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  1. Categories: Business

    Outdoor Farm Show A Sign of the Times

    Woodstock, Ontario played host to Canada’s Outdoor Farm Show (COFS) in early September—an annual event that reigns as the country’s largest agricultural trade show. More than 750 exhibitors and 49,000 visitors attended, many of whom flocked to the New Fuels/New Trucks Expo, an exhibit that featured natural gas-powered light and heavy trucks from Peterbilt and Volvo.

    “Interest is really growing in compressed natural gas,” said Murray Logan, the event’s manager of renewable energy development. “It’s an emerging technology and was a highlight.”

    Though hybrid and electric vehicles were also featured, the stars of the show were compressed and liquid natural gas vehicles. And how couldn’t they be? Fuel expenses can be reduced by up to half when using natural gas over diesel.

    Faromor Energy Solutions (mentioned previously in this blog) was a presenting sponsor, and has installed CNG fueling stations in various locations in rural Ontario to make refueling more accessible to farmers hauling grain, livestock or milk. Moreover, CNG equipment can be adapted to run on biomethane created right on the farm using an anaerobic digester. Needless to mention, when businesses have the ability to create their own fuel, you really get their attention.

    “Farmers are always interested in ways to cut their energy costs. Feedback was very positive with quite a number of attendees seeking follow-up information,” said Logan. “CNG and LNG fueling will gain greater popularity as the infrastructure to support it grows.”

    Chrysler, GM and Ford were also on hand with dual-fuel capable vehicles that can run on natural gas when it’s available and diesel or gasoline when it’s not.

    Do you feel natural gas is being accepted in a wider range of applications than ever before? Let us know your thoughts in the comments section provided below.


  2. Categories: Business

    The Market Should Decide Ontario’s Energy Future

    On September 18, 2013, a C.D. Howe Institute report outlined the policy think tank’s thoughts on how Ontario’s power sector requires a major overhaul to address inefficiencies and rising costs. Its primary recommendation was clear: Ontario’s electricity needs less government involvement.

    The non-partisan organization went on to highlight how the province has an energy oversupply, a mismatch between generator capabilities and supply needs, and policies that have contributed to a rise in consumer prices .

    The report recommends a more “technology neutral” policy: “The province should redesign its electricity generation procurement to incorporate market signals that would attract long-term, least-cost generation sources while avoiding procurement mistakes of the past,” the report added.

    In other words, market forces should decide.

    The report continues: “The government is using the electricity sector to support a range of shifting policy objectives, including job creation, sector-specific economic growth and emissions reduction, without credible examination of whether burdening the electricity ratepayer with the cost is economically efficient.”

    C.D. Howe also argues we would all be paying less for power had we relied on natural gas. The development of new deposits and resulting abundance in supply has made reliable natural gas impossible to ignore.

    What factors should the government consider when designing electricity policy for Ontario? Tell us your views in the comments section provided below.


  3. Categories: Environment

    Natural Gas is a Bridge

    Global warming is man-made, according to findings of last week’s UN Climate Change report. Not surprising to most of us. Also unsurprising is the prescription – we must broaden our energy mix and reduce our carbon footprint. And we’ll need to do it in a world and at a time that requires ever more power.

    The fact remains that 88 per cent of the world’s energy comes from burning fossil fuels. Turning away from them overnight isn’t an option – the scale is simply too large and the costs nothing short of gargantuan.

    To get from where we are to where we need to be, we need a bridge.

    Globally, coal appears to be the energy source of choice. It’s abundant and cheap, with its use growing by 5.1 per cent every year. But it’s the highest emitter amongst fossil fuels. In equivalent energy yielded, it emits 1.5 times the carbon of oil and 1.8 times that of natural gas. Plus, coal is inefficient; and getting more so all the time. Why? The very environmental standards and carbon capture equipment we’re placing on coal plants (so they can pollute less) ironically require more coal-fired energy to achieve those standards.

    That’s a lot of effort when we already have a “bridge” in natural gas. It’s clean because burning it produces 20 per cent less carbon dioxide than oil and 45 per cent less than coal. So, reversing the environmental havoc of coal, requires a simple, affordable conversion to natural gas, which in and of itself, is also affordable because it’s abundant. And it’s highly efficient – meaning you need less of it to produce an equivalent amount of energy. In fact, the best gas-fired plants use 35 per cent less energy to generate a unit of electricity than its coal equivalent.

    When the choice is so clear, the world needs to acknowledge natural gas as the solution. Let us know your views in the comments section provided below.