Albo’s Airy-Fairy Electricity Fables

Recall the original message? Green energy is more costly than conventional energy. But, they said, much less costly than the climate catastrophe awaiting if nothing were done. A problem arose. Surveys showed that while people naively went along with the prospect of using green energy, they were unwilling to pay for it. I know what to do, some bright spark probably exclaimed, deep in the bowels of Renewable Energy Inc, we’ll tell them it’s cheaper.

Thus, in a far-off land called Oz, opposition leader Anthony Albanese (Albo) promised voters, no fewer than ninety-seven times, that his green plan would reduce electricity prices for families by an annual $275 by the year 2025. And so it came to pass that Albo and his Labor Party mates were elected to power in May this year.

It’s hard to get a representative national reading on electricity bills, which vary markedly between states. However, a Sydney family (Ma, Pa and two kids) would pay something like $1,800 a year. During the time Albo was campaigning, bills were already rising, putting his fanciful promise in peril. Still, he was resolute; confident in the modelling behind his plan. After all, as he kept on saying, and keeps on saying, renewables are the cheapest form of energy. Ergo, as a matter of unassailable logic, more wind and solar equals cheaper power. And don’t believe your lying eyes, whatever your bills might say.

Albanese and Dishy Rishi yukking it up at the G20 in Bali.

It's not propaganda on Albo’s part. Might have started that way. Now he undoubtedly believes it. I suppose if you tell others a demonstrable lie enough times it becomes your truth. Haven’t tried it personally. Never been a politician or used-car salesman.

But the jig is up. Federal budgets in Australia are usually brought down in early May. The new Labor government couldn’t wait until next year, bringing down an interim October budget. That was probably a mistake. In the budget papers, Treasury projected that electricity prices would rise 20 percent over the balance of 2022-23 and another 30 percent in 2023-24. Yikes, that doesn’t sound like a reduction of $275.

Clever people in the media (the majority caught on eventually) realized that 20 and 30 percent compounded to 56 percent. At that rate an $1,800 bill rises by over $1000; instead of falls by $275. Not an easy discrepancy to explain away, even for practiced snake-oil salesmen. What to do? What would Biden do? Blame Trump and Putin of course. Albo and his mates didn’t disappoint. Years of mismanagement by the previous government is behind this they said, and also that slubberdegullion Putin. They didn’t actually say slubberdegullion; but they might well have, if they’d found the word as I did.

What would they do without Putin? These days, he’s behind the undoing of all the best-laid green schemes. Think aptly of Snowball, George Orwell’s porcine character. Orwell is perhaps too often brought into the frame. Yet his work is so unmissably prescient. The interchangeability of truth and lies in 1984 thrives in real life among those pimping climate-change catastrophe. And then there’s the fall guy Snowball playing Trotsky (yesteryear’s Putin) in Animal Farm, blamed for all ills.

Befitting a leftist government, the new Australian Labor government foresees budget deficits without end; with gross public debt exceeding $1 trillion by the end of June 2024 and progressively rising from there on. That might seem small compared with America’s $31 trillion debt, but you have to multiply it by 13 to get a per-capita comparison and, of course, the USD is the world’s reserve currency – quite an advantage when you owe money. It is glaringly discernible, not disputable; leftist governments incorrigibly spend money they don’t have to buy votes. Democracy would fall without right-of-centre governments periodically repairing the fiscal ship of state. In fact, that now seems to be their only function, having largely ceded away civil society to Marxist mobs.

Spendthrift governments often spend money outside of the budget to disguise their profligacy. In Australia’s budget, $20 billion (more than half the size of the projected deficit for 2022-23) is designated as low-cost finance, and therefore off-budget, to fund 13,200 kms of new transmission lines and pylons. Connecting far-flung wind and solar farms to grids is an expensive exercise. And, in this case, a forlorn one.

Everybody hates Vlad.

First, it can’t be done. There is nowhere near the skilled manpower to the job. To boot, objections are already being made by landowners to having large pylons and wires strewn across their land. Lawfare awaits. And then there’s the little matter of building the many and massive wind and solar farms from which the transmission lines sprout. It’s make-believe.

Second, whatever part is built is bound to be well behind schedule and way above cost. It’s a government project. Take the white elephant, Snowy 2.0-pumped hydro. When will it be built? They said by 2021. Assume 2028 at the earliest; that’s if it’s ever finished at all. And the cost? They said $2 billion. Assume something northwards of $10 billion or, more probably, $15 billion.

There is much else about “cheaper, cleaner energy” in the budget. For example, $157.9 million is provided for a “National Energy Transformation Partnership.” All hat and no cattle, sums it up.

…the Government will work together with state and territory governments on priority actions to support the transformation of Australia’s energy sector. Initial priorities include delivering Australia’s first fully integrated energy and emissions reduction agreement, introducing an emissions reduction objective into the National Energy Objectives, accelerating mechanisms for the uptake of flexible energy supply and progressing a co-designed First Nations Clean Energy Strategy with First Nations communities.

Blah-blah-blah. Lots of taxpayer loot to produce yet more grandiose bumf. Not one kilowatt of power. And, by the way, Australian Aboriginals never constituted Nations. Hundreds of stone-age, hunter-gatherer, thinly populated itinerant tribes were not remotely nations. Part of the lies that now inform Australia’s national life. Fitting in this era of climate hysteria and green-energy boondoggles.

E.U. Commission: Nukes and Natural Gas are Now 'Green'

Well this is a pleasant surprise: the European Commission -- the executive committee of the European Union -- has decided to propose a plan reclassifying natural gas and nuclear power as "green energy," at least for the sake of investment. From Reuters:

The Commission's proposal would label nuclear power plant investments as green if the project has a plan, funds and a site to safely dispose of radioactive waste. To be deemed green, new nuclear plants must receive construction permits before 2045. Investments in natural gas power plants would also be deemed green if they produce emissions below 270g of CO2 equivalent per kilowatt hour (kWh), replace a more polluting fossil fuel plant, receive a construction permit by Dec. 31 2030 and plan to switch to low-carbon gases by the end of 2035.

The background to this is, of course, Europe's ongoing energy crunch, which has seen record prices per megawatt hour in countries throughout the continent, as wind turbines and solar panels have failed to produce enough electricity to meet winter demand. Germany, which famously went all in on its green energy transition known as die Energiewende roughly a decade ago, has been forced to restart some of its closed, carbon intensive coal-fired power plants to keep up.

And it isn't as if they're actually lying about this -- as much as green activists hate to admit it, the United States has led the world in emissions reduction since the year 2000, largely because the fracking revolution has allowed us to increasingly lean on low-carbon natural gas for our heat and energy needs. Nuclear power, meanwhile, is effectively a zero-carbon power source. Consequently, if you're actually concerned about carbon emissions, natural gas and nuclear should be high up in your proposed power mix. They are as "green" as any first world nation's energy is going get.

Even so, it is worth noting the EC tries to stress that they're not proposing a permanent shift -- "[T]he Commission considers there is a role for natural gas and nuclear as a means to facilitate the transition towards a predominantly renewable-based future," according to their statement. That is to say, they consider natural gas and nuclear as "transitional" energy sources whose role is to bridge the gap to their still-inevitable wind-and-solar powered future! Moreover Germany, which still has the largest economy in the E.U., remains fanatically committed to its Energiewende, to such a degree that they've just closed down three of their remaining six operational nuclear power plants, their soaring energy rates notwithstanding. Theoretically, Germany could lead a charge to kill this sensible proposal in the European Parliament, over the objections of France and other nations who have relied on nuclear for decades.

Still, let's focus on the bright side -- Europe's governing class is cracking under the pressure of sky-high energy rates and are being forced to admit that their current way of doing things just isn't working. If this reclassification actually goes through, activists will have a real fight on their hands when they try to change it back in a few years time. And officially classifying natural gas and nuclear as green energy is likely to take so much wind out of the green movement's turbines that it could eventually cease to exist.

Biden's Blame Shifting Comes for Big Oil

Despite being cagey about the topic on the campaign trail, Joe Biden went all in on environmentalism immediately upon entering the White House. Desperate for the approval of the climate crowd, the president killed the Keystone XL pipeline project on his first day in office, rejoined the Paris Climate Agreement, and enacted a moratorium on oil and gas leases on federal land, all to squeals of delight from environmental activists worldwide.

Fast forward a few months and we're in an energy crisis. Now, Biden's green policies aren't solely to blame -- these are complex problems, and pandemic-related disruptions (which can themselves be blamed on the government, at least in part) are probably the bigger culprit. Still, they're making recovery harder than it needs to be.

What's more, it's no coincidence that the rising cost of fuel -- currently at a seven-year high, and expected to keep climbing -- tracks very closely with the president's tanking poll numbers. That collapse at the polls contributed to one Democratic candidate losing the Virginia gubernatorial race and another nearly losing in deep-blue New Jersey, and in the wake of those warning shots Biden's partisans have really started to panic. If things keep on this trajectory, next year's midterm elections are going to be devastating for their party, making the 2010 midterms, which saw the GOP pick up seven senate seats and 63 in the House, pale in comparison. At least in 2010, Barrack Obama was personally popular, even if his agenda was not. Joe Biden has neither going for him.

So Biden is desperate to turn things around. A month ago that meant begging resource companies to lower prices.

That didn't work -- shocker -- because that's not how markets work. So his administration has changed tactics. Their new plan is to open an investigation into the oil and gas industry for "anti-consumer behavior."

President Biden is asking the head of the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) to look into whether oil companies are illegally increasing prices as consumers face high costs at the pump. "The Federal Trade Commission has authority to consider whether illegal conduct is costing families at the pump. I believe you should do so immediately," Biden wrote in a letter to FTC Chairwoman Lina Khan on Wednesday.

As Luke Thompson put it, "This is vintage Biden. Create a problem. Blame others. Then try to demagogue the issue to avoid accountability." "Fortunately," Thompson continues, "his polling suggests Americans see what’s happening."

The truth is, the Biden administration's environmental actions fall neatly into the very category of "anti-consumer behavior" he's accusing the resource sector of engaging in. We'd be better off if he would change course, open the taps, build the pipelines, grant the leases. That is, steer the ship of state back towards energy independence, and not fret so much about what AOC and the Green New Dealers have to say. (By the way, they're likely popping champagne at the moment, as they did mid-pandemic when the price of oil went negative, a blow from which the industry is still recovering).

But chances are he'll just keep looking to shift the blame.

Biden's Line 5 Fecklessness is No Laughing Matter

Looked at from a certain angle, there's a delicious irony to the worldwide energy crisis going on while the world's leaders gather in Scotland to celebrate the ongoing energy transition which is, you know, the cause of the crisis. Europe's transition to so-called renewable energy hit the world's most predictable snag when the North Sea's wind stopped blowing and the wind turbines stopped turning, leading to an explosion in energy prices. The situation in Europe (plus the intransigence of OPEC) is having knock-on effects in the American market as well, but those have been exacerbated by the fecklessness of the Biden administration, whose policies -- from the Keystone XL cancelation to the oil and gas leasing ban -- have helped transform the U.S., in record time, from a net energy exporter to a nation facing shortages and sky-rocketing rates.

Ironic and amusing, but also scary. Our leaders have made no attempt at course correction, even as it becomes increasingly clear that they're building our foundation on sand. To stick with the domestic situation for a moment, even reliably leftist organs have begun to say that last week's loss in the Virginia gubernatorial race and near-loss in the race in New Jersey signal widespread voter discontent with their radicalism. Biden ran as the Return-to-Normalcy candidate, and a majority of Americans were happy to vote for that. But when he got to the White House he began to govern like the love child of White Fragility author Robin DiAngelo and enviro-truant Greta Thunberg, embracing policies he didn't run on and Americans don't want.

Even so, Sleepy Joe doesn't look like he's backing down. Take the drama surrounding Enbridge Line 5, for example. Regular Pipeline readers know all about Line 5 -- it's a pipeline which carries 540,000 barrels of Canadian petroleum products per day from Alberta to Ontario by way of Michigan, where governor Gretchen Whitmer and her environmentalist cronies are trying to shut it down. That would be a catastrophe for Ontario and Quebec, immediately costing the provinces tens of thousands of jobs and cutting off a major oil and gas artery to some of the coldest parts of populated Canada. The U.S. wouldn't fair so well either -- half of the propane used in Michigan is transported through Line 5, and much of the oil and gas that ends up in Ohio and Pennsylvania as well.

Naturally, the anti-energy Biden Administration is openly flirting with the idea of giving Whitmer what she wants:

White House deputy press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre confirmed the administration is considering shutting down [Line 5], as President Biden finds himself caught between an environmental promise and looming gas price hikes. The administration is exploring the possibility of terminating the Line 5 pipeline... and gathering data to determine if shutting down the line will cause a surge in fuel pricing. 'Yes, we are,' Jean-Pierre said, asked in a news briefing if the administration is 'studying' the impacts of a potential shutdown.

They're "gathering data to determine" if this will cause a surge in fuel prices? An Intro to Economics textbook should contain all the data they need. And, failing that, the evidence of the past ten months or so.

Asked about the consumer costs associated with shutting down Line 5, and their anti-resource policies generally, Biden's Canadian-born energy secretary Jennifer Granholm laughed and  proclaimed that energy prices are going to spike no matter what they do. "Yeah, this is going to happen. It will be more expensive this year than last year," Granholm told CNN. It's as if they haven't considered how bad this can actually get.

It's all one big joke to them:

 

The Coming Energy Crisis This Winter

If you're a regular reader of The Pipeline, you already know about the ongoing energy crunch going on in Europe. If you're not a regular reader, well, you're going to find out about it soon, because looks like come winter, things are going to get rough worldwide.

For an ominous read on the scope of this crisis, check out this Bloomberg piece by Stephen Stapczynski entitled, "Europe’s Energy Crisis Is Coming for the Rest of the World, Too." Stapczynski discusses the fact that, even as so-called "renewable" energy sources get all of the headlines and government investment, the world actually relies on natural gas more than ever. "But," he says:

[T]here isn’t enough gas to fuel the post-pandemic recovery and refill depleted stocks before the cold months.... Inventories at European storage facilities are at historically low levels for this time of year. Pipeline flows from Russia and Norway have been limited. That’s worrying as calmer weather has reduced output from wind turbines... making gas even more necessary. No wonder European gas prices surged by almost 500% in the past year and are trading near record.

Utilities and policymakers are praying for mild temperatures because it’s already too late to boost supplies. The prospect of accelerating energy costs, in conjunction with squeezed supply chains and food prices at decade highs, could make more central bankers question whether the jump in inflation is as transitory as they’d hoped.... “If the winter is actually cold, my concern is we will not have enough gas for use for heating in parts of Europe,” [said] Amos Hochstein, the U.S. State Department’s senior adviser for energy security.

The effects of this shortage go far beyond heating and energy bills. The rising cost of doing business has, for instance, caused fertilizer producers in Europe to scale back production, "threatening to increase costs for farmers and potentially adding to global food inflation." Forecasts suggest a similar scale back for Chinese factories, leading especially to an increase in "global prices for steel and aluminum." Political ramifications have already arrived in Pakistan, where "opposition politicians [are] demanding an inquiry into [natural gas] purchases by the state-owned importer. And of course, countries have started to bridge the natural gas gap with dirtier fuels, most especially coal and heating oil, both affecting their markets and jeopardizing the climate commitments (many of them legally binding) of nations around the world. Stapczynski helpfully mentions that natural gas "emits about half as much carbon dioxide as coal when burned," a fact which most readers will likely never have seen mentioned in a mainstream publication.

Despite being an energy powerhouse over the past few years, the United States is not immune to these forces. Stapczynski points out that American exporters are an important part in the global natural gas supply chain -- they're "poised to ship more LNG than ever as new projects come online toward the end of the year." But years of anti-fracking public policy, including the war on pipelines and ban on leases on federal land enacted by the current administration, have left us in a weakened position. Our own inventories are depleted, and Stapczynski suggests that shale drillers "are reluctant to boost production out of concern that would crimp their profitability and put off investors." Sure, but political uncertainty is also a major driver -- why pump money into ramping up your production when the Biden administration might kneecap your operation in six months time?

Of course, Green Energy advocates will crow that this just proves how essential their products are -- they already are -- but they're wrong. In fact, we are reaping what they have sown.

Keep that in mind come winter.

Dirty, Sooty, Black, and Indispensable

Australia like other countries individually, and collectively on the international stage, has seen a proliferation of government and non-government organisations dedicated to saving us from climate Armageddon. To name some under the auspices of just the federal government: the Clean Energy Regulator, the Clean Energy Financial Corporation, the Climate Change Authority, the Australian Energy Regulator, the Australian Energy Market Commission, the Australian Energy Market Operator and the Energy Security Board. What these organisations and many others do is hard for me to say. I do read their blurbs but for the most part their roles soon slip from my mind. My brain is not set up to manage the verbiage – to which I will return.

Mind you, a plethora of organisations provides opportunities for those who might otherwise struggle to find gainful employment. Easily alarmed? Please apply here. Being suffused with emotion when interviewed is probably favoured. Looking at clips of Greta Thunberg beforehand might be advisable.

I’m too cynical. As from a stopped clock, sometimes a glimmer of sense emerges. And, when you think about it, having the moniker of Energy Security Board (ESB) suggests that it is the most likely of climate organisations to employ one or two fifth columnists; i.e., people interested in keeping the lights on. And, as you would expect, any such treachery earns the ire of true believers.

How many Australians does it take to screw up an electric lightbulb?

The ESB is charged with telling a council of federal and state energy minsters (total nine) how to move to renewables while keeping the power affordable and flowing. Of course, it is an impossible task which is the reason its reports are so prolix and vague. How to wrestle with the irresolvable?

Answer, write many thousands of meaningless words, gobbledegook, complex convoluted sentences. Here are two at random from many hundreds. “Reforms are underway to refine frequency control arrangements, addressing the need for enhanced arrangements for primary frequency control and a new market for fast frequency response. [And] The ESB recommends the detailed design for a capacity mechanism that ‘unbundles’ the value for capacity from energy be developed over the next 12-18 months.”

I counted 664 pages of ESB reports since March 2019, including the three-part “final” report provided to the council of energy ministers in August this year. Alas, by the way, describing the three-part report as final is a wind-up. Much more to come. And a difficulty for the ESB is that it might have to get precise.

The ESB is chaired by Kerry Schott. It must be difficult for her, armed as she is with a doctorate from Oxford in pure mathematics. Some intellectual airhead would have been better suited to the job. He or she could have more easily glossed over the need for coal. Not Schott. She knows that coal power has to ramp up when the wind lulls and the sun dims; and that this is a problem for the economics of running coal-power stations. Her solution: coal-power stations might have to be paid for their capacity to deliver power not just for power they deliver. Otherwise, no coal power and inevitable blackouts; at least until the dawning of la-la land, when renewables come of age.

Imagine the angst this solution - so-called “coalkeeper” subsidies – has caused true believers. See, for example, here, here and here. Subsidising coal! Heresy afoot. But real, not imaginary, life gave Schott no option. Coal is being driven out of business by the economics of providing power at a profitable rate only when the heavily subsidised wind turbines stop turning. And stop turning they often do.

My friend Rafe Champion, who keeps watch on these things, reported another failure at breakfast time on Sunday September 5 in the states of South Australia (SA) and Victoria (Vic). Wind was delivering only 25 percent of its capacity in SA and 30 percent in Vic. I mention this instance because wind delivers much less power than this at times, and demand on Sunday mornings is relatively subdued. Yet, both SA and Vic needed to import power from other states – sourced from hydro and coal. What about when coal is gone?

Don't worry, bro, it happens to everybody.

Reports from the U.K. and Europe in the first half of September tell the same tale. “Energy prices have spiked to a record high in Britain after calm weather shut down the country’s wind turbines… Wholesale power costs surged to more than four times their normal level, forcing officials to fire up coal-based plants to handle demand.” [And] “Energy prices in Europe hit records as the wind stops blowing.”

Those in the ESB and in like organisations in every western country know that wind won’t work. What to do? Ms Schott and her ilk can’t say it can’t be done or let’s go nuclear. They’d lose their gigs and be replaced with others of more compliant dispositions. So, in addition to being wordy, they separate the future into the short and longer term. In the short term; thank goodness for coal. In the longer term, technology turns up Micawberesque to save the day. To wit:

A successful transition would see the right mix of resources, on the demand side and supply side, incentivised into the energy market which maintains reliability while minimising consumer costs. That mix will likely include new and evolved technologies which may require refinements to market arrangements.

In the meantime, coal power is being driven out of any future, and our enjoyment of a ready and affordable supply of electricity, the indispensable staff of modern life, is being thrown to the tender mercies of the fickle forces of nature.

Renewables: Is There Anything They Can't Do?

From the Wall Street Journal:

Natural gas and electricity markets were already surging in Europe when a fresh catalyst emerged: The wind in the stormy North Sea stopped blowing. The sudden slowdown in wind-driven electricity production off the coast of the U.K. in recent weeks whipsawed through regional energy markets. Gas and coal-fired electricity plants were called in to make up the shortfall from wind. Natural-gas prices, already boosted by the pandemic recovery and a lack of fuel in storage caverns and tanks, hit all-time highs. Thermal coal, long shunned for its carbon emissions, has emerged from a long price slump as utilities are forced to turn on backup power sources.

The episode underscored the precarious state the region’s energy markets face heading into the long European winter. The electricity price shock was most acute in the U.K., which has leaned on wind farms to eradicate net carbon emissions by 2050. Prices for carbon credits, which electricity producers need to burn fossil fuels, are at records, too... At their peak, U.K. electricity prices had more than doubled in September and were almost seven times as high as at the same point in 2020. Power markets also jumped in France, the Netherlands and Germany.

So the transition to so-called renewable energy has really been raking European energy markets over the coals. Literally, in fact, as coal-fired power plants are having to increase production to meet energy demands. And it's making Russia into a one nation OPEC, the only country in the region with an excess of natural gas which will happily export it.... for some significant diplomatic concessions.

Quite the bind the E.U. finds itself in. Perhaps they might consider changing course, accepting that shutting down their natural gas and nuclear power plants, not to mention banning fracking, is a mistake?

Doesn't sound like it! Reuters --

Record high power prices in European Union countries show the bloc must wean itself off fossil fuels and speed up the transition to green energy, the EU's top climate change official said on Tuesday.

That official -- first vice-president of the European Commission Frans Timmermans, who has appeared in these pages before, always singing the same one-note tune -- argues that, in fact, it is because they haven't transitioned quickly enough that things are so bad! "Had we had the Green Deal five years earlier, we would not be in this position because then we would have less dependence on fossil fuels and on natural gas," he said.

Never mind that the transition itself helped create the shortage by causing a shortage of the fuels that, for the foreseeable future, the continent continues to run on. That, and the fact that the wind doesn't always blow and the sun sometimes fails to shine.

Anyway, you heard it from Frans first -- renewable energy causes problems that can only be solved by... more renewable energy. Is there anything it can't do?

Canada: Never Let a Good Crisis Go to Waste

Last week I wrote about the fear among Democrats that the U.S. might be heading for a significant economic recovery before the election in November, such that the Trump campaign would be able to point to "the most explosive monthly employment numbers and gross domestic product growth ever" (in the words of Obama Administration senior advisor Jason Furman), and ride that good news to reelection. Well, yesterday morning we all woke up to news which suggests that that upward trajectory might be beginning. After months of catastrophe, with Great Depression-like unemployment figures, the May jobs report showed that the economy added 2.5 million jobs in that period, the most ever in a single month.

The news was so surprising that left-wing rags like the Washington Post had to frantically delete their pre-written tweets about how terrible the report was:

Of course, we aren't out of the woods yet. An unemployment rate of 13 percent is still pretty bad, even if things are heading in the right direction. And, as I argued last week, Joe Biden's willingness to squander our gains on his ideological program (or that of his advisors while he naps in the Lincoln Bedroom), including his announcement that he would definitively kill Keystone XL  pipeline upon entering the White House, should make us all wary about trusting him to save the economy.

Well, up in Canada we can see what it looks like to have people already in power whose instincts are invariably ordered toward ideology over job creation or the cost of living. We've already covered Trudeau's doubling the nation's carbon tax during the pandemic, a decision which ran counter to what basically every other nation in the world was doing. We also discussed his oil and gas aid package, which seemed ordered towards the end of an industry which accounts for roughly 10 percent of Canada's GDP.

This is the path Trudeau has committed his nation to, and it doesn't seem like it is going to slow down anytime soon. Dan McTeague, president of the indispensable Canadians for Affordable Energy, has been writing recently about the return of Justin Trudeau's college drinking buddy, Gerald Butts, who grew up to be an environmental activist, director of policy for then-Ontario premier Dalton McGuinty, and eventually Trudeau's chief adviser. Butts, you may recall, was forced to resign in the run up to the 2019 election for his role in the SNC-Lavalin scandal.

Now that that election is over, McTeague reports that Butts is back in Ottawa serving on a new task force called Resilient Recovery. "The task force," explains McTeague, is "made up of green industry and environmental leaders [and] says its goal is to help seize a "once-in-a-generation" opportunity to build things in a “better” way post the COVID-19 pandemic." If you guessed that that means taking advantage of a crisis to get Canada even more entangled in the Green Energy industry than it already is and make it harder for oil and gas companies to operate, you win.

Butts: I'm ba-ack.

In the course of two articles, McTeague argues that Canadians should be aware of, and concerned by, this "green energy at any and all costs" task force, and especially by Butts' inclusion in it. Butts has the ear of the prime minister and a history of making life harder for Canadians. McTeague has taken the time to remind us of that history. In his first piece, he examines Butts' work in the McGuinty government in Ontario:

Gerry Butts is known as one of the architects of Dalton McGuinty’s disastrous Green Energy Act. The GEA hurt Ontarians (and is still hurting them), resulting in energy bills increasing by 70% from 2008 to 2016. Ontario’s claim to fame became its high energy rates - the highest in all of North America. Big manufacturers across the province began to flee for friendlier economic climates. Even former premier Kathleen Wynne said in her 2018 campaign that because of the Green Energy Act many families were having to choose between paying their energy bills and feeding their families.

The GEA originally promised the creation of 50,000 green energy jobs. The government later admitted that that number was not based on any formal analysis, that many of the jobs would be temporary, and that it did not account for the lost manufacturing jobs due to the increased energy prices. Wind and solar were incredibly expensive to produce... and the consumer was the one who had to make up the difference. How? Through a hidden tax euphemistically called the Global Adjustment Fee which suddenly started to appear on Ontario energy bills. A Global News article from 2016 stated that for every $100 in usage that appeared on your bill, $23 was actual electricity cost, while the other $77 was from the “Global Adjustment Fee”.

After a few years out of government, Butts jumped onboard the Trudeau train after the Liberals won their majority in 2015, and brought his wealth of experience making everyday life more expensive for Ontarians to Canadians more generally. That part of his career is covered in McTeague's second piece:

The costs of Butts’ climate agenda are apparent in the policies that the Trudeau government put in place during its first term, the most important (and destructive) of these being the carbon tax. It is no surprise that the mastermind behind the Ontario green energy debacle would help create expensive and ineffective policies at the federal level. The carbon tax adds at least 7 cents per litre of gas at the pump for Canadians. Because it applies to all energy sources, the hidden costs – on food and services and our competitiveness – will be even greater, and the carbon tax will increase annually by large increments.

Other expensive and anti-industry policies that were launched during Butts’ time in Ottawa include Bill C-69 (an overhaul of Canada's regulatory and resource project approval system) and C-48 (the oil tanker moratorium act). These have meant significant new and unnecessary regulatory burdens that restrict resource development, drive away investment, and have the effect of making energy more expensive.

Though Canada's May jobs numbers crept up somewhat, just like America's, Canada is still experiencing record unemployment. Bombardier just announced that they'ree laying off 2,500 workers. This is still a time of crisis, and for any recovery to be really resilient, it needs a laser focus on getting people back to work and getting the economy back on track. Gerald Butts' resumé speaks to the fact that he is more than willing to prioritize environmentalist virtue signalling over the benefit of ordinary Canadians.