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Texas not-so crude: Oil and gas capital now gushing renewable energy

Lone Star State pumping green-gold as leading US producer of renewables

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Surprising as it may seem to many, the Lone Star State has now become a leader in the energy transition to a carbon-free future.

While the US oil industry began in Titusville, Pennsylvania in 1859, the first “gusher” was the legendary 1901 “Spindletop” in Beaumont, Texas. It produced more oil in one day than all the other fields in the world.

The modern petroleum industry was christened with “Texas Tea”, and Texas has never looked back… until now.

If California comes immediately to mind in any discussion of renewable energy, think again.

Wind power made Texas the leading renewable-energy producer in the U.S., and solar is fast catching up.

Invenergy LLC broke ground this year on a $1.6 billion solar farm northeast of Dallas that is expected to be the largest in the country upon completion in 2023. AT&T Inc. and Alphabet Inc.’s Google are among the large corporations that have contracted to purchase power from the project, which will span more than 13,000 football fields and supply enough electricity to power 300,000 homes, reports the Wall Street Journal (WSJ).

It is part of a growing number of solar projects in sunny, land-rich Texas, where experts long predicted solar farms would bloom. Solar-farm development in Texas is expected to accelerate in the coming years as generation costs fall and power demand grows. That growth puts it on track to claim a much larger share of a power market dominated by wind farms and natural-gas power plants, said the WSJ.

The American Wind Energy Association (AWEA) says the projects will add to 30.9 GW in installed wind power generation capacity distributed among 161 wind farms. Last year, this capacity provided 17.5 percent of Texas’s electricity, powering the equivalent of 7,745,800 households. During that same year, wind power generation in Texas helped avoid 49 million metric tons of carbon dioxide.

This is good news – not just for alternative energy producers and the environment – but also for the oil and gas industry.

While the oil and gas sector has been hemorrhaging jobs during the pandemic, the projected growth in renewable energy could offset those losses and provide a future for oil and gas workers as the world moves out of fossil fuels and into sustainable energy.

Could the oil state become the wind and solar state? It already has.

It is also the biggest producer of electricity among all states, and one of the biggest exporters; reports Oilprice.com.

By comparison, Alberta currently produces about 91 per cent of its 16,332 MW of electricity from fossil fuels, 49 per cent from natural gas, and 43 per cent from coal. Wind, hydro and biomass produce the remainder.

The Alberta Renewable Energy Program (REP) will add only 5,000 megawatts (MW) of renewable energy capacity to the grid by 2030.

While the oil and gas sector in western Canada has been devastated by COVID-19, and the “anti-energy” bills C-69 and C-48 – and looks forward to a diminished future under the Liberals’ net-zero emissions by 2050 policy and UN Agenda 2030 – the Texas business model provides a way forward.

Renewable energy offers not only a sustainable future, but a prosperous one.

Ken Grafton is the Western Standards Ottawa Bureau Chief. He can be reached at kgrafton@westernstandardonline.com

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4 Comments

4 Comments

  1. David Elson

    January 1, 2021 at 12:50 pm

    Solar panels and wind turbines are made with petrochemical products. And they won’t produce enough power for everyone, unless of course of your planning on destroying every square inch of wildlife habitat on the planet or getting rid of most humans.

    Sooner or later we are going to run out of fossil fuels, might as well start improving methane technologies. We can harvest bullshit and politicians for this renewable gas.

  2. Charles Martell III

    January 1, 2021 at 11:48 am

    This insanity starts off with the Failed Hypothesis spouted by the corrupt UN and the Political IPCC.

    For 32 years since the Astronomer James Hansen told krazy stories to the US Congress and the incredibly clueless Al Gore made his Fake Movie . . . we have been bombarded with this insanity.
    The FACT that after all these years . . . . AGW = Unproven Hypothesis . . .
    Most CO2 is produced by Nature . . . and the two largest Pollution Emitters on the Planet are China & India and they are doing little or nothing.
    Somehow only the Western Democracies are going to save the planet . . . this is NOT Science and is quite friggin insane !

  3. Charles Martell III

    January 1, 2021 at 11:45 am

    Wind Power is an expensive eyesore . . . and no one talks about the negatives, like the refining of Rare Earths in China that destroy rivers, lakes, towns & health of workers. You can find pix of the devastation by searching . . . makes the Oil Sands look like a National Park.

    Each and every wind turbine has a magnet made of a metal called neodymium. There are 2,500 Kg of it in each of the behemoths that have just gone up around Australia.
    The mining and refining of neodymium is so dirty and toxic – involving repeated boiling in acid, with radioactive thorium as a waste product – that only one country does it – China. (See our posts here and here).
    All this for an intermittent highly unreliable energy source.

    https://stopthesethings.com/2014/08/16/how-much-co2-gets-emitted-to-build-a-wind-turbine/

  4. Charles Martell III

    January 1, 2021 at 11:00 am

    Imagine future careers . . . . like Dusting Solar Panels . . . or lubricating Wind Mills.
    Career Opportunities abound.

    And No one has talked about the environmental devastation involved in the Manufacture & Disposal of these Part-Time Technologies. Toxic chemicals in solar panels include cadmium telluride, copper indium selenide, cadmium gallium (di)selenide, copper indium gallium (di)selenide, hexafluoroethane, lead, and polyvinyl fluoride. Silicon tetrachloride, a byproduct of producing crystalline silicon, is also highly toxic. One of the most toxic chemicals created as a byproduct of this process is silicon tetrachloride. This chemical, if not handled and disposed of properly, can lead to burns on your skin, harmful air pollutants that increase lung disease, and if exposed to water can release hydrochloric acid, which is a corrosive substance bad for human and environmental health.

    There are also more subtle health risks of wind farming. In her book, “Wind Turbine Syndrome: A Report on a Natural Experiment,” Dr. Nina Pierpont describes a condition called “wind turbine syndrome” in which wind farms pose actual health risks to nearby residents. The sub-sonic noise generated by turbines is believed to cause maladies ranging from headaches and sleeplessness to dizziness and even depression. And visually, the flicker effect of spinning turbines can cause vertigo and even seizures.

    Of course they still have not told you how this is going to grow crops, deliver food to Grocery Stores or solve any of the other thousands of problems.

    California today is 1/3 “Renewables” . . . and last summer they could not keep the Air Conditioners running . . . let alone the Millions of Electric Cars they predict will appear.

    Going for a drive in the country will take on new meaning . . . as you drive by miles of ugly windmills and solar panels . . . and no one is complaining about the Destruction of Animal habitant or the 100s of thousands of birds and bats killed by the whirling blades.

    A few years ago I drove by Barstow California . . . home of the 90s Renewable Energy Scam . . . the Hills, which they call Mountains . . . are littered with thousands of abandoned Windmills, many seized but many still turning killing Raptors & other birds. What happened? Govt Subsidies ran out . . . and they were abandoned . . .

    If you had ventured into the California hinterland and killed just One Raptor . . . it is a Felony with a 10 year sentence . . .

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Energy

KAY: Green extremists ignore indigenous voices that don’t fall in line

Barbara Kay’s debut column with the Western Standard.

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In mid-November, a handful of Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs in BC spearheaded yet another attempt — thwarted by the RCMP — to scuttle Coastal GasLink’s $6.6 billion natural gas pipeline. The half-completed pipeline will run 670 km from Dawson Creek in northeast BC to Kitimat on the west coast, there to be processed in an $18-billion terminal financed by LNG Canada’s joint partnership, then exported as low-emission liquified gas to replace high-emission coal-based energy in client Asian countries.

In their latest act of mischief earlier this month, the scofflaws blockaded a workers’ camp, trapping up to 500 workers without food or water before the blockage was dismantled; they stole or vandalized heavy machinery, and they caused destruction to forestry roads sufficient to bring the movement of police and industry personnel to a halt. 

It certainly doesn’t help matters when prominent voices on the left egg on the activists. Longtime political gadfly David Suzuki was roundly criticized when he opined, at an Extinction Rebellion event, that “there are going to be pipelines blown up if our leaders don’t pay attention to what’s going on.” This was a shockingly imprudent impulse. Most of Canada’s energy and transportation hubs run through native lands that cannot be adequately policed against sabotage. (He has since apologized, but the unfiltered instinct to say it remains “problematic,” a word frequently trotted out by progressives when critiquing the manifold perceived sins of conservatives.)

It also doesn’t help when our political and cultural elites continually harp on Canadians’ inherent shame as collective genocidaires, not to mention endless land acknowledgements that beg the question of why we seem to admit the land was “stolen,” but don’t give it back. 

Instead of inviting reconciliation, our various forms of breast-beating are inspiring revanchism. The mantra one hears with increasing frequency amongst indigenous activists these days, “Land Back,” means exactly what it says. Those chanting it have been encouraged to believe, by non-indigenous allies in government, academic and environmental-activist circles, that their hunting and gathering ancestors understood the concept of land “ownership” as we do today, and that consequently, 3% of the Canadian population deserves legal title to a third of our land mass. 

That is not going to happen, and such lines of thought should be discouraged by everyone with political and cultural influence. The 1997 Supreme Court Delgamuukw ruling made clear that Wet’suwet’en land title is limited, and that the Crown has use of the title land for the public good.

Environment Minister Steven Guilbeault recently tweeted: “Indigenous peoples have been stewards of this planet since time immemorial. The fight against climate change is not possible without their knowledge and leadership.” But whose leadership exactly? Elected band council leaders who signed on to the pipeline project, or a small group of unelected hereditary chiefs who do not enjoy support from more than a tiny fraction of their people? There is little clarity on this important distinction from government officials.

And whose “knowledge”? The CGL met the highest environmental standards in planning its project. They complied with all provisions set out in eight provincial and federal regulatory environmental Acts. They requested meetings with the Office of the Wet’suwet’en (which represents the hereditary chiefs) to discuss issues related to the project over 40 times, with no response from them. If the hereditary chiefs had “knowledge” it was important for CGL to know, they had ample occasion to share it and chose not to.

None of our climate-obsessed progressive elites ever emphasize what an economic boon and lifeline to independence this pipeline and other eco-responsible projects are to indigenous peoples (a far greater boon than government handouts). While indigenous Canadians make up 3.3% of our general workforce, they represent 7.4% of the country’s oil and gas sector workforce. 

As for indigenous peoples being “stewards” of the planet: Even if we all agreed that indigenous people are “stewards” of the land, why should we assume that all indigenous people are of the same mind as Steven Guilbeault in his opposition to resource development? There is plenty of diversity amongst stakeholder populations, including amongst the hereditary chiefs. Yet the establishment media rarely draw attention to this diversity, preferring, as befits the modern, culturally self-loathing progressive spirit, to romance the anarchic dissenters.

Majority Wet’suwet’en opinion is pro-resource development, and it is time their voices were heard and respected. I, therefore, recommend a visit to the Canada Action site, where you will find many strong statements such as these below: 

  • “There’s quite a bit of support for this project,” says Bonnie George, Witset First nation, Wet’suwet’en. “But people are afraid to speak up because, in the past few years, people that [have] spoken up were either ostracized…[or] ridiculed, bullied, harassed, threatened, and being called a traitor – a sellout….There’s a small group of members from the Wet’suwet’en Nation that doesn’t support the [CGL] projects.”
  • “Twenty First Nations participated extensively during five years of consultation on the pipeline and have successfully negotiated agreements with [CGL]. This is on the public record,” says Karen Ogen-Toews of the First Nations LNG Alliance.
  • Theresa Tait-Day, a hereditary chief of Wet’suwet’en Nation, says the voices of female hereditary chiefs “are not being heard. “We have been working particularly with LNG and [CGL]. Our people wanted a benefit and they wanted to be able to make a decision on a positive note. However, we’ve experienced lateral violence and coercion since then by the five chiefs who claim to represent the nation” (since then, two chiefs of the five have dropped out of activating)…The protest organizers are conveniently hiding beneath our blanket as indigenous people, while forcing their policy goals at our expense.”
  • The Haisla Nation are associated with the Kitimat terminal project. Speaking for them, Crystal Smith says, “I’ve seen the impacts first hand. I’ve felt the impacts firsthand. The focus for us is the long-term careers. For the first time, we’re funding culture and language programs…This independence is what we want. This is what we need more of in our community. We need to heal our people. No other government…has been able to heal our people the way they need it.”
  • Also for Haisla Nation, former chief councillor Ellis Ross: “Professional protesters and well-funded NGOs have merely seized the opportunity to divide our communities for their own gains…and ultimately will leave us penniless when they suddenly leave.”
  • “This is one of the biggest projects in Canada, who wouldn’t want to be a part of it?” asks Derek Orr, former chief, McLeod lake Indian Band.

Who indeed? Only virtue-signalling enviro-alarmism obsessives, irresponsible disruptors who get a thrill out of “direct action” that sows chaos and disorder, and patronizing Nanny Statists who prefer that indigenous peoples continue to boil their drinking water than admit that responsible capitalism providing work, resources and human dignity is the way forward for Indigenous populations.

Barbra Kay is a Senior Columnist for the Western Standard

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Energy

Why oil and gas matters to Ontario

Many Canadians may not be aware that the first commercial oil production in North America started in Ontario in 1858.

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By Ven Venkatachalam and Lennie Kaplan

The headline screamed: “The end of oil age” in the Economist in 2003. Fast forward 18 years and that still doesn’t make sense in many ways. The demand for oil is increasing across the globe. Even U.S. President Joe Biden is now asking OPEC to produce more oil.

You don’t have to go far to fill your gas tank to see the rise in fuel prices in recent months. Who says oil is dead? Just look at the growing global disconnect between supply and demand, where the need for natural gas threatens all sorts of shortages.

Many environmental groups have been calling for divestment from oil and gas, yet, they ignore the realities on the ground. Divestment from oil and gas harms not only the many energy companies that are creating jobs in the economy, but also investors, such as the middle-class and seniors, and other value chain sectors that depend on oil and gas.

Let’s look at Ontario, as a prime example.

Many Canadians may not be aware the first commercial oil production in North America started in Ontario in 1858. Since then, the oil and gas sector has played a significant role in the provincial economy. Though Ontario is not a major producer of oil and gas, there are still some 3,000 oil and gas wells active in the province.

There are many ways the oil and gas sector benefits the Ontario economy, in addition to reliable energy supply. Thousand of kilometres of pipelines in Ontario move oil and gas to the U.S., creating many jobs in Ontario. The refining industry also creates employment and contributes to the provincial economy. And many value chain sectors in Ontario supply goods and services to oil and gas companies.

Looking at the most recent (2017) comprehensive data available from Statistics Canada, it turns out the oil and natural gas industry was responsible for adding $7.7 billion in nominal GDP to Ontario’s economy and more than 71,000 jobs. Many of these jobs are indirect, but just as critical to the oil and gas sector. Think of oil and natural gas employment in Ontario as engineers and manufacturers hired to design and build oil and gas operating equipment and facilities, a building in Edmonton or in downtown Toronto, or an investment firm tasked with raising capital for a natural gas company operating in northern Alberta or B.C. Also think of an Alberta oil sands company whose local spending on office furniture results in jobs created in the Ontario firm that produces that furniture. 

In 2017, the oil and gas industry purchased $7.3 billion worth of goods and services in Ontario, including $4.3 billion from Ontario’s manufacturing sector alone. Other “big ticket” purchases include $700 million from the Ontario finance and insurance sector, $600 million from the professional, scientific and technical services sector, and $300 million from transportation and warehousing. Overall, $2.1 billion in salaries and wages were generated as the result of oil and gas industry spending in Ontario. 

Beyond the impact of the oil and gas sector, let’s widen the look at Alberta’s impact on Ontario’s economy. In 2017, Alberta’s population was 11.6% of the national total, while Alberta’s share of purchases from Ontario’s manufacturing sector was 21% of Ontario’s total interprovincial trade in manufacturing. That’s nearly twice Alberta’s share of Canada’s population. In fact, Alberta’s consumers, businesses, and governments were responsible for nearly 24%, or $32.5 billion, of Ontario’s total interprovincial trade in 2017. This was second only to Ontario’s next-door neighbour, Quebec.

Now consider Alberta’s share of Ontario’s interprovincial and export trade and how it compares to selected countries. Alberta’s $32.5 billion in purchases from Ontario in 2017 was behind only the United States ($197 billion), but ahead of the United Kingdom ($14.7 billion), China ($3.4 billion), Mexico ($3.2 billion), and Germany ($1.9 billion), among others. Add up the goods and services purchased by Alberta consumers, businesses, and governments from Ontario firms between 2012 and 2017, and the total value was about $193 billion.

Economies may be locally based, but local businesses and jobs are impacted by investment and trade flows from other places. Whenever someone says oil and gas doesn’t matter to Ontario, tell them to look at the “on the ground” realities. From Bay Street to Yonge Street to Main Street, people living across Ontario benefit from a thriving oil and gas sector.

Ven Venkatachalam and Lennie Kaplan are with the Canadian Energy Centre, an Alberta government corporation funded by carbon taxes. They are authors of $193 billion and 71,000 jobs: The Impact of Oil and Gas (and Alberta) on Ontario’s Economy.    

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Energy

Top US Dem senator demands reversal of Keystone XL ban

Biden was elected running on a campaign that promised to kill Keystone XL on his first day in office, and he did exactly that in February.

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A leading Democratic senator is demanding US President Joe Biden reverse course and allow construction of the Keystone XL pipeline expansion.

Biden has been under mounting pressure as gas prices in the States have been soaring. Earlier this week it was announced the US would be releasing from strategic reserves 50 million barrels of oil to try and ease the rising costs.

“I continue to call on President Biden to responsibly increase energy production here at home and to reverse course to allow the Keystone XL pipeline to be built which would have provided our country with up to 900,000 barrels of oil per day from Canada, one of our closest allies,” Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) said in a statement.

“To be clear, this is about American energy independence and the fact that hard-working Americans should not depend on foreign actors, like OPEC+, for our energy security and instead focus on the real challenges facing our country’s future.”

Biden was elected running on a campaign that promised to kill Keystone XL on his first day in office, and he did exactly that in February.

At the time, Manchin reportedly sided with Republicans who urged the president to rethink canceling a permit for the pipeline, arguing that pipelines across the country “continue to be the safest mode to transport our oil and natural gas resources, and they support thousands of high-paying, American union jobs.″

“The cost they see every day. And every day they go to fill up is a dollar and a quarter more a gallon,” he said last week of the 30-year high inflation rate in the US.

“Three twenty-nine, $3.39.

“A gallon of milk is now $4 in many places. It’s taking a toll. And I hear it when I go to the grocery store or if I go to the gas station. They say, ‘Are you as mad as I am?’ and I say, ‘Absolutely,’ ” 

Earlier this week, in one of the largest trade appeals in history, Calgary-based TC Energy demanded $15 billion from the US after Biden cancelled the Keystone XL expansion project even after it started.

“The U.S. decision to revoke the permit was unfair and inequitable,” Bloomberg reported TC Energy said in its filing, blaming the U.S. for putting Keystone XL on a 13-year “regulatory roller coaster.”

The claim is being launched under provisions of the North American Free Trade Agreement that allow foreign companies to challenge U.S. policy decisions.

Alberta had billions of dollars tied up in the project, with $1.5 billion of taxpayers’ money handed to TC Energy already, along with $6 billion in loan guarantees.

The Keystone pipeline runs from Alberta to refineries in Illinois and Texas.

The new pipeline would have run from Hardisty, Alta. to Steele City, NE and carried 900,000 barrels of oil a day.

Bloomberg said even if TC Energy is successful in it’s claim, they have no plans to restart the project.

“We had all the permits and requirements in place to start construction on the line, and did so, and we worked with federal and state regulators in both countries for a very long period of time. This is just about recovering that destroyed value of investment,” said Richard Prior, senior vice president for liquid pipelines.

The cancellation drew barely a murmur from Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, while Alberta Premier Jason Kenney was livid.

Kenney claimed when Biden cancelled Keystone XL, he broke several free trade regulations.

“At the very least, I call upon the government of Canada to press the US administration to compensate TC Energy, and the Alberta government, for billions of dollars of cost incurred in the construction of Keystone XL to date,” Kenney said in a letter to Trudeau in January.

“These costs were incurred on the assumption the United States had a predictable regulatory framework, and based on the presidential permit authorizing the Keystone XL border crossing which was installed in the summer of 2019.

“For the United States to retroactively cancel the permit on the basis of which investments were made is a clear violation of the investor-protection provisions of the North American Free Trade Agreement, which were extended as a result of your government’s successful negotiation of the Canada-US-Mexico Trade Agreement.”

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Petition: No Media Bailouts

We the undersigned call on the Canadian government to immediately cease all payouts to media companies.

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