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Climate Energy

A letter from Alberta, again

I appear regularly on Amanda Lang’s TV show on BNN Bloomberg. Inevitably, within a few hours I get an angry email from some man in Alberta. This week’s writer was more polite than most in his insistence that only fossil fuels will do and that “renewables (electricity and vehicles) are not price-competitive at Canada’s latitude”, so I wrote him back:

“Dear _____,

It is well established that fossil fuel-generated electricity typically looks cheaper primarily because most of the costs are borne in ways that are not reflected on the electricity bill, such as health, environment and climate damage. Some details here: https://eco.auditor.on.ca/reports/2018-making-connections/

In Alberta, some additional costs are externalized by oil companies shirking billions of dollars in liabilities to landowners, municipalities and clean up costs. Some details here: https://saxefacts.com/canadas-murky-bailout-deal-for-oil-and-gas-will-cost-us-all/. Now taxpayers are paying billions again to pay for some of the messes left behind.

Renewable electricity is increasingly the cheapest electricity to generate, e.g. https://saxefacts.com/berkshire-hathaway-wind-power-saves-money/. In my upcoming interview with Dan Balaban, Alberta businessman, he reports that Alberta has world-class wind resources. https://saxefacts.com/green-economy-heroes-podcast/

Utility scale storage is also becoming dramatically cheaper, e.g. https://www.hydrostor.ca, https://formenergy.com/.

EVs? Battery costs continue to plunge. https://insideevs.com/news/386024/bloombergnef-battery-prices-156-kwh-2019/
More than a year ago it was already cheaper to own an electric vehicle, especially for those who drive longer distances, even without counting the environmental impact. https://www.corporateknights.com/channels/clean-technology/faceoff-electric-vs-gas-cars-on-cost-15555966/. Electric vehicles have orders of magnitude fewer parts than internal combustion engines, so are cheaper to assemble and maintain and may last much longer. https://www.plugndrive.ca

It is not my responsibility to persuade you of anything. There is ample information available on these questions, and there are many good reasons why smart money managers are divesting from fossil fuels. https://gofossilfree.org/divestment/commitments/

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