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  1. Categories: Uncategorized

    Bob Bailey, MPP, Q&A with Ontario Natural Gas Alliance: Part 1

    Back on September 26, 2013, we celebrated a great step forward for natural gas here in Ontario. Bill 97, The Natural Gas Superhighway Act, received unanimous support at Queen’s Park on a second reading of the proposed act. We had some questions for Bill 97 creator Bob Bailey, MPP, and here’s what he had to say:

    Q: What prompted you to introduce your private member’s bill, the Natural Gas Superhighway Act, 2013?
    A: Over the years I’ve met with a lot of leaders to discuss the opportunities to grow the gas industry in Ontario and how natural gas specifically could be leveraged by the province and become a catalyst for economic growth. When I started to look at the way business was being affected by the rising energy prices in the province I knew there had to be a simple way to help businesses regain some of the competitive advantage that they had in Ontario for so many years.

    Q: What made you realize that there was an opportunity here for the transportation sector?
    A: I was lucky enough to attend an oil & gas industry conference in Quebec last winter. At the conference the presenters put up a map of North America showing all the places where private investment was developing natural gas for transportation infrastructure; all of Ontario, and most of Canada for that matter, was blank. I knew right then that this was an idea I wanted to promote in Ontario. I knew if we could open up Ontario’s market to investment along Ontario’s portion of the Quebec City-Windsor corridor the businesses and the residents of this province could reap some huge economic and environmental benefits.

    Q: What are some of the key elements to the proposed legislation? How would they help the transportation industry?
    A: I drafted Bill 97 with two key elements. First, provide a small incentive to help mitigate the cost of transitioning from traditional to new natural gas specific engine equipment. Converting a fleet of vehicles is capital intensive, but the payback is there in two to three years time. Second, increase the maximum weight allowance for heavy duty vehicles just slightly to accommodate the extra weight of the equipment necessary to run LNG engines. The benefit to the public of these two changes is that the use of natural gas as a transportation fuel would slash the amount of greenhouse gas emissions that the on road heavy duty transportation sector produces each year. The potential to reduce harmful emissions is so great, I think this is something the transportation industry could really embrace and promote.

    Q: In your opinion, is natural gas a viable alternative for other sectors such as consumer automobiles?
    A: There are always opportunities for advancements in technology; hopefully this is something that the automobile manufacturers and the natural gas industry are examining. I’m focused on the heavy duty segment because this group only makes up 3% of the vehicles on the road, but they contribute more than 27% of the greenhouse gas emissions in the province that come from the on road transportation sector.

  2. Categories: Uncategorized

    Undeniable: Natural Gas Is Here To Stay

    The early 80s flirted with natural gas as a common vehicular fuel source. That’s when over 20,000 taxis, limos and even some private cars were converted to compressed natural gas (CNG). Market conditions also helped create 220 CNG service stations throughout Canada, so consumers assumed they could feel secure of supply.

    Then things changed.

    Supply and demand forced the price of natural gas upwards. The justification for the switch to natural gas had to be re-considered, and so did the service stations. In fact, today only seven natural gas stations remain in Ontario.

    Needless to say, the industry has its reservations about plunging headlong into a replay of the early 1980s. But this time, things are quite different. New technologies such as horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing have created access to massive deposits of natural gas reserves. With an abundant supply in-hand, the uncertainty of the 80s is undeniably in the past— plentiful supplies of affordable natural gas are here to stay.

    It’s here to stay for power generation and transportation. With costs being a third of gasoline, the conversion becomes a no brainer for companies seeking more profitable bottom lines.

    And as mentioned previously in this blog, you know there’s a bolder, renewed faith when Ford Motor Company begins producing their coveted F-Series pickup trucks with bi-fuel natural gas/gasoline engines. When $12,000 added to that vehicle’s sticker price doesn’t seem to be a barrier, you know natural gas has finally arrived.

    At a mere 25 per cent of the carbon emissions of gasoline or diesel, natural gas presents an environmental bonus for companies and municipalities. For example, municipalities are eagerly embracing clean, affordable and reliable natural gas for their fleets and waste disposal trucks (an area in which natural gas enjoys a higher penetration than almost any other sector).

    Need more convincing? Let us know your thoughts in the comments section provided below.



  3. Categories: Uncategorized

    “Fill ‘er Up” At Home

    Natural gas from shale has certainly changed things. At a fraction of the cost of gasoline, everyone’s talking about the viability of natural gas. Point of fact, it may be the first major shift in transportation in 50 years – since we replaced diesel with gasoline for cars. Alas, its use has been seemingly limited to 0.1 per cent of vehicles, including city buses, garbage trucks and delivery vans.

    Access and initial cost are the big obstacles to most people. But what if you could pay an energy equivalent cost of 33 cents a litre, instead of $1.30? What if your car’s emissions could be virtually cut in half?

    And what if you could refuel at home?

    There are virtually no natural gas vehicles sold directly from the manufacturer to the consumer market – with the exceptions of the Honda Civic GX, and next year, Ford’s F-150 pickup. But gas engines can be converted to compressed natural gas.

    Since most people drive under 60 km per day anyway, bi-fuel vehicles, a strong argument can be made for bi-fuel vehicles. A dual tank system will let drivers employ clean, affordable and reliable natural gas as a primary fuel, while still having a tank of regular gasoline in reserve. Most of the time, you’ll be able to drive around town and make it home on natural gas. Then, you can simply refuel your natural gas overnight, right from the tap at the energy equivalent of 33 cents a litre).

    However, considering the somewhat high costs of conversion for both vehicles and homes, the biggest benefactors of such technology, at least in the meantime, will be fleet owners. As the technology becomes more popular (and thus, more economical) and as gasoline prices skyrocket, the barriers to natural gas will come down.

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