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OWOE - Blog
In Canada It’s OK to Cut Down Trees but It’s Not OK to Export LNG
November 28, 2022

Guest Blog by S. A. Shelley: Welcome dear readers to another blog highlighting more energy follies. The world is a mess on several levels, with equity markets roiling, bonds markets churning and of course inflation running amok. Politicians at every level use every hurricane to announce that catastrophic climate change has arrived, and every excuse except fiscal imprudence as the sinister root cause for inflation (nytimes.com, nbcnews.com). We have Europeans still worrying about heat this winter and OPEC+ machinating oil prices. In response to OPEC+ moves, Washington intelligentsia responded by condemning OPEC while sidelining any effort to increase US oil production let alone finish the Keystone XL pipeline. In Europe, Germany has rapidly fired up previously shut down coal burning power plants, and citizens in Austria are scavenging forests for firewood (euronews.com, abcnews.com). In one panicked moment Germany has fallen back to fossil fuels and will once again pump more CO2 into the atmosphere than when it began its Energiewende. Perhaps the sudden new German energy plan is to accelerate global warming to prevent freezing of its populace?

Luckily for Germany and the world, there is a new energy savior to rescue everyone with clean, green energy: Canada. In August of this year, Canada and Germany announced plans to produce green hydrogen in Canada, then ship it across the ocean to Germany where it will be "burned" (note, when hydrogen burns, it becomes water.) Let's map this in Fig. 1.

Fig. 1: Green hydrogen from Canada (Newfoundland) to Germany.

Think about this.

Canada will use wind power in Newfoundland along with sea water from around Newfoundland to produce hydrogen gas which will then be shipped to Germany which has much more wind power and also locally abundant sea water resources.

In simpler terms: Canada will take water from the ocean, break it into parts, then ship it to Germany where it will eventually end up back as water in the ocean.

How on earth is this Canadian plan more efficient than Germany just locally producing green hydrogen using its abundant wind power and ocean water?

Consider another Canadian green energy export case. The biggest power station in Britain burns wood pellets. Because of bureaucrats many years ago, burning wood pellets is defined as green energy.  To supply that power plant, the company each year is cutting down thousands of acres of primary, old growth forest in Canada.  Let's map this in Fig. 2.

Fig. 2 Wood Pellets from Canada to Great Britain

Think about this

Canada wants to plant 2 billion trees to fight climate change, but at the same time Canada allows old growth forests, which are among the best carbon sinks, to be cut down to be burned as bio-fuel.

In what Bizarro world does this make sense?

What the world needs is lots of LNG, fast. LNG can be used to displace the much more polluting coal fired power that Germany is bringing back online and of which China is building much more. LNG is used as feedstock for fertilizers, pharmaceutical and other industries. Canada has a huge abundance of gas resource, but no near term means of getting it to world markets. That's why Germany, after the Canada green hydrogen deal, raced to the Middle East to buy LNG. Imagine if that revenue went to Canada instead of the UAE?  Perhaps Canada would then have enough money for the Prince of Privilege's cherished social programs?

There is of course, the mutedly touted Coastal Gas Link project in British Columbia. But that is delayed, and now some even argue that it is no longer economic to complete. The coastal gas link project began many years ago with a bureaucrat sitting at a desk in Ottawa drawing the pipeline route before any surveys were completed and before any of the project coalition partners were selected (source withheld as OWOE protects its sources).  The coastal gas link project will probably never be completed before some global industries contract and before global CO2 output jumps significantly.

It is fine to be woke and aware of inequities in the world, but it is worse to base solutions on ideological fantasies without regard to realities. Welcome to the 21st century decline. Welcome to the start of the necessary break-up of Canada.

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I Call BS!
October 20, 2022

Guest blog by S.A. Shelley: WARNING: Adult language and un-woke phrases are embedded in this blog.

Writing a good blog takes some forethought and planning. But sometimes, nay too often these days, so many politicians of all stripes are continuing to make horrendously dumb statements regarding energy matters that I feel compelled to write a rebuttal to something that Angela Merkle, the former German Chancellor, said last week.

Responding to reporters' questions on October 13 about what she and Germany could have done differently to not become so dependent on Russian gas, she replied, "You always act in the time in which you find yourself." OMG. Let's compare Russian actions that coincide with Merkle's tenure in Germany (2005 to 2021). See Figure 1.

Figure 1 – Russia-Germany Timeline Under Merkle (see references at end of blog)

Ms. Merkle, I call bullshit on your excuse for getting Germany mired in its energy and economic mess. You were either willfully ignorant or blissfully inept of the looming danger. Much of the world could see that European dependence on Russian gas (see Figure 2), coupled with Putin's aggressive behavior and tactics, would lead to significant geopolitical problems. In 2019, then President Trump said the pipeline could turn Germany into a "hostage of Russia" and signed a law that would impose sanctions on any firm that helps Gazprom finish the pipeline.

Figure 2 – European Dependence on Russian Gas

No good leader acts only according to the situation at the time: That's reaction. A good leader acts towards achieving a vision and uses the situation at the time as a starting basis, not as an excuse to avoid blame for failure. The harm that you foisted upon Germany with your misguided beliefs ranks second only to the harm that the Prince of Privilege foists upon Canada.

Wandul durch handel in our time?  Didn't a British politician say something similar just before the deadliest war of the last century? I've written this before and will repeat it: The time to stand up to autocrats is before they have your economy by the throat (Putin) or before they freeze your bank accounts (Trudeau).

More "I call BS blogs" coming shortly.

Vive l'Albeta Libre!

References to Figure 1: 

  1. nytimes.com: russia-and-ukraine-widen-gas-dispute
  2. inogate.org: information-on-energy-industry-act
  3. rferl.org: russia-2006-a-year-of-muscle-and-missteps
  4. nbcnews.com: soviet-collapse-a-genuine-tragedy
  5. wikipedia.org: 2007_russia-belarus_energy_dispute
  6. jamestown.org: punitive-psychiatry-returned
  7. iea.org: energy-policies-of-iea-countries-germany
  8. cnn.com: putin-merkel-scared-dog
  9. cnn.com: 2008-georgia-russia-conflict
  10. npr.org: anti-nuclear-sentiment-fading-in-germany
  11. justsecurity.org: russias-2010-military-doctrine
  12. theguardian.com: russia-elections-putin-protest
  13. tse-fr.eu: costs-nuclear-phase-out-germany
  14. wikipedia.org: russian_foreign_agent_law
  15. forbes.com: germanys-green-energy-disaster
  16. bbc.com: little-green-men-or-russian-invaders
  17. aljazeera.com: evidence-mounts-of-russian-cluster-bomb-use-in-syria
  18. cnn.com: russia-ramping-up-hostile-action
  19. independent.co.uk: russia-military-exercises
  20. thediplomat.com: china-and-russia-sign-military-cooperation-roadmap
  21. breitbart.com: merkel-putin-era-ends-dogs-flowers-and-tart-ripostes
  22. bloomberg.com: russias-latest-aggression-against-ukraine
  23. militarytimes.com: russian-aggression-on-the-rise-in-the-balkans
  24. csis.org: russias-aggression-against-georgia
  25. politico.com: europe-russian-hackers-sanctions
  26. biznesalert.com: gazprom-a-thug-in-europes-gas-storage-facilities
  27. washingtonpost.com: russian-troop-movements-near-ukraine-border
  28. youtube.com: how-dangerous-are-volcanoes-in-Germany
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Coming Soon – Eastern Venezuela
October 11, 2022

Venezuela has the largest proven oil reserves in the world, reported at 303 billion barrels in 2019 (BP Statistical Review of World Energy), and yet only produced 723,000 barrels per day (MBPD) in August 2022. In contrast, Saudi Arabia is a close second in total reserves at 298 billion barrels, produced 11 million barrels per day (MBPD) that month. That is, with essentially the same reserves, Saudi Arabia produces over 15 times as much oil. The history behind the collapse of the Venezuelan oil industry is a clear lesson of the failure to understand how to manage a critical natural resource in today's complex, interdependent world economy. If we turn to Russia, before the invasion of Ukraine it was producing 11.3 MBPD and was the largest exporter of oil to the world's markets at 7.8 MBPD in December 2021. About 60% of those exports went to European countries. Given the West's determination to end its dependence on Russian oil coupled with the impact of Western sanctions on Russian finance and industry, it is not hard to see the collapse of the Russian oil industry and a new oil-rich but oil-dysfunctional country ensuing, one which we will start referring to as Eastern Venezuela.

Figure 1 – Venezuelan Oil Production History Since 1970

Venezuela: Peak oil production in the early 1970s was about 3.5 million barrels of oil per day (MBPD) and then declined rapidly as Venezuela began taking steps to nationalize the industry (see Figure 1). In 1976 the industry was fully nationalized and operated by the state-owned petroleum company PDVSA (Petroleos de Venezuela S.A.). By the mid-1980s oil production had fallen by 50% from its peak. Then in 1997 Venezuela made efforts to attract foreign investment and technology to develop the heavy oil reserves in the Orinoco Belt, leading to a recovery to 3.5 MBPD by 1998. But this resurgence was short-lived. Hugo Chavez came to power in 1999 and quickly changed the rules for PDVSA to extract more money from the oil industry to subsidize social programs. After the Venezuelan general strike of 2002–2003, which was called in an attempt to force a new election, failed, Chavez fired 18,000 employees of PDVSA and replaced them with employees loyal to his government.

In February 2007 Chavez decreed that all international oil projects be converted to joint ventures with a majority control held by PDVSA, which led foreign companies to begin exiting the country. However, the foreign investment was successful in pushing Venezuela production to the 3 MBPD level once again. In 2013 Nicholas Maduro was elected president after Chavez's death, and he quickly initiated another purge to replace PDVSA's leadership with loyalists. Maduro began to siphon even more money out of PDVSA to fund more social programs to help maintain his socialist party in power and to pay down foreign debt. As funds for PDVSA maintenance dried up, and equipment started breaking down, oil production plummeted. In 2017 control of PDVSA was handed over to the military, ostensibly to correct these problems. The internal persecutions that followed led to more than 30,000 employees leaving the company, many of them highly specialized engineers and technicians, which only made the situation worse. In another key milestone, in August 2020 the last drilling rig, operated by Nabors, left Venezuela. As of May 2022, there were still no active rigs in the country with the largest oil reserves in the world (Figure 2).

Figure 2 - Number of active oil rigs in Venezuela from 2012 to 2021 (Statistica.com)

There are two interrelated causes that have driven the steep decline of Venezuela's oil production. 1) loss of technical expertise to find, drill and produce the country's heavy oil. This started with the firing of PDVSA employees in 2003, was followed by pushing international expertise out of the country in 2007 and concluded in 2017 with the purging of company leadership and technical personnel. 2) Lack of investment and expenditures for maintenance. It is estimated that Venezuela will need as much as $220 billion to perform urgent maintenance and overhauls of pipelines, refineries, and other infrastructure. Given the crippling US sanctions, this is not likely to happen.

Another significant global consequence of the disappearance of the management and technical expertise at PDVSA is that oil production now in Venezuela has devolved into "Produce at any means" without regards to any environmental considerations. Venezuelan oil that enters the market is one of the dirtiest oils produced, as spills go unplugged, refining emissions soar and regional water is polluted unabated.

Russia: Although the broader picture is different from Venezuela, there are enough critical similarities that one can see where Russia is probably headed. When the OWOE editor was working in Russia on the Shell Sakhalin-2 project, the joke around the office was that Russia was a gas station masquerading as a third-world country. The point being that the country that billed itself as the world's second superpower, with the ambition to become the first, could not exist without the foreign currency earned through exports of its natural resources. Obviously, oil and natural gas are the most important and most valuable, but this also includes timber, seafood, gold, precious metals, diamonds, etc. It was estimated in 2019 that natural resources made up 60% of the Russia's Gross Domestic Product (GDP).

Since the invasion of Ukraine, the following have taken place:

  • The US and Western allies have imposed sanctions on Russian banks and other businesses that severely reduce Russia's ability to sell and get paid for its resources.
  • US and other Western companies have ceased operation in Russia, including Shell and BP. Total plans to remain in Russia but will no longer invest in new projects. Oilfield services company Halliburton has exited Russia, and Schlumberger, Baker Hughes and Weatherford International have agreed to cancel new investments.
  • Hundreds of thousands of Russians, including scientists, engineers, geologists, computer programmers, and technicians have fled to neighboring countries to avoid either the military mobilization or to find political freedom. All of these skills are critical to the complex industry of oil and gas production.
  • The European Union is looking to reduce purchase of natural gas from Russia by two-thirds before the end of the year and cease all fossil fuel purchases by 2030. A key enabler of the plan is to dramatically increase use of renewable sources of energy rather than substitute fossil fuels from other sources, which means that Russia’s production would become surplus in the world market.

In the short term, in August 2022 Russian oil exports had dropped to just under 3 MBPD, a huge drop from 7.8 MBPD in December 2021. In the long term these actions mimic the key causes of Venezuela’s decline: 1) loss of technical expertise as both Western companies and Russian technical specialists leave Russia, and 2) dramatic reduction in income from oil and gas exports which will ultimately lead to a decline in production due to lack of new investment and ongoing maintenance.

These effects won't necessarily be seen quickly. It took a little under a decade for Venezuela to get where it is today. But the writing is on the wall. Hello, Eastern Venezuela.

Editor's note – Eastern Venezuela is not to be confused with North Venezuela, the country commonly known as Canada, which has followed its own unique path to becoming an oil-rich oil-dysfunctional country.

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Don’t Blame the Suppliers, Unless They Are Big Oil
September 6, 2022

Bill Luyties, OWOE Founder and Technical Editor: Last year OWOE published a blog titled "Don’t Blame the Suppliers. It was intended to help focus the narrative related to climate change from attacks on the supply side of the contributors to climate change, i.e., the big oil companies, to the demand side, i.e., consumers who want big cars and to buy lots of everything. However, since that time I have come across several articles published by the BBC: one published in 2020 titled "How the oil industry made us doubt climate change" and another published earlier this year titled "The audacious PR plot that seeded doubt about climate change". These articles document the efforts of the fossil fuel companies to engage in a public-relations campaign to sow doubt in the science of climate change by following the playbook of the tobacco industry from several decades earlier. Thus, I would like to update the title of that blog to "Don't Blame the Suppliers, Unless They Are Big Oil".

Figure 1 – Public disinformation campaigns - left: Big Oil 1990s; right: Big Tobacco 1980s (ETS = Environmental Tobacco Smoke, i.e., second-hand smoke)

The first of these articles takes us back 40 years when a scientist at Exxon created a computer model that showed the earth was warming from the burning of fossil fuels. Exxon chose to disregard their own science because of the risk it posed to their business and instead start a campaign to spread doubt about the dangers of climate change. It then goes into the link back to the tobacco industry campaign starting in the mid-1950s to confuse the public about the danger of smoking cigarettes. The second article addresses the efforts of an organization called the Global Climate Coalition (GCC), started in 1989 by energy companies and fossil fuel dependent industries, to aggressively lobby US politicians and media to persuade the public that climate change was not a problem. This included finding and funding climate sceptics to give speeches or write op-eds and arranging media tours so they could appear on local TV and radio stations. It was all about deception and sowing doubt in an American public that would quickly become confused when supposed experts disagreed on the science (see Figure 1).

Much of this was happening while I worked for a Big Oil company. I spent 30 years as an engineer, engineering manager, and project manager working on the development of offshore platforms used to develop oil and gas fields around the world. I was never privy to high level corporate communication strategy, but I should have been knowledgeable and intelligent enough to sift through the disinformation. I remember discussing climate change issues with my wife and using arguments such as "we're only talking small possible changes in earth's temperature compared with the planet’s history", "carbon dioxide levels were much higher in the atmosphere in the past", "volcanoes and forest fires spew out much more greenhouse gasses in a year than automobiles", and, of course, "oil and gas are critical to the world economies and any alternative forms of energy are less effective and much too expensive".

Looking back now, although much these beliefs might have been correct, they truly missed the point - burning fossil fuels is increasing the earth's temperature, and it doesn't take very much of an increase to have a major impact on human life as we know it. So now I am looking back and recognizing that I had been deceived along with hundreds of millions of others. I remember stories about oil companies purchasing early electric vehicle technology and burying it. I guess I can accept that – it is a time-honored practice to protect one's business by all means necessary. But to know something that will have a fundamental negative impact on the entire world, lead to sickness and death and likely wars over diminishing resources, and then to obfuscate the facts seems criminal. Just as the tobacco industry's effort to promote smoking against all science has been determined to be criminal.

Will Big Oil ever be held truly accountable? Very unlikely. And the reality today is that we still need fossil fuels in the interim until renewable power can replace it across the globe. The OWOE recommendations from that previous blog to make a major push on the demand side of the equation still apply and summarized here in three broad strategies.

Strategy 1 - implement programs that truly reward low carbon energy: establish a carbon tax that truly captures the cost of greenhouse gas emissions; develop markets to trade these emissions with the aim of reducing and eventually eliminating them; clarify what big companies can claim as being green; curtail the current scam in carbon offsets; and, of course, continue to invest in renewable energy technology.

Strategy 2 – capture low-hanging fruit: focus on energy efficiency; and regulate industry to eliminate fugitive methane emissions as quickly as possible.

Strategy 3 – change behavior: stop the political bickering that is driven by individuals and organizations that choose to ignore the science of climate change for greed; rein in the utilities so that their financial objectives align with world needs; and create a public service campaign that helps all Americans understand the benefits of such plans.

But now I will add one more, surely to be very controversial, recommendation – implement a windfall profit tax on the oil companies. Global oil fields currently under production break even on average with oil prices between $18 and $28/barrel (as reported by Reuters) while projects currently under development will break-even with oil prices between $25 and $35/barrel. At today's cost of over $90/barrel for Brent crude, such projects will be enormously profitable. Who knows what the future price of oil will be, but allow the oil companies a reasonable profit on their investments and then collect the remainder to pay for the tremendous costs to mitigate against global warming, a phenomenon that they helped create in search of past profits.

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A real NIMBY problem
July 24, 2022

OWOE Staff: The battle against climate change is not going well. President Biden's climate agenda has fallen apart. Russia's war in Ukraine and its fallout within Europe has led to an increase in coal power and a push to increase world oil output. Germany is proceeding with plans to shut down its last 3 nuclear power plants in December which will eliminate 6% of its annual electricity generation and 11% of its non-fossil based generation. World oil production which peaked in 2019 at 99.7 million barrels per day before the Covid pandemic slashed demand has risen back almost to pre-pandemic levels and is expected to exceed those levels in 2023. We can all lament those factors as lost opportunities, but there are two factors driving Americans' behavior that make OWOE seriously question whether any real progress can be made. We call them NIMBYism and IWINYism. We will address NIMBYism, or the Not in My Back Yard syndrome, here and cover IWINYism, or the I Want it Now or Yesterday syndrome, in a future post.

Figure 1 - protest signs in Falmouth

On a recent visit to Cape Cod, Massachusetts, your OWOE editor came across a number of streets in Falmouth sporting yard signs opposed to the Mayflower Wind Project. The Mayflower Wind Project is an offshore wind farm that will be located over 30 miles south of Martha's Vineyard and 20 miles south of Nantucket. The development has the potential to generate over 2,400 megawatts (MW) of power from as many as 150 wind turbines. Current plans are to transmit 1,200 MW of power via subsea cable to a grid connection at Brayton Point/Somerset near Fall River. The next 1,200 MW will be transmitted via subsea cable to a land crossing in Falmouth, then underground to an inland grid connection. Virtually every house on some of the streets displayed the signs – see Figure 1.

At a public meeting held on June 8th, residents overwhelmingly voiced opposition to plans by Mayflower Wind to run electric cables though Falmouth. Arguments included concern about construction traffic and noise, electromagnetic fields from the cables, impact on home values, impact on tourism, aesthetics of the substation, etc. Many finished their comments saying that they support clean energy and even the project itself - just not in Falmouth. And there it is - NIMBY. This brought back memories of the demise of the Cape Wind Project in Nantucket Sound, which would have been the first offshore wind farm in the US and which spent 16 years fighting for approvals from all stakeholders before being abandoned in 2017. The development company dealt with dozens of government agencies, native tribes, organizations, politicians, lawyers, and local citizens and could never get all onboard. One opposition group alone filed more than 25 court appeals to obstruct the construction of the project. In the background were the Kennedy's with all their money funding the battle to not obstruct the views from their estate or to interfere with their yachting in the Sound.

OWOE finds the really interesting issue in the current Mayflower Wind project to be that the actual impact to the community is so minor - a shore crossing, a substation, and an underground cable. And yet, one group or organization can block a project that has undeniable benefit to society as a whole.

There are plenty more examples. If we turn our attention just north of Massachusetts, we can find a battle over a transmission line to transmit 1,200 MW of hydropower from Quebec to Massachusetts. This would entail 145 miles (233 km) of transmission line of which about two-thirds would follow existing power line corridors with an extension of 53 miles through Maine's North Woods. The project was opposed by environmentalists, Maine residents who didn't trust the local power company, politicians who didn't think Maine was getting enough out of the project, and energy firm NextEra which provides fossil fuel to the state. In fact, NextEra donated $20 million to the opposition which was used to by television advertising that many felt killed the project. In a 2021 referendum, a majority of Maine voters did, in fact, vote against the project. The legality of that referendum is currently before the Maine Supreme Court. Again, the impact to Maine is minor - a 53 mile transmission line through the pine trees in a state that has over 17 million acres of forest which cover over 89% of the state’s land area.

How about the Ocean Wind project offshore New Jersey? The project would have a beach crossing drilled 60 feet under the beach, then run below the streets, just like water lines or other utilities. The proposal is deeply unpopular in Ocean City and other shore towns. Opponents cite the visual impact of the turbines from the beach (note they are 15 miles offshore) and also say the plan will damage the environment and the commercial fishing industry.

Or the two lithium mines and a geothermal power plant in Nevada that are in court fighting conservationists, environmentalists, tribes and others who otherwise generally support the effort to expedite the transition from fossil fuels to renewables.

Even in progressive California there is strong NIMBYism. In 2019 San Bernardino county, the largest county in California that is approximately 70% desert, banned renewable energy projects that mostly serve out-of-town utility customers from large swaths of land. Residents see the existing solar projects as eyesores that destroy desert ecosystems, fuel dust storms, and drive away tourists. Just west of San Francisco farmers and environmentalists oppose what would be the largest solar plant built in the San Francisco Bay Area because it will spoil the rural landscape. The company developing the project feels that they have mitigated all concerns except "we just don't want it here".

Hearing all these stories makes one wonder if there is any hope to achieve the goal of powering this country primarily off sustainable low carbon (nuclear and geothermal) and renewable (wind and solar) energy. Both wind and solar farms require relatively large areas for deployment, have visual impact, inevitably cause some disruption to the local environment, and will require transmission lines to high density population centers. Anti-nuclear sentiment remains high (no one wants a nuclear reactor in their back yard!). And even geothermal plants, which have small geographic footprints and produce bundles of clean baseline power, are getting pushback. There are numerous parties who could be impacted (or believe they will be impacted) by these projects, and we give so much power to each of those parties (especially ones who have lots of money), that it is hard to believe we can do something for the greater good of society.

We’re at peak NIMBYism now and OWOE doesn't see any reasonable means to change that soon enough.

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Power Arbitrage Canadian Style
June 9, 2022

or How to Impoverish Newfoundland while Making a Fortune Selling Electricity to New York

Guest blog by S. A. Shelley: A few weeks ago, at a speech in Washington D.C the Premier of the Canadian province of Alberta, Jason Kenney, promulgated the idea of a North American Energy Alliance.

By 2024, the completion of the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion project to British Columbia will give Canada even more capacity to ship oil to the US, Kenney said in an interview on Bloomberg Television. "My point is, let's be visionary about this. Let's have a North American energy alliance, and let's get another major pipeline done because we've got the third-largest reserves on Earth up in Alberta," he said.

It is funny, how when over a year before that speech in Washington, OWOE editorial staff first formulated a North American Energy Alliance, in a slightly more complete form, no news organizations picked up on our idea. 

The OWOE energy policy combines several key elements, including: firm commitment to dramatically reduce dependence on fossil fuels in a planned and rational manner, sustainable investment in renewable technologies, and establishment of a North American Energy Alliance (NAEA) between the US and Canada to aggressively develop and globally sell our existing energy resources.

Within a week following the Premier's speech, other analysts have started to chime in about the need and merits for such an alliance (see for example, Ms. Francis' column, North America needs an energy revolution now more than ever). The idea of some sort of coordinated energy alliance or cooperative continued to spread until powerful people in Quebec began advocating for such schemes though on a national level. On May 30, Ms. Sophie Brochu, chief executive of Hydro-Quebec had some thoughts on the creation of a "national energy conversation".

That's when I lost my last shred of faith in Canadian peoplekind, for whenever Quebec public figures (Justin Trudeau especially) talk about national benefits, the rest of Canada needs to hide its valuables. One needs to look no further than the disastrous Churchill Falls hydro project in Newfoundland, or the egregious National Energy Policy of the 1980s for confirmation of my thesis.

The History of Churchill Falls Hydro

Churchill Falls is a hydroelectric generating dam in Labrador (Newfoundland, see Fig. 1). Construction for the dam started in 1967 and was completed and operational by 1971. At the time of operation, there was only one route for the excess power to be transmitted to markets and that was through Quebec. Consequently, under some duress, the Premier of Newfoundland and the Newfoundland Utility agreed to a fixed price contract of $2 / MWh. That was the price and IS the price for a hydroelectric facility that is rated at 5,428 MW. There are roughly 365 days per year, and hydropower is generated 24 hours a day. Using a bit of arithmetic, this means that Newfoundland is paid just under $92 million a year for the power produced by the Churchill Falls project. In 1972, $92 million was a substantial amount of money going into the coffers of the less economically fortunate province of Newfoundland. In 2022, $92 million is insignificant to the budgetary needs of the province that struggles to provide good services (education, healthcare) for its residents.

That's right astute readers, in 1972, Hydro-Quebec with the full backing of the Federal Government of the Liberal Party of Canada with Pierre Trudeau as Prime Minister, locked Newfoundland into a contract for all the electricity generated by Churchill Falls at $2 per MWh, in virtual perpetuity. Newfoundland has tried numerous times to get the contract quashed in the Canadian courts to no avail. The current pricing scheme is supposed to expire in 2041, but by then it is very unlikely that it will change or that Hydro-Quebec will continue to buy power from Churchill Falls.

This is the Arbitrage: Hydro-Quebec sells a lot of electricity to New York state. In 2019, the amount of power sold to New York amounted to about 33.7 TWH at about $67 / MWh, and that looks to increase significantly in the future. Currently, Churchill Falls alone provides about 45.9 TWH to Quebec. Thus, Quebec buys 33.7 TWh (plus more) at $2 / MWH and sells it to New York at $67 / MWH (Figure 1). That's an arbitrage profit of $65 / MWh. I’m ignoring small transmission losses and some infrastructure costs, but when all physical assets are factored in, this is still a huge arbitrage profit that one Crown corporation reaps at the expense of another Crown corporation. How’s that for equity in Canada?

Figure 1 - The arbitrage map

The excess of power from Churchill Falls feeds into the Hydro-Quebec's domestic customers and lowers their overall average electricity (hydro) bill.

Is This a Special Case?

Is this just a special case of Hydro-Quebec and the Federal Government shafting Newfoundland? No, there are numerous other cases in which Hydro-Quebec and the Federal Government shaft other constituents in Canada. For example, 36% of all of Hydro-Quebec's total hydroelectric power is installed on native lands that the Crown corporation and the Crown (The Federal Government in Canada) just outright ignore:

In total, 33 production structures, 130 dams and dikes, 10,400 km2 of reservoirs, tens of thousands of kilometres of transmission, distribution and road lines have been illegally installed.

Again, how is this equity?

Muskrat Falls, Another Hydro Project with Problems

We briefly mentioned the Muskrat Falls Hydro project in the Canada and Energy Blog, Part 3 in 2019.  That project is also a fiscal disaster in large part again to Federal Government interference and Federal Government (Liberal Party) insistence on Newfoundland using one federally preferred contractor from Quebec, SNC Lavalin.  The residents of Newfoundland and Labrador are kind, hardworking and smart people; they just aren't smart enough to deal with the political influence peddlers from Ottawa and Montreal.

"Nalcor has indicated that they experienced performance issues with SNC shortly after the contract was awarded, including turnover of key project resources, the failure to complete key project deliverables, lack of adequate systems and tools, and significant organization and alignment gaps."

More complete reports about the problems with the Muskrat Falls project are available in the documents: "Muskrat Falls: A Misguided Project - executive summary" and "Muskrat Falls Project - A Critical Review".

When the Trudeau regime crows about providing massive funding support for the Muskrat Falls project, the Trudeau regime simultaneously ignores its culpability that led to the massive project problems. In all likelihood, many of those additional $billions will eventually find their way back into coffers around Ottawa and Montreal. 

Is it Just Muskrat Falls?

No, there are far too many problems with big energy and infrastructure problems in Canada.  There is the Site C dam in British Columbia, a project started in 1972 and still not complete.  

There is the Saskatchewan Carbon Capture Scheme that stumbled in 2015 with the provincially owned utility embarking in a dispute resolution process against contractor SNC Lavalin over serious design deficiencies.

There is the Ottawa Light Rail expansion. "Memo made public Friday confirmed SNC-Lavalin didn’t meet technical threshold". Additional readings about the Ottawa Light Rail fiasco can be found in Trains.com, CTV News, TVO Today, and CBC.

The foul ups in Canadian energy and engineering projects just never seem to end, and Canadian taxpayers and New York rate payers just keep paying.

It is said that Canada was confederated in order to keep the French in, the Americans out and the Natives down. By the actions of the Federal Liberal Governments of the last few decades, I think it would be better to think that the purpose of the confederation of Canada is to keep the Liberals Governing, Quebec Booming and the Natives Ignored. That is why, for example, 66% of Quebec residents would prefer getting oil from Alberta, but the Quebec government insists instead to get oil from Saudi Arabia because it is better to send money overseas than to confederates out west where nary a Liberal can be found.  A North American Energy Alliance can be a very good thing, if it involves all forms of conventional and new energies, and I’m all for such. But when Ms. Brochu or anyone from Hydro-Quebec speaks of a national energy and conversion policy, everyone else in Canada needs to be very suspicious.

Vive l'Alberta Libre!

Shut Down Line 5

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A Personal and Very Real Example of Climate Change
May 20, 2022

OWOE Staff: The world recently celebrated Earth Day on April 22 - 52 years after the first Earth Day celebration in 1970. Unfortunately, like pretty much all the prior Earth Days, very little concrete progress was committed to addressing the world's global warming crisis. If I may paraphrase  my favorite environmentalist, Greta Thunberg, it was all "bunny, bunny…blah, blah, blah". Perhaps the biggest news in the fight against climate changes was Denmark's proposal for a new corporate carbon tax, which would set a value of 1,125 Danish crowns ($164.21) per tonne of carbon equivalent and make it the highest such tax in the world if implemented. But again, that’s just a proposal. In the meantime, fossil fuel use has recovered from its Covid lows, CO2 levels in the atmosphere continue to rise, the Arctic and Antarctic ice sheets continue to melt, and environmental damage from storms, fires, and rising sea levels continue. I personally witnessed a real-life example of that the very week of Earth Day when I visited one of my favorite beaches in the world, Cancun. I have been going to the beaches of Cancun almost every year since the early 2000s, and the change to the beach caused by the increase in seaweed over the past few years is dramatic. We all tend to miss the big picture when all we see are incremental changes, but after skipping two years because of pandemic travel restrictions, the magnitude of the beach changes was more obvious and led me to look back at my earlier visits and take a broader perspective. Figure 1 shows the change over the last 8 years, with a) from April 2014 and b) from April 2022, both the exact same stretch of beach.

Fig. 1 - Change in Cancun Beaches: 2014 (left), 2022 (right)

This seaweed is Sargassum which reproduces vegetatively and never attaches to the seafloor. The Atlantic Ocean's Sargasso Sea was named after the seaweed for the large amount of Sargassum that collects there. More recently, an area of Sargassum has developed off the coast of Brazil near the mouth of the Amazon River.

Figure 2 from the University of Florida Satellite-based Sargassum Watch System (SaWS) shows how the Sargassum bloom off the coast of Brazil has evolved. Since 2011, Sargassum seaweed has appeared in the Caribbean Sea every summer except 2013, creating many environmental, ecological and economic problems. The seaweed originates in the tropical Atlantic and drifts with the current into the Caribbean. It is believed to be a result of climate variability combined with other natural and anthropogenic processes and has been getting progressively worse. One of those anthropogenic processes is deforestation, which causes soil erosion that leads to surplus nutrients being washed into rivers and flowing into the ocean, ultimately feeding the Sargassum. Deforestation also releases carbon into the atmosphere which contributes to climate change and increases ocean temperature, which then accelerates Sargassum growth.

Fig. 2 - Evolution of Brazil Sargassum Bloom 2011 to 2022 (University of Florida)

2018 was a bad year for the seaweed, but April 2022 seaweed quantities have exceeded all prior years. The overall Sargassum amount increased significantly across the tropical Atlantic, the Caribbean Sea, the Gulf of Mexico, and the Central West Atlantic (the region east of the Lesser Antilles), setting a new historical record for the month of April.

How has Cancun been dealing with this problem? Not very well. Although there has been some attempt to clean the seaweed with vessels, most still washes ashore. Figure 3 shows the various ways the individual resorts in the Hotel Zone have been dealing with the problem: a) bury using tractor, b) what's left after burying – "sandweed fluff", c) leaving to decompose naturally – resulting in a prickly mess that is unsightly and uncomfortable to walk on, and d) haul-off using backhoes and dumpsters. Not shown is another common approach - hotel workers burying the seaweed by hand on the beach. They spend all day raking and shoveling and go home exhausted, only to return the next day and start over again. All approaches, other than leaving in place, result in significant cost for the hotels, and all impact the beach. The famous soft, white, pristine Cancun sand no longer exists.

Fig. 3 - Dealing with Sargassum

Ultimately, this has an impact on visitors who hear about the problem and choose a different destination or who visit Cancun, are disappointed in the beaches, and choose to not return in the future. According to the Mexican government, tourism will fall by as much as 30% at Quintana Roo (state that includes Cancun and the Mayan Riviera) beach destinations this year due to the invasion of Sargassum.

When organizations try to calculate the cost of climate change, they focus on measurable costs – how much it costs to fight the impact of the change or repair the damage caused. But what about the indirect costs? What is the value to the world of walking on the beaches of Cancun or scuba diving along the Australian coral reefs or skiing in the Andes mountains or living on the coast of almost any place in the world, all (and much more) of which are at risk of disappearing?


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The Ghosts of Energy Decisions of the Past
May 11, 2022

Guest blog by S. A. Shelley: Governments' penchant for wasting taxpayer money and harming the environment is not a recent phenomenon but it went industrial in 20th century at all levels. At the beginning of the century Mother Nature and society had a tremendous capacity to forgive bad decisions even when some such decisions resulted in millions of deaths over the span of several decades. Human, sorry, people-kind abused Mother Nature and the pocketbooks of taxpayers in the name of progress and energy transition but managed to overcome crises such as anthropogenic acid deposition and the oil embargo of the 1970s. People-kind barely limped out of the 20th century into the 21st century. In all likelihood Mother Nature and taxpayer pocketbooks are now beyond the capacity to forgive our shortcomings and bad decisions for much longer.  Who is to blame for this? Big business has big shame, but most blame lies entirely before the governments who are elected to be wise but are faddish populists with inherent graft and "ism" agendas. Difficult and complex solutions require deep thinkers, not pot-addled Princes of Privilege (shout-out to Justin Trudeau, see notes 1 and 2).

Let's look at some of those ghosts of decisions past…

In the middle of the last century, many municipal governments operated transit systems with electric trolly buses. Fig. 1 shows such a bus in operation by the City of Edmonton.

Fig 1. Edmonton Transit System (ETS) Trolley Bus in the Mid-1950s

However, the continued operation of such clean, green and quiet public transit into the 21st century did not align with the vision of the then progressive city politicians of the late 1980s and 1990s. As one commentator wrote:

The fact that most other North American cities got rid of their trolleys does not mean that they (city councilors) were wise or far sighted when they did so. But if you had stood up then before those city councils and talked about oil at $150 a barrel and vanishing glaciers, you would have been laughed out of the room.  

Before the decision was made to get rid of the electric trolley buses in Edmonton, politicians often made two arguments to support their case: 1) maintaining the overhead wires was too costly, and 2) modern diesel buses were cleaner and cheaper to operate. The argument against diesel should be obvious to everyone; the economic case is not as obvious but just as foolish. Studies have invariably concluded that electric trolley buses are, in fact, the cheapest transit system to build and operate, even cheaper than battery electric buses (see Urban Transport Magazine and Low-Tech Magazine). Unfortunately, battery electric buses are now the de riguer choice of city councils everywhere including in the city of Edmonton. Forty years after the initial decision was to get rid of electric trolley buses, the city is now buying more expensive battery electric buses.

Electric street cars were also quite common in urban municipalities, and they operated frequently, conveniently and safely for many years. Fig. 2, shows an electric streetcar operating in Los Angeles around 1960.

Fig 2. Los Angeles Streetcar around 1960

By 1960 over 1000 miles of streetcar lines (urban rail system) served the public in the greater municipality of Los Angeles. Yet in 1963 the city began ripping up and dismantling its once impressive system. There are numerous reasons given for the demise of urban rail system, and an often overlooked reason is that "…city rules often kept fares artificially low". In other words, inept political meddling killed a good thing. Now, almost 60 years later, city of Los Angeles councilors have decided that streetcars are again an integral part of the transit system and they have embarked on building a new streetcar system starting with the 3.8 mile downtown route.

On a large scale these days, politicians are justifiably and frantically proclaiming the need for green and energy efficient transportation. Yet when they had it, they got rid of it. How many times must taxpaying citizens pay for the short-sighted planning and outright mistakes of politicians? How often are cities going to switch between urban rail, "clean" diesel (or LNG) buses and E-buses? What is the government transit plan going forward (Fig. 3)?

Fig 3. Municipal Transit Trajectory

It's not just municipal transit which has suffered immeasurable damage because of flaky political thinking: personal transit is now under relentless and inconsistent attack by politicians.

In Europe, diesel cars became the government solution to achieving Kyoto Protocol CO2 reduction targets, and governments threw their resources into convincing citizens to drive diesel instead of gasoline powered ICEs. Now politicians everywhere are coercing their citizens to drive EVs, which have their own issues with sourcing critical materials in a sustainable and socially just manner (see Climate Nexus and Inside EVs) and cost. I doubt that any politician knows that it takes about 500,000 gallons of water, or about 2200 tonnes of water to mine 1 tonne of lithium.  Then there is the question of battery disposal, with forecasts indicating 2,000,000 tonnes per year of EV batteries will be tossed into landfills each year after 2030. Again, I doubt that any politician is thinking now about that future problem. I also wonder what the future of personal transit will be in the future: Will it be egalitarian or elitist (Fig. 4)?

Fig 4. Personal Transit Trajectory

If politicians are serious about clean and green transit and reducing CO2 emissions, then the politicians need to: (1) stop throwing out working municipal transit technology, and (2) get serious about shutting down all coal burning power plants instead of penalizing citizens for personal EV choices. Shutting down all coal burning power plants would cut umpteen millions more tonnes of CO2 emissions than taking all personal ICEs off the roads (see notes 3 and 4). As taxpayers, we're paying over and over for the mistakes and short sighted woke-infused dreams of politicians at all levels. We need more reality and careful consideration about our next step forward with regards to transit and energy.

Vive l'Alberta Libre!

Shut Down Line 5

Notes:

  1. Thanks to Ms. S of Canada for suggesting the "Prince of Privilege" moniker for Justin Trudeau.
  2. The "How Dumb is Canada" energy blog for 2022 is still being written, because, regrettably, Canada is continuing to make dumb decisions at a rate faster than we can analyze.
  3. Umpteen is an acceptable measure of quantity - it's more than a gob-full but less than a gazillion.
  4. The port of Vancouver in Canada is the largest coal exporting terminal in North America. Burning coal in China is just as bad as burning it in Canada. Stop that.
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2022: Continuing the Year of Bad Government Decisions
April 12, 2022

Guest blog by S. A. Shelley: It is very difficult to keep up with all the energy changes in the world. Every week, some Big Government Agency, NGO, International Think Tank or Big Company proclaims some new solution to the looming global energy problem of too much of the wrong kind of energy and too often from the wrong place. While most of the analysts and prognosticators seem knowledgeable and well intentioned, OWOE analysts cannot conclude for certain that the resultant big government plans foisted through bureaucrats onto ordinary citizens are based upon sound knowledge and understanding of energy markets, resources, technology and costs.  I emphasize technology and cost because most government edicts are based more upon woke and vote political expedience than anything technically attainable without causing significant long term economic pain, e.g., recent decisions to shut down nuclear reactors. Nor have governments shown themselves to understand the political issues of energy supply, as we now see with Europe stuck paying for Russia's conquest of Ukraine. We have some insightful and interesting comments about the Russian war, but these won't be discussed in this blog - maybe later.

There are so many bunny blah blah decisions being made in Western Capitals, that we cannot keep track of all of them. Nevertheless, some recent government actions that have further destabilized energy markets, exacerbated consumer pain and even aggravated the climate beyond keeping the planet comfy and cozy for humanity need to be addressed.

Earlier this year, in response to the Russkies invading the Ukraine, the U.S. Administration ran all around the world trying to find more oil supplies both for domestic consumption and for its European allies.  The U.S. went to OPEC, the U.S. went to Venezuela, and the U.S. went to Iran. But the U.S. did not go to Canada or Mexico, let alone Alaska, Texas or North Dakota. Apparently, U.S. policy priority is to buy oil and gas from totalitarian regimes while championing freedom; Words are cheap but cheap all and gas are better. In this regard, the U.S. is following the European, and in particular, the German playbook (see WSJ.com and CNBC.com). Then the U.S. administration decided on March 31 that it would start plundering the Strategic Petroleum Reserve (SPR) at the rate of 1 million bbls / day. Officially, this was to relieve price pressure domestically and hopefully free up more oil internationally for the Europeans. If we look at the effect on oil prices, WTI and BRENT, we see that the release of oil from the SPR had an insignificant impact on prices (Fig. 1).

Figure 1: WTI and Brent Oil Prices for the Last Few Weeks

In the long run, the policy of releasing oil from the SPR is more likely to drain the reserve than alleviate price pain at the pumps. This government action is an attempt to manipulate market supply, not curb market demand: As long as oil (energy) demand is steady and growing, the price pressure will always increase regardless of short-term supply dumping, because demand is a long-term factor (OWOE’s First Law of Energy Markets) There has been a continued draw down of the SPR for quite some time (Fig 2).

Figure 2: US Strategic Petroleum Reserve Capacity

When established, the SPR was meant to be a commercial reserve of oil in case of a major supply disruption, such as the1973 Arab Oil Embargo. What happens if the Russkie invasion of Ukraine turns global and Russkie aircraft start lobbing KH-35U missiles at oil tankers headed to America? The U.S. burns through about 20 million bbls / day of oil, of which about 8 million bbls /day is imported. In other words, the US has about 81 days of oil imports stored in the SPR. There is not enough people power and machinery available to turn up the American shale oil fields fast enough to produce 8 million bbls / day within 90 days of a global emergency. Strategic reserves are meant to overcome strategic problems, not temporarily reduce consumer price pain at the pumps. In addition, there are a number of financial analysts who believe any such attempt to artificially lower gas prices will increase demand, further increase inflation, and ultimately make the supply situation worse (see FoxBusiness).

Just before the commencement of Russkie hostilities in Ukraine, but well into the buildup of Russkie armor and troops at the Ukraine border, the U.S. Administration announced a program to spend $5 billion over 5 years to make EV charging infrastructure available to more Americans. This means that on average, maybe 20,000 EV charging stations will be built each year. Again, OWOE analysts understand the great benefit of EVs with respect to Green House Gas (GHG) emissions reduction. But there are better and quicker ways to reduce GHG that will have a quicker impact on the climate than forcing ordinary people to buy and use personal EVs. For one, as we've noted before, methane is a far more potent GHG than the CO2 emitted by personal gas powered vehicles, and thus spending $5 billion on capping leaking wells or stopping methane leakage will be far quicker and effective means of reducing GHGs. Investing money on EV fleets is also a better use of government resources than forcing American families to buy EVs that are still priced above affordability for the average family.

But America isn't the only country afflicted by dumb government policies and actions when it comes to energy. With a war raging on the flanks of Europe, someone in France decided that it would be a good time to simultaneously take offline 50% of France’s nuclear reactors. One can't make this stuff up. France gets about 70% of its electricity from long-term, stable nuclear power, but last week a cold snap coupled with the 'planned' shut down of 50% of France's nuclear reactors for routine maintenance resulted in record electricity prices in France, with a spill-over to European neighbors. The cold snap may not have been foreseeable, but the Russkie war has been raging openly for some time; surely someone in France could have said "Nyet" to the idea of scheduling all that reactor maintenance at the same time?

There are some bright spots in the world with respect to government planning for energy security and sustainability, and in our humble assessment, Finland which is focusing both on nuclear power and wind power is one such place.

Then, on the other hand, there is Canada, a place that totally messes up its energy security and stability. Canada is still one of the worst energy and climate hypocrite nations on the global stage. Canada continues to be one of the largest coal exporters, and Canada continues to operate and support the extremely environmentally hazardous Line 5 Pipeline through Michigan's state waters. If asked by anyone in any other government about what to do with respect to energy security and decarbonization transition, OWOE analysts always respond with "Do the opposite of the Canadian Federal Government, and then you'll be on a good path." A dedicated blog highlighting the historical, current and forthcoming expensive energy follies in Canada will come shortly. Such a "Canadian" blog is becoming sadly repetitive, and it is OWOE's hope that someday soon, someone at the Canadian government level will smarten up about energy and the environment. It is a quickly fading hope.

Vive l'Alberta Libre! Shut Down Line 5!

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More interesting energy stories that you might have missed
April 1, 2022

Guest blog by Mr. R. U. Cirius: Here are some interesting and somewhat offbeat energy stories that haven't gotten much media attention that OWOE readers might have missed.

Very Small Modular Reactors There has been a lot of press coverage for Small Modular Reactors (SMRs) recently, with some touting them as the solution to the world's energy challenges to others expressing doubt that they can actually be successful (see also OWOE blog Nuclear Power: Climate Solution or Hype). However, a new version of these nuclear reactors has just been announced that may actually meet the high expectations. William Fences, the entrepreneur and philanthropist, and his company MicroPower, claims to have developed the first Very Small Modular Reactor (VSMR). This is a stand-alone suitcase-sized micro nuclear reactor for both private and commercial use. The reactor includes: molten salt nuclear fuel module, molten salt pump, thermo-electric battery with inverter to export power at 480v, water coolant system that connects directly to the home or business water supply, and auxiliary air cooling motor that plugs easily into a standard 220v power receptacle, all enclosed withing an easily movable case (see Figure 1). Although not yet available for purchase, MicroPower is planning to sell units with power generation capability ranging from 5kW to 50kW.

Figure 1 – Very Small Modular Reactor (VSMR) (courtesy MicroPower)

HPZ Rigid Dirigible Aircraft On March 15th, accompanied by the soaring lyrics of the rock classic "Stairway to Heaven", the first modern-day commercial hydrogen powered rigid aircraft made its inaugural flight from Seattle, Washington  to Portland, Oregon. The HPZ, which stands for Hydrogen Powered Zeppelin, is a so-called rigid dirigible aircraft, consisting of a fabric-covered rigid metal framework made up of transverse rings and longitudinal girders and containing individual gasbags. The gasbags are filled with a lighter-than-air gas, which gives the buoyancy necessary to fly. The HPZ is approximately the size of the ill-fated Hindenburg Zeppelin at 800 feet long (more than three times the length of a Boeing 747) and with a diameter of 135 feet. It can cruise at 75 mph and travel as high as 20,000 feet above sea level. Hydrogen gas is used both as the fill gas, but also as the fuel to power the aircraft. By utilizing the same gas, the HPZ was able to eliminate costly and heavy fuel tanks.

Figure 2 – Hydrogen powered HPZ rigid dirigible aircraft (courtesy HydroFlight)

The HPZ was built by start-up technology firm HydroFlight. When asked whether there was a concern over safety using hydrogen gas, given the history of the Hindenburg Disaster, a media spokesman for HydroFlight responded: "There is absolutely no risk of such a thing happening to the HPZ. For one, we have very strict rules against smoking on board. But also, we are using 'blue' hydrogen for our gas that is provided by major oil companies. They have assured us that the 'blue' hydrogen they provide is much safer than the 'green' hydrogen that many other companies are trying to sell."

The HPZ will attempt a cross-country flight later this year from Seattle to New York City.

Wind Turbine Recycling No energy system is entirely neutral in terms of waste produced, including wind power. Fortunately, there are several consortiums of researchers and industry taking on this challenge, specifically how to reuse or repurpose the composite material wind turbine blades:

  • Turbocrete - a mixture of turbine blade pellets and concrete. Researchers at the Denver School of Litho Technologies and Earth Sciences (aka Denver SLATE) have developed a use for end-of-life turbine blades as a binding material for concrete. Preliminary mixtures suggest that adding shredded wind turbine composites to cement will increase the strength and thermal insulating property of the cement while also making it lighter. Furthermore, researchers believe that they can also fabricate turbine towers form the Turbocrete which would result in turbine blades having two lifespans in wind power generation.
  • Turbotires - a mixture of reformed turbine blade laminates and rubber. Again, research conducted by Mikkelon and GoodYarn tire manufactures indicates promising results with a compound consisting of synthetic rubber and turbine blade laminates. Many years ago the industry touted the benefits of steel radial tires, but now the industry is preparing to tout the benefits of composite blade tires, including longer tread life, faster road killing capability and, of course, lighter weight. Costs are still an issue, but the industry consortium expects road testing on EEL-Vs soon enough. (Note: Turbotires should not be confused with Turbitires, which OWOE reported on in a previous blog.)
  • Turbofoam – Not to be outdone by industry, consumer firms are also examining ways to use turbine blade composite material waste in their products. One global supplier of shaving products, 2-Dollar Shave, is trialing shaving cream made with micro composite turbine blade residual particles. Said one executive, "We're amazed at how turbine blades slice through the air, so we thought, 'No Brainer', the material could also be used to shave through tough beards on faces."
  • Vitae Farms - When thinking about wind farms, folks immediately think of those large clusters of blade-spinning, bat-shredding power producers scattered around the world. Well, now there is a new kind of wind farm rising up from the ground. Engineers and agricultural scientists at giant food firm, Midland Drug Manufacturing and Agriculture (MDMA) are ecstatic over their novel concept vertical farms using waste composite turbine blades. The MDMA team envisions dozens of these vitae farms interspersed with existing wind farms so that both power and food can be produced from the same area.

Bio-power Research Growing Corporate America is looking to improve their Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) standing by using more animals for tasks, such as blog editing and remote tech support (see Figure 3).

Figure 3 - Animal Power

Quote one corporate CEO. "To be truly carbon neutral, you have to return to animal power for many activities." Animals are part of the green cycle and they consume fewer critical minerals and require less power per kilogram than humans for many labor intensive and high tech / high cost solutions.

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