Rethink gas and wind thing

Toronto Star

Natural gas is seen by environmentalists as a “transitional fuel” from coal to renewable energy yet the life cycle greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from shale gas could be the same as that from coal-fired generation, so why the transition?

Ontario is closing its coal plants, conventional natural gas is being quickly depleted, and controversial shale gas will be expensive and apparently no better than coal for GHG emissions. Intermittent and variable wind generation needs support from gas or coal since present nuclear is not flexible enough and stored water hydro power, that depends on precipitation, is a valuable reserve and intermediate and peak load provider and cannot be wasted to support wind.

Until new more flexible nuclear comes along low sulfur coal and flue gas clean-up would be a lot less expensive, and carry less risk to Ontario, than going to gas and wind. It’s really time for the Ontario government to rethink this gas and wind thing.

Donald Jones, retired nuclear industry engineer, Mississauga
 

18 thoughts on “Rethink gas and wind thing

  1. For a moment there when I read this I thought maybe the Star had “turned against” it’s main hero McGuinty but then I see it was just a letter to the paper regarding a an article on Shale Gas from a previous day.

    No “reporter” or “columnist” for the Star would ever criticize McGuinty and gang on his Green Dream (our Nightmare)!

  2. Quixote:

    Right. But the fact that the letter was published was interesting. Maybe it was “flyer” or a “test balloon”.

    Regardless maybe a few Red Star readers got introduced to the novel concept of “truth” although I am now a supporter of Nuclear. Anything to halt the march of the wind turbines as the blight spreads across the landscape.

    BTW: How many failed trials of wind power are required before politicians recognize that the results are in and all the tests failed?

  3. The letter is a huge victory, especially considering it’s in the Toronto Star.

    This trailer to a new documentary on shale gas will open your eyes, and you will never think the same way again. VP Dick Cheney spear headed the 2005 Energy Act. The act suspended several laws and regulations for gas drillers, including the Clean Water Act, the Clean Air Act, and the Safe Drinking Water Act. Dick Cheney’s company, Haliburton, leases the technology for the fracting process–another corrupt political agenda.

  4. For those with slow speed, read Macleans magazine business article (Aug 2nd edition. Pg 56.)
    or online
    http://www2.macleans.ca/2010/07/26/a-cure-for-the-energy-crisis/

    This is really disturbing and has the same lack of control as wind has been granted.
    Shale gas is polluting private wells and waterways but it sounds inconsequential to some of these corporate folk.

    Excerpt from article

    …..Ultimately, natural gas may be a second helping of non-renewable resources to sustain the ravenous human appetite for energy. And even though it may burn cleaner than oil, extracting it from the ground is fraught with environmental risks. “While we have the technology, we might not have the wherewithal to avoid the environmental problems,” says David Burnett, director of technology at the Global Petroleum Research Institute.

    It’s expected that 32,000 wells will be drilled annually in the U.S. over the next two years. Each operation needs 11 to 26 million litres of water, which is mixed with toxic chemicals for fracking. On that scale, experts say serious environmental damage is all but inevitable.

    “There are always threats to water and other resources. There’s always room for spills. You can’t remove all the risk,” says Stephanie Merrill, project coordinator in water governance with the Conservation Council of New Brunswick, where several companies including Alberta-based PetroWorth Resources Inc. have already drilled 65 wells across about a million acres of land. (The province could hold more than 2.4 trillion cubic metres of shale gas.)

    If wells aren’t perfectly constructed, fracking fluid can leach into the earth, and while much of it can be recycled, millions of gallons still need to be dumped underground or in tailing ponds. Fracking also can widen cracks in the ground far away from wells, causing pockets of gas, undrinkable water or salt and other minerals to contaminate aquifers. This is a big problem in areas with water tables supplying millions of people, such as the Marcellus Shale extending through New York, Pennsylvania and West Virginia—one of the largest drilling developments in the U.S. The industry says water wells are not being contaminated by drilling. But it’s difficult to pinpoint blame when fracking’s seismic impact can crack earth miles away. A study by Penn State University examining 200 gas wells found that about eight per cent had contaminated nearby drinking water.

    And then there’s communities like Fort Lupton. Colorado regulators say the town’s flaming water is a result of bacteria eating coal deposits and producing methane, but Markham and his neighbours place the blame squarely on drilling. Another drilling project, in Dimock, Penn., caused methane to migrate into a residential well where it detonated, destroying the well and contaminating the water at other houses.

    The mad rush to develop shale gas has created an unregulated Wild West atmosphere, say critics. “We do not have the appropriate laws in place to protect public health and safety, and we’re moving too slow to implement them,” says Pennsylvania state Representative Phyllis Mundy, who sponsored a bill calling for a one-year moratorium on drilling in her state.

    The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is conducting a study on the impact of fracking, but it won’t be finished for another two years. In the U.S., there’s no national policy on shale-gas development. And in Canada, where Shell is already producing about six trillion BTUs of shale gas a year and exploration is ongoing in New Brunswick, Alberta, Quebec and B.C., laws vary from province to province, and a debate is raging about what needs to be done to ensure the safety of water supplies. Shell’s Mitchelmore says, “it’s near impossible to hurt the water table, and we think it is impossible with the controls we have in place.”

    New Brunswick’s Merrill sees the appeal of developing this local gas industry—it’s a potential boon for provinces with next to no fossil-fuel production. But she wonders if the benefits will outweigh the potential problems. “At the end of the day, if there’s no drinking water or our rivers and streams are dry or contaminated, then there is no community. [People] have to decide if they’re willing to take those risks.”

  5. As I recall there is lots of natural gas under Lakes Erie and Michigan. However, these resources are not allowed to be used. The State of Michigan forbid drilling for gas under Lake Michigan about 8 years ago.

    The information on fracturing is not correct in this article. According to Oaklahoma athorities fracturing does not damage ground water or wells.

    Will get source of this fracturing information and post it for all to read.

  6. http://www.policyalternatives.ca/publications/monitor/frack-attack

    Quote … By examining drillers’ patent applications and government worker health and safety records, some environmentalists and regulators in the U.S. have been able to piece together a list of some of the fracking fluid ingredients. These include potentially toxic substances such as diesel fuel (which contains benzene, ethylbenzene, toluene, xylene, and naphthalene), polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, methanol, formaldehyde, ethylene glycol, glycol ethers, hydrochloric acid, and sodium hydroxide. According to Business Week, “Of more than 300 chemicals thought to be in use by drillers, more than 60 are listed as hazardous.”

  7. For fracturing information go to:
    http://www.epw.senate.gov then to Minority Page and see article “Democrat Energy Bill Would Hurt Oklahoma”. Also more fracturing information is posted there.

    The first fracturing was done in Oklahoma in 1949 and there has never been any incident of water contamination since that time.

  8. Oklahoma………….now there’s a State that sums up all that is wrong with Energy Criminalization!

    First watch again…..”The Grapes of Wrath” the movie of 1939

    Then fast forward to 2007 and watch the movie “There Will Be Blood”

    After watching these you will understand completely what is going on right now with the Wind, Gas and Oil rampage that is being rammed down our throats!

    The more mistakes we make the less we learn!

  9. Barbara says,
    The information on fracturing is not correct in this article. According to Oaklahoma athorities fracturing does not damage ground water or wells.

    The first fracturing was done in Oklahoma in 1949 and there has never been any incident of water contamination since that time.
    http://www.epw.senate.gov

    Barbara, I can also provide you with a number of government articles that say wind turbines and their substations will not cause health problems.

    From the supplied weblink, note similar phrasing…

    “no adverse impact…..”

    Reaction from Oklahoma to the Democratic energy bill has been swift – and for good reason. As an Oklahoman editorial from July 24 noted, Democrat House members have been ‘obsessed’ with the issue from some time, writing, “No adverse impact from fracturing has been proven. Shaking up rock through fracturing is essential for releasing natural gas from shale formations; natural gas is essential for transitioning power generation away from coal. Gas is also key (along with offshore oil drilling) in reducing dependence on foreign supplies. Nevertheless, some poor players in Congress won’t let the fracturing issue die a dusty death. California U.S. Rep. Henry Waxman seems obsessed by it. Yet natural gas is a relatively green, clean and abundant fuel.”

    And so it appears that once again, the people at ground zero who are having the problems on their own property are discounted and accused of making false claims because the government says it’s not happening.
    Hmmm….sounds all too familiar. Different subject, same abuse……………….

  10. Also check T.Boone Pickens latest foray into Gas!…he’s dropped Wind in favour of Natural Gas exploration…………
    Now there’s a guy who is indicative of “chasing the money train!”…………. whatever he pursues smells to “high heaven!”

  11. Wasn’t “Grapes of Wrath” about the dust bowl problems of the 1930’s and not about oil & gas?

    Drought in the western plains caused dust bowl conditions and made farming almost impossible. Too much land was plowed and left bare which made the dry conditions worse. Also the 1930’s were the hottest years of the 20th century.

  12. Basicaly it was the Land Rush to California during the dirty 30’s but basically the point is………Man’s Inhumanity to Man!

    That’s the point of that one…..then the next one “There will be Blood” IS the OIL Rush and displays somewhat the same evil as the Grapes movie…………….

    Today we have the Wind Rush and I don’t see much difference……..doesn’t anyone else share my opinion?…………if not then there is a huge “disconnect” here.

  13. I totally get it, and a phrase from the White Stripes band “You can’t be the pimp and the prostitute too” rings true in this situation as well.
    How can Suncor produce oil and gas and at the same time be developing land for Industrial Wind Turbines? This is supposed to “improve” an image?
    Does Monsanto have an Organic line?
    This is not the age of integrity, but of B.S. that people are buying and trading.

  14. Quixote, you are correct only this time the drilling is in the Ontario provencial treasury.

  15. If we want energy we need to plan for nuclear and to clean up coal further. Seems to be where the countries who have a viable energy plan are going. When those countries have nuclear up and running they will be sitting watching those who are still struggling to make wind work at any cost.

  16. Good concept, build some nuclear plants, some where in Ontario where there aren’t any people living. Ontario is very big there are plenty of places where man can not be found for hundreds of miles. Make them so big that Ontario won’t be needing to worry about electricity for the next 150 years.

    Lets go back to the days of near to, at cost pricing for electricity, like the days before the Harris government.

    The Government Brain Dead’s no better but do not care, that it was, the high cost of oil and the Greedy’s of the world that created our last recession. Canada (Ontario) just managed to stay afloat, when it hits again we Ontario (Canada) will not be so lucky because we will be so deep in debt due to all costs associated with wind turbines that it will take many years before we’re able to break even, then again Ontario may never ever clear itself, s__t, we are still paying for the Debt Retirement Charge on our current Hydro bill. Ever wonder what the government will call their wind farms mistake, the WE THOUGHT IT WAS A GOOD IDEA BUT OBVIOUSLY IT WASN’T” charge?

    If this takes place, it will be said with regards to Ontario’s History, it would have been cheaper if they had gone nuclear. Wishful thinking, yes, reality, NO.

  17. Fine:

    Let’s keep coal and get rid of Dalton McGuinty!

    Make it so!

  18. David “R”,

    C’mon…have a heart! If we do that – Brad Duguid will have to memorize an entirely new speech!

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