I hope against hope that Premier Clark’s plan to export liquefied natural gas succeeds because she’s gambling so heavily on a dubious scheme.
It will require massive infrastructure just to power the LNG plants including the controversial Site C dam. The proposed dam would produce enough electricity to supply 270,000 homes. It’s worth it, she says, because the plan will create jobs, government revenue and “clean energy.”
I wish it were true for many reasons, not the least being that we could use an industrial
Labour leaders are counting on it, too. Jim Sinclair and Tom Sigurdson recently met with Clark to discuss the proposal and agreed to set aside political differences with their former political adversary in return for the well-paid 100,000 union jobs the plan would create.
Wishful thinking aside, the plan presents many problems.
First, other countries such as Australia have a head start into lucrative Asian LNG markets.
And now the U.S. has so much natural gas that it is exporting it into Canada. North Dakota doesn’t even bother selling it. The gas from fracking the Bakken Shale deposits is simply burned. The flares are so bright that they can be seen from space at night. The carbon dioxide produced from burning that gas in 2012 was equivalent to one million cars on the road, according to the Sierra Club.
Also, the plan would reverse B.C.’s goal to reduce greenhouse gases. Even if you don’t include emissions from the gas exported and burned elsewhere, emissions would increase from mining, compressing and shipping LNG.
If all three proposed LNG plants go ahead, B.C.’s greenhouse gases will increase by
nine per cent, says the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives. Remember, our province is
required by law to “reduce” carbon emissions by 33 per cent by 2020.
Yes, dams are a source of clean, green energy but they flood productive land. If B.C. homes needed that electricity, it might be worth the cost.
But the Site C dam will simply power the dream of LNG exports. That’s not always been the case. The WAC Bennett Dam faced objections but its legacy has made B.C. the envy of North America. The argument for Site C is much weaker.
The only good thing about a Site C dam would be that it would be publicly owned and operated through B.C. Hydro; an example of good consequences resulting from doubtful
The development of renewable sources in B.C. in the last decade has been the opposite: good intentions with doubtful outcomes. Former premier Gordon Campbell had a dream to power the province from renewable sources: sun, wind and run-of-river.
His mistake was to shut B.C. Hydro out of the market and allow only private entrepreneurs to build. To add insult to injury, he forced B.C. Hydro to buy power from them at many times the current rate. Now our public corporation is stuck for decades with contracts worth $40 billion.
I hope I am wrong and that, unlike land-locked Alberta’s dream to export oil by controversial pipelines, this LNG plan is more than a pipe dream. There is no Plan B.