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Important Enough for It's Own Thread.... Energy

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RESEARCHER PROVES CANADA A USEFUL IDIOT FOR AMERICAN INTERESTS

 

  • Calgary Herald
  • 22 Jun 2019
  • LICIA CORBELLA Licia Corbella is a Postmedia opinion columnist. lcorbella@postmedia.com
img?regionKey=mFFMFuklxmZQmi8UZMOugQ%3d%3dSIMON JACKSON/FILES Vivian Krause has traced $600 million that has flowed into Canada from U.S. foundations to restrict Canada’s energy sector. The Great Bear Rainforest that thwarted the Northern Gateway pipeline had been significantly funded by the family that founded the U.S. oil industry.

If you ever doubted whether Canada’s government is acting like a useful idiot for U.S. interests, the passage Friday of bills C-48 and C-69 in the Senate provided ample proof. Independent researcher Vivian Krause has stacks of documents to prove it.

But first, in Alberta, Premier Jason Kenney went appropriately nuclear over this.

“The passage of these two bills not only undermines Canada’s economy, but also the Canadian federation,” Kenney said. He’ll undoubtedly be criticized for saying this by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and other members of the Laurentian elite. But this isn’t so much a threat as a warning.

“Their passage brings us closer to moving forward with a referendum on a constitutional amendment to eliminate equalization from the Canadian Constitution. If Albertans cannot develop our resources within the federation, then we should not be expected to pay the bill in the federation,” he said.

And it’s a very, very hefty bill. According to Statistics Canada figures, Alberta is the largest net contributor to confederation, by far.

In 2011, $17.88 billion of Albertan’s tax contributions remained in Ottawa; in 2012 it was $19.23 billion; in 2013, $23.51 billion; in 2014, $27.05 billion; in 2015, $25.36 billion; in 2016, $21.81 billion, and in 2017 — still in the grips of a devastating economic slowdown — Alberta contributed $21.8 billion to confederation.

As Kenney pointed out, Bill C-48 is a “prejudicial attack” on Alberta, banning from Canada’s northwest coast “only one product — bitumen — produced in only one province, Alberta.”

The Senate’s standing committee on transport recommended that this flawed legislation be scrapped altogether. It very nearly was, passing by a vote of 49-46. That close call makes it no less devastating to Alberta.

What’s most interesting about these bills is both are completely in line with the aims of foreign-funded NGOs whose stated aim was to “landlock the tar sands.”

Krause — the Vancouver-based researcher, who over the last 10 years has been following the money trail behind environmental activism in Canada — backs up every claim with tax filings and other documents.

She has traced $600 million that has flowed into Canada from U.S. foundations to restrict the development and export of oil and natural gas from Canada and provided the Senate committee with an 80-page document that showed each of those grants that specifically refers to a tanker ban in B.C.’s waters.

As she stated in her compelling testimony on May 7 before the Senate committee that spent thousands of hours studying Bill C-48, Krause found more than 50 grants that specifically mentioned a tanker ban or tanker traffic.

When Trudeau announced on Nov. 26, 2016, that he would approve the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion but kill Northern Gateway pipeline — which had been approved by the National Energy Board after years of gruelling regulatory hoop jumping by Enbridge and was passed by the Harper government — he also promised a tanker ban.

The reason Trudeau gave for scrapping Northern Gateway and bringing in a tanker ban was because the tanker traffic that would have carried Alberta bitumen to Asia went through an area known as the Great Bear Rainforest.

Krause says that as far back as 1999, the creation of the Great Bear Rainforest has been significantly funded by the Rockefeller Brothers Foundation — the family that ironically founded the U.S. oil industry and made billions doing so. More recently, the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation granted $267 million to Canadian environmental groups.

“The top recipient of these funds, Tides Canada, the central proponent of the Great Bear Rainforest, has received $83 million,” Krause told the Senate committee.

Originally, the proposed Kermode bear (which is a white black bear) or Great Bear protected area was just a small part of the B.C. coast. “But now,” Krause said, “environmental and First Nations groups say that along the entire B.C. coast, from the northern tip of Vancouver Island to the southern border of Alaska, there can be no tankers anywhere.”

So why are these U.S. foundations doing this?

“Something is being protected here at great expense and cost, but obviously not the bear,” concluded Krause. “What is being protected is the American monopoly on access to exports of Canadian oil. The Great Bear Rainforest has become the great trade barrier, keeping our country out of global energy markets.”

She went on to explain how nearly all of the main organizations that campaigned in favour of Bill C-48 are funded by an initiative called the Tar Sands Campaign — something Krause singlehandedly exposed — as an international effort to sabotage the Canadian oil and gas industry by keeping Canada out of global markets and landlocking Canadian oil to keep the Canadian oil prices low.

“The wording used in some of the grants and other documents is revealing. For example, a grant for $97,000 to West Coast Environmental Law states that the purpose of the funds was:

“to constrain development of Alberta’s tar sands by establishing a legislative ban on crude oil tankers on British Columbia’s north coast.”

As Krause told the committee, “Note that the funds are not to bring about a ban in order to protect the coast, but rather to get a legislative tanker ban as a way to thwart the Canadian oil industry.”

Is it any wonder the Senate committee urged the Senate on the whole to vote against this disastrous, discriminatory bill that turns our federal government into America’s useful idiot?

“Another document, a proposal submitted to a U.S. funder, states that its intended outcome was ‘public pressure directed at the Canadian government encouraging a legislated ban on oil tankers in B.C. inshore waters.’ That proposal goes on to say in the very next sentence, ‘Simply put, if tankers are banned, no pipeline will ever be built.’ ”

Krause, who chooses her words carefully, then said: “For years, politicians have ignored, tolerated and acquiesced to this falsely premised activism. It is time that this comes to an end. It is time that this committee brings this scam to an end by rejecting Bill C-48. The Kermode bear merits protection, but there’s no point in putting off limits the entire B.C. coast in order to protect a bear that doesn’t live there.”

Only fools would do that. Cue Trudeau.

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July 4, 2019 7:34 pm

Updated: July 4, 2019 8:41 pm

Kenney government launches inquiry into foreign-funded groups that criticize Alberta’s oil industry

adam-macvicar-headshot.png?w=40&h=40&cro By Adam MacVicar Digital Journalist  Global News
News: Alberta energy front and centre with Sohi visitx
 

WATCH ABOVE: Federal Natural Resources Minister Amarjeet Sohi was in Calgary on Thursday to discuss the future of the energy sector, while Premier Jason Kenney laid out the next steps in his government's plan to fight for Alberta oil. Adam MacVicar reports.

Alberta’s provincial government is launching an inquiry into foreign-funded interest groups with campaigns against Alberta oil.

Premier Jason Kenney made the announcement on Thursday, appointing forensic and restructuring accountant Steve Allen to commission the inquiry.

 

The authority of the $2.5-million inquiry will be limited to Alberta and won’t be able to compel testimony from outside Alberta. However, there will be an information review, research and witness interviews involved.

The second phase of the inquiry could also include public hearings.

“There’s never been a formal investigation into all aspects of the anti-Alberta energy campaign,” Kenney said.

“The mandate for Commissioner Allan will be to bring together all of the information.”

Related

READ MORE: Kenney says higher risk tolerance, ability to act quickly key for Alberta energy ‘war room’

Kenney pointed to research conducted by Vivian Krause, whose studies have led her to believe the push against the oilsands is funded by American philanthropists in an effort to landlock Alberta oil so it cannot reach overseas markets, where it would attain a higher price per barrel.

According to Kenney, the inquiry will look at the broad picture of these interest groups, but will target groups funded by the Rockefeller Brothers Fund, the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, the Tides Foundation and the Sea Change Foundation.

“[The campaign’s] main tactics have been disinformation and defamation, litigation, public protests and political lobbying,” Kenney said.

There are currently no laws preventing environmental groups from from accepting donations from outside of Canada or for advocating for action on the environment and climate change.

According to Kenney, the regulations were changed by the federal government lifting limits on political activity by these groups.

Kenney said he would seek advice from the commissioner on whether questionable spending by these groups prior to the amendments to the law could be a legal issue the province could address. He also vowed to bring in a law that bans foreign money from Alberta politics.

The premier said the inquiry isn’t an attack on free speech. He also said groups within Alberta could be subject to provide public testimony to the inquiry.

Kenney said the biggest question is around the interest these groups have in the Canadian energy sector.

“I believe having foreign interest groups funnel tens or perhaps hundreds of millions of dollars into a campaign designed massively to damage our vital economic interests is a matter of the greatest public concern,” Kenney said. “The energy industry and the emissions challenge are global. The question then is, why is the anti-energy campaign so overwhelmingly and disproportionately focused on one major producer?

“Why aren’t these groups running campaigns to block pipelines in the United States to the same extent that they have in Canada?”

READ MORE: Ottawa won’t rush into sale of Trans Mountain pipeline to Indigenous groups: Sohi

Federal Natural Resources Minister Amarjeet Sohi was in Calgary on Thursday for an address to the city’s chamber of commerce. He said foreign influence should be a concern but that he believes there should be reflection into why there has been a challenge to get pipelines built.

“We should always be concerned if foreign influence is trying to influence policy in your country, or the development of resources in your country,” Sohi said. “But I think we need to look inside within Canada: why are we not able to build pipelines?

“I think you will find reasons within our own country for not moving forward with those projects.”

Not everyone is on board with the inquiry.

NDP economic development critic Deron Bilous called the inquiry a fool’s errand, and said the government is spending money on trying to find somebody to blame for the position the province is in.

“What the premier is trying to do is change the channel on his abysmal record thus far as far as job creation,” Bilous said. “What Albertans want to see is job creation. What they don’t want to see is a glorified witch hunt.”

According to Justice Minister and Attorney General Doug Schweitzer, the inquiry will take a year to complete and a report will be delivered to the government on July 2, 2020 with recommendations on how the government should proceed.

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For every viewpoint, there is a corresponding counterpoint.  To say it is foreign influence that is hurting Alberta's oil industry may be a legit position, yet when you look at the billions that are spent pushing for oil expansion, the question is: Who is spending more money buying influence?

https://www.wcel.org/blog/time-stop-blaming-foreign-funded-environmentalists-oil-industrys-woes

Time to stop blaming “foreign funded” environmentalists for the oil industry’s woes

fundingscales-landscape3.jpg
January 30, 2019

Big Oil’s problem isn’t international philanthropy – it’s a changing market in the face of climate change

Fear mongering about cross-border funding for environmental groups has ramped up in recent weeks and months, increasingly making its way into news stories, social media feeds and political rhetoric. Led by proponents of the oil and gas industry, these divisive statements and exaggerated claims are nothing but an attempt to distract Canadians from the real issues – such as the urgency of the climate crisis and the need to shift our economy away from fossil fuels.

Critics point to the success of Canadian environmental organizations at garnering support from international donors as evidence that outsiders are having an undue influence on Canadian policies concerning energy and the environment. Some go so far as to suggest that “foreign-funded” environmental campaigns are part of a conspiracy that unfairly targets Canadian oil companies, to the benefit of oil producers south of the border.

This type of misinformation and the unwarranted attacks on environmental groups are undermining democracy, and Canadians deserve better.

For the sake of setting the record straight, let’s address a few of the most glaring holes in the arguments against environmental groups and international funding.

Canada’s oil and gas industry is foreign-funded – and so is its lobbying

If we’re talking about foreign dollars influencing Canada’s economy and politics, we can’t just focus on philanthropic funding for environmental charities and nonprofits. The amount of international money supporting environmental campaigns is vastly outweighed by the foreign funding that shapes Canadian policy and decision-making through corporate investment and fossil fuel industry lobbyists.

The Canadian oil industry and other resource sector businesses have relied on huge amounts of foreign investment. Despite the fact that some international fossil fuel companies are now leaving the oil sands due to shifting markets, including low oil prices and the accelerating global shift to renewable energy, the oil and gas sector remains one of the top industries for foreign direct investment in Canada. In 2017, foreign direct investment in mining and oil and gas extraction was over $162 billion.

Commentator Vivian Krause alleges that at least $40 million has been granted to 100 different organizations “involved in anti-pipeline activism.” First, it should be noted that this figure is cumulative of funding received by many different groups over the last decade, and only a portion of it was explicitly earmarked for campaigns focused on the tar sands. To give just one example, included in the Tides Foundation grants referenced by Ms. Krause was a grant our organization received for collaborative work with all levels of government to enable ecosystem-based (green infrastructure) responses to sea level rise, to provide flood protection for coastal communities.

Second, this amount is a drop in the bucket compared to the billions spent by governments and industry proponents to promote oil and gas development. The Alberta government has spent $23 million in the past year alone on its aggressive ad campaign promoting the Trans Mountain pipeline (which our federal government purchased for $4.5 billion).

Membership of the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers, which registered 131 lobbying reports with the federal government in 2018, includes such foreign heavyweights as the Koch brothers and PetroChina. And let’s not forget that many of the projects environmental groups are concerned about are foreign-owned (or were, until federal buy-outs).

Funding for environmental campaigns helps to correct the imbalance of power between ordinary citizens and the financial and political influence of multinational companies in Canada. Without it, Canadians might only be hearing one side of the story.

Climate change crosses borders. Why shouldn’t our funding?

At West Coast Environmental Law, we’re open about the sources of our funding. Our work is supported by a combination of individual donations, foundation grants and a small number of socially responsible corporate donors, from within Canada and internationally. Each year we provide a list of our foundation funders in our annual report.

We are grateful for the contributions of all of our donors and supporters who, like us, recognize the need for collaborative solutions to protect the planet and our communities. Canadian environmental groups are doing critical work at a time of unprecedented challenges – challenges that do not stop at Canadian borders. 

Global issues like climate change, biodiversity loss and water protection need global solutions, and Canadian environmental organizations can and do play a key role. Unfortunately, progress in strengthening environmental laws and policies has led to a backlash over funding for the civil society groups that advocate for those policies, both in Canada and around the world.

A new report by the UN Environment Programme (UNEP) notes that a growing number of countries have imposed legal restrictions on civil society groups and their funding, including restrictions on funding from foreign sources. According to UNEP, these growing restrictions can “impair the ability of the public to speak up about environmental injustices and be heard when domestic political forces are aligned against them.”

2019-unep-fundingrestrictions-map.jpg
Map from UN Environment Programme report, "Environmental Rule of Law".

These types of funding restrictions, such as the targeted CRA audits imposed under the last federal administration, have already been attempted in Canada. And some politicians are proposing further limitations on international funding for environmental nonprofits.

It’s no secret that funders from outside of Canada are contributing to the work of Canadian environmental organizations. The real question is – so what?

At this critical moment, international collaboration on environmental solutions is essential to address the urgent (and global) environmental challenges we face today.

Our work is driven by our values

Since 1974, West Coast Environmental Law has provided legal support and educational resources for individuals, First Nations and community groups, to ensure that their voices are heard on the environmental issues that affect them. We continue to press for stronger legal safeguards for the environment, and more democratic processes that allow people to participate meaningfully in decisions about resource development. And we stand with Indigenous nations that have exercised their inherent jurisdiction to deny consent for oil and gas expansion proposals in their territories under their own laws.

As environmentalists, we are motivated by a desire to protect lands, waters and communities, and to leave a better world for our children and grandchildren. Our strategic priorities are set by our board and staff based on discussions with British Columbians about pressing environmental issues in their communities, not by secretive US interests and “billionaires in the Hamptons.”

This is not the first time our motives and funding sources have been questioned. In 2012 – when people across the country were speaking out about risky pipeline proposals and the weakening of federal environmental laws – West Coast and other environmental groups were targeted by similar misinformation campaigns.

Claims that US-funded environmental campaigns are aimed at “bullying Canada out of the market” to benefit the American oil industry are just as bogus now as they were in 2012. Even industry proponents have chimed in about the dangers of believing this conspiracy theory.

Canadian climate campaigns have focused primarily on Canadian policy, and for good reason. This is where we live, and the decisions made here affect our lives and our future.

But that doesn’t mean we aren’t paying attention to environmental threats and big polluters outside our borders. For example, our Climate Law in our Hands initiative seeks accountability from 20 major fossil fuel producers around the world that have contributed most to the climate crisis – such as Exxon, BP and Saudi Aramco.

Enough distractions, let’s get to work

Funders all over the world recognize the hard work that’s required in Canada in order to confront climate change, protect land and water resources and transition to a healthier global economy. So do the Indigenous leaders standing up against fossil fuel expansion, as well as the thousands of Canadians who continue to sign petitions, attend rallies and support environmental campaigns.

Together, we represent a legitimate Canadian perspective that is critical to sound policy-making, especially in the face of influential corporate lobbyists.

Diversionary tactics like the current attacks on sources of environmental groups’ funding only sows division, undermining our democracy and the core Canadian value of civil discourse.

Scapegoating environmental groups and our funders will not solve anyone’s problems. Right now what we need is cooperation – across borders, partisan lines and different sectors of society – to address the challenges that threaten the health of our environment and future generations.

Top image: (left) Kris Krug/Creative Commons, (right) Stock photo.

Author: 
Jessica Clogg, Executive Director & Senior Counsel
 

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Indigenous-led group submits unsolicited bid to buy Trans Mountain pipeline

Indigenous-led group Project Reconciliation has submitted a preliminary proposal to the federal government to buy the Trans Mountain pipeline.

'This is a pivotal moment for Indigenous peoples,' says Project Reconciliation founder

Sarah Rieger · CBC News · Posted: Jul 24, 2019 10:07 PM MT | Last Updated: an hour ago

Indigenous-led group Project Reconciliation has submitted a preliminary proposal to the federal government to buy the Trans Mountain pipeline.

A federal government official confirmed to CBC News that the proposal has been received, but the government is not yet accepting formal bids.

Project Reconciliation was founded by Delbert Wapass, a former chief of the Thunderchild First Nation in Saskatchewan. The group is based in Calgary, and is proposing ownership of the pipeline be shared among participating Indigenous communities in Western Canada. 

"The federal government supports an Indigenous-owned pipeline and we're glad to submit a preliminary proposal to do just that," said Wapass in a statement sent to CBC News.
delbert.jpeg Delbert Wapass, a former chief of the Thunderchild First Nation in Saskatchewan, says Project Reconciliation has submitted a proposal to buy the Trans Mountain pipeline. (Jason Warick)

"This is a pivotal moment for Indigenous peoples. If we get it right, we can build strong, Indigenous economies to give our communities the resources they need to thrive. We look forward to continuing discussions with the government over the coming months."

Project Reconciliation is not sharing details of the proposal as it will be subject to negotiation, but says the plan is to take part in the government's formal engagement process over the coming months. 

The group said earlier this week it aims to submit a $6.9-billion offer, and that the investment would pay off by helping to alleviate First Nations poverty, a watershed for Indigenous people who have historically watched Canada's resources enrich others.

The majority of the cash flow would be put into a fund to invest in green projects. 

The pipeline carries oil from Alberta to B.C.'s coast. If built, the 1,150-kilometre expansion project would nearly triple the existing pipeline's capacity to 890,000 barrels a day.

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If they can come up with $6.9 Billion I think our Federal funding

of Indigenous people should come to an end. 

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Where do you think they are getting that kind of dough from???  It will be an example of Indigenous entrepreneurship, done through the hard work of reconciliation, those wanting to join the middle class, and with thoughtful conversation and dialogue so that the economy and the resource industry can work hand in hand.......just in time for the election

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lots of fuss about tankers and the maybe spills. I wonder if this "real" problem with get much attention=?

Cruise Ships Dump 1 Billion Litres Of Sewage Into BC Waters Every Year Causing Dead Zones

 
 
Britanny Burr
22 hrs ago

A World Wildlife Fund (WWF) Canada study has recently found that cruise ships dumped 1.3 billion liters of wastewater in BC oceans just off coast in 2017.

The study concluded that a total of 1.54 billion litres of greywater was generated by general ships, therefore cruise ships (counting in at 1.37 billion liters) are responsible for a jaw-dropping 90% of that sewage. The study focused mainly on cruise ships traveling from Washington to Alaska in Canadian waters.

The impacts of the sewage (or greywater) range from dead zones for ocean dwellers to suffocating fish, lobster, crab, and other underwater life forms. It also has a large potential impact such as detrimental effects on local ecosystems.

 

Greywater refers to dishwater, shower drainage, fecal matter, and micro-plastics, to name a few. According to the report, it is very common for ships to dump grey water into the ocean due to the lack of storage on board.

WWF explains that greywater during is governed by provincial laws, but that these laws can only cover ships within three nautical miles from the shore. Therefore, anything beyond that border doesn’t need to treat or report their wastewater at all.

 

This news has left BC residents shook and they are expressing their disappointment online.

a close up of a logo© Screenshot | Reddit
a screenshot of a cell phone© Screenshot | Reddit
 

As you can imagine, opinions range from surprised to not surprised at all. On-land vacations have never looked better.

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1 hour ago, Marshall said:

I wonder if this "real" problem with get much attention=?

 

The short answer is no although I would dispute their definition of grey water, they appear to be lumping "black water" into the definition as well.

In any case, there is lots of big stuff we could be doing right now but there is simply very little appetite for it.  People prefer to become enraged and offended about one of two things: either easy stuff like lightbulbs or impossible to accomplish (in a timely matter) stuff like carbon emissions.

Not one, not a single solitary one of the carbon fairies I've talked to will tell me where the 79 megaton (projected) deficit will come from.  Until that becomes a point of discussion with the folks who scream for action on climate change, they will have to keep screaming and get used to dealing with disappointment.

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Change is coming, sell your coal stock.

https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/and-now-the-really-big-coal-plants-begin-to-close

And Now, the Really Big Coal Plants Begin to Close

Old, small plants were the early retirees, but several of the biggest U.S. coal burners—and CO2 emitters-will be shuttered by year’s end

 
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And Now, the Really Big Coal Plants Begin to Close
The Navajo Generating Station, near Page, Ariz., is scheduled to close this year. It's one of the largest greenhouse gas emitters in the U.S. power sector. Credit: David Wall Getty Images

When the Navajo Generating Station in Arizona shuts down later this year, it will be one of the largest carbon emitters to ever close in American history.

The giant coal plant on Arizona’s high desert emitted almost 135 million metric tons of carbon dioxide between 2010 and 2017, according to an E&E News review of federal figures.

Its average annual emissions over that period are roughly equivalent to what 3.3 million passenger cars would pump into the atmosphere in a single year. Of all the coal plants to be retired in the United States in recent years, none has emitted more.

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The Navajo Generating Station isn’t alone. It’s among a new wave of super-polluters headed for the scrap heap. Bruce Mansfield, a massive coal plant in Pennsylvania, emitted nearly 123 million tons between 2010 and 2017. It, too, will be retired by year’s end (Energywire, Aug. 12).

And in western Kentucky, the Paradise plant emitted some 102 million tons of carbon over that period. The Tennessee Valley Authority closed two of Paradise’s three units in 2017. It will close the last one next year (Greenwire, Feb. 14).

“It’s just the economics keep moving in a direction that favors natural gas and renewables. Five years ago, it was about the older coal plants becoming uneconomic,” said Dan Bakal, senior director of electric power at Ceres, which works with businesses to transition to clean energy. “Now, it’s becoming about every coal unit, and it’s a question of how long they can survive.”

Coal plant closures have been a feature of U.S. power markets for the better part of a decade, as stagnant demand, low natural gas prices and increasing competition from renewables have battered the coal fleet.

In previous years, most retirements were made up of smaller and lesser-used units (Climatewire, April 27, 2017). That means the emissions reductions were less substantial.

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In 2015, the United States closed 15 gigawatts of coal capacity, or roughly 5% of the coal fleet. That still stands as a record amount of coal capacity retired in one year.

Yet the emissions reductions were modest by today’s standards. The units retired in 2015 emitted a combined 261 million tons in the six years prior to their retirement, according to an E&E News review of EPA emissions data. On average, they annually emitted about 43 million tons over that period.

Contrast that to 2018, when almost 14 GW of coal was retired. Those units emitted 511 million tons of carbon between 2010 and 2015. Their combined average annual emissions rate was 83 million tons.

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The trend figures to be even more dramatic this year.

Small plants are gone

The U.S. Energy Information Administration expects almost 8 GW of coal to retire in 2019, or a little more than half the capacity retired in 2015. Yet the units retired this year emitted more than their 2015 counterparts. Between 2010 and 2015, their combined emissions were 328 million tons, giving them an annual emissions average of 55 million tons.

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Other factors are also at play in the retirement of coal’s behemoths. In some cases, federal air quality regulations or an exodus of customers may have contributed to the closure, said John Larsen, who leads power-sector analysis at the Rhodium Group, an economic consulting firm.

The Navajo Generating Station is a case in point. The plant had already planned to shut down a unit to comply with federal smog regulations. Two utilities with a stake in the facility had either divested from the plant or plan to do so. And the plant’s largest customer announced it could buy power on the wholesale market for less.

“You notice the average size of retired plants going up over time. There are not a lot of small plants left, period,” Larsen said. “Once you’ve cleared out all the old inefficient stuff, it’s logical the next wave would be bigger and have more implications for the climate.”

There are several caveats to consider. Units scheduled for retirement generally produce less in the years running up to their closure, meaning the plants that closed in 2015 once emitted more than they did near the end of their lives.

There’s also this: The vast majority of super-polluters have no closure date in sight. That’s because massive coal plants generally benefit from large economies of scale. Because they crank out power around the clock, their cost of generating electricity is relatively cheap.

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“The coal plants remaining have generally installed all the environmental controls,” Larsen said. “There are no additional regulatory threats, or they are cost-effective in a world where gas is $2.50 per MMBtu.”

Another caveat: Coal plant closures don’t guarantee power-sector emissions reductions on their own. In 2018, power-sector emissions increased for the first time in many years because electricity demand rose, prompting natural gas generation to spike (Climatewire, Jan. 14).

But if there is a notable trend with the current round of plant closures, it is this: The large coal plants closing today are in places like Arizona, Pennsylvania and Kentucky.

“You’re not seeing climate policy close these plants,” said Mike O’Boyle, director of electricity policy for Energy Innovation, a nonprofit that advocates for a transition to clean energy. “Coal plants are becoming more expensive to operate over time.”

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Hopefully this takes off and they find a cleaner use for the oilsands.  Good for the environment, good for Alberta.

https://phys.org/news/2019-08-scientists-hydrogen-gas-oil-bitumen.html

Scientists extract hydrogen gas from oil and bitumen, giving potential pollution-free energy

Scientists have developed a large-scale economical method to extract hydrogen (H2) from oil sands (natural bitumen) and oil fields. This can be used to power hydrogen-powered vehicles, which are already marketed in some countries, as well as to generate electricity; hydrogen is regarded as an efficient transport fuel, similar to petrol and diesel, but with no pollution problems. The process can extract hydrogen from existing oil sands reservoirs, with huge existing supplies found in Canada and Venezuela. Interestingly, this process can be applied to mainstream oil fields, causing them to produce hydrogen instead of oil.

Hydrogen powered vehicles, including cars, buses, and trains, have been in development for many years. These vehicles have been acknowledged to be efficient, but the high price of extracting the Hydrogen from oil reserves has meant that the technology has not been economically viable. Now a group of Canadian engineers have developed a cheap method of extracting H2 from oil sands. They are presenting this work at the Goldschmidt Geochemistry Conference in Barcelona.

"There are vast oil sand reservoirs in several countries, with huge fields in Alberta in Canada, but also in Venezuela and other countries" said Dr. Ian Gates, of the Department of Chemical Engineering at the University of Calgary, and of Proton Technologies Inc.).

Oil fields, even abandoned oil fields, still contain significant amounts of oil. The researchers have found that injecting oxygen into the fields raises the temperature and liberates H2, which can then be separated from other gases via specialist filters. Hydrogen is not pre-existing in the reservoirs, but pumping oxygen means that the reaction to form hydrogen can take place.

Grant Strem, CEO of Proton Technologies which is commercializing the process says "This technique can draw up huge quantities of hydrogen while leaving the carbon in the ground. When working at production level, we anticipate we will be able to use the existing infrastructure and distribution chains to produce H2 for between 10 and 50 cents per kilo. This means it potentially costs a fraction of gasoline for equivalent output". This compares with current H2 production costs of around $2/kilo. Around 5% of the H2 produced then powers the oxygen production plant, so the system more than pays for itself.

The economics of the process is favorable according to Grant Strem "What comes out of the ground is hydrogen gas, so we don't have the huge above-ground purification costs associated with oil refining: we use the ground as our reaction vessel. Just taking Alberta as an example, we have the potential to supply Canada's entire electricity requirement for 330 years (Canada uses around 2.5% of the world's electricity—around the same amount as Germany, and more than France or the UK). Our initial aim is to scale up the production from Canadian oil sands, but in fact, we anticipate that most of the interest in this process will come from outside Canada, as the economics and the environmental implications make people look very hard at whether they want to continue conventional oil production. The only product of this process is hydrogen, meaning that it the technology is effectively pollution and emission free. All the other gases remain in the ground because they cannot go through the hydrogen filter and up to the surface".

The technology was developed by Ian Gates and Jacky Wang as the result of an agreement between the University of Calgary and Proton Technologies Inc., which now holds the patent.

Professor Brian Horsfield (GFZ German Research Centre for Geosciences, Potsdam) said: "The research is highly innovative and exciting. It's an adaptation of some 1970's fire-flood production concepts, but tuned to a modern day perspective. Declining oil field production infrastructures now stand to get a new lease of life. Extensive field testing will be crucial in assessing how the system works on industrial scales and over time"

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Walmart sues Tesla for negligence after solar panels catch fire at 7 stores

Walmart on Tuesday sued Tesla, accusing it of "widespread negligence" that led to repeated fires of its solar panel systems and asking a court to force the company to remove them from more than 240 of its U.S. stores.

Lawsuit alleges untrained workers did shoddy installations

Thomson Reuters · Posted: Aug 20, 2019 8:32 PM ET | Last Updated: an hour ago
Walmart is suing Tesla Inc for "widespread negligence" over the installation of solar panels which led to fires at seven locations. (Daniel Becerril/Reuters)

Walmart Inc. on Tuesday sued Tesla Inc., accusing it of "widespread negligence" that led to repeated fires of its solar panel systems and asking a court to force Tesla to remove panels from more than 240 of its U.S. stores.

Solar energy systems installed and maintained by the electric car maker were responsible for fires at seven locations, with dozens showing hazardous problems such as loose wiring and "hot spots" on panels, according to court papers filed in New York State Supreme Court.

 

Tesla did not respond to a request for comment.

The lawsuit accuses Tesla of having untrained workers putting up shoddy installations and showing "utter incompetence or callousness, or both," court papers said.

This is the latest blow to Tesla's struggling solar business, which it acquired through its $2.6 billion purchase of SolarCity in 2016. Quarterly installations have plummeted more than 85 percent since the deal, as Tesla has cut its solar panel sales force and ended a distribution deal with Home Depot Inc.

The fires destroyed significant amounts of store merchandise and required substantial repairs, totalling millions of dollars in losses, Walmart said in the lawsuit.

In addition, inspections of the retailer's other Tesla-owned solar installations "displayed troubling problems that were indicative of widespread negligence," the lawsuit said.

Elon Musk, Chairman of SolarCity and CEO of Tesla Motors, speaks at SolarCity's Inside Energy Summit in Manhattan. (Rashid Umar Abbasi/Reuters )

As of November 2018, at least seven Walmart stores, including in Denton, Maryland and Beavercreek, Ohio, had experienced fires due to Tesla's solar systems, according to the lawsuit. One of the fires happened months after the system was de-energized, Walmart said.

The suit argues that inadequate inspections by Tesla have created a safety hazard for Walmart customers and employees.

Walmart became a SolarCity customer in 2010 and over the next six years fitted 244 of its store rooftops with panels in a bid to improve its image as an environmentally aware company and to lower its energy costs. In the lawsuit, it asks for the court to require Tesla to remove all of its systems from Walmart stores, which are now all de-energized.

Walmart has a goal of sourcing 35 per cent of its electricity from renewables by 2020. The retailer was a major customer for SolarCity, which added both residential and commercial installations at a rapid clip while taking on significant debt.

In the lawsuit, Walmart accused SolarCity of having "an ill-considered business model that required it to install solar panel systems haphazardly and as quickly as possible in order to turn a profit, and the contractors and subcontractors who performed the original installation work had not been properly hired, trained, and supervised."

Under the terms of its solar energy contracts, SolarCity, and then Tesla, was required to install, maintain and operate the panel systems, according to the lawsuit.

In July, Walmart gave Tesla 30 days to provide analyzes of the root causes of the fires, compensate the retailer for damages to its stores and demonstrate an overhaul of its operations, among other measures. As of Aug. 15, Tesla "still had not taken any reasonable steps toward curing its breaches," the lawsuit said.

Three days later, on Aug. 18, Tesla Chief Executive Elon Musk announced the re-launch of the company's solar business that allows customers to install solar panels without a long-term contract.

"It's like having a money printer on your roof," Musk wrote on Twitter.

Shares of the California-based company lost about 1.65 per cent in extended trading.

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Tech

Tesla solar panels reportedly caught fire at an Amazon warehouse in 2018

Published Fri, Aug 23 2019 8:28 PM EDTUpdated Fri, Aug 23 2019 9:12 PM EDT
 
 
 
 
 
Key Points
  • Tesla solar energy systems reportedly ignited at an Amazon warehouse in Redlands, California last June,
  • The Seattle e-commerce titan confirmed that it has no further plans to buy solar energy systems from Tesla.
 

Reusable: Inventory at Amazon warehouse

Inventory at a warehouse
Getty Images

Tesla solar energy systems reportedly ignited at an Amazon warehouse in Redlands, California last June, and the Seattle e-commerce titan confirmed that it has no further plans to buy solar energy systems from Tesla.

The news, first reported by Bloomberg, follows a tumultuous week for Elon Musk’s renewable energy and electric vehicle company. On Tuesday, Walmart sued Tesla over solar panels that ignited atop seven of its stores in recent years. Tesla and Walmart have been partners on clean energy initiatives for years; more than 240 Walmart stores have Tesla solar systems installed.

In its complaint, Walmart claimed that: “Tesla routinely deployed individuals to inspect the solar systems who lacked basic solar training and knowledge.”

In the suit, they also alleged that Tesla failed to ground its solar and electrical systems properly, and that Tesla-installed solar panels on-site at Walmart stores contained a high number of defects that were visible to the naked eye, and which Tesla should have found and repaired before they led to fires.

However, Walmart and Tesla said in a statement on Thursday that they “look forward to addressing all issues and re-energizing Tesla solar installations at Walmart stores, once all parties are certain that all concerns have been addressed.”

It’s not clear whether Amazon will extend Tesla the same courtesy.

Amazon confirmed that it only has a small number of solar systems installed by Tesla, and took measures where those systems were installed to protect both its workers and operations.

Tesla did not immediately return requests for comment.

The electric vehicle maker is currently facing stockholder litigation over its acquisition of SolarCity for $2.6 billion in 2016. Rampant problems with Tesla’s solar business could bolster the arguments of stockholders who viewed that as a bad deal.

Gordon L. Johnson, managing director at The Vertical Group and a staunch Tesla bear, said:

“With Boeing, two 737 Max jets went down. Outside of those? There were probably thousands of 737 Max jet flights that took off and landed safely, but the fear of that potential caused Boeing to have to ground all of their jets. In my opinion, these solar rooftop fires create a potentially significant headwind for Tesla, and potentially serious legal liabilities.”

His firm estimates that Tesla’s liabilities could amount to between $250 million and $1 billion, considering the Walmart lawsuit, and other claims and complaints that he expects will arise across Tesla’s solar energy business following news of these fires.

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Apparently the energy companies are smarter than Trump...

https://www.newsweek.com/donald-trump-climate-change-epa-methane-1456824

Trump Administration Rolls Back Greenhouse Gas Regulations So Far Even Oil Companies Object

By Nicole Goodkind On 8/29/19 at 12:19 PM EDT
 

Just two days after President Donald Trump called himself an "environmentalist," his administration announced a rollback of methane gas emissions regulations so large that even oil companies are objecting to the change.

In the proposed rule change, released by the Environmental Protection Agency Thursday morning, the agency would end a federal regulation that requires gas and oil companies to use technology to inspect for and repair methane leaks in their infrastructure. This would leave large segments of the oil and gas industry entirely uncontrolled with no pollution limits. Methane emissions are known to cause climate change.

The administration estimates that the rollbacks will save the oil and gas industry $17 to 19 million a year.

But oil and gas bigwigs don't support the change. Susan Dio, the chairwoman and president of BP America, wrote an opinion piece for the Houston Chronicle in March where she claimed it was essential that the EPA regulate methane gasses.

"It's the right thing to do for the planet," she wrote. "The best way to help further reduce and ultimately eliminate methane emissions industry wide is through direct federal regulation of new and existing sources."

ExxonMobil wrote a letter to the EPA last year, asking them to keep methane regulations intact, and Gretchen Watkins, the U.S. chairwoman for Shell, said in March that the EPA should keep rules in place to regulate methane production.

A lot of these executives are focused on regulating future emissions of methane. That's because red tape, or regulatory rules, often work to benefit larger, long standing companies who have the money and infrastructure to abide by them. They work as a natural barrier to keep new upstarts out of the industry. These companies have already spent significant funds putting technology in place to lower their emissions and even more money convincing the American company that natural gas is a good, clean energy alternative.

The administration's new rule change could hurt the entire industry. "The reputation of American natural gas is at the precipice, and methane rollbacks are the shove," Ben Ratner, a senior director with the Environmental Defense Fund, told The New York Times.

But it's likely that smaller companies, however, will benefit, at least temporarily, from this particular rollback. Lee Fuller, executive vice president of the Independent Petroleum Association of America, told the Times that while it's easier for large companies to deal with federal regulations simply because they have the money to do so, ordinarily "for these small businesses, it's a very different economic impact." But the level-field and barriers to entry will now be a bit more even for companies who can't afford large infrastructure or technological changes.

"This proposal is a blatant attempt to give oil and gas companies yet another free pass to release as much harmful air pollution as they want while the public pays the price," Sierra Club Executive Director Michael Brune said in an emailed statement. The cost of climate change is expected to cost the U.S. about $224 billion more per year by 2090, according to Trump's own EPA.

Methane is the second largest contributor to greenhouse gas emissions in the U.S., after carbon dioxide. Methane makes up about 10 percent of all greenhouse emissions coming out of the country, but initially has about 86 times more power to trap heat in the atmosphere than CO₂.

The EPA rule change will be open to comment by the public and interested parties for 60 days before it's finalized.

Donald Trump said during a Monday press conference at the G7 summit in France that he was, "an environmentalist. A lot of people don't understand that." The president also said he knows "more about the environment than most people." In the past, the president has called climate change a hoax perpetrated by the Chinese. This is the seventh time the Trump administration has attempted to rollback regulations against oil and gas pollution.

 

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interesting since Water Vapour is the single larges greenhouse gas by volume.

 

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WILD ALLEGATIONS ABOUT INQUIRY ANGER KENNEY

 

  • Calgary Herald
  • 11 Sep 2019
  • DON BRAID Don Braid’s column appears regularly in the Herald dbraid@postmedia.com Twitter: @Donbraid Facebook: Don Braid Politics
img?regionKey=%2f%2fFghoNG6vI55akCHNIl2g%3d%3dVINCENT MCDERMOTT Premier Jason Kenney on Tuesday said Amnesty International backs foreign billionaires trying to block Alberta’s industry.

Premier Jason Kenney’s opponents just proved his point.

The day after the public inquiry into anti-oilsands funding went public, Amnesty International sent a personal letter to Kenney blasting the probe as an attack on “human rights defenders — particularly Indigenous, women, and environmental human rights defenders — exposing them to intimidation and threats, including threats of violence.”

Something like this was bound to happen; I’d even warned in a column that a formal inquiry with full court powers would invite allegations of abuse.

But this attack? It’s absurd.

And it proves Kenney’s point that there is no restraint in the opposition to the oil and gas industry.

That being obvious, the UCP theory goes, there’s nothing to be gained by caving or cowering before these people. The only option is to fight back. That’s why he established the inquiry in the first place.

Much as many Albertans prefer compromise and conciliation, it gets harder to disagree with Kenney’s tough strategy in the face of such wild, nonsensical charges.

First, how does the inquiry into foreign funding somehow threaten not just human rights and women, but Indigenous people in particular?

All Kenney has said, repeatedly, is that he’ll fund legal actions by Indigenous advocates of oil and gas projects and pipelines, just as the other side funds Indigenous opponents.

There’s no cause about which Kenney is more passionate than First Nations prosperity. Besides funding for legal action, the government promises a First Nations economic development agency. The premier constantly says it’s time for First Nations to share fully in economic benefits.

The problem for Amnesty International, obviously, is not human rights or Indigenous poverty, but climate change. Human rights are available to those fighting the “energy agenda.” Those who defend responsible energy development are by definition the enemies of human rights.

The secretary general of Amnesty International, Alex Neve, demands that Kenney ensure there is no “harassment, surveillance or criminalization of human rights defenders who opposed or criticize (the government’s) energy agenda and its implications for the rights of Indigenous peoples and the global climate crisis.”

What’s next — the United Nations sends in troops?

It seems there is no justification — this being a human-rights thing, you see — for any serious examination of foreign anti-energy funding or activity. That demand may be the surest sign that investigation of some kind is overdue.

Kenney scorned Amnesty International on Tuesday during a speech in Fort Mcmurray, saying he formed an Amnesty club in high school, when the organization nobly sought freedom for prisoners of conscience in dictatorial regimes. Today, he said, it backs foreign billionaires trying to block Alberta’s industry.

He pointed out that there is remarkably little anti-energy activity from these organizations in places such as Russia or Saudi Arabia, where a person can get in real trouble.

At the same time, they ignore every environmental advance in the Alberta industry, including the latest from Suncor.

By shifting from coke to natural gas to fire two cogeneration units, at a cost of $1.4 billion, the company expects to cut emissions by 25 per cent, equivalent to removing 550,000 cars from the road.

This is a significant reduction in Canadian emissions. There will be no credit whatever from the people who push the anti-oil agenda so hard they’ve succeeded in radicalizing many Albertans.

The critics have had a clear field for years. Canada is the soft target, the land whose new tennis star says “I’m sorry” for winning.

The federal election campaign starts Wednesday. To kick off his supporting role, Kenney announced that the province will launch a constitutional challenge against Bill C-69, the new federal law many believe will prevent the building of any new pipeline.

The Alberta government has complained for years about the demonizing of oil and gas. It always makes a rational case. But never before has the province truly joined the battle.

The blowback from interest groups is ferocious. You have to wonder — does Kenney have them worried?

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A hidden price of going to 
"Green Energy"

Climate change: Electrical industry's 'dirty secret' boosts warming

By Matt McGrath Environment correspondentSF6Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption The expansion of electrical grid connections has increased use of SF6

It's the most powerful greenhouse gas known to humanity, and emissions have risen rapidly in recent years, the BBC has learned.

Sulphur hexafluoride, or SF6, is widely used in the electrical industry to prevent short circuits and accidents.

But leaks of the little-known gas in the UK and the rest of the EU in 2017 were the equivalent of putting an extra 1.3 million cars on the road.

Levels are rising as an unintended consequence of the green energy boom.

Cheap and non-flammable, SF6 is a colourless, odourless, synthetic gas. It makes a hugely effective insulating material for medium and high-voltage electrical installations.

It is widely used across the industry, from large power stations to wind turbines to electrical sub-stations in towns and cities. It prevents electrical accidents and fires.

p07n9l0v.jpg
 

However, the significant downside to using the gas is that it has the highest global warming potential of any known substance. It is 23,500 times more warming than carbon dioxide (CO2).Just one kilogram of SF6 warms the Earth to the same extent as 24 people flying London to New York return.

It also persists in the atmosphere for a long time, warming the Earth for at least 1,000 years.

So why are we using more of this powerful warming gas?

The way we make electricity around the world is changing rapidly.

Where once large coal-fired power stations brought energy to millions, the drive to combat climate change means they are now being replaced by mixed sources of power including wind, solar and gas.

This has resulted in many more connections to the electricity grid, and a rise in the number of electrical switches and circuit breakers that are needed to prevent serious accidents.

Collectively, these safety devices are called switchgear. The vast majority use SF6 gas to quench arcs and stop short circuits.

SF6Image copyright Getty Images Image caption Gas-insulated, high-voltage switchgear almost always uses SF6

"As renewable projects are getting bigger and bigger, we have had to use it within wind turbines specifically," said Costa Pirgousis, an engineer with Scottish Power Renewables on its new East Anglia wind farm, which doesn't use SF6 in turbines.

"As we are putting in more and more turbines, we need more and more switchgear and, as a result, more SF6 is being introduced into big turbines off shore.

"It's been proven for years and we know how it works, and as a result it is very reliable and very low maintenance for us offshore."

How do we know that SF6 is increasing?

Across the entire UK network of power lines and substations, there are around one million kilograms of SF6 installed.

A study from the University of Cardiff found that across all transmission and distribution networks, the amount used was increasing by 30-40 tonnes per year.

This rise was also reflected across Europe with total emissions from the 28 member states in 2017 equivalent to 6.73 million tonnes of CO2. That's the same as the emissions from 1.3 million extra cars on the road for a year.

SF6 explainer Presentational white space

Researchers at the University of Bristol who monitor concentrations of warming gases in the atmosphere say they have seen significant rises in the last 20 years.

"We make measurements of SF6 in the background atmosphere," said Dr Matt Rigby, reader in atmospheric chemistry at Bristol.

"What we've seen is that the levels have increased substantially, and we've seen almost a doubling of the atmospheric concentration in the last two decades."

How does SF6 get into the atmosphere?

The most important means by which SF6 gets into the atmosphere is from leaks in the electricity industry.

SF6Image copyright Getty Images Image caption Electrical switchgear the world over often uses SF6 to prevent fires

Electrical company Eaton, which manufactures switchgear without SF6, says its research indicates that for the full life-cycle of the product, leaks could be as high as 15% - much higher than many other estimates.

Louis Shaffer, electrical business manager at Eaton, said: "The newer gear has very low leak rates but the key question is do you have newer gear?

"We looked at all equipment and looked at the average of all those leak rates, and we didn't see people taking into account the filling of the gas. Plus, we looked at how you recycle it and return it and also included the catastrophic leaks."

How damaging to the climate is this gas?

Concentrations in the atmosphere are very small right now, just a fraction of the amount of CO2 in the air.

However, the global installed base of SF6 is expected to grow by 75% by 2030.

Another concern is that SF6 is a synthetic gas and isn't absorbed or destroyed naturally. It will all have to be replaced and destroyed to limit the impact on the climate.

Infographic Presentational white space

Developed countries are expected to report every year to the UN on how much SF6 they use, but developing countries do not face any restrictions on use.

Right now, scientists are detecting concentrations in the atmosphere that are 10 times the amount declared by countries in their reports. Scientists say this is not all coming from countries like India, China and South Korea.

One study found that the methods used to calculate emissions in richer countries "severely under-reported" emissions over the past two decades.

Why hasn't this been banned?

SF6 comes under a group of human-produced substances known as F-gases. The European Commission tried to prohibit a number of these environmentally harmful substances, including gases in refrigeration and air conditioning, back in 2014.

But they faced strong opposition from industries across Europe.

"In the end, the electrical industry lobby was too strong and we had to give in to them," said Dutch Green MEP Bas Eickhout, who was responsible for the attempt to regulate F-gases.

"The electric sector was very strong in arguing that if you want an energy transition, and you have to shift more to electricity, you will need more electric devices. And then you also will need more SF6.

"They used the argument that otherwise the energy transition would be slowed down."

What do regulator and electrical companies say about the gas?

Everyone is trying to reduce their dependence on the gas, as it is universally recognised as harmful to the climate.

In the UK, energy regulator Ofgem says it is working with utilities to try to limit leaks of the gas.

"We are using a range of tools to make sure that companies limit their use of SF6, a potent greenhouse gas, where this is in the interest of energy consumers," an Ofgem spokesperson told BBC News.

"This includes funding innovation trials and rewarding companies to research and find alternatives, setting emissions targets, rewarding companies that beat those targets, and penalising those that miss them."

Are there alternatives - and are they very expensive?

The question of alternatives to SF6 has been contentious over recent years.

For high-voltage applications, experts say there are very few solutions that have been rigorously tested.

"There is no real alternative that is proven," said Prof Manu Haddad from the school of engineering at Cardiff University.

"There are some that are being proposed now but to prove their operation over a long period of time is a risk that many companies don't want to take."

However, for medium voltage operations there are several tried-and-tested materials. Some in the industry say that the conservative nature of the electrical industry is the key reason that few want to change to a less harmful alternative.

"I will tell you, everyone in this industry knows you can do this; there is not a technical reason not to do it," said Louis Shaffer from Eaton.

"It's not really economic; it's more a question that change takes effort and if you don't have to, you won't do it."

Some companies are feeling the winds of change

Sitting in the North Sea some 43km from the Suffolk coast, Scottish Power Renewables has installed one of world's biggest wind farms where the turbines will be free of SF6 gas.

East Anglia One will see 102 of these towering generators erected, with the capacity to produce up to 714MW (megawatts) of power by 2020, enough to supply half a million homes.

Wind turbine installationImage copyright ALAN O'NEILL Image caption The turbines at East Anglia One are taller than the Elizabeth Tower at the Houses of Parliament which houses Big Ben

Previously, an installation like this would have used switchgear supplied with SF6, to prevent the electrical accidents that can lead to fires.

Each turbine would normally have contained around 5kg of SF6, which, if it leaked into the atmosphere, would add the equivalent of around 117 tonnes of carbon dioxide. This is roughly the same as the annual emissions from 25 cars.

"In this case we are using a combination of clean air and vacuum technology within the turbine. It allows us to still have a very efficient, reliable, high-voltage network but to also be environmentally friendly," said Costa Pirgousis from Scottish Power Renewables.

"Once there are viable alternatives on the market, there is no reason not to use them. In this case, we've got a viable alternative and that's why we are using it."

But even for companies that are trying to limit the use of SF6, there are still limitations. At the heart of East Anglia One sits a giant offshore substation to which all 102 turbines will connect. It still uses significant quantities of the highly warming gas.

What happens next ?

The EU will review the use of SF6 next year and will examine whether alternatives are available. However, even the most optimistic experts don't think that any ban is likely to be put in place before 2025.

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