Wednesday, 26 February 2014

More on Energy: When Too Much Hydro Is Too Much Hydro

Le Devoir leaked a report from a government commission this week on the future of energy in Quebec, a report that has been making waves.  In short, it says that contnuing to build hydro projects and to support windmill electricity generation is costing too much and that current electric capacity is more than enough for the province's needs.  If the projects now underway continue, taxpayers will be out a lot of money, and Quebec's economy will not benefit in the least from the outlay of billions of dollars.

Not surprisingly, the PQ government pooh-poohs the conclusions, although it can't deny them.  Nor can it ignore recently released information about the sweetheart deals between Hydro Quebec and aluminum plants.  The pay peanuts for their electricity, and even got a break when they locked out their workers last year. Rather, say government spokepersons, providing low cost power is important for the province's industry.Future capacity is designed to take care of future needs.

The report comes as the economic health of  various oil projects, including the pipelines that are supposed to carry Alberta tar sands oil to (take your pick) the US, Atlantic Canada or British Columbia, is up in the air.

We seem to be in a situation where all bets are off on  the supply of energy, given the sudden increased availability of natural gas from frakking and the like.

Where are we going? What do we really need?

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