In explaining Canada's decision to nationalise the controversial Trans Mountain pipeline for $4.5bn, Bill Morneau went hard on the economic argument. “Make no mistake,” the finance minister said. “This is an investment in Canada’s future.”
THE GUARDIAN -- In fact, since 1999, more than $200bn has been invested into the Alberta oil sands for that future. But what if that cash had gone into wind energy instead?
In 2017, the Alberta oil sands produced roughly 912m barrels. About 60% was turned into gasoline and diesel, enough to fuel 73m vehicles for 16,000km (the roughly average yearly driven distance).
Had $200bn been invested in the wind energy sector, at the current cost of $1.8m megawatt (MW), Alberta would have 111,000 MW of capacity. Based on what Alberta actually generated in 2017, it could power more than 122m electric vehicles for the same 16,000km.
CO2 driving emissions
Driving those vehicles would emit more than 325m tonnes of carbon dioxide. (Total CO 2 emissions for the UK in 2017 were 388m tonnes.)
No CO 2 emissions result from the operation of electric vehicles.
CO2 operations emissions
“Upstream” emissions – produced by essentially boiling the oil out of the ground – have reached an official 66m tonnes a year. (The figure does not include the energy to "clear" the boreal wetlands or build the facilities.)
No CO 2 is emitted by wind turbines while generating electricity. (The figure does not include the energy to build the turbines.)
At an estimated production cost of $40 per barrel, making oil in Alberta costs roughly $36.5bn a year.
Generating 111,000 MW of electricity at an estimated cost of $64,000 per MW = $7.1bn.
Fuel cost for drivers
Based on gas prices in Fort McMurray on 27 May 2018, driving a car with a fuel efficiency of 12 litres per 100km for 16,000km would cost drivers about $2,688.
Driving a Chevy Bolt electric vehicle using 28 kilowatt hours (kWh) for 160km at 6.8 cents per kWh (roughly the current cost in Alberta) the same distance would cost you $190.
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