Wednesday, July 10, 2013

On Environment Ministers And Petcoke

From Impolitical:

CTV was reporting that Peter Kent may be moving on and therefore would be out as Environment Minister. Not sure there's much a new Canadian minister might do to sway the Obama administration but Keystone has got to be figuring into Harper's thinking. Is Rempel, currently the Parliamentary Secretary to Kent, the one? 

Whoever it is, they're also going to have to deal with this burgeoning - and very warranted - focus onpetcoke. This oil sands byproduct gained greater visibility recently given the Koch brothers' piling of it on the Detroit waterfront to the discomfort of Windsorites looking on from across the river. 

We, for the most part, won't burn it for fuel due to its high emissions levels and the "Environmental Protection Agency will no longer allow any new licenses permitting the burning of petroleum coke in the United States." So it is largely being shipped overseas to China and Mexico, nations that don't care much about emissions levels. Shouldn't we Canadians be concerned about that? Particularly if Keystone were to be approved, with the amounts of petcoke that will be produced. 

Worth noting that one place using Petcoke close to home is Nova Scotia because, basically, its cheap.  In fact that's where part of that big pile is going.  Nevertheless:

Renewables produced 18.3% of [NS's] electricity in 2012, the highest total ever. Approved wind farms to be built and the proposed Maritime Link project would help us reach 40% renewables by 2020 and continue to reduce our use of coal and pet coke.

...which 18.2 per cent figure is considerably larger than, I think, Ontario.  

PS.  Maritime Link is this.  When finished, it will connect the NS power grid to NFLD and surplus power from the  Lower Churchill Hydroelectric Generation Project.


Paul Kuster said...

According to the IESO site, Wind power contributed 3% of total generation in Ontario for 2012.

The Mound of Sound said...

The bitumen traffickers are hyper-sensitive to the petcoke issue. CBC ran this a few months ago:

The Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers claims pet coke "is benign" and "not an oilsands issue."

"It's just carbon, similar to coal or a carbon product that would come out of [oil]," said Greg Stringham, vice-president of market and oilsands at CAPP. "It's found in the oil in the ground originally and then it's just a benign product that's one of the byproducts of that production process.

You see, petcoke "is not an oilsands issue." Oh sure they sell it and, sure, they transport it to their customers and, sure, those customers refine it out and sell it to their own customers who burn it but that doesn't make it an oilsands issue. And, besides, it's benign. Didn't you get the memo.

They're scared shitless because if you treat dilbit as a blended fuel product, incorporating the petcoke emissions with the synthetic oil emissions, then a bad situation becomes far worse. So we'll just pretend the petcoke issue doesn't exist and the product is benign.

Kyle H. said...

Around 40% of Ontario's power comes from hydro (figure could and probably is higher, but not much lower), which seems to count as a "renewable." NS has huge reliance on coal generation.