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  1. Categories: Business, Environment

    Transporting Our Energy

    Never has the issue of how to transport Canadian energy been more in the spotlight than it is today. However, we all need to look past the headlines and examine the facts.

    Rail or pipeline? As with all things, we need to diversify.

    Fact is, rail transport of our oil is set to quadruple by the end of this year. That’s a lot of energy being shunted around – energy that could be delivered more efficiently by pipeline. And it’s all due to get even busier because Canadian production is poised to increase by more than 1.5 million barrels a day — roughly 50 per cent more, by 2020.

    Vancouver-based think tank The Fraser Institute recently published a study that concluded pipelines remain the safest way to transport energy. Not only are the volumes higher than by rail, the research also found that pipeline leaks are barely one-tenth those of rail transport. On a per ton-miles basis, rail spills were four times more likely in the U.S. than pipeline.

    Of course, these findings are timely considering tragic derailments on both sides of the border, the aforementioned recent escalation in energy being transported by rail, and the political opposition to major pipeline projects such as Keystone XL and Northern Gateway.

    And yet, this doesn’t mean pipelines should be built without thought or concern, crisscrossing our landscapes. As with all things, we need balance – a rational discussion of facts that will optimize safety, environment and prosperity. Let’s recognize the safety argument with regard to pipelines as the scare tactic it truly is. Let’s also acknowledge there’s no perfect answer. One thing is certain: it requires true collaboration to get the solutions we all need and deserve.

    Let us know your thoughts on this issue in the comments section provided below.


  2. Categories: Business, Environment

    Chinese Future Appetite for Natural Gas

    Over the last decade, China’s booming economy has had far-reaching impacts throughout the world. Counting more than 1.3 billion people, China’s economy demands significant quantities of raw materials and energy from throughout the world. Consequently, its deceleration will have an inverse impact.

    But it will also inform the choices they make as a society – particularly in their energy makeup. And that’s good news for Canada’s western natural gas exports.

    Why? Despite China’s GDP cooling from a world-leading 10 per cent to 7.5 per cent this year, and manufacturing and exports weakening, growth in absolute energy consumption is nevertheless rising. Because of their sheer numbers, they don’t need economic growth to require greater amounts of energy, overall. Continuing expansion of their middle class, among other factors will propel their energy consumption to twice that of the entire European continent by 2025.

    Till now, their overwhelming energy demands have been met by coal. Coal provided their flourishing economy with scalable, cheap energy – much the way it did in the West’s Industrial Age. This much coal consumption, of course, comes with massive negative consequences to the environment and public health.

    Over the next two decades, China will turn to clean, affordable and reliable natural gas. After all, it’s the way of all developing economies in history – they must diversify their energy sources. And natural gas is the only scalable, clean-burning energy that makes sense. By 2025, China could be consuming natural gas in quantities close to what the U.S. consumes today. Supplying China will benefit Canada’s Western gas industry like never before.

    Let us know your thoughts in the comments section provided below.

    Source: http://www.theglobeandmail.com/report-on-business/industry-news/energy-and-resources/chinas-next-bet-is-on-natural-gas/article13230372/

  3. Categories: Business, Environment

    Volkswagen Wants Natural Gas

    Volkswagen would like to join Honda in selling compressed natural gas cars in North America. What’s stopping it? The same old saw – infrastructure. They want governments to help realize a natural gas future.

    In Europe, VW has already made a version of the Golf available in compressed natural gas (CNG) for the last decade. It has also developed a CNG-fueled variant of its Up minicar. However, in Germany alone, there are 900 natural gas refueling stations distributed over a much smaller geographic area, as opposed to the United States’ mere 600 and Canada’s 80.

    As the second largest European manufacturer, VW has spent a considerable amount of time and expense designing cars that can accommodate a variety of powertrains – including gasoline, diesel, CNG, electric, plug-in hybrid and ethanol. It’s especially important to them because they could easily supply us with vehicles built from its Puebla, Mexico plants, if the market demanded it.

    But that’s where the issue is.

    That’s why this year, VW executives met with regulators from the EPA and California Air Resources Board to encourage and support the building of CNG stations.

    Jonathan Browning, CEO of Volkswagen Group of America, said natural gas should be eligible for more credits under fuel economy standards. Moreover, it has cleaner tailpipe emissions – reducing carbon dioxide emissions by about 20 per cent. “We have the technology available,” he said.

    And though natural gas seems to be finding a market for commercial, industrial, and municipal service vehicles that refuel at a single location, uptake in the public sector has been sluggish. In fact, Honda, which sells a natural gas version of its Civic has been offering new buyers a $3,000 fuel card, as an incentive.

    What would get you to buy a natural gas car? Let us know in the comments section provided below.