Category Archives: renewables

MayDay 2011: Iraq, Libya and Oil

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Memos that are no longer secret expose a link between oil firms and the invasion of Iraq, according to the Independent in the UK.  They’re just stating what most people feel is obvious:  taxpayers in the UK, the US, Canada and elsewhere are funding massive military operations through debt expansion so that we can protect and collect crude resources around the world.

What does this have to do with the Canadian election?  Everything.

Most Canadians did NOT want Canada to be involved with the invasion of or continued military presence in Iraq, but two people stood out in the days preceding the invasion:

  • Stephen Harper
  • Michael Ignatieff

The NDP and the Green Party have been opposed to the invasion of Iraq.

If you’re a pacifist and you’re sick of the gradual expansion of the US throughout the world, the choice in the election should be obvious, but there’s one catch:  Libya.

Unfortunately, it looks like ALL of the parties (except the Greens since they didn’t have any MPs when this decision was made) have failed Canadians as they fueled up the jets for the ‘no-fly zone’ protection of Libya.

When you have a chance, ask your candidate and the leaders of each party where they stand on Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya and even Iran.  All are part of the expansionist plans of the US and peace-seeking Canadians do not want to be a part of it.

Canada needs leadership that will steer us off this disastrous course.  We need to take a back seat with NATO and we need to show true leadership with the UN and organizations that are committed to peace throughout the world.

No New Nukes in Ontario Please

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Dalton McGuinty is trying very hard to erode any support he has from the middle and left core that supported him in the last election.

The latest blow comes now to current voters, but to voters for the next 1,000 generations.

It’s very likely that Dalton McGuinty will announce a massive and glutonous investment in nuclear power later today.  The word is that Dalton’s plan will be to greatly increase the dominance (and spending) on nuclear, likely to the tune of $30-$50 billion dollars over several years (likely decades).

This translates to a cost of roughly $3,000 to $5,000 for EVERY SINGLE ONTARIO RESIDENT.

This is a waste of money and is a foolish way to develop a hydro plan and future for this province (and for Canada).

Instead of tossing good money into technology that has yet to work efficiently in this province, there are changes that the McGuinty fiberals should consider implementing immediately that will put a cap on electricity demand in this province.

The first thing to do is shift the mind-set from provincial generation and wasteful distribution to local independence.

These may seem like a pipe dream, but it can be a very simple reality.

Now that they have a majority (and it’s unlikely they’ll return to office given the volume of SNAFUs that have affected this government), they should create a legal mandate that ALL NEW DEVELOPMENT (residential housing, industrial, manufacturing and other activities that will increase future demand) be 100% sustainable and capable of producing energy rather than demanding it.

This is a simple implementation and all it takes is the will to make it happen.

There is no new investment required.  There is no new cost to taxpayers.

People that complain can stuff a sock in it.  If you aren’t interested in never paying for electricity again, then don’t bother looking to Ontario to invest.  This is a unique opportunity and we need to jump on it.

Renewable technologies and sources are ubiquitous and this legal mandate would create a turbo-boost to the renewable energy sector.  It wouldn’t just include major suppliers, but also instigate small and medium-sized businesses to respond to the challenge.  Installers, engineers, electricians and mechanics – just to name a few professions – would all have the opportunity to rise to this new challenge and to do what’s right for this economy.

New housing developments would become local power grids.  You wouldn’t need vast and wasteful distribution systems because the ‘node’ approach would satisfy local demand and would in fact be developed according to what might be demanded by a local community.

The core production would be based on solar, some wind and lots of geothermal.  Most of our residential costs in the summer are related to air conditioning and most of our costs in the winter are related to our furnaces.  Geo-thermal eliminates the need for both of these excessive formats.

Houses would have better standards applied and would cost more, but again, most people could be convinced to pay more if they weren’t confronted with monthly bills for the following:

  • Natural gas
  • Gas for your car
  • Electricity
  • Water
  • etc

Over the life of a mortgage, the cost is marginalized and the potential revenue opportunity from excess power could easily outweigh the initial upfront cost.  If you don’t like the extra cost, rent an apartment downtown.

Of course, this strategy doesn’t account for existing property, be it residential or commercial.  Again, this problem could be solved with legal requirement, but there are admittedly a lot of issues that arise from this.

  • What about those on fixed incomes?
  • What about businesses that simply don’t have the cash-flow for an initial outlay?
  • How do you find qualified people?
  • What if my house or building doesn’t have room for geo-thermal or doesn’t face south for solar?

And so on.  I don’t have a magic bullet solution on this, but I’m sure a few dozen smart policy wonks would be able to cobble together some ideas.

Despite that potential road-bump, I’ll remind you that there are two other ways to look at this broader strategy:

  • Encourage local communities to become net energy producers for the oncoming age of electric cars
  • Complete transfer of power to individuals

As we enter the age of the electric car, this will prove to be an excessive point of demand for electricity.  This is why McGuinty and the fiberals are panicking and why they’re ready to dump good money into the world’s most wasteful electrical production method (nuclear).

The only way to satisfy demand for electric cars is to make individuals responsible for creating that energy.  More importantly, communities that are effective at encouraging local production will become magnets for new investment, as people will seek out those communities that are making it easy to produce your own energy.

19th century laggards will get punished and will suffer a long slow economic death.

Finally, the most important realization in all of this is that power will be transferred to the people in more ways than one.  Giving people the ability to generate their own independence translates to exactly that:  independence.  A bold government will realize this and give the people what they should have.

If they don’t, they’re just another pack of control freaks that see us as peons rather than people.

Power: Creating Financial Slaves for Oil Barons

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Through the 1960s and into recent times, Ontarians have been cajoled into making bad decisions when it comes to our energy options.  We had nuclear rammed down our collective throats by over-zealous and naive politicians that thought 25,000 years of radioactive half-life was OK.

The trade-off was a dynamically growing and robust economy that was a hydro pig known as the Car Industry.

Well, that industry has collapsed, but we’re still all shaking our collective heads wondering at the ‘debt servicing charges’ that appear on our monthly bills.

Forty or fifty years ago, the nuke industry got a fat pay cheque and wicked-assed party and we’re paying the tab.  And we’ll keep paying it for decades to come until power generation is transferred to people and not corporations.

Today (thanks to a blog article from Buckdog) I read that Saskatchewan is poised to make the same ridiculously stupid decision to allow nukes for the sake of creation of ‘cheap’ power.  This time, however, it’s not intended for the the manufacturing base of the province.

No … it’s to subsidize the extraction of dirty oil for decades to come.

Talk about stupid.

When are people going to learn?

Why don’t they take the $20 or $30 billion that the industry is probably skulking around looking for and dump it into something that will propel them forward in the renewable space (like R&D, investment in infrastructure, etc)?

Harper’s Fuel Tax Reduction: (For an economist) He Just Doesn’t Get It

Stephen Harper’s an economist, right?  He even did an MA on the topic of ‘spend and win’ at U of Calgary.

So, how is it that his new ‘diesel fuel’ reduction is going to save the economy when no one is shipping anything?

And why is it that, when you’re supposed to understand supply and demand, you don’t realize that reducing the price for something will increase the demand, thereby increasing our reliance on it, thereby increasing our already insecure relationship with OIL?

And since we’ve sold the Tar Sands to the US, where the hell are we going to get more oil from?

Christ, even his Republican cousins in the US are increasing their calls to reduce energy dependency, especially when ‘unfriendly countries’ (ie. those that we’ve bombed the snot out of) don’t give it to us at cost.

Let’s face it:  Steve does what Steve does for the oil industry and oil industry only.

This reduction will cost Canadian taxpayers $600 million per year.  Imagine what a $600 million investment in renewable energies would do for this new and fledgling industry.  Man!  It might actually take some of our business away from the Libyans and Nigerians (which our hear are the major suppliers of oil to Ontario, not Alberta)!!

My two cents is that this two cent reduction is just another kick in the junk for people who want to move things forward and reduce our heroin-like addiction to gas, even if it is diesel.

Get with the times Steve:  oil is NOT the future of Canada.

Illegal: Collecting Rainwater

It seems like water control is coming much faster than we ever could have imagined.

“State officials say that water rights belong to ‘people that live downstream’, but they will keep their distance for now”.

Here’s an interesting little video that captures news of violations in Utah:

So, it’s here.  The right to collect rainwater has been turned into a permit requirement and legal issue.  Give it a few months of drought and this will get nasty.

Canada:  lock up your H2O because they’re a-comin!