, and in international human rights law.

Specifically, the UN Declaration begins by “affirming that indigenous peoples are equal to all other peoples.” Yet, as the federal Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) report indicated, often in tragic detail, many of Canada’s indigenous peoples do not yet enjoy equal status. Consider the record of all those Indigenous children whose social welfare standards are inferior to those of other children or of the many Indigenous communities still without safe drinking water.

The TRC recommended that provincial governments should “fully adopt the declaration on the rights of indigenous peoples as the framework for reconciliation.” To its credit, the House of Commons in the last Parliament passed NDP MP Romeo Saganash’s private member’s Bill 262, An Act to ensure that the laws of Canada are in harmony with the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. It’s disappointing that Mr. Saganash’s bill was obstructed and killed in the Senate.

Now, however, we have a fresh start. We have a provincial government showing leadership – in cooperation with a business community that recognizes the need to build effective relationships and a robust and sustainable economy, in partnership with Indigenous communities.

Michael Goehring, CEO of the Mining Association of B.C., was quoted on the day the provincial government tabled the UNDRIP legislation as saying that B.C.’s mining industry is cautiously hopeful that B.C.’s new bill will “enable greater certainty and predictability on the land base.” Noting how much development has been tied up in futile court cases challenging Indigenous rights, Greg D’Avignon, CEO of the Business Council of B.C., added, “This starts the process of enabling economic reconciliation, with the kinds of supports that the province should have been providing for decades.”

Now is the time for the new federal government to make good on its promise to re-introduce Romeo Saganash’s bill, or to champion a new one that will bring federal law into alignment with the UN Declaration. The Liberals, the NDP, and the Greens have all committed to supporting such legislation. Let’s use this collaborative spirit to start a new moment of reconciliation – to end, finally, the many decades of resistance. SOURCE

Batteries not included: Canada unprepared for demise of fossil fuel era

NDP must push minority Parliament to accelerate transition to a green economy

Image result for ricochet: Batteries not included: Canada unprepared for demise of fossil fuel era

The federal election results suggest that the first priority of the NDP must be electoral reform to bring to an end the politics of fear and the strategic vote, which favours the Liberals and Conservatives alike.

The second priority must be to engage Canada, for the first time, in an urgent migration to a green economy. The Liberal record on shifting to clean technologies is nothing short of insignificant, one of the worst records among developed countries. Meanwhile, China, and to a lesser extent, the European Union and California, are changing global economic, energy, and transportation paradigms.

Canada missing out

Canada has promising opportunities to be a part of a revolution in which batteries become the new oil. The country has both extraordinary lithium supplies in Quebec and an auto industry in Ontario. But while other countries are cashing in, Canada’s lack of government support for the research, development, and manufacturing requirements has thus far kept us out of the picture.

In order of importance, based on 2018 data, Australia is the world leader in lithium production at 51,000 tonnes, followed by Chile at 16,000, China at 8,000, and Argentina at 6,200.

It is heartbreaking that Canada is not on the preceding list because, in the next decade, there will be exceptional growth in the electric vehicle and energy storage battery markets. In 2020 alone, more battery manufacturing capacity will come on stream than the total capacity available in 2016. Global demand for batteries will double in five years and rise tenfold by 2030.

Electric vehicles are already the largest single market for batteries.

Lithium-ion markets are expanding faster than most projections, not only because of the growth of the electric vehicle market, but also because of energy storage associated with renewable energy production. Energy storage addresses the intermittent production of energy from solar energy and wind power, stockpiling surplus production for use during the low power-generation periods. The energy storage growth rate may become exponential since renewables, combined with energy storage, can now be delivered at less expense than the old formula of maintaining fossil fuel peaker plants for the time periods when energy demand is high.

The current principal obstacle to the growth of the lithium market is a shortage of supply at the production end. Hyundai’s and Kia’s production of electric vehicles cannot accommodate demand because of a lack of batteries. That is, automakers that outsource their battery inventory are at the mercy of a handful of electric vehicle battery manufacturers. The top five manufacturers responding to increasing demand for lithium-ion batteries, in order of production output, are LG Chem, CATL, BYD, Panasonic and Tesla.

And battery supply is also a function of research and development, with many automakers hesitant to invest in their own battery production because of the need to keep pace with technological improvements.

This is comparable to a conventional automakers not having in-house expertise on internal combustion engines and no production capability for these engines. Tesla has an advantage in this regard. It has an exclusive arrangement for research and development and its own, and the world’s largest, battery production capacity in collaboration with Panasonic. MORE


Cenovus Energy to add 70,000 barrels per day of oilsands output

Rail cars wait for pickup in Winnipeg on March 23, 2014. The Alberta government is easing production limits on oil companies that ship their product by rail. File photo by The Canadian Press/John Woods

Cenovus Energy Inc. says it will add as much as 70,000 barrels per day of oilsands output following the Alberta government’s decision to ease production curtailments for producers that add crude-by-rail capacity.

The company can quickly add 10,000 to 20,000 bpd of raw bitumen output from its Christina Lake and Foster Creek northeastern Alberta thermal oilsands projects, said CEO Alex Pourbaix during a conference call Thursday morning after the decision was announced.

Meanwhile, it plans to begin startup procedures on its $675-million, 50,000-barrel-per-day Christina Lake phase G oilsands expansion project with production expected within six to 12 months.

Construction of the expansion was completed earlier this year but commissioning was put on hold until market access questions were answered.

“We think it’s a great way to incent further rail takeway capacity out of Alberta and we applaud the government for moving forward with this initiative,” said Pourbaix.

He added the move doesn’t remove the necessity of building more oil export pipelines.

Under the previous NDP government, Alberta put a cap on the amount of oil the industry can produce starting in January as a way to narrow local price discounts that grew as oil production exceeded the ability of pipelines to get the crude to market.

The measure was continued by the United Conservative government when it was elected last spring. The total industry quota is to increase to 3.81 million barrels per day in December, up 250,000 bpd from the original limit of 3.56 million barrels a day.

“Overall, we believe this program will be an important addition to the efforts to increase market access,” said Energy Minister Sonya Savage on Thursday.

“Looking ahead, maximizing the amount of crude shipped by rail is an important factor in moving forward towards an orderly exit out of curtailment altogether, which, under the enhanced policy, is scheduled to be concluded by the end of December 2020.”

Alberta currently ships around 310,000 barrels per day on rail, she said, but the rail system has the capacity for daily shipments of 500,000 to 600,000 barrels.

The new program is to be available as of Dec. 1 and operators will need to apply on a monthly basis and verify their rail shipments.

The province is still working on a plan to divest railcar contracts signed by the NDP government, Savage said.  MORE


Bargain prices for oil and gas companies as they hit the discount bin

Fracking halted in England in major government U-turn

Victory for green groups follows damning scientific study and criticism from spending watchdog

Fracking at Cuadrilla’s site in Lancashire was out on hold after a major earth tremor. Photograph: Cuadrilla/PA

The government has halted fracking in England with immediate effect in a watershed moment for environmentalists and community activists.

Ministers also warned shale gas companies it would not support future fracking projects, in a crushing blow to companies that had been hoping to capitalise on one of the new frontiers of growth in the fossil fuel industry.

The decision draws a line under years of bitter opposition to the controversial extraction process in a major victory for green groups and local communities.

The decision was taken after a new scientific study warned it was not possible to rule out “unacceptable” consequences for those living near fracking sites.

The report, undertaken by the Oil and Gas Authority (OGA), also warned it was not possible to predict the magnitude of earthquakes fracking might trigger.

Fracking, also known as hydraulic fracturing, involves pumping water, chemicals and sand underground at high pressure to fracture shale rock and release trapped oil and gas.

The government said it would not agree to any future fracking “until compelling new evidence is provided” that proves fracking could be safe. The UK’s only active fracking site at Preston New Road in Lancashire was brought to an immediate halt this summer after fracking triggered multiple earth tremors that breached the government’s earthquake limits. SOURCE


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