Premiers conclude annual meeting, agree to move forward on energy strategy

Premiers conclude annual meeting, agree to move forward on energy strategy
Reported by The Canadian Press
Posted Aug 29, 2014 12:40pm
CHARLOTTETOWN – Canada’s premiers agreed to move forward on a national energy strategy Friday after years of trying to reach a consensus on the plan.
Premier Robert Ghiz of Prince Edward Island said all provinces are now on board with the idea as he concluded three days of meetings in Charlottetown as chairman of their annual conference.
The provinces have been talking about a national energy strategy for years, with Alberta leading the way. Quebec and British Columbia have resisted signing on.
But those barriers were overcome with a switch to a federalist Liberal government in Quebec in April and B.C. Premier Christy Clark dropping her objections last November.
“I am extremely happy that our government is joining,” said Quebec Premier Philippe Couillard after the meeting.
“We want Canadians to have access to energy of all kinds from the West Coast to the East Coast to the North.”
Couillard said his concerns about jurisdiction and the link between energy and climate change were put at ease after discussions with his provincial counterparts.
Clark also announced earlier that Saskatchewan had agreed to drop trade barriers that kept B.C. wine and craft spirits from being sold in that province. B.C. already allows other provinces to sell wine in the province.
Clark said she expects Ontario to open its borders to B.C. wine as well.
“Premier (Kathleen) Wynne is talking about making this happen and I think we could probably do it in a few months,” she said.
“I’m hopeful that by the next meeting of Canada’s premiers, Canada’s borders will be open for wine right across this country.”
British Columbia’s deal with Saskatchewan will allow consumers in both provinces to order B.C. or Saskatchewan wines and craft spirits directly from producers and have them delivered to their homes.
Clark said she hopes to see the agreement implemented next June.
British Columbia has already struck similar deals with Manitoba and Nova Scotia.

Saskatchewan: An emerging P3 leader

From supplement to National Post
29 Aug 2014
National Post – (Latest Edition)
PATRICK BISSETT editorial@mediaplanet.com
Saskatchewan: An emerging P3 leader
While the conversation around economic excellence in Canada tends to focus on Alberta, other provinces are applying new ideas and funding models to fuel economic success. Saskatchewan, once considered as an economic bit-part player is now surging ahead with massive spikes in employment, inward migration, and economic growth. Public-private partnerships are increasingly becoming a key driver in enabling this success. Saskatchewan is currently in the grip of an economic transformation. The province, now considered an exciting emerging market, has experienced huge population, employment, and economic growth. However, there is a downside: Saskatchewan is experiencing a drain on resources. In order to meet its growth requirements, innovative funding solutions are needed — the solution of choice being P3s.
Not a new model
While the P3 model is not a new concept in Canada (both Infrastructure Ontario and Partners hips BC use this model), it has only recently come to the fore in Saskatchewan. There are numerous P3 projects in progress including hospitals, roads, schools, correctional facilities, and care homes. The projects though, are not without controversy. Regina MLA and critic for Education Trent Wotherspoon has described the government’s decision to fund school construction using P3s as a “private rent-a-school approach.”
Those directly involved in the process, however, see things di erently.
Rupen Pandya is president of Saskbuilds, the Government of Saskatchewan’s agency that plans and manages major infrastructure projects in the province using P3s. According to Rupen, traditional financing simply will not suce. “The Government has said it isn’t possible to meet the demands of growth through traditional means alone. It is necessary to explore alternative financing options like public-private partnerships to ensure… infrastructure is built in a timely and cost-e ective manner.”
Increased growth, increased needs
Steve McLellan, CEO of the Saskatchewan Chamber of Commerce, echoes Rupen’s sentiments. “Our growth in the past seven, eight years has been amazing. I stand in awe at the growth of our province and the emergence of new businesses. But… we have more people on the roads now, more sewer and water needs because of the increased number of people living here. Our population has grown at a rate that is almost unheard of in the history of the province.So there is a massive need for more infrastructure but we’re still very cognizant of the value for money factor.We need the best work done for the best price,” says Steve.
Indeed, value for money is a defining constant in conversations surrounding P3 financing. According to Steve McLellan, the construction of the Regina Bypass (the largest infrastructure project in Saskatchewan’s history) would absorb approximately 18 percent of the overall provincial budget. Without P3s, this means that an essential infrastructure project would remain unfulfilled — a prospect at odds with not only Saskatchewan’s economic progress, but also its burgeoning aspirations.

Potash: Come back Vlad, all is forgiven #potash

Potash: Come back Vlad, all is forgiven
Frik Els
August 28, 2014
In July last year Uralkali CEO Vladislav Baumgertner blasted the global potash market wide open sending stock prices in the sector tumbling and projects back to the drawing board.
Baumgertner’s breakup of the Belarus-Russia potash bloc – which cost him his job and some jail time – was supposed to move potash from a clubby system of tightly controlled global supply and set prices to an open market where volume and cost-based pricing is key.
Baumgertner, who is still under house arrest and the subject of a criminal investigation, forecast at the time the price of potash would fall 25% to below $300 a tonne in short order.
Fast forward 12 months and while Belaruskali and Uralkali may still patch things up, it seems Baumgertner’s big move is playing out more or less as predicted.
According to the latest commodity price index from Canada’s Scotiabank global shipments of the soil nutrient rebounded significantly this year.
Better still, after the swift drop on the Baumgertner bomb, prices are also creeping back up.
According to Scotiabank economist Patricia Mohr buyers have been making the most of lower prices and global potash deliveries could be on the high side of expectations, surging 7% to 58 million tonnes.
Shipments have been boosted by strong sales in North America, record fertilizer application in Brazil — linked to higher soybean plantings and robust coffee prices — and a modest pick-up in demand from palm oil growers in Malaysia and Indonesia.
At the same time spot potash prices (FOB Vancouver) edged up from $302.50 in June to $310 per tonne in July, after bottoming at $295 in January.
Granular potash — preferred in Brazil — is in short supply, as is all grades of SOP (potassium sulphate, non-chlorine potash fertilizer). Brazilian potash imports surged by 26% to a record 4.6 million tonnes during the first half of the year, though Mohr believes aggressive pricing by Uralkali probably contributed to this strong demand.
The net result according to the report is that producer inventories across North America fell 18% below the five-year average in June.
The rest of the year is looking even better.
China will exercise a large amount of optional tonnage from Canada in the second half and Canpotex, the North American marketing and distribution arm of the big three producers, and top producer Potash Corp (TSE:POT) have announced that they are sold out this quarter.
Granular prices in Brazil may increase from the current $355 – $360 to $380 CFR, given strong seasonal demand in the third quarter.
However notes the report, broad-based price increases may await negotiation of a new contract price with China for early 2015 — widely expected to be a 10% hike on today’s $305 CFR China price — setting a new higher floor.
Potash is currently priced well below phosphate fertilizers, which are strengthening. Sulphur prices, used to make DAP fertilizers, have been on a tear, rising to $155 at the Vancouver port in July. That’s up 18% compared to the previous month.
Uralkali expects global potash shipments to climb to 60 million tonnes in 2015, though this may be optimistic given softer crop prices and weaker farm economics, concludes the report.

Canada-EU trade deal has hit a hurdle, not a wall – can impact uranium mining #uranium

There is a segment in this proposed agreement allowing for European ownership of uranium mines in Canada (previously limited to 49% by the Non Resident Ownership Policy or NROP).
Eric
_______________________________
Canada-EU trade deal has hit a hurdle, not a wall
OTTAWA — The Globe and Mail
Published Thursday, Aug. 28 2014, 5:24 PM EDT
Last updated Friday, Aug. 29 2014, 5:27 AM EDT
First, Germany expressed reservations about parts of the Canada-Europe free trade deal.
Now, European Union lawmakers are threatening to block the agreement outright.
The Greens and other left-wing parties are objecting to any trade deal that contains so-called Investor-State Dispute Settlement (ISDS) provisions. ISDS allows companies to sue governments when they believe their trade rights have been violated. But critics say the system gives multinationals too much power – a concern that would magnified if the Canadian agreement becomes a model for the EU-U.S. free trade agreement, which is also being negotiated.
So what does this mean for the fate of the deal?
Prime Minister Stephen Harper and European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso are slated to sign the 1,500-page completed text of the trade agreement in late September, formally marking that a final deal has been reached.
The agreement still has a long way to go before implementation – perhaps another two years.
But the European Parliament – even one where Euroskeptic nationalist parties and the Left now hold outsized sway – is unlikely to kill the trade agreement.
Traditionally, the real power in the EU rests with the EU council, which is made up of the 28 EU heads of government. The Parliament, which is aligned by parties rather than countries, must also ratify the trade agreements with Canada.
Experts doubt the Parliament would defy the will of the council. Doing so would effectively take the “union” out of the EU.
“It would be quite a coup for the European Parliament to go against what has been carefully negotiated collectively, and agreed to, by the 28 EU governments,” agreed Daniel Schwanen, vice-president of research at the C.D. Howe Institute in Toronto.
“So far, all governments are on board, in Canada and Europe. For anyone now to play spoiler, they would bear a heavy economic and political responsibility.”
But Jason Langrish, executive director of the Canada Europe Roundtable for Business, says the EU Parliament remains an unpredictable wild card.
“The Parliament has the power and they can stop this agreement from going through,” Mr. Langrish acknowledged. “This is a reaction to the United States, primarily.”
In the past, the Parliament was often a rubber stamp for EU laws. But that’s not always the case any more. In 2012, for example, the Parliament voted down a global anti-counterfeiting trade agreement.
Mr. Langrish said he still believes the EU Parliament will ultimately approve the agreement. But even if it does approve the deal, the vote might not be the last hurdle for the trade agreement.
Under EU rules, member states delegate to Brussels the sole responsibility for negotiating international trade agreements. The EU Council signs the final agreement and puts it to a yes-or-no vote in Parliament.
Toronto trade lawyer Lawrence Herman pointed out that some European officials are making the argument that the Canada-EU trade deal is a “mixed” agreement that strays into the legal realms of EU member nations.
If that’s the case, the agreement would have to be ratified by the legislatures in all 28 EU countries – a process that could delay and complicate implementation, Mr. Herman explained. “It is something to watch carefully,” he said.
But before any deal is put to ratification, the agreement must also undergo legal “scrubbing” – making sure the text accurately reflects the intent of the two sides – and translation into 23 EU languages.
So it may be a bit too soon for Mr. Harper and Mr. Barroso to take a victory lap when they meet in Ottawa next month.

Despite market access whining, oil patch CEOs put on a happy face

Despite market access whining, oil patch CEOs put on a happy face
CALGARY — The Globe and Mail
Published Wednesday, Aug. 27 2014, 5:53 PM EDT
Last updated Wednesday, Aug. 27 2014, 6:32 PM EDT
Hey, oil industry: If market access is the defining issue of the day, how come so few CEOs admit to having problems with market access?
Collectively, the energy sector and provincial and federal governments say often that Canada is losing out on tens of billions of dollars a year in potential revenue as heavy crude oil gets slapped by the market with bargain-basement discounts.
The reason is insufficient pipeline capacity to places on North American coasts that would pay up for Canadian crude delivered in large volumes, or offer a clear few days’ sailing to other, more lucrative shores.
Heavy oil and bitumen from the oil sands will almost always trade at some discount to benchmark light crude based on the pricey and complex extra equipment refineries need to process the stuff, transport costs and other factors.
The argument is that with unlimited transport capacity to more markets on pipelines such as Keystone XL, Northern Gateway, Trans Mountain’s expansion and Energy East, other major pressures will be lifted from Canadian heavy oil prices once and for all, keeping the spread narrow. The main pressures are the potential for supply gluts within Western Canada and landlocked North American oil being the sole pricing yardstick.
A lot of oil patch leaders, though, make a point of saying that while market access is a huge issue for industry and country, there is enough pipe space for their own companies. At least for now.
Take Lorraine Mitchelmore, president of Royal Dutch Shell PLC’s Canadian business. On Wednesday, she spoke with reporters about Shell’s extensive set of operations, from oil sands projects to refineries to gas stations. Its next major oil sands project is the 80,000-barrel-a-day Carmon Creek project in the Peace River area of Alberta.
Market access? Not a problem today, and Shell’s not even a big player in the burgeoning oil-by-rail business. Down the road, the company has options for capacity on TransCanada Corp.’s Keystone XL and Energy East projects.
“Shell is in a different position, because Shell is a fully integrated company. We are integrated all the way … from the mine to the customer, so market access doesn’t weigh so much on us,” Ms. Mitchelmore said. “But of course in the long term, with that total portfolio that we’ve got, it’s important that we get market access.”
Commentary from Suncor Energy Inc. chief executive Steve Williams is similar. Canada’s biggest energy company has a relatively easy time moving its oil around, due to its expertise with logistics and pipeline capacity contracts, Mr. Williams says.
“If I come back to the industry level, we’re supporters of all the market access projects, we are supporters of Gateway, we are supporters of Keystone. We are supporters of the proposals to convert the gas system [to oil] to the east of Canada. We’ve been working and continue to work with all of those projects,” he said during Suncor’s quarterly conference call at the end of last month.
“We don’t have a serious market issue, access issue, through the growth plans we’re talking about through the next five years. That’s because we built the flexibility in.”
Imperial Oil Ltd. CEO Rich Kruger says his company has all the pipe space it needs for the current phase of the Kearl oil sands project. Asim Ghosh, Husky Energy Inc.’s chief, says he’s signed on to four of the major new pipeline proposals, although he’s confident he has enough space to meet needs through the end of this decade. Those needs will increase this year with the startup of the Sunrise oil sands development.
The fact is, some of the market-access issue relates to price, rather than the physical movement of crude. That means the integrated oil companies may be able to ship their barrels to refineries in traditional markets in Canada and the U.S. Midwest, although returns in their production divisions are thinner than they’d like.
However, their own refineries can sop up the cheap feedstock, process it and sell it at wide margins. Mr. Ghosh has said often that Husky’s integrated structure allows the monetary benefit to move back and forth between the operations like a pendulum.
Perhaps another factor is a CEO’s need to make sure investors believe that the boss and executives have the situation well in hand, regardless of the regulatory and political delays that face major pipeline proposals.
It’s quite a balancing act: Warning that there’s a major problem facing the entire sector and at the same time telling shareholders there’s no need to panic.

Uranium Rises as Dispute Spurs Shutdown of Largest Mine #uranium

Uranium Rises as Dispute Spurs Shutdown of Largest Mine
By Christopher Donville
Aug 28, 2014 10:04 AM CT
Bloomberg
Uranium increased the most in more than 2 1/2 years after Cameco Corp. (CCO) moved to temporarily shut its McArthur River mine, the world’s largest source of the nuclear fuel, amid a dispute with workers.
The price of U3O8 — a tradable form of uranium — rose 3.2 percent to $32.50 a pound today, the biggest gain since November 2011, data compiled by Bloomberg show.
Cameco said yesterday it started a “safe and orderly” shutdown of McArthur River in Saskatchewan and the nearby Key Lake mill after the United Steelworkers union said a strike will start on Aug. 30. The Canadian company said it doesn’t expect its move to affect 2014 deliveries and that it may draw on other sources of supply such as inventories.
McArthur River has the capacity to produce 18 million pounds of uranium a year, or about 10 percent of global demand, Edward Sterck, a London-based analyst at Bank of Montreal, said yesterday in a note to clients. The mine was the world’s largest by production last year, according to the World Nuclear Association.
The previous four-year labor contract at MacArthur River expired Dec. 31, according to Cameco. The lockout follows nine months of negotiations and more than 28 face-to-face meetings with the union, Mike Pulak, a USW spokesman, said yesterday in an e-mail.
Pulak and Cameco spokesman Rob Gereghty didn’t immediately return calls for comment.
Still Low
Uranium prices are still 52 percent lower than just before the March 2011 earthquake and tsunami that led to the meltdown of three Japanese reactors and the suspension of the country’s nuclear power plants.
Cameco fell 0.8 percent to C$20.98 at 12:03 p.m. in Toronto, extending its decline this year to 4.8 percent.
Cameco, based in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, is the largest uranium producer after Kazakhstan’s KazAtomProm, according to the World Nuclear Association.
To contact the reporter on this story: Christopher Donville in Vancouver at cjdonville@bloomberg.net
To contact the editors responsible for this story: Simon Casey at scasey4@bloomberg.net Carlos Caminada, Steven Frank

Energy storage requires as much energy to make the device as it would store #uranium

The Catch-22 of Energy Storage

http://bravenewclimate.com/2014/08/22/catch-22-of-energy-storage/

Pick up a research paper on battery technology, fuel cells, energy storage technologies or any of the advanced materials science used in these fields, and you will likely find somewhere in the introductory paragraphs a throwaway line about its application to the storage of renewable energy.  Energy storage makes sense for enabling a transition away from fossil fuels to more intermittent sources like wind and solar, and the storage problem presents a meaningful challenge for chemists and materials scientists… Or does it?


Guest Post by John Morgan. John is Chief Scientist at a Sydney startup developing smart grid and grid scale energy storage technologies.  He is Adjunct Professor in the School of Electrical and Computer Engineering at RMIT, holds a PhD in Physical Chemistry, and is an experienced industrial R&D leader.  You can follow John on twitter at @JohnDPMorganFirst published in Chemistry in Australia.


Several recent analyses of the inputs to our energy systems indicate that, against expectations, energy storage cannot solve the problem of intermittency of wind or solar power.  Not for reasons of technical performance, cost, or storage capacity, but for something more intractable: there is not enough surplus energy left over after construction of the generators and the storage system to power our present civilization.

The problem is analysed in an important paper by Weißbach et al.1 in terms of energy returned on energy invested, or EROEI – the ratio of the energy produced over the life of a power plant to the energy that was required to build it.  It takes energy to make a power plant – to manufacture its components, mine the fuel, and so on.  The power plant needs to make at least this much energy to break even.  A break-even powerplant has an EROEI of 1.  But such a plant would pointless, as there is no energy surplus to do the useful things we use energy for.

There is a minimum EROEI, greater than 1, that is required for an energy source to be able to run society.  An energy system must produce a surplus large enough to sustain things like food production, hospitals, and universities to train the engineers to build the plant, transport, construction, and all the elements of the civilization in which it is embedded.

For countries like the US and Germany, Weißbach et al. estimate this minimum viable EROEI to be about 7.  An energy source with lower EROEI cannot sustain a society at those levels of complexity, structured along similar lines.  If we are to transform our energy system, in particular to one without climate impacts, we need to pay close attention to the EROEI of the end result.

The EROEI values for various electrical power plants are summarized in the figure.  The fossil fuel power sources we’re most accustomed to have a high EROEI of about 30, well above the minimum requirement.  Wind power at 16, and concentrating solar power (CSP, or solar thermal power) at 19, are lower, but the energy surplus is still sufficient, in principle, to sustain a developed industrial society.  Biomass, and solar photovoltaic (at least in Germany), however, cannot.  With an EROEI of only 3.9 and 3.5 respectively, these power sources cannot support with their energy alone both their own fabrication and the societal services we use energy for in a first world country.

Energy Returned on Invested, from Weißbach et al.,1 with and without energy storage (buffering).  CCGT is closed-cycle gas turbine.  PWR is a Pressurized Water (conventional nuclear) Reactor.  Energy sources must exceed the “economic threshold”, of about 7, to yield the surplus energy required to support an OECD level society.

These EROEI values are for energy directly delivered (the “unbuffered” values in the figure).  But things change if we need to store energy.  If we were to store energy in, say, batteries, we must invest energy in mining the materials and manufacturing those batteries.  So a larger energy investment is required, and the EROEI consequently drops.

Weißbach et al. calculated the EROEIs assuming pumped hydroelectric energy storage.  This is the least energy intensive storage technology.  The energy input is mostly earthmoving and construction.  It’s a conservative basis for the calculation; chemical storage systems requiring large quantities of refined specialty materials would be much more energy intensive.  Carbajales-Dale et al.2 cite data asserting batteries are about ten times more energy intensive than pumped hydro storage.

Adding storage greatly reduces the EROEI (the “buffered” values in the figure).  Wind “firmed” with storage, with an EROEI of 3.9, joins solar PV and biomass as an unviable energy source.  CSP becomes marginal (EROEI ~9) with pumped storage, so is probably not viable with molten salt thermal storage.  The EROEI of solar PV with pumped hydro storage drops to 1.6, barely above breakeven, and with battery storage is likely in energy deficit.

This is a rather unsettling conclusion if we are looking to renewable energy for a transition to a low carbon energy system: we cannot use energy storage to overcome the variability of solar and wind power.

In particular, we can’t use batteries or chemical energy storage systems, as they would lead to much worse figures than those presented by Weißbach et al.  Hydroelectricity is the only renewable power source that is unambiguously viable.  However, hydroelectric capacity is not readily scaled up as it is restricted by suitable geography, a constraint that also applies to pumped hydro storage.

This particular study does not stand alone.  Closer to home, Springer have just published a monograph, Energy in Australia,3 which contains an extended discussion of energy systems with a particular focus on EROEI analysis, and draws similar conclusions to Weißbach.  Another study by a group at Stanford2 is more optimistic, ruling out storage for most forms of solar, but suggesting it is viable for wind.  However, this viability is judged only on achieving an energy surplus (EROEI>1), not sustaining society (EROEI~7), and excludes the round trip energy losses in storage, finite cycle life, and the energetic cost of replacement of storage.  Were these included, wind would certainly fall below the sustainability threshold.

It’s important to understand the nature of this EROEI limit.  This is not a question of inadequate storage capacity – we can’t just buy or make more storage to make it work.  It’s not a question of energy losses during charge and discharge, or the number of cycles a battery can deliver.  We can’t look to new materials or technological advances, because the limits at the leading edge are those of earthmoving and civil engineering.  The problem can’t be addressed through market support mechanisms, carbon pricing, or cost reductions.  This is a fundamental energetic limit that will likely only shift if we find less materially intensive methods for dam construction.

This is not to say wind and solar have no role to play.  They can expand within a fossil fuel system, reducing overall emissions.  But without storage the amount we can integrate in the grid is greatly limited by the stochastically variable output.  We could, perhaps, build out a generation of solar and wind and storage at high penetration.  But we would be doing so on an endowment of fossil fuel net energy, which is not sustainable.  Without storage, we could smooth out variability by building redundant generator capacity over large distances.  But the additional infrastructure also forces the EROEI down to unviable levels.  The best way to think about wind and solar is that they can reduce the emissions of fossil fuels, but they cannot eliminate them.  They offer mitigation, but not replacement.

Nor is this to say there is no value in energy storage.  Battery systems in electric vehicles clearly offer potential to reduce dependency on, and emissions from, oil (provided the energy is sourced from clean power).  Rooftop solar power combined with four hours of battery storage can usefully timeshift peak electricity demand,3 reducing the need for peaking power plants and grid expansion.  And battery technology advances make possible many of our recently indispensable consumer electronics.  But what storage can’t do is enable significant replacement of fossil fuels by renewable energy.

If we want to cut emissions and replace fossil fuels, it can be done, and the solution is to be found in the upper right of the figure.  France and Ontario, two modern, advanced societies, have all but eliminated fossil fuels from their electricity grids, which they have built from the high EROEI sources of hydroelectricity and nuclear power.  Ontario in particular recently burnt its last tonne of coal, and each jurisdiction uses just a few percent of gas fired power.  This is a proven path to a decarbonized electricity grid.

But the idea that advances in energy storage will enable renewable energy is a chimera – the Catch-22 is that in overcoming intermittency by adding storage, the net energy is reduced below the level required to sustain our present civilization.

BNC Postscript

When this article was published in CiA some readers had difficulty with the idea of a minimum societal EROI.  Why can’t we make do with any positive energy surplus, if we just build more plant?  Hall4 breaks it down with the example of oil:

Think of a society dependent upon one resource: its domestic oil. If the EROI for this oil was 1.1:1 then one could pump the oil out of the ground and look at it. If it were 1.2:1 you could also refine it and look at it, 1.3:1 also distribute it to where you want to use it but all you could do is look at it. Hall et al. 2008 examined the EROI required to actually run a truck and found that if the energy included was enough to build and maintain the truck and the roads and bridges required to use it, one would need at least a 3:1 EROI at the wellhead.

Now if you wanted to put something in the truck, say some grain, and deliver it, that would require an EROI of, say, 5:1 to grow the grain. If you wanted to include depreciation on the oil field worker, the refinery worker, the truck driver and the farmer you would need an EROI of say 7 or 8:1 to support their families. If the children were to be educated you would need perhaps 9 or 10:1, have health care 12:1, have arts in their life maybe 14:1, and so on. Obviously to have a modern civilization one needs not simply surplus energy but lots of it, and that requires either a high EROI or a massive source of moderate EROI fuels.

The point is illustrated in the EROI pyramid.4 (The blue values are published values: the yellow values are increasingly speculative.)

Finally, if you are interested in pumped hydro storage, a previous Brave New Climate article by Peter Lang covers the topic in detail, and the comment stream is an amazing resource on the operational characteristics and limits of this means of energy storage.

References

  1. Weißbach et al., Energy 52 (2013) 210. Preprint available here.
  2. Carbajales-Dale et al., Energy Environ. Sci. DOI: 10.1039/c3ee42125b
  3. Graham Palmer, Energy in Australia: Peak Oil, Solar Power, and Asia’s Economic Growth; Springer 2014.
  4. Pedro Prieto and Charles Hall, Spain’s Photovoltaic Revolution, Springer 2013.

SASKATCHEWAN CROP REPORT FOR THE PERIOD AUGUST 19 TO 25, 2014

CROP REPORT FOR THE PERIOD AUGUST 19 TO 25, 2014

Released on August 28, 2014

Details here – Crop Report for the Period August 19-25

Two per cent of the 2014 provincial crop is combined, while 12 per cent is swathed or ready to straight-cut, according to Saskatchewan Agriculture’s Weekly Crop Report.
The five-year average (2009-2013) for this time of year is six per cent combined and 14 per cent swathed or ready to straight-cut.  Harvest has progressed the most in the southwest, where seven per cent of the crop has been combined.  At this time, average crop yields are being reported in most areas.
Provincially, 27 per cent of fall rye, 13 per cent of winter wheat, 12 per cent of field peas and eight per cent of lentils are combined.  Twenty-two per cent of canola is swathed while 14 per cent of mustard is swathed or ready to straight-cut.  Harvest operations have been slowed down by this week’s rain which covered most of the province.
Rainfall across the province this past week ranged from trace amounts to several inches, with some areas in the east-central region receiving up to 141 mm.  Across the province, topsoil moisture on cropland is rated as 28 per cent surplus, 71 per cent adequate and one per cent short.  Hay land and pasture topsoil moisture is rated as 22 per cent surplus, 75 per cent adequate and three per cent short.
Heavy rain, strong winds, flooding and hail caused the majority of reported crop damage this week.  Grasshoppers, wheat midge and sclerotinia also caused some damage.
Farmers are hoping for improved weather to resume harvesting operations.
Follow the 2014 Crop Report on Twitter at @SKAgriculture.
-30-
For more information, contact:
Brent Flaten Agriculture Moose Jaw Phone: 306-694-3714

Saskatchewan had 1.7% more people working with the average wage up 3.6% – June 2014 vs 2013

August 28, 2014
Saskatchewan had 1.7% more people working in June 2014 vs. June 2013, with the average wage up 3.6%.
 SK employment Aug 2014 top SK employment Aug 2014
SK wages Aug 2014 top SK wages Aug 2014

Big grain shipping year expected

28 Aug 2014
The StarPhoenix
BRUCE JOHNSTONE
LEADER-POST
Big grain shipping year expected
Holdover to be added to new crop
REGINA — Despite a projected 25 per cent drop in crop production in Western Canada this year, Canada’s major grain companies and railways are expected to see another year of large shipment volumes in 2014, according to Scotiabank.
The reason, of course, is the large holdover of crops from 2013’s record harvest on top of the projected average crop this year, said Patrica Mohr, vice-president of economics and commodities market specialist with Scotiabank Economics in Toronto.
“It’s moving back to normal, in terms of the volume of production from the six major grains and oilseeds,” Mohr said Wednesday. “According to Statistics Canada’s latest estimates, they’re expecting about 52 million tonnes.”
To be exact, the federal agency’s August 2014 estimate of production is 52.790 million tonnes for the six major grains and oilseeds, namely wheat, barley, canola, oats, flaxseed and dry peas. That’s 25 per cent below the actual production of 70.293 million tonnes of these commodities in 2013.
With the passage of the federal government’s Fair Rail for Grain Farmers Act, railways will have to continue moving one million tonnes of grain and oilseeds a week from August to the end of November. “I think the idea (of the legislation) is that they would bring the carry-over (from 2013) to normal levels by July of next year.”
Strangely enough, south of the border, North Dakota producers are suffering the effects of a grain transportation backlog this year, largely because of the surge in rail transport of Bakken light crude oil since 2008. A recent study by North Dakota State University indicates producers have lost $160 million due to lower prices due from rail congestion and could lose a similar amount this year if grain doesn’t start moving.
However, Mohr said the grain backlog from 2013 may turn out to be a blessing in disguise for Canadian producers. “I think it’s good thing if we’ve got extra tonnes to sell,” she said, adding that the increased volumes will help mitigate the impact of lower prices for wheat, corn and soybeans.
Mohr said prices for those three agricultural commodities have been falling since hitting a peak about two years ago. “There’s been quite an unwinding of prices … since the late summer of 2012, when the prices for all three major grain types, like corn, soybeans and wheat, were all at record highs.”
Since then, the grain markets have suffered “quite a turnaround,” she added. “The reason for that is simply that crops in the U.S. have been much better and also internationally,” with record wheat, corn and soybean crops being forecast this year, she said.
For example, corn prices have fallen below $4 US per bushel. “You get a ripple effect from that as U.S. farmers move away from corn to wheat and other grains,” further driving down prices, Mohr said.
On the other hand, livestock producers are benefiting from low feed prices and reduced herds in the U.S., as cattle and hog prices have surged 32 per cent and 23 per cent respectively, making them among the best performing agricultural commodities this year, she added.
%d bloggers like this: