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Things Are Good: Portugal Joins Other Countries by Running Only on Renewable Energy

Portugal reached a very significant milestone on its path to being fully powered by renewables by consuming energy only from sustainable resources for four days. Other countries are on similar paths. In 2012 Germany got 50% of it’s power from renewable sources, Scotland powered itself exclusively on renewables for a week earlier this year, . . . → Read More: Things Are Good: Portugal Joins Other Countries by Running Only on Renewable Energy

Environmental Law Alert Blog: Field notes from the Haida Gwaii Potlatch: Why government and industry should take heed of Indigenous governance decisions

Wednesday, September 14, 2016 I was honoured to have been invited to witness this historic potlatch, Raven Always Sets Things Right, hosted by the Yahgulaan… . . . → Read More: Environmental Law Alert Blog: Field notes from the Haida Gwaii Potlatch: Why government and industry should take heed of Indigenous governance decisions

Environmental Law Alert Blog: You can play a role in ensuring a law to protect the Pacific north coast from oil tankers

Thursday, September 8, 2016 After decades of work by the West Coast Environmental Law Association … . . . → Read More: Environmental Law Alert Blog: You can play a role in ensuring a law to protect the Pacific north coast from oil tankers

Environmental Law Alert Blog: Lessons from a summer at West Coast

Friday, August 12, 2016 West Coast Environmental Law Association was lucky to have four talented students join us this summer from law schools across the co… . . . → Read More: Environmental Law Alert Blog: Lessons from a summer at West Coast

Environmental Law Alert Blog: Lessons from a summer at West Coast

Friday, August 12, 2016 West Coast Environmental Law Association was lucky to have four talented students join us this summer from law schools across the co… . . . → Read More: Environmental Law Alert Blog: Lessons from a summer at West Coast

Things Are Good: Scotland Generated Enough Renewable Energy to Power Itself

This past weekend Scotland generated enough electricity from wind turbines to meet all its power demands. A day of strong winds and low demand combined to make this the first time Scotland has achieved this renewable milestone. For a compression, in 2012 Germany got 50% of it’s electricity from renewable sources, and today Germany gets […]

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Things Are Good: Former Nuclear Disaster Site Could Become Solar Plant

One of the worst energy disaster in human history was the 1986 Chernobyl nuclear disaster. It has left a giant chunk of land around Pripyat uninhabitable to humans (although the rest of nature has been thriving because humans aren’t there), now the Ukrainian government wants to reuse the land for a new source of electricity. […]

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Things Are Good: Global Economy Becoming Efficient

Usually when economists talk about efficiencies they means firing people so executives can get better returns, this time efficiency is found by using electricity in smarter ways. The myth that increased energy consumption means a better economy has been “decoupled”. The global economy is using less energy for every dollar produced – a sign that […]

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Environmental Law Alert Blog: Kinder Morgan’s Salad Days of Summer

Tuesday, July 12, 2016 The warmth and relative freedom of summer creates an atmosphere of spontaneity and often last-minute plans come together: “Let&… . . . → Read More: Environmental Law Alert Blog: Kinder Morgan’s Salad Days of Summer

Things Are Good: Parents Need to be Nagged by Their Kids

Kids are always being told what they can and cannot not do, and new research says that when it comes to the environment it’s parents that should be told what to do. In a study by Stanford University they have found that children who nagged their parents about energy use made a measurable difference on […]

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Environmental Law Alert Blog: Enbridge asks for another shot: Public comment period open on Northern Gateway’s request to extend its expiring federal approval

Friday, June 3, 2016 The Enbridge Northern Gateway project's conditional approval is on track … . . . → Read More: Environmental Law Alert Blog: Enbridge asks for another shot: Public comment period open on Northern Gateway’s request to extend its expiring federal approval

Environmental Law Alert Blog: Spills in BC: Will we be ready? Have your say

Wednesday, June 1, 2016 Would BC be ready for a major spill? Now is your chance to have your say. … . . . → Read More: Environmental Law Alert Blog: Spills in BC: Will we be ready? Have your say

Things Are Good: Canadian Government Think Tank: Renewables Win Over Fossil Fuels

When the Conservatives were in charge of Canada they didn’t conserve at all, instead they rallied behind fossil fuels to power Canada’s economy. That foolish gamble contributed to a lame economy (sent the country into massive debt) and a dying planet (even sabotaging global discussions about carbon and fossil fuel. Canadians are hopeful that the […]

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Environmental Law Alert Blog: The Kinder Morgan roller coaster continues

Tuesday, May 24, 2016 It has been yet another whirlwind month on the Kinder Morgan file. Staff Cou… . . . → Read More: Environmental Law Alert Blog: The Kinder Morgan roller coaster continues

The Progressive Economics Forum: Ten things to know about the 2016-17 Alberta budget

Over at the web site of the Calgary Homeless Foundation, I have a blog post titled: “Ten things to know about the 2016-17 Alberta budget.” The link to the post is here. . . . → Read More: The Progressive Economics Forum: Ten things to know about the 2016-17 Alberta budget

In-Sights: Crime (still) in progress (a 2010 article repeated)

News item:

British Columbia Liberals announce the new Clean Energy Act sets the foundation for a new future of electricity self-sufficiency.

Definition:

Self-sufficiency: The ability to satisfy one’s basic needs without outside help.

News item:

General Electric, the multinational corporation ranked in 2009 by Forbes as the world’s largest, invested $727 million in British Columbia’s Toba Inlet hydro power project and the first phase of the Dokie Ridge wind farm project in the Peace River.

News item:

Finavera Renewables Inc., a Vancouver company with no revenues, an accumulated deficit of $41.7 million and an overall shareholder deficiency of $5.5 million at the beginning of fiscal year 2010,  was selected by BC Hydro to build four electricity-generating wind farms in northeastern B.C. The projects are expected to cost at least $800 million. General Electric has negotiated the exclusive right to provide 100 per cent financing for Finavera’s four wind projects.

I invite readers to consider this statement written by the auditors of Finavera and attached to the 2009 annual financial statements:
The [Energy Purchase Agreements] with B.C. Hydro provide a revenue stream based on a defined price and are the commercial cornerstones of any power project in British Columbia, providing the basis to move forward towards project construction and operation.

Despite all the disingenuous and misleading B.S. issued by Liberal politicians and operatives for private power producers, that single sentence, which is carefully constructed and required by professional audit standards, demonstrates the reason why there is a rush of private power projects.

The applicants do not need money or experience, they simply need political influence with Gordon Campbell and his associates. The energy purchase agreement provided by BC Hydro removes substantially all business risk and the favored ones take the project to the money brokers who readily fund it because the credit worthiness of British Columbia stands behind each EPA. This would be like buying a house you intend to rent to a provincial agency through a 40 year lease at double market rates, with payments guaranteed by the province.
Multinational, multi-industry companies like General Electric are quick to join because they earn giant returns at the capital stage of the project, selling turbines, generators and infrastructure equipment.  As an equity and financing partner, GE guarantees it will provide the hardware. With a guaranteed market and a guaranteed profit, the initial partners can hold shares long term for income or, more likely, dump them into institutional markets for quick capital gains, on which they will barely pay taxes. And that, is ironic because taxpayers are essential elements of the deal.
The whole program of private power production founded on BC Hydro Energy Purchase Agreements allows outrageous enrichment of a small number. The program is facilitated by influence peddling and its government facilitators are either witless or dishonest. One thing I believe about Gordon Campbell is that he is not witless.

Read Will McMartin’s outstanding article at The Tyee. BC’s Energy Independence? Don’t Believe It.

[Energy independence], it’s all a sham. British Columbia under Gordon Campbell’s BC Liberal government has become increasingly dependent on non-B.C. owned corporations to produce high-priced electricity, which BC Hydro is forced (by government edict) to buy, and in turn sell at inflated prices to captive residential and commercial consumers.

See also McMartin’s May 11 piece, General Electric and BC’s Private Power Gold Rush.

In February and March, $142,420 was generated through the sale of just over 2.8 million share-warrant units at five cents apiece. A few weeks later, another 10 million shares were sold at six cents each and fetched a total of $600,000.

The former sale appears to have gone to Anchorage Capital Master Offshore Ltd., a New York-based hedge fund founded in 2003 by Kevin Ulrich and Anthony Davis, a pair of alumni from Wall Street’s largest investment bank and brokerage, Goldman Sachs.

. . . → Read More: In-Sights: Crime (still) in progress (a 2010 article repeated)

Environmental Law Alert Blog: Dilbit Dogma: On Pipelines to Tidewater

Friday, April 15, 2016 According to pipeline supporters and cheerleaders, one of the primary ratio… . . . → Read More: Environmental Law Alert Blog: Dilbit Dogma: On Pipelines to Tidewater

Environmental Law Alert Blog: Emission Omission: Canadian government plans to assess only some pipeline greenhouse gases

Tuesday, April 12, 2016 The Canadian government wants to know what you think about its plans to co… . . . → Read More: Environmental Law Alert Blog: Emission Omission: Canadian government plans to assess only some pipeline greenhouse gases

Things Are Good: Ontario Converting Coal Plant to Solar Farm

A few years ago Ontario stopped all of its coal powered plants because, you know, climate change and all that. Other jurisdictions around the world are similarly halting the use of coal for energy production. In Ontario, an old coal plant with a lot of land around it will reopen, but be emissions free. The […]

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In-Sights: BC Hydro’s primary construction – fabricating falsehoods

Derrick Penner of the Vancouver Sun reported words from the Chief of BC Hydro’s nomenklatura :In December, [Jessica] McDonald heralded Site C as “essential to keeping the lights on…”Fundamentally, (independent power projects) are important partners… . . . → Read More: In-Sights: BC Hydro’s primary construction – fabricating falsehoods

Things Are Good: India’s Solar Energy Plan a Shining Success

India consumes a lot energy and consumption keeps growing as their economy expands. They also rely heavily on coal. The government knows that their current form of energy production causes harm and it will only get worse. As a result they have made a huge push towards solar. Their efforts are working with coal prices […]

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Accidental Deliberations: Friday Morning Links

Assorted content to end your week.- Carol Goar writes about the need for Canada’s federal government to rethink how we view taxes. And Simon Wren-Lewis tries to explain the resilience of austerian ideology even as it fails every test in the real world…. . . . → Read More: Accidental Deliberations: Friday Morning Links

Accidental Deliberations: Saturday Afternoon Links

Assorted content for your weekend reading.- Katie Hyslop contrasts Canada’s longstanding recognition that housing is a human right against the gross lack of policy action to ensure its availability:Canada has signed and ratified the 1976 United Nations… . . . → Read More: Accidental Deliberations: Saturday Afternoon Links

The Progressive Economics Forum: Political Reality and Climate Policy: A Response to Mark Jaccard

Mark Jaccard’s article in Policy Options has generated a lot of interest. It is a provocative article that challenges the economic orthodoxy that prioritizes carbon pricing above all else. Jaccard calls for a host of “smart” regulations that progressively introduce zero-emission technologies within specific sectors such as vehicles, electricity, housing, and appliances. “Political reality” is […] . . . → Read More: The Progressive Economics Forum: Political Reality and Climate Policy: A Response to Mark Jaccard

Things Are Good: France Installing 100km of Solar Roads

France has announced that they are going to try a mass installation of solar-panelled roads to provide electricity. It’s an attempt to see if they technology can be scalable and durable enough to survive under so much wear and tear. These solar roads aren’t made by the company that turned to crowdfunding a few years […]

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