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In today's news... hey, why'd it go dark?

20 Mar 2024 | News Roundup

Canadians have apparently resigned themselves to the fact that the people who run our country could create a sand shortage in Saudi Arabia or an ice shortage in Greenland. No country on Earth has had better luck, from geography to resources to a peaceful history founded in constitutional liberty. And, famously, ample rivers for hydroelectric dams, some of the world’s biggest oil and gas reserves and a well-established nuclear industry using homegrown CANDU reactors. And now we face… self-inflicted electricity shortages. It can’t have been easy. But given enough politicians and zealots, anything can turn from a dream into a nightmare.

The specific trigger for this gloomy blast is a paper from the Macdonald-Laurier Institute by Andrew Evans (h/t Parker Gallant via email) entitled “Canada’s declining electricity abundance”. And even a sour and persistent reader of the news might react initially with hey, I thought that was a long way in the future, not something they already had caused. But in fact last December even our Industry Minister François-Philippe Champagne, a man whose feet are as firmly planted in the air as anyone’s in cabinet, actually:

“brought the upcoming deficit of Canada’s clean power supply into critical focus, stating that companies were reticent to invest ‘because some jurisdictions are getting strained with respect to the capacity of energy generation.’”

Weird, huh? But there it is. Even so, we must note, to produce this electricity shortage right now is exceptionally daft since they are at the same time utterly determined to electrify everything from home heating to pickup trucks in the rugged Canadian northern winter. As Evans says:

“To solve the constraints on energy generation as the minister outlined, and to meet net-zero 2050 targets, the federal government projects that grid demand will be twice that of today. To meet that demand, the capacity of the grid, which we have accumulated since we have had electricity – roughly the past 140 years – will have to double in the next 21 years (Canada Energy Regulator 2023).”

There was a time when such a project, though daunting, would have been right up Canadians’ alley. From our fabled national railway project, a madcap ride through drunken politics, impossible geography and fiscal disaster to nation-building triumph, to our outsized contributions to two world wars, we were a can-do people. Now, alas, we’ve gone from the “aerodrome of democracy” (FDR’s phrase) to outsourcing pilot training. And while provinces are scrambling to increase generating capacity, including Ontario’s commendable plunge into newer nuclear reactor designs in a province where nuclear already provides about 53% of electric power:

“Even Manitoba, a province with abundant and previously boundless supplies of cheap hydroelectricity, is now projecting a deficit by 2029 (Froese, Ian 2024) and is being forced to restrict access for potential new businesses due to supply shortages (Kives, Bartley 2023).”

That’s right. In a nation whose productivity growth has long been inexcusably weak given all our advantages, and has turned disastrous under the current administration, provinces are literally telling businesses to stay away, you can’t plug in your stuff here, this is Canada.

When you dial down into the piece, you discover some real problems with fixing the problem including limits on more hydro. Canada has picked the low-hanging water here, of which there was a lot given that we have half the entire world’s fresh-water lakes and so many rivers connecting them that it’s hard to think of names for them all. (The relatively small Atlantic province of Nova Scotia alone, for instance, has four North Rivers, and four East Rivers plus a Little East River.) But as Evans explains, new hydro projects look to flood thousands of hectares, with one in BC aiming to stretch for 83 kilometres, and even if you can find new sites for this kind of thing nowadays it runs into major obstacles from environmental harm to aboriginal land rights that were not on the radar a century ago or even 50 years.

Plus, in modern Canada, you confront the apparently now inevitable massive cost overruns and shrugging off of responsibility. On a mere app for arriving travellers during COVID we somehow spent nearly $60 million, much of it on a two-person firm whose credentials are hard to discern in retrospect. And that 83-kilometre hydro project? Its current price tag is $16 billion, nearly $10 billion over budget, and rising.

An additional issue is that we are phasing out coal, which has earned a dirty reputation even though we’ve learned how to burn the stuff with only a fraction of the air pollution emissions compared to a few decades ago. But scrubbers don’t catch CO2 and we’ve convinced ourselves that CO2 is “pollution”.

We, by which we mean them, namely the zealots who determine public policy from the activist sidelines and the corridors of power, also somehow concluded that just because methane generates far more energy per tonne of carbon equivalent it isn’t better and we must not export it or develop it domestically. As for oil, well, again, what a great gift. Let’s squander it by calling it “tar sands” and aiming for windmills from sea to sea to sea instead.

Speaking of windmills, Evans also notes that abundant energy has been fundamental to our economic success for more than a hundred years including major electricity exports to the United States that help cover the bills for various follies including otherwise hugely expensive “alternative” energy projects like, um, windmills. In 2022, he points out, the Quebec government earned $1.29 billion from such exports, Ontario another $1.22, and British Columbia nearly a billion.

Obviously we’ll not be doing so in future if we insist on banning internal combustion energy cars so everyone has to plug in, vastly increasing the draw on a grid we also have somehow massively to expand in a land where 70% of respondents told a recent poll “everything is broken in the country right now”, and without having the power plants we’d need to charge the cars even if we could plug them in.

Canada is a very big country. Much of it is very sparsely inhabited and frankly there’s a reason. But if you think it’s hard to get gasoline to Baffin Island, try getting electric cables there. The Canadian Pacific Railway will seem like a stroll around Mount Royal by comparison.

Canadian policymakers confront such situations with insouciant confidence in their capacity to summon wealth in vast amounts in any configuration they prefer that seems to others to be based on… absolutely nothing. Quebec, for instance, shut down its nuclear plants in 2012 and, Evans says, “faces supply crunches by 2027” at which it is flinging money in the hopes that it can make up most of the gap from offshore wind and the rest from hydro that will mysteriously get built really fast.

As Evans notes drily:

“As of writing, there are no offshore wind farms operating or under construction in Canada, so the progress in Quebec is difficult to assess.”

Well, not really. Everything these people touch turns to lead. This one will too. Expensive lead. Painted green.

11 comments on “In today's news... hey, why'd it go dark?”

  1. Trudeau and his cabinet are good little Globalist/Socialists. The Globalist plan is to drive prosperous nations like Canada into a socialist poverty. While they work to also keep the struggling second or third world nations where they are. They believe this will help enable the absolute control over the world's population that they dream about continually. We have allowed our world to be taken over by evil, greedy, people with what I can only describe as a Satanic agenda. Yuval Noah Harari of the WEF has spoken openly of his vision of how the globalist elites can be gods. Just as Lucifer was driven mad by his dream to "be like the most high". His ancient dream still inspires the madmen of our day and age. They can't achieve their goals without robbing the rest of us of what we have. Our freedoms, our prosperity, our traditional values and faith that helped create the free "western world". But unfortunately we have fallen asleep and don't want to be awakened to the danger as the Globalist steal everything we have from under our noses. I heard someone say once when asked, "where are the descendants of the great men of the Christian faith that helped us climb to the level of greatness we once had. Why the silence from the Christian churches who should be on guard against our freedoms being stolen from us?" The answer that was given was "apathy and ignorance". I would add to that answer that our generation has become obsessed with self. We are far too self absorbed to open our eyes and look around us. We have let the responsibility slip from our hands that led us in the past to be socially active and focus more outwardly, and to stand guard against the flood of evil that has besets our world. We have lost the foundations our forefathers once stood firmly on.
    We must do what we can now to speak out, and push back. Even if it seems it is not making a difference. If we all individually do what we can. Collectively it will make an impact on the globalist insanity and they may retreat to a certain point. Any victory no matter how small is still a victory. I also think we have to realize that Globalism is a religion and so it requires us to realize this is a spiritual battle too. If we fail to see that reality. We leave our flank wide open and make it easier for our enemies. Our best weapon against that theatre of battle is for us to get on our knees and repent and cry out for God's mercy, forgiveness and help. I believe the reminder from scripture that "we wrestle not against flesh and blood...." (Ephesians 6:12) applies to the global warming lie as much as it does the other areas where the socialist/globalist agenda has infiltrated our society and our personal lives. Including their infiltration into the churches and denominations.

  2. Canadians voted for the people who did this to them and now it will be painful to remove these parasites from the Canadian people! Suck it up buttercups!

  3. Wind and solar renewables are like shopping for a new home in the Canadian Tire camping department. You will find something that works for a few days a year, but most of the time it’s wholly inadequate. Yet the politicians use buckets of our money buying more of these “green “ solutions.
    Hydro is finite and very far from “green” once the loss of land (some of the best land), the remote location of the dam requires hundreds of kilometers of power lines under which the land is a “dead zone” as vegetation is not allowed to grow. A dam is a good tool for water management and in our modern world the only time one should be considered.
    Nuclear is the best option and if progress is allowed to happen in new technologies it will soon be used in our everyday lives. As far as costs go, yes it is more costly at present, but costs will decrease when more units are built. Still cheaper than hydro when all things considered.
    Site C dam is BC cost more than Voltgle 3 & 4 in Georgia on a metric of annual power output. And that’s not taking into the locations in relation to usage or environmental/ social damaged caused.
    And yes, the only plug in on my F150 is for the block heater.

  4. Last nine years have been a disaster for Canada federally.We have rep as a weak,incompetent,woke,appeasing bunch of creampuffs.All because of the
    Lie-beral/NDP parties.Net Zero and renewables=economic suicide.And another 18 months to wait for the next federal election is too long to wait for
    a change of government.

  5. Sorry, Climate Nexus guy. Advocating nuclear power is a big no no. Chernobyl and Fukushima didn't give you enough clues yet? There is no real problem with generating enough power. The key is controlling unnecessary use. As in electric cars, badly designed buildings which need AC, and etc. Just endlessly increasing generating capacity is the Jevons syndrome.

  6. "... the federal government projects that grid demand will be twice that of today." In 2019, less than 20% of the energy used in Ontario was electricity (all sources). Of course, most of the consumed power was provided by fossil fuels. I don't believe that doubling the power generation/transport will replace over 80% (conservatively) of the power needs of Ontario, alone. Given the numbers, I think it's safe to say we need at least 6x growth in electricity generation and transmission. You could say that we'll increase efficiency, but then what about economic and populaton growth? 6x is a good minimum estimate to achieve in the next 25 years to achieve net zero. The costs to do so will bankrupt the nation.

  7. With all due respect, the Chernobyl and Fukushima accidents were results of blatant mismanagement, poor technology and in Fukushima's case also a stupid location in a zone known for earth quakes... and then a tsunami to cap it off. I don't think you get much of either in Canada.

    How many people havde died as a direct result of Chernobyl? How many of these would have been saved by honest, quick reporting and distribution of iodine tablets? How many people have died from radioactive exposure from Fukushima versus the number of lives lost to the evacuation? I'm willing to bet that more people have died from fly ash from coal fired power plants, both due to lung damage from particulates, as well as the radiation inherent in fly ash, in than from those two accidents in the time span since they happened.

    'Controlling unnecessary use' sounds awfully totalitarian to me. Who decides what is 'unnecessary' and who 'controls'?

    Nuclear is better than its reputation, but let's head for thorium reactors. Zero, no threshold radiation limitation is unrealistic and unneccesary - all living beings have evolved to survive and need to evolve with minute - not zero - amounts of natural radiation, both from the ground and from the Cosmos.

    Let not 'perfect' become the enemy of 'good'. 🙂

  8. Great article John. The shear stupidity of
    Net Zero must be exposed. As I have commented many times, it is unnecessary, immoral and fantastical.
    The NP should be publishing your articles. Parker Gallant does get some exposure in FP. But we
    needa full court press to stop Net Zero before our grid and economy are destroyed.

  9. Champagne used that word Reticent,as all Ignorant people do when they mean Reluctant.
    As for Nuclear accidents ,as Bonde says ,they were caused ,like most accidents, by Stupidity not inherent safety issues .
    There is ,however a valid theory that sabotage( maybe by the CIA), caused the Chernobyl meltdown, and given Americas
    Fomenting of the Ukraine War,that sounds quite feasible.

  10. The pain is already here Thomas so it will be a relief and a great joy to be rid of the "parasites" you mention. The pain will be relieved

  11. Sounds a bit mean spirited… but, so help me, if we dont vote Biden and Trudeau out after their awful reigns we deserve more than just mean spiritedness.

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