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Energy

Take Notice – Question the Net Zero Agenda, and You’re Out the Door

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Former Manitoba Hydro CEO Jay Grewal  Photo from the Winnipeg Free Press

Dan McTeague

Written By Dan McTeague

 

The other week the CEO of Manitoba Hydro was ousted from her position by the utility’s NDP appointed Board of Directors. This story likely won’t get much attention outside of Manitoba, but it should. Why? Because it illuminates just how overzealous the Net Zero cult has become.

Now-former CEO Jay Grewal was appointed in 2019 as CEO of Manitoba Hydro under Brian Palliser’s Progressive Conservatives. Ms. Grewal is an accomplished executive with decades of experience and impeccable credentials. She was the utility’s first female CEO, and by all accounts handled her role well, “leading the utility through significant challenges, including two droughts, a severe snowstorm and the COVID-19 pandemic,” in the words of NDP Finance Minister Adrien Sala, who oversees Hydro.

So, what was the issue? Well, according to the Winnipeg Free Press, the NDP government decreed that Manitoba Hydro “chart a path to achieve a net-zero energy grid by 2035.” And Ms. Grewal, because she knows her brief, described that mandate as “not feasible.” That is, it can’t be done.

What did this quite sensible position, grounded in reality, get her? Fired.

The story goes that Ms. Grewal, speaking off the cuff at a public event, suggested the wind and solar build-out Manitoba Hydro had committed to was best financed privately, not through the public utility, given the huge costs and uncertainties involved. Daring to suggest private investment in the world of crown utilities is putting a red flag before a bull, and the NDP “crown ownership is sacrosanct” bull flew into a rage. This may have been the fatal mistake that made Grewal’s firing a sure thing. Minister Sala clamped down on that one right away, releasing a statement which said that “the NDP government expects new generating assets to be publicly owned.” Sorry tax-payers!

But why is there even discussion of a big solar and wind build out? Because that is part of the net zero mantra.

Manitoba Hydro is a large utility, delivering reliable electricity and gas energy to hundreds of thousands of Manitobans. And the province is not in great financial shape. According to a government report from December, Manitoba’s forecasted deficit has ballooned to over $1.6 billion. As it stands Manitobans pay 33 cents for every dollar of their Hydro bill to service interest on the NDP Hydro debt, according to Grant Jackson, PC shadow minister for Manitoba Hydro. The utility is key to the province’s long-term economic wellbeing. And the affordable, reliable power the utility delivers is key to getting Manitoba into better financial shape.

That doesn’t seem to matter much to Premier Kinew and his NDP government. What matters is adherence to the ideology. They don’t want a steady hand at the tiller, they want a green rubber stamp on all of their questionable decisions. A “Yes Man.” Or, in this case, a Yes Woman.

I suspect that Ms. Grewal went along with as much as she did against her better judgement. Her net zero comment shows that she’s a woman of sense. As does her suggestion that there be private-sector partners to help fund new projects.

But in the end, going along to get along didn’t do her or the province any good. “Give ‘em an inch, and they’ll take a mile,” is the old expression, and that’s always the way with green ideologues. Their demands are never ending, and before you know it, our way of life is fundamentally altered.

Leaders in business across Canada should take note of this episode, because it shows that it doesn’t work to feed the crocodile in the hope that he’ll eat you last. What Canada needs right now is men and women who will stand up and speak clearly, who are willing to say no to net zero and its economy-destroying demands.

Good for Ms. Grewal for speaking the truth. Hopefully the next time she does, she’ll add that the Net Zero madness is not only “unachievable” but “irresponsible” and “un-Canadian” as well.

An 18 year veteran of the House of Commons, Dan is widely known in both official languages for his tireless work on energy pricing and saving Canadians money through accurate price forecasts. His Parliamentary initiatives, aimed at helping Canadians cope with affordable energy costs, led to providing Canadians heating fuel rebates on at least two occasions. Widely sought for his extensive work and knowledge in energy pricing, Dan continues to provide valuable insights to North American media and policy makers. He brings three decades of experience and proven efforts on behalf of consumers in both the private and public spheres. Dan is committed to improving energy affordability for Canadians and promoting the benefits we all share in having a strong and robust energy sector.

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Economy

Carbon tax costs Canadian economy billions

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From the Canadian Taxpayers Federation

Author: Franco Terrazzano 

This tax costs Canadians big time at the gas pump, on home heating bills, on the farm and at the dinner table.

The Canadian Taxpayers Federation is calling on the federal government to scrap the carbon tax in light of newly released government data showing the tax will cost the Canadian economy about $25 billion in 2030.

“Once again, we see the government’s own data showing what hardworking Canadians already know: the carbon tax costs Canada big time,” said Franco Terrazzano, CTF Federal Director. “The carbon tax makes the necessities of life more expensive and it will cost our economy billions of dollars.

“Prime Minister Justin Trudeau must scrap his carbon tax now.”

The government of Canada released modelling showing the cost of the carbon tax on the Canadian economy Thursday.

“The country’s GDP is expected to be about $25 billion lower in 2030 due to carbon pricing than it would be otherwise,”  reports the Globe and Mail.

Canada contributes about 1.5 per cent of global emissions.

Government data shows emissions are going up in Canada. In 2022, the latest year of data, emissions in Canada were 708 megatonnes of CO2, an increase of 9.3 megatonnes from 2021.

The federal carbon tax currently costs 17 cents per litre of gasoline, 21 cents per litre of diesel and 15 cents per cubic metre of natural gas.

The carbon tax adds about $13 to the cost of filling up a minivan, about $20 to the cost of filling up a pickup truck and about $200 to the cost of filling up a big rig truck with diesel.

Farmers are charged the carbon tax for heating their barns and drying grains with natural gas and propane. The carbon tax will cost Canadian farmers $1 billion by 2030, according to the Parliamentary Budget Officer.

“No matter how many times this government tries to put lipstick on the carbon tax pig, the reality is clear,” said Kris Sims, CTF Alberta Director. “This tax costs Canadians big time at the gas pump, on home heating bills, on the farm and at the dinner table. Trudeau should make life more affordable and improve the Canadian economy by scrapping his carbon tax.”

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Economy

Ottawa should abandon unfeasible and damaging ‘net-zero’ plan

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From the Fraser Institute

By Kenneth P. Green

A high-power AI chip uses as much electricity per year as three electric vehicles (and by the way, one EV per household would double residential electricity demand)

According to the Trudeau government’s plan, Canada will reduce greenhouse gas emissions to “net-zero” by 2050, largely by “phasing out unabated fossil fuels.” But given current technologies, virtually all fossil fuels are “unabated”—that is, they generate greenhouse gases when burned. So basically, the plan is to phase-out fossil fuel use, use wind and solar power to power our lives, and transition to electric vehicles.

But this plan is simply not feasible.

In a recent study, Vaclav Smil, professor emeritus at the University of Manitoba, spotlights some uncomfortable realities. Since the Kyoto Protocol was enacted in 1997, essentially setting the world on the path to net-zero, global fossil fuel consumption has surged by 55 per cent. And the share of fossil fuels in global energy consumption has barely decreased from 86 per cent to 82 per cent. In other words, writes Smil, “by 2023, after a quarter century of targeted energy transition, there has been no absolute global decarbonization of energy supply. Just the opposite. In that quarter century, the world has substantially increased its dependence on fossil carbon.” It’s worth noting that Smil is not some “climate denier”—he’s a strong believer in manmade climate change, and sees it as a serious danger to humanity.

In another recent article, Mark Mills, renowned energy policy analyst, boldly declares, “The Energy Transition Won’t Happen,” in part because developments in computing technologies such as cloud computing and artificial intelligence (AI) will require more energy than ever before, “shattering any illusion that we will restrict supplies.” Mills provides some eye-popping examples of how cloud and AI will suck up vast amounts of energy. A high-power AI chip uses as much electricity per year as three electric vehicles (and by the way, one EV per household would double residential electricity demand).

And chip-maker Nvidia, Mills observes, produced some five million such chips in the last three years, and market demand for them is soaring. The appetite for AI chips is “explosive and essentially unlimited.” The data centres that power cloud computing are also mind-boggling in their energy use, each with an energy appetite often greater than skyscrapers the size of the Empire State Building. The largest data centres consume more energy than a steel mill. And the energy used to enable one hour of video (courtesy of all that cloud computing) is more than the share of fuel consumed by a single person on a 10-mile bus ride.

And yet, on the march towards the unreachable goal of net-zero, government policies have forced out coal-power generation in favour of more costly natural-gas power generation, significantly increasing Canadian’s energy costs. Shifting to lower-GHG energy generation has raised the cost of power, particularly in provinces dependent on fossil-fuel power, while the federal carbon tax drives up costs of energy production. And all at a time when significant numbers of Canadians are mired in energy poverty (when households must devote a significant share of their after-tax income to cover the cost of energy used for transportation, home heating and cooking).

No government should base public policy on wishful thinking or make arbitrary commitments to impossible outcomes. This type of policymaking leads to failure. The Trudeau government should abandon the net-zero by 2050 plan and the never-gonna-happen fossil fuel phase-out, and cease its economically damaging energy, tax and industrial policies it has deployed to further that agenda.

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