Air Water Land - Energy Evolution —April 9, 2007
A University of British Columbia (UBC) professor, who is an expert on naturally-occurring geothermal energy, says the potential to generate power from geological formations on the coastal areas of B.C. and the Yukon is immense, with the Queen Charlotte Islands perhaps being able eventually to produce several thousand megawatts of electricity.
Canada’s first naturally-occurring geothermal power project, which would tap super-heated water to create as much as 100 megawatts (MW) of power, is being planned by a Vancouver-based firm, which is also preparing to move ahead with a geothermal power project in an area near San Francisco.
The news that major oilsands players have formed a consortium to examine using geothermal heat from deep in the Earth -- an alternative to using natural gas to create steam to extract crude from the oilsands -- comes as no surprise to one of Canada's most experienced geothermal energy engineers.
Environmental groups are up in arms over a move by the Ontario government that they say will weaken environmental laws and pave the way for the development of waste-to-energy incinerators in the provinces, which they claim will substantially increase greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions.
What began in 1951 as an umbrella group that included anglers, farmers, naturalists and other more traditional conservation-minded interests, has evolved to become an organization that is trying to create a “conserver society,” where the enemy is rampant consumerism and the environmental destruction it has brought with it.
A research project has identified the source of 3.8 billion tons a year of greenhouse gases -- generated mostly by power plants, oil and gas production and refinery facilities in North America -- and goes on to say that almost all of that could be geologically stored, substantially reducing the environmental impact of the fossil fuel industry.
A reluctant Saskatchewan government, which has been proclaiming loudly it isn’t getting enough equalization funding from the federal government, quietly accepted new dollars from Ottawa’s $1.5 billion ecoTrust program last Thursday, the day before Good Friday, which assured a minimum of media attention in the province and elsewhere.
A new report on the future of oilsands development in Canada, produced by the House of Commons Standing Committee on Natural Resources, could seriously crimp activity, but is unlikely to lead to any government action, says a spokesman for the oil and gas industry.
A Vancouver-based company that has been mining for gold in Alaska since 1972 plans to start searching for black gold in Mississippi, but from a very unconventional source, using a technology that could convert the world’s vast reserves of low-grade, high-moisture coals into a liquid fuel suitable for producing electricity or as an industrial energy source -- and ultimately as a transportation fuel.
Perhaps learning from the stakeholder problems that have plagued approval for a 500-kilovolt transmission expansion, a proponent of a smaller-scale project in Alberta has started the consultation process well in advance of submitting an application to build the system link.
The best place for heavy oil upgraders for thermal projects is as close as possible to the upstream facility, not in a semi-remote hub, such as Edmonton, nor beside refineries in Sarnia, Houston or Chicago, says the past-president of the Canadian Heavy Oil Association.
With colder temperatures in all provinces, natural gas sales to all sectors in January showed large increases compared to 2006, Statistics Canada reports.
A 2006 year-end analysis by the Energy Information Administration (EIA) in the United States indicated net natural gas imports decreased five per cent compared to 2005 “as volumes of both pipeline imports from Canada and LNG imports from various countries declined.
Draft guidelines for a comprehensive environmental impact assessment (EIA) on a proposal by Irving Oil Limited to construct and operate facilities for a petroleum refinery have been made available for public consultation.
The strong potential for a second major refinery in Saint John, New Brunswick, has sparked discussion about energy prospects, with headlines speculating about the province emerging as a critical hub servicing the United States northeast market for crude oil and natural gas, says a report prepared by RBC Financial Group.
Exports of crude oil and equivalent hydrocarbons and marketable natural gas comprised larger portions of Canadian production for January compared to 2006, Statistics Canada reports.
Sales were higher in six of the seven major refined product groups in February compared to 2006 — a continuation of the overall gain that began in January, according to Statistics Canada data.
As part of its commitment to long-term sustainability and energy efficiency, the Yukon government will allocate up to $10-million in funding for stage one of the Carmacks-Stewart Transmission Project.