“The State Department has decided that the Keystone XL pipeline would not serve the national interest of the United States. I agree with that decision.” -President Obama, Nov. 6, 2015
In a move that surprised many, President Obama has ushered his official statement that the Keystone XL Pipeline has been rejected and will not go through.
Proposed in 2008, the 1,179-mile $8 billion dollar pipeline project was slated to transport 830,000 barrels of crude oil from East Central Alberta tar sands to refineries on the Texas Gulf Coast. Because it crossed an International border, this decision had been long-pending in the hands of the State Department. It makes obvious the fact that climate change is key consideration for all energy infrastructure projects going forward.
Other parts of the Trans Canada Keystone Project have been built between central Nebraska and Texas, and have often faced opposition from a number of groups and environmental associations due to the negative impact of these projects on climate change and locally impacted communities that facilitate the transmission pipeline infrastructure. The United States Environmental Protection Agency have stated that the completed pipeline project would emit around 1.3 billion tons of greenhouse emissions over it’s 50 year lifespan.
Penn State University climate scientist Michael Mann stated, “Construction of the Keystone XL pipeline would be inconsistent with stabilizing global warming below dangerous levels. I am pleased that the administration has made good on their promise to take seriously the task of acting on climate by rejecting the construction of the pipeline.”
This decision does not mean that Alberta Oil will not make it’s way to the Gulf Coast and other refineries through other methods, but it does require many players to go back to the drawing board. Aside from Keystone, there is the larger infrastructure project, Energy East Pipeline that is planned to stretch 4,600 kms and carry with it 1.1 Million barrels of oil per day from Alberta and Saskatchewan to New Brunswick. Stateside, Enbridge’s Line 61 Upgrade Project that was started in 2014, will carry 1.2 million barrels per day from Wisconsin to a refinery terminal near Pontiac, Illinois.
So what does this mean for the energy sector in Alberta, as well as renewables? Pretty much everything.
Alberta is a proud Province that developed it’s very foundation and existence upon it’s natural resources and production in the energy sector, but they are also home to some of the most abundant solar and wind resources in Canada, with many locations appreciating an average of 333 days of sun per year, as an example. There is commonly a “green vs. black” polarization on this matter, with each side holding strong to their philosophy on how our world and economic engine can continue in either direction.
The enormous industrial and economic powerhouses backing fossil fuel production and consumption have been placing an eye on alternatives, but the big wheel has been spinning for hundreds of years, and the integration of energy sources on the way to
All change is hard, but without the actual definitive decision in one direction, change cannot chart it’s course.
Oil is still moving, as is the Global dependency of fossil fuels to sustainable, alternative sources. Both are not new, but the respective dependency on each is where we’re seeing a strong shift. It is the capitalistic engine that will be the large determining force in the great wealth transition from traditional to renewables – but as something that started long ago, and now reached parity in pricing, the changes in infrastructure investments should be dramatic in the coming years.