Welcome to Net Zero, your daily industry brief on clean energy and Canadian-resource politics.
The federal government announced on Wednesday a multi-billion-dollar agreement with Newfoundland and Labrador to financially rework the Muskrat Falls hydroelectric project, which has been plagued by delays, cost overruns and political controversy in the decade since it was first concocted.
Sources with knowledge of the agreement told CBC News before it was announced that Ottawa would acquire an equity stake in the project, which will help reduce borrowing costs and ensure that electricity prices are kept relatively low.
The significant amount of debt produced by the hydroelectric facility has compounded the province’s already weak financial position and forced N.L. to heavily subsidize electricity rates. Experts believe that electricity rates would have jumped by as much as 75 per cent without such an agreement, and that the financial relief provided by the federal government will allow the province to avoid the catastrophic rate increases.
The deal was announced by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau during a visit to St. John’s, N.L., where he meet with Premier Andrew Furey.
A new study published in the journal Bioscience has found that many of the key indicators of the international climate crisis are quickly approaching, or exceeding, important tipping points as the planet continues to heat up. The authors wrote that carbon dioxide, methane and nitrous oxide “have all set new year-to-date records for atmospheric concentrations in both 2020 and 2021.”
The report also highlighted ruminant livestock, deforestation, and ocean acidification as key contributors to the worsening of climate change. However, the findings were not all bad, as the data determined that fossil fuel subsidies had reached a record low internationally, and fossil fuel divestment was attaining record highs. The Guardian has more.
Royal Dutch Shell said on Tuesday that it plans to purchase Inspire Energy Capital, a renewable energy retailer that is set to be part of the European oil giant’s expansion into renewable power. The deal is expected to close in the fourth quarter of this year. Reuters has the full story.
In an interview with CBS News, U.S. Special Climate Envoy John Kerry said he was “not confident” that enough is being done is prevent the worst damages of climate change, with particular reference to the wildfires that have devastated parts of the U.S. and Canada.
“I think there’s a growing sense of urgency,” Kerry said, “but I don’t think it’s quite at the peak level that needs to be on a coordinated basis around the planet because there’s an enormous amount we have to do.”
Staying in the U.S., one of the nation’s leading bank regulators is creating a new position specifically to monitor climate change risk at the country’s largest banks. The Office of the Comptroller of the Currency announced that Darrin Benhart, a longtime OCC official, will fill the newly-created role of Climate Change Risk Officer to lead the agency’s efforts to ensure banks are managing the risks of climate change. Reuters has more details.
On Wednesday morning at 9:02 a.m., West Texas Intermediate was trading at US$72.23 and Brent Crude was going for US$74.96.
A survey from the Angus Reid Institute has found that nearly half of respondents in Michigan (48 per cent) and Ontario (49 per cent) want Enbridge’s Line 5 to remain open, while a quarter in Michigan and approximately three-in-10 in Ontario want it shut down. Additionally, more than three quarters of Ontarians (76 per cent), and three-in-five Quebecers (58 per cent), believe TC Energy’s long-cancelled Energy East project should be reconsidered if Michigan turns off the tap on Line 5.
“The potential economic impacts, both regionally and personally, are a key concern for those who want the pipeline to stay open. A majority of the pipeline’s supporters in Michigan (65 per cent), Ontario (65 per cent), and Quebec (55 per cent) believe they will be personally impacted either ‘significantly’ or ‘massively’ if Line 5 shuts down,” says the survey report. The Financial Post has the story.
Meanwhile, the Australian company BHP has made a takeover bid for Canada’s Noront Resources, which includes a cash offer for all outstanding and issued shares of the Canadian company. The total equity value of the BHP transaction is $325 million. Noront said the bid will be formally commenced in the near future and that all shareholders will be notified via mail. CBC News has more.
Turning north, Qulliq Energy Corp. (QEC) continues to replace community power plants that have surpassed their life expectancy, following the decommissioning of the Grise Fiord diesel plant. A 2015 report found that 14 power plants in the territory fit that description. QEC is urging people to act with caution while this replacement work is being conducted. Nunatsiaq News has more on that story.
Finally, Adam van Koeverden, the MP for Milton, announced a $2.3 million investment in the Anvil Crawler Development Corporation to install 36 electric vehicle chargers across Ontario.
Canadian Crude Index was trading at US$56.90 and Western Canadian Select was going for US$56.05 this morning at 9:02 a.m.