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2 hours ago, boestar said:

Our current power infrastructure cannot even handle a hot day in July without brown outs.

Don’t forget we have the gas turbine back up generators installed for the Mcguinty/Wynne Green Energy when the wind doesn’t blow, the sun doesn’t shine or the panels are covered with snow.

 

 

 

and the sun doesn’t shine.

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“ Although some western leaders attempt to paint the Russian invasion of Ukraine as the sole cause for this current upending of national and global energy markets, the inconvenient truth is that the current dilemmas have resulted from western energy policies that have ignored the difficulties and costs encountered for energy 'transitions,' " writes Ron Wallace. "Western energy policies to achieve objectives for net zero carbon emissions have effectively delivered European energy security into the hands of Russia. Worse, there are indications that not only will net zero prove to be unattainable, at any cost, but that such 'energy transitions' will be anything but orderly."

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2 hours ago, Jaydee said:

"Western energy policies to achieve objectives for net zero carbon emissions have effectively delivered European energy security into the hands of Russia.

Sooner or later everyone sits down to a banquet of consequences.

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Michael Ignatieff scolds radicals at ‘Freedoms vs. Climate Change’ conference

Former Liberal Party of Canada leader and history professor Michael Ignatieff told a radical climate change conference on Tuesday that Greta Thunberg was a moral bully and that Canadian oil and gas is the key to balancing democracy with environmental concerns.

Ignatieff took the positions during his keynote presentation at a University of British Columbia Okanagan (UBCO) online symposium titled “A Wicked Problem: Individual Freedoms and Climate Change.” On the heels of the latest COVID lockdowns and destructive weather in B.C., the event weighed whether personal freedoms should be restricted for the good of the earth’s climate.

Saying that radical environmentalists including Thunberg see democratic deliberation as an obstacle to their goals, Ignatieff argued that Canadian oil and gas could serve to prevent authoritarianism and economic depression while still providing a responsible path to cleaner energy.

“The only way through in my opinion until the green transition is complete, is to import more oil and gas from democratic providers,” Ignatieff said. “Now, let me bring this home. There are substantial unrealized deposits of natural gas in the Gulf of St. Lawrence, for example. The Quebec government has so far refused to allow these to be developed…some experts have told me that Quebec could supply as much as 20% of Germany’s natural gas requirements within five years”.

“So, what’s Quebec to do? These are political choices, and environmentalists for understandable reasons are opposed. They prefer to see the environmental challenge as trumping any other issue, including support for democracy and Ukraine.”

According to the Kelowna event’s organizer, UBCO economics professor John Janmaat, the talk comes amidst concerns that countries haven’t done enough to stop climate change.

“On April 4, 2022, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change released the third component of its latest assessment, pointing out that the nations of the world have done far less than promised to reduce climate change,” he stated. “Why? Are the people of the world simply not willing to sacrifice their own freedoms now to reduce the chance of a less livable future?”

Two major weather events in B.C. last year – including both a heat wave (“heat dome”) in June and flooding (“atmospheric rivers”) in November – together led to hundreds of deaths and billions of dollars in damage.

For many climate activists, the responsibility of climate change for these events is indisputable, with alternate reasons – including lack of proactive infrastructure planning – evidence of “climate denialism.” Despite the fact that catastrophic wildfires and flooding of the Fraser Valley have occurred throughout B.C.’s history, coverage of the events has overwhelmingly leveraged government carbon initiatives.

In December, Global News publisheda story on the flooding with the headline “1.3 million farm animals dead due to climate change: What can B.C. do to stop the next catastrophe?’” Last week, Liberal environment minister Steven Guilbeault used the heat wave as a reason to oppose Ontario and Alberta cutting taxes on fuel, saying, “climate change is killing people in Canada.”

One of the UBCO event’s first speakers, author Ed Dolan, had set the stage with a quote by American economist Murray Rothbard, that “air pollution that injures others is aggression pure and simple.” With such an issue, Dolan continued, a cost-benefit analysis has no ethical place, saying it was like considering whether abolishing slavery would affect the price of cotton.

Another speaker, retired UBC professor William Rees, stated there must be “(f)ormal recognition of the end of material growth,” including the “end of consumer lifestyles” and acceptance of population planning. Other necessities included getting rid of private vehicles – “including electronic vehicles” – and downsizing housing.

In the end, Ross argued, we must redefine what it means to have personal freedoms and to accept that “some problems may not be solvable in politically acceptable ways.”

Former B.C. Green Party leader and University of Victoria science professor Andrew Weaver also presented.

“So why should we care about global warming, while assuming we care about intergenerational equity?” he said. “The two big issues that we must be grappling with is – one – widespread species extinction on a scale that’s unparalleled in Earth history…and the second big reason is geopolitical instability.”

Speaking earlier in the day, Ignatieff had offered warnings against those who would use the expedience of emergency to delegitimize democratic opposition, saying “I’m not sure anyone in Canada is certain that emergency powers were necessary to dislodge the truckers up on Parliament Hill.”

“These radical environmentalists all insist that the climate emergency creates a situation analogous to wartime or a terrorist attack or a natural disaster, requiring the use of emergency powers and the suspension of democratic accountability,” he said.

“I think the ‘wicked problem’ is this – the utter impasse that has arisen between those who continue to believe in democratic deliberation with all its infuriating slowness (and in liberal gradualism with all its cautious incrementalism) and those who believe the end is nigh and that those who fail to see it are willfully blind.”

Despite B.C. having the highest carbon taxes in Canada, emissionsin the province have climbed 10% since 2015, and have gone up in five of the last seven years.

 
 
 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Edited by Jaydee
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Canada could soon be the first country on Earth to pay millions of dollars in international oil royalties as a consequence of the Bay du Nord megaproject in Newfoundland and Labrador's offshore — but what level of government is on the hook for that bill remains to be seen. Article 82 of the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea allows countries like Canada — known as "broad margin" states that have larger-than-normal continental shelves — to extract offshore oil beyond their 200-nautical-mile limit. But that extraction comes with a catch: broad margin states must pay royalties on that oil, money which then gets redistributed to developing countries. Bay du Nord, spearheaded by Norwegian oil giant Equinor, is the first project to move the province's offshore oil industry past Canada's nautical limit and into the deep waters of the Flemish Pass, which sits 270 nautical miles — about 500 kilometres — east of St. John's. Although Bay du Nord moved closer to commissioning this month — with a green light from the federal environment minister on April 6 — Ottawa and the provincial government still haven't hashed out just how the hefty royalty bill resulting from the United Nations convention will be paid. Read more here

 

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Has anyone done the math in reverse? ….when Trudeau finally kills the Golden Goose…when all the revenue, royalties etc. for all the roads, infrastructure, social services, equalization payments has to come from ‘renewables’?

Wheres the $$$$ going to come from?

Other than your pocket that is through increased taxation?

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Oil and gas will be around a lot longer than some think, despite climate change goals: RBC

Energy security is a growing priority around the world after Russian invasion of Ukraine

Kyle Bakx · CBC News · Posted: Apr 26, 2022 4:00 AM ET | Last Updated: 8 hours ago
 
oil-pumpjacks.jpeg
Climate change policies are being thrust into competition with energy security as countries and consumers grapple with energy shortages and high fuel and utility bills, a new RBC report notes. (Kyle Bakx/CBC)
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Global ambitions to tackle climate change are being confronted by rising concerns about energy security, according to a new report by RBC, which is why oil and natural gas are going to be used for quite a while.

The Russian invasion of Ukraine has sent energy prices soaring, as there are supply concerns for many commodities such as oil, natural gas and coal. As many countries grapple with energy security and affordability issues, there is less emphasis on climate change.

 

That's why the authors of the report say countries like Canada now have to figure out how to produce more oil and gas in the short term, all the while trying to meet climate goals.

"Short of major additional action, oil and gas will likely remain critical and contentious energy sources for longer than some think," the report notes.

In the last few months, there has been a renewed push by countries like Canada and the United States for more oil and natural gas production. At the same time, some countries in Europe are investing in liquefied natural gas terminals to import more natural gas and also looking at coal and oil-fired electricity to reduce reliance on Russian gas. 

Global demand for oil keeps rising and is expected to increase for several more years, according to the International Energy Agency.

The RBC report highlights how many governments around the world are also offering subsidies to offset high gasoline and power prices, including "usual climate leaders" such as Germany, California, and British Columbia.

 
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Oilsands companies are investing in carbon capture and storage facilities, among other measures to reduce emissions. (Kyle Bakx/CBC)

Climate change is still a priority, said RBC economist Colin Guldimann, but there isn't as much momentum as compared to six months ago after the UN climate conference.

"Many will admit that things have changed markedly, especially in the energy space, in the last couple of months," he said in an interview.

Canada must now thread the needle of meeting climate goals while also meeting energy needs.

Even after oil demand peaks, Guldimann said "the pace of that decline, and the steepness of how quickly that decline happens, is fundamentally uncertain."

Investments in clean energy are happening, but instead of replacing fossil fuels, much of that energy is offset by rising consumption around the world as the population grows. 

"We think energy demand is set to surge over the next couple of decades and how we meet those energy needs is really the critical question today," he said.

"I think countries are going to struggle to switch their energy systems over to ones that are non-emitting extremely quickly. Green infrastructure takes time to build, and technologies that can replace oil are still sort of coming to the fore."

The RBC report calls for more ambition to curb emissions, not only from the oilpatch, but other sectors too such as building retrofits, zero-emission vehicle subsidies and more transmission lines to move clean power around the country.

On Monday, credit ratings agency Moody's said it expects oil producers to generate record profits and free cash flow this year — and oil prices could remain high for the next 12 to 18 months.

Oil prices dropped by more than five per cent at one point on Monday as lockdowns in China are dampening economic activity. As commodity prices fluctuate so wildly, some oil companies could delay production increases.

"I wouldn't be surprised to see if a lot of these companies say 'You know what, let's defer this decision where we have to expand our spending," said Jeremy McCrea, an analyst with Raymond James, "which ultimately will keep oil and gas prices higher, longer."

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PM'S `Just Transition' plan is hot air

 

  • Calgary Sun
  • 1 May 2022

In the 2019 election, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau promised a Just Transition Act, giving workers and communities dependent on Canada's fossil fuel energy sector “access to the training, support, and new opportunities needed to succeed in the clean economy.”

In last year's election, not having passed this legislation, Trudeau pledged to do so again.

He also made a new promise to establish a $2 billion “Futures Fund” to help energy workers in Alberta, Saskatchewan and Newfoundland and Labrador make the transition to a “net zero” greenhouse gas emissions economy by 2050, plus a just transition public consultation process that ended on Saturday, April 30.

Last week, federal environment commissioner Jerry Demarco, who is part of the auditor general's office, reported on where things stand with regard to Trudeau's just transition plan and concluded it doesn't exist in any viable form.

He said that “Natural Resources Canada, Employment and Social Development Canada and other partners acting on behalf of the government were not prepared to support workers and communities through a just transition to a lowcarbon economy.”

He found “there was no federal implementation plan, formal governance structure, or monitoring and reporting system in place to support a just transition and that supporting legislation has been delayed.

“When it comes to supporting a just transition to a lowcarbon economy, the government has been unprepared and slow off the mark,” Demarco said.

“We found that as Canada shifts its focus to low-carbon alternatives, the government is not prepared to provide appropriate support to more than 50 communities and 170,000 workers in the fossil fuels sector.”

Instead, Demarco said, the government is relying on traditional programs like employment insurance for laid-off workers and what new programs exist, “did not measure, monitor or report on outcomes. This makes it difficult … to understand and report on progress for a just transition.”

Add this to the fact that Trudeau is boasting about having committed $100 billion to Canada's fight against climate change, while having failed to meet his 2020 target to reduce emissions, despite a global recession caused by the pandemic in 2020 that caused emissions to plunge all over the world.

It all leads to one inescapable, inevitable conclusion — that Trudeau's climate plan is hot air.

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One of the problems with hydroelectric due to increasing demand on the water.

CLIMATE

Water is so low in the Colorado River, feds are holding some back so one dam can keep generating power

PUBLISHED TUE, MAY 3 20222:45 PM EDTUPDATED 11 MIN AGO
KEY POINTS
  • The federal government on Tuesday announced it will delay the release of water from one of the Colorado River’s major reservoirs, an unprecedented action that will temporarily address declining reservoir levels fueled by the historic Western drought.
  • The decision will keep more water in Lake Powell, the reservoir located at the Glen Canyon Dam in northern Arizona, instead of releasing it downstream to Lake Mead, the river’s other primary reservoir.
  • Last year, federal officials ordered the first-ever water cuts for the Colorado River Basin, which supplies water to more than 40 million people.
 

Water levels are at a historic low at Lake Powell on April 5, 2022 in Page, Arizona.

Water levels are at a historic low at Lake Powell on April 5, 2022 in Page, Arizona.
Rj Sangosti| Medianews Group | The Denver Post via Getty Images

The federal government on Tuesday announced it will delay the release of water from one of the Colorado River’s major reservoirs, an unprecedented action that will temporarily address declining reservoir levels fueled by the historic Western drought.

The decision will keep more water in Lake Powell, the reservoir located at the Glen Canyon Dam in northern Arizona, instead of releasing it downstream to Lake Mead, the river’s other primary reservoir.

 

The actions come as water levels at both reservoirs reached their lowest levels on record. Lake Powell’s water level is currently at an elevation of 3,523 feet. If the level drops below 3,490 feet, the so-called minimum power pool, the Glen Canyon Dam, which supplies electricity for about 5.8 million customers in the inland West, will no longer be able to generate electricity.

The delay is expected to protect operations at the dam for next 12 months, officials said during a press briefing on Tuesday, and will keep nearly 500,000 acre-feet of water in Lake Powell. Under a separate plan, officials will also release about 500,000 acre-feet of water into Lake Powell from Flaming Gorge, a reservoir located upstream at the Utah-Wyoming border.

Officials said the actions will help save water, protect the dam’s ability to produce hydropower and provide officials with more time to figure out how to operate the dam at lower water levels.

“We have never taken this step before in the Colorado Basin,” assistant Interior Department secretary Tanya Trujillo told reporters on Tuesday. “But the conditions we see today, and what we see on the horizon, demand that we take prompt action.”

Federal officials last year ordered the first-ever water cuts for the Colorado River Basin, which supplies water to more than 40 million people and some 2.5 million acres of croplands in the West. The cuts have mostly affected farmers in Arizona, who use nearly three-quarters of the available water supply to irrigate their crops.

 

In April, federal water managers warned the seven states that draw from the Colorado River that the government was considering taking emergency action to address declining water levels at Lake Powell.

Later that month, representatives from the states sent a letter to the Interior agreeing with the proposal and requesting that temporary reductions in releases from Lake Powell be implemented without triggering further water cuts in any of the states.

The megadrought in the western U.S. has fueled the driest two decades in the region in at least 1,200 years, with conditions likely to continue through 2022 and persist for years. Researchers have estimated that 42% of the drought’s severity is attributable to human-caused climate change.

“Our climate is changing, our actions are responsible for that, and we have to take responsible action to respond,” Trujillo said. “We all need to work together to protect the resources we have and the declining water supplies in the Colorado River that our communities rely on.”

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Canada will need to make aggressive changes to its electricity systems to meet increased demand, driven partly by the uptake of electric vehicles, according to a new report. The report, released Wednesday by the Canadian Climate Institute, says significant changes are required to every aspect of the provincial and territorial power generation and distribution systems to meet the future demand. Otherwise, there could be consequences ranging from not meeting our climate goals to brownouts. "There could be challenges for reliability," said Caroline Lee, one of the report's authors and a senior researcher at the institute, which researches climate policy. "That means outages and certain technical issues in our grids." The Liberal government has committed to aligning Canada's electricity system with the country's climate goals. But as other reports have warned, in the future, more power generation capacity will be needed to both displace existing fossil fuel generation and meet growing demand while meeting net-zero targets. The federal government has set a deadline of 2035 for achieving net-zero electricity generation. All new car sales will have to be zero-emission by that same time. Read more on this story

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Reality vs promise from Finance Minister...

Ottawa approves new $10B loan guarantee for Trans Mountain pipeline project

By Staff  The Canadian Press
Posted May 11, 2022 3:34 pm
Construction of the Trans Mountain Pipeline is pictured near Hope, B.C., Monday, Oct. 18, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
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The federal government has approved a new, approximately $10-billion loan guarantee for the Trans Mountain pipeline project.70c8fc80

The guarantee was approved by cabinet on April 29 through the Canada Account at crown corporation Export Development Canada, which provides loan guarantee supports for Canadian businesses.

EDC’s website said the Canada Account is used to support projects which are in Canada’s national interest, but which are subject to significant risks including project size, borrower risk, or market risk.

READ MORE: B.C. adds conditions for Trans Mountain pipeline expansion, ministers say concerns remain

The Trans Mountain pipeline is Canada’s only oil pipeline system from Alberta to the West Coast. The construction project currently underway will essentially twin the existing pipeline, raising daily output to 890,000 barrels.

In February, Trans Mountain Corp. announced the projected price tag of the project had spiraled to $21.4 billion, up from an earlier estimate of $12.6 billion, due to newly disclosed budget overruns.

At the time, Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland said there would be no additional public funding for the pipeline. She said Trans Mountain would need to secure third-party funding to complete the project, either through banks or public debt markets.

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Zero-emissions study leaves out North over modelling issues (cabinradio.ca)

Zero-emissions study leaves out North over modelling issues

Published: May 26, 2022 at 6:34amOLLIE WILLIAMS


A major study by the David Suzuki Foundation that states “100-percent zero-emissions electricity is possible in Canada by 2035” left out the North as its model would not work there.

A wind turbine. Patrick Finnegan/Flickr

The foundation’s report – Shifting Power: Zero-Emissions Electricity Across Canada by 2035 – was published on Wednesday. Using mostly wind or solar power in a decade’s time is possible, affordable and would be reliable, the report asserts.

Reaching a net-zero electricity grid by 2035 has been a stated goal of the federal government since Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced it at the COP26 climate conference. The David Suzuki Foundation report is one of the first to contemplate in detail how that might be achieved.

 

However, both the federal target and this week’s report dance around a problem: the North.

The federal target’s wording refers to “achieving a net-zero electricity grid,” a phrase that could be taken to leave out the NWT, which isn’t on the Canada-wide grid, has no real grid of its own and, in many communities, relies heavily on diesel generation. As for the report, while its title and many of its statements suggest the entirety of Canada is being considered, no northern territory is mentioned once in its 78 pages.

Stephen Thomas, who authored the report alongside Tom Green, acknowledged the targets stated in the report exclude the territories – though Thomas did say he believed “nearly-zero emissions electricity by 2035 is also possible in the North.”

Thomas said the report focused only on the 10 southern provinces “because that’s what our model could do.”

 

“We use an electricity system model that is really good at digging into what’s happening in the electricity system across thousands of grid points, across Canada. But that only models the connected grid between the 10 provinces south of 60,” he told Cabin Radio.

“That’s not at all to say that the energy transition, energy sovereignty, and specific solutions to these problems aren’t absolutely crucial in the North as well. We just think that’s a different problem to solve.”

The foundation is not planning any separate report on northern Canadian electricity generation. Thomas said “others already are doing great work in thinking about and addressing the energy transition in the North … We partner with others and support their work, but we don’t have plans to do a similar report.”

Target requires huge shift to wind

Even in the south, the foundation declared, “the scale of transformation is daunting” to reach zero-emissions electricity across 10 provinces in 13 years’ time.

“It would require an average annual build-out of wind and solar electricity projects never before seen in Canada,” the foundation stated, including a graph that shows wind generation multiplying by 10 – from 13,000 MW in 2018 to 135,000 MW in 2035 – to meet that target.

“An average of more than 2,200 new four-MW wind turbines would be installed every year and more than 160 new 10-MW solar farms would be built each year,” the foundation imagines in its preferred solution to Canada’s energy needs. (The NWT presently has one wind farm of note, at the Diavik diamond mine, and is in the process of erecting one wind turbine near Inuvik.)

That kind of national shift would require building new wind and solar projects at five times Canada’s previous record rate, the report asserted.

But the foundation argues countries like Germany are already planning to add renewable power at “an equivalent rate” to that contemplated in its report.

“By 2025, the country expects to be adding 10 GW of wind annually, similar to what our modelling scenarios would require,” the foundation said of Germany.

The boldest scenario presented in the report is estimated to save 200 million tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions annually across Canada – a thousand times the current NWT reduction target.

“By 2035, we’re the first study in Canada to show that kind of target being possible,” said Thomas of the zero-emissions electricity goal.

“Wind and solar are very available in Canada and they are the cheapest form of electricity. That, you can put on the grid today. Paired with the existing hydroelectricity, things like energy storage, energy efficiency, and more transmission between provinces come together to make a reliable and affordable electricity system.

“We think this pathway is very possible.”

The study is not exhaustive and is not presented as such. For example, offshore wind, green hydrogen, and the interplay between Canadian and US energy grids are either not modelled at all or included in rudimentary fashion. The territories aren’t the only areas ignored: any remote grid not connected to the broader Canadian grid is considered “out of scope.”

The cost? $560 billion to pursue the boldest option, the foundation stated. That’s the equivalent of around 500 Taltson hydro expansions, from an NWT point of view, and the federal government has yet to find the cash for even one – though it says it’s close. Another way to look at it: the federal government expects to have an income of around $409 billion in 2022-23, so this switch would cost much more than an entire year of federal revenue.

But that kind of transformative shift in investment is what’s required, the foundation and others argue, in the face of a climate crisis. Eventually, the foundation suggests, 75,000 or more clean-energy jobs would be created to replace jobs in industries that are phased out.

“The federal government needs to be very clear on how this rolls out, to get to zero emissions by 2035,” Thomas said.

“In terms of making this a reality in Canada,” he said, “it’s about jobs. It’s about investment in the renewable electricity sector, and it’s about policymakers coming together and collaborating.”

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How will a budget surplus be handled?

 

  • Calgary Herald
  • 31 May 2022
  • CHRIS VARCOE
img?regionKey=kFsxrq2yG1zttbhoWH%2fcsg%3d%3d  

Alberta premiers have spent much of the past decade wrestling with unwieldy budget deficits.

The province's new leader will soon have a different kind of behemoth to grapple with: How should Alberta best handle a multibillion-dollar surplus?

Benchmark oil prices closed above US$117 a barrel on Monday as the war in Ukraine continues and the European Union is contemplating a ban on all Russian crude imports.

In Alberta, the economy is continuing to grow. Commodity prices are heading higher, putting the province on track to easily eclipse the $511-million surplus forecast in February's budget.

The financial blueprint was based on oil averaging $70 a barrel and the economy growing by 5.4 per cent this year.

Since the start of the fiscal year in April, West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude prices have averaged $105 a barrel.

Even if oil prices suddenly tumbled back to $70 a barrel, the province would still be looking at a $2.5-billion surplus, said University of Calgary economist Trevor Tombe.

If oil remains around $100 a barrel, the surplus would clock in around $12 billion to $13 billion, he estimated.

“At $110 a barrel, we are talking about every single month that goes by, the projected surplus for the entire year needs to be revised upwards by a billion dollars, so it's truly massive,” said Tombe.

“Right now, where the futures (prices) are, we're absolutely in surplus territory in excess of $10 billion.”

The economy is also expected to expand at a rapid clip.

The Conference Board of Canada will put out a report Tuesday that projects Alberta's gross domestic product will expand by 6.6 per cent this year, up from its previous estimate of 5.9 per cent.

Board chief economist Pedro Antunes expects U.S. oil prices to average $94 a barrel in 2022, leading to a surge in provincial resource royalties.

“This is a time when we should be running surpluses and should be putting some of that away for the tougher times — because oil prices probably are not going to stay where they are for the longer term,” Antunes said Monday.

Alberta has recorded 12 budget deficits in the past 13 years, but the province's fiscal picture has improved dramatically since a massive $17-billion deficit was recorded in the first year of the pandemic.

The February budget released by Finance Minister Travis Toews forecast three small surpluses of less than $1 billion annually for the coming years. Yet, every $1-per-barrel jump in WTI oil prices over the course of the budget year increases provincial revenues by $500 million.

“I believe there still remains volatility risk,” Toews said last week in an interview.

“Yes, we may be dealing with a large surplus, that would be a good problem to have, but (we're) not counting our chickens too early.”

But as the weeks roll by, the question will be asked — particularly as the UCP chooses a new leader to replace Premier Jason Kenney — what the province plans to do with windfall revenues?

The budget document notes any surplus up to the value of the annual earnings of the Alberta Heritage Savings Trust Fund, pegged at about $2 billion this year, would be retained in the fund, instead of flowing into general government revenues.

“We will stop robbing the Heritage Savings Trust Fund of its investment earnings,” Toews said. “We will then take a look at a combination of debt repayment and additional trust fund reinvestment.”

Provincial taxpayer-supported debt now sits near $95 billion.

Banking on a commodity price boom can be dangerous business, as Toews and other Alberta finance ministers have learned the hard way in the past.

Other economic issues also warrant watching. Concerns surrounding inflation, higher interest rates and the potential of a global recession have increased in recent months.

With oil supply and demand now close to being in balance, it's likely crude prices will remain above $100 a barrel for the rest of the year, absent a global recession, said Rory Johnston, managing director and market economist at investment firm Price Street.

“Going forward to the end of the year, my bias is we are closer to the $150 mark,” he said.

The provincial government has already committed to some unbudgeted spending, such as removing the gasoline tax of 13 cents a litre at the pumps, costing the treasury about $1.3 billion.

Health-care costs have also risen during the pandemic and as the population ages, governments across Canada face increased pressure to boost funding for the medical system, said Antunes.

“Our priorities would be to help Alberta families and businesses keep up with the cost of living, stabilize and strengthen our health care and education system, and to invest for the future,” NDP MLA Shannon Phillips said in a statement.

The province should use surpluses to increase funding for health care, kindergarten to Grade 12 classrooms, and to help post-secondary institutions that have seen funding slashed, said Alberta Federation of Labour president Gil Mcgowan.

“If they have this tidal wave of revenue coming, they need to reverse the damage they've done to our province through cuts to public services over the past three years,” Mcgowan said.

Whatever happens next, a broader conversation with the public should take place, said former Alberta treasurer Jim Dinning.

Dinning, finance minister under Ralph Klein when the province chopped spending and later balanced the books in the 1990s, believes it's tougher to manage expectations during periods of growing budget surpluses than deficits.

“When you have a horn of plenty spilling over the tabletop in surplus times, there are all sorts of ideas — some brilliant, mostly crazy — that everyone from ministers to mayors will come up with,” Dinning said.

“The horn of plenty needs to be properly managed so that people think about the longer term. Peter Lougheed tried to do this with the Heritage Fund. And what better time to be thinking again about the Heritage Fund and some of that abundance being reinvested or plowed in?”

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Re surplus, I guess will add to the equalization payments to the provinces who support our industry  🙃  I wonder if any of them will take the "high road" and refuse to accept the increased equalization>

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