By July 20, 2017 Read More →

Canada energy news brief July 20: Trans Mountain Expansion construction begins in Sept.

Trans Mountain Expansion

2016 Vancouver protest against Trans Mountain Expansion. Photo: Climate Convergence Metro Vancouver.

Also in this brief: Former Albertan Michelle Mungall named BC energy minister; Hydro One, Avista combined create top 20 North American utility

Kinder Morgan Canada president Ian Anderson said Wed. that construction of the Trans Mountain Expansion pipeline will start in Sept. as planned, despite widespread opposition in Metro Vancouver.

“I’ve worked co-operatively with several provincial and federal governments over the years on the development of this project,” Anderson said, referring to new NDP minority government of British Columbia Premier John Horgan, who was sworn in a day earlier, and has promised to use “every tool available” to oppose the project.

Trans Mountain Expansion

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“I want to do the same with Premier Horgan’s government.”

“[T]he new NDP-Green Party coalition government of British Columbia and ingenious resistance groups can use new tools to slow approved projects: denying provincial permits and daring the federal government to insist on them, holding the pipeline to impracticable standards for meeting the conditions of its pipeline approvals, and slow-walking enforcement of court orders to implement the federal approval, and others,” legal scholar James Coleman wrote in North American Energy News.

But Anderson isn’t ready “speculate on what an NDP government might do” to fulfil its commitment to its agreement with the BC Green Party, led by Dr. Andrew Weaver, to stop Trans Mountain Expansion.

“We continue to need a good number of local permits from British Columbia, and Alberta for that matter, as they relate to crossings, road crossings, utility access, Crown land, etc.,” Anderson said, according to the Canadian Press.

Nelson MLA Michelle Mungall is new BC energy minister

On Tuesday, Nelson-Creston MLA Michelle Mungall was named British Columbia’s Minister of Energy, Mines and Petroleum Resources in the new NDP government led by Premier John Horgan and supported by the BC Green Party.

Trans Mountain Expansion

Michelle Mugall.

Mungall won the riding with 7, 685 votes or 41.85 per cent of total votes in the riding. Mungall held the posts of opposition spokesperson for social development, advanced education, and caucus deputy house leader.

She served as a municipal councillor in the city of Nelson prior to being first elected in the 2009 provincial election.

Mungall was born and raised in St. Albert, Alberta, graduating from Paul Kane High School in 1996 and then attending the University of Alberta in Edmonton. She majored in political science and graduated with honours in 2001, according to Wikipedia.

The ministry of energy and mines is responsible for British Columbia’s electricity, alternative energy, mining and mineral exploration sectors.

These sectors comprise diverse interests that explore for and produce coal and other minerals, develop electricity, clean or renewable energy sources, including biomass, biogas, geothermal, hydro, solar, ocean, wind and low-carbon transportation fuels.

Without even 24 hours on the job, the Pembina Institute is calling on Mungall to deliver on NDP and Green party policies for clean energy.

“British Columbians are looking to the NDP and the Greens to deliver on the shared policy initiatives outlined in their confidence and supply agreement, including the nine priorities linked to clean growth,” said Karen Tam Wu, acting B.C. director at the Pembina Institute.

With all three major parties committed to strengthening B.C.’s carbon tax, the time is ripe for the province to once again be a leader on climate solutions.”

Tam Wu says BC is at risk of being left behind as the global economy shifts and the costs of a changing climate begin to mount.

“The new government must act quickly to build a strong clean tech sector, position B.C. to be competitive in the changing global economy, make clean choices more affordable, stand up for healthy and safe communities, and grow sustainable resource jobs,” she said.

Trans Mountain Expansion

 Hydro One/Avista merger creates $32 billion North American utility

Hydro One Limited and Avista Corporation are merging in deal that will see Hydro One will acquire Avista for C$67 (US$53) per share in a C$6.7 billion (US$5.3 billion) all-cash transaction, according to a press release.

Together, they will create a North American leader in regulated electricity and natural gas business with over C$32.2 billion (US$25.4 billion) in combined assets.

Avista shareholders receive US$53 in cash per common share, a 24 per cent premium as of market close on July 18.

The transaction brings together two industry-leading regulated utilities with over 230 years of collective operational experience as well as shared corporate cultures and values.

No workforce reductions are anticipated as a result of this transaction for either Hydro One or Avista.

The companies say customer rates will not be impacted by any of the costs associated with the transaction with a long-term intention of continuing dividend payout of 70-80 per cent of earnings.

“This marks a proud moment for Canadian champions as we grow our business into a North American leader,” said Hydro One CEO Mayo Schmidt.

“This transaction demonstrates the power and value of the transition into an investor-owned utility, by allowing for healthy expansion into new lines of regulated utility business and new jurisdictions, such as the U.S. Pacific Northwest which is experiencing customer and economic growth.”

Hydro One has concurrently executed a bought deal of C$1.4 billion of contingent convertible debentures represented by instalment receipts to satisfy the equity component of the acquisition financing strategy.

The combined entity will serve more than two million retail and industrial customers and hold assets throughout North America including Ontario, Washington, Oregon, Idaho, Montana and Alaska.

“With a focus on operational excellence and building our earnings streams, we are positioned for long-term, sustainable growth,” said Schmidt.

We are further accomplishing this goal by bringing together two companies with shared cultures and industry expertise to create a North American regulated utility leader. This combination means greater scale, diversity and financial flexibility.”


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