Author: Brian Zinchuk

Guilbeault lights a firestorm

There’s a truism in politics: “All politics is local.” And there’s nothing more local than the road full of potholes in front of your house. But Minster of Environment and Climate Change Steven Guilbeault, supposedly speaking on behalf of the entire federal government, seems to think we don’t need any more roads. The reaction was fast and furious.

Liberals rebrand carbon-price rebates in bid to make policy more palatable

The Saskatchewan and Alberta NDP distance themselves from their federal brethren regarding banning promotion of oil and gas.

Also regarding the NDP’s banning everything, because, why not?

NDP to move bill calling for ban of coal exports as Canadian output booms

The one charger to rule them all…

The charger format war is over. The one charger to rule them all is Tesla’s. A major stumbling block in EV adoption has been overcome, if you’re into that sort of thing.

Any organization installing electric vehicle chargers, including SaskPower, FCL and government, should take note of this major development, and cease wasting money on now-obsolete tech, as FCL has been doing (especially in installing CHAdeMO chargers). I mentioned this is a presentation several months ago to the Building Owners and Managers Association Regina. Turns out I was bang on the money.

Edit: missing link added above. Thanks.

We are living in 1979 on the way to 1984

NDP MP Charlie Angus wants to shut down all oil and gas advertising.

In a move that would effectively destroy media like Pipeline Online, EnergyNow.ca, BOE Report, Daily Oil Bulletin and more, Timmins-James Bay NDP MP Charlie Angus on Feb. 6 proposed eliminating all advertising from oil and gas firms. “It is prohibited for a person to promote a fossil fuel, a fossil fuel-related brand element or the production of a fossil fuel except as authorized by the provisions of this Act or of the regulations,” the private members bill, which was just introduced and is not law, says.

Note, this was clearly endorsed by the national party and leader. There’s even a donation collection at the bottom of the press release.

Fines in the million dollar range, jail up to two years. This is what the NDP want of Canada. And I would be going to jail.

To quote Andor, “Fight the Empire!”

The nuclear renaissance coming to Saskatchewan

Weekend Watch: Juice: Power, Politics & the Grid

 

This video series is a spectacular take on many of the energy issues of the day. It starts with the February, 2021, Texas blackouts, and goes on to tackle renewable power in the form of wind and solar. It doesn’t speak too fondly of coal, but goes broadly into the adoption of nuclear power. Canada and its experience with nuclear figures heavily into this series, including the influence of Dr. Chris Keefer, a Toronto ER physician who had lead the crusade to bring nuclear power back to the fore. And the series gets into why nuclear all of a sudden is in a renaissance after decades of being in the dumps.

This applies directly to Saskatchewan, where just last week, SaskPower inked a deal with GE Hitachi Canada to continue the development path of small modular reactors. And in that press conference, SaskPower president and CEO Rupen Pandya, when asked by Pipeline Online how many reactors we’re going to build, said Saskatchewan’s grid is expected to grow from 5,400 megawatts currently to 13,000 to 15,000 megawatts by 2050. That’s about 2.5x what it is now. And nuclear appears like it’s going to play a huge part in that. So the issues presented in this series are very topical for this province.

Juice really highlights a lot of the issues Pipeline Online has been focusing on for the last two years. In particular, reliability trumps all, and wind and solar can only be relied upon to be utterly unreliable.

I strongly suggest anyone in the decision chain of Saskatchewan going nuclear – all MLAs, including cabinet and opposition, all executives, board and management of SaskPower, and union leadership and membership, take the time to watch this at some point in the near future. This is the reality Saskatchewan is rapidly heading towards.

This series was put together by Robert Bryce and Tyson Culver. Bryce one of the most astute energy analysts out there. You can follow his Substack at https://robertbryce.substack.com/

This was originally a feature, but broken up into manageable chunks and posted for free on YouTube. Each episode is around 22 minutes long. It’s definitely worth watching all five. All five videos are in the story link above.

We’re going to need a LOT of reactors in Saskatchewan…

SaskPower and GE Hitachi advance small modular reactor plans, but won’t say how many, or how much they’ll cost just yet. Also, SaskPower looking at increasing grid by 2.5x in 25 years and 11 months. Didn’t I just write a column about that earlier this week? Oh yeah. What doubling the grid really means. Also, if you start doing the math, my earlier predictions Saskatchewan will need 15-20 small modular reactors (if not more) is looking pretty much on the money.

What ‘doubling the electrical grid’ really means

This is what the Boundary Dam to Regina transmission line looks like currently. Photo by Brian Zinchuk
And this is what the Boundary Dam to Regina transmission line would look like if the grid were doubled. It’s a lot easier to Photoshop than to build. Photo by Brian Zinchuk

 

Brian Zinchuk: Imagine twinning every highway, grid road, street and alleyway across the country in 25 years. Because that’s what doubling the #grid is going to be equivalent of.

It’s the end of the world as we know it, and I feel fine

Fire and brimstone coming down from the skies, human sacrifice, cats and dogs living together, mass hysteria! The meteor is on its way, and CBC just posted a critical story on electric vehicles. Pipeline Online had to share this one. And yes, I borrowed from Ghostbusters there.

In the meanwhile, charging those cars with solar power in Alberta would have been tough on Sunday at noon.

On the topic of cars, a Edmonton-area heavy equipment rental shop took the second largest Caterpillar dozer made and crushed a car with it, just because.

On Friday, the Biden Administration took a shotgun and fired a barrel into each foot of one of the biggest success stories in the American energy industry, one which kept Europe from going dark when the Ukraine war started. And here’s the Whitehouse’s backgrounder on it, verbatim, which reads like a description of how the Biden-Harris administration has applied a knee to the neck of the American energy industry.

(I’m not sure when they started doing this, but the Whitehouse press office continually refers to the Biden-Harris administration. Are they expecting someone to perhaps fall off the ticket between now and November? Like maybe Biden’s health won’t hold out and it’ll be a Harris presidential candidacy?)

Lithium rights – making sure we all make money

Prairie Lithium drilled the first targeted lithium well in Saskatchewan. Photo by Brian Zinchuk

 

A few years ago I realized that there was serious potential for a big conflict between various rights holders of oil, gas, helium, lithium and geothermal. So I started asking hard questions about it. Last year, the Ministry of Energy and Resources got many of the players in a big room with a pile of staff from various ministries to try to sort it all out. This story is a follow up to that process. Note there seems to have been some movement on the helium front last fall which I was not aware of. It will likely end up as a separate story soon.

Also, apparently the royalty for lithium is pegged at 3 per cent.

Lithium in SK Part 25: Primacy of rights, revisited

A lot more news to come on the lithium front. Keep your eyes peeled.

What the teachers strike is really about

This 2010 book foretold the problems teachers are striking over today.

This Saskatchewan teachers strike is about something no one wants to say openly.

Passing kids who should have failed, mainstreaming everyone, overcrowding and not enough ESL are all part of “classroom complexity.” But we’ve had ample warning this was going to happen, from a guy I’ve known for 30 years. He wrote a book about this in 2010.

Believe it or not, I used to write opinion columns for 28 years on everything under the sun before launching Pipeline Online. And this teachers strike in Saskatchewan got under my skin enough that I had to write about it.

 

Lithium in Saskatchewan – getting closer to commercialization

Enough of this writing about wind and solar collapsing! Time to get back to some energy stories!

Lithium in SK, Part 24: Hub City Lithium releases preliminary economic assessment for Viewfield project. If it works out, after-tax payout projected in 2.4 years.

Prairie Lithium had some announcements this month and I hope to catch up with them shortly. They released a similar sort of thing. Grounded Lithium had a similar release last summer. That means three players are getting closer to commercialization. As I keep saying, this could be the cusp of a multi-billion dollar industry for Saskatchewan. I sure hope so.

Whatever you think of electric vehicles, someone’s going to make money making those batteries. So we might as well put some of that money in our pockets in Saskatchewan.

And on that front, Ford cut a shift from its F-150 Lightning plant. I sent Ford a long list of questions about how Lightnings perform in -35 C. Let’s see if they respond. What do you think?

Notley takes credit for getting rid of coal power, days after the lights almost went out

After a weekend of power shortages, Notley takes credit for getting rid of coal-fired power and building wind and solar. Because of course she did. Not sure when it was filmed, but there wasn’t a hint of shame that she was largely the cause of what happened over the weekend.

 
Also: Brian Crossman: Magic Eight Ball prediction edition for 2024. “Will the current Prime Minister continue to be a dumpster fire?” “SIGNS POINT TO YES.”

Pour on a little more coal, boys!

Boundary Dam Power Station last night

The past weekend proved to be a close-run thing for the Alberta electrical grid, and Saskatchewan Premier Scott Moe is making statements resolving he won’t allow that to happen here.

Specifically, after having nearly completely divested itself of coal-fired power production, Alberta’s dramatic buildout of wind and solar proved impossible to keep the lights on in that province when the chips were down and temperatures hit -35 C, or worse.

Alberta’s close brush with possible rolling blackouts stiffens Moe’s resolve to keep the lights on. On Monday, he announced that SaskPower has relit a shuttered coal unit near Estevan, one the feds had supposedly forced to retire Dec. 31, 2021.

Also note: Saskatchewan has about a million cars registered. So a good bet is Alberta probably has four million. What would have happened if four million EVs were all plugged in last weekend?

If you missed them, these five stories, in order, chronicle what happened in Alberta.

Most of Alberta’s wind fleet slowly shut down Thursday night, but not for lack of wind

Grid Alert 1:

Alberta goes under grid alert for just under 5 hours on Jan. 12

Grid Alert 2:

Alberta’s electrical grid stood at the brink of blackouts Jan. 13, before pulling back in the nick of time

Grid Alert 3:

Alberta goes into Round 3, with its third electrical grid alert in three days

Grid Alert 4:

Round 4: Alberta declares fourth electrical grid alert in 4 days, second in 17 hours

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