BC Premier Clark looks for goodies from Kinder Morgan approval


[Webpage editors note: Two articles below, one about powering the tar sands with BC hydro (Site C!) and the other about 'benefits' for BC from the Kinder Morgan pipeline]

Vaughn Palmer: Clark pushes hydro intertie now that Alberta's pipeline is approved

VICTORIA — Premier Christy Clark hopes the progress made this week on bringing more Alberta oil to the West Coast will help clear the way for our neighbouring province to take more of B.C.’s electricity.

When the B.C. Liberals first promoted the notion of a major transmission line — known as an intertie — to link the electricity grids of the two provinces, Alberta Premier Rachel Notley was properly skeptical.

B.C. wanted to send the electricity eastward while imposing conditions on pipelines to bring Alberta oil to a coast that belonged to all Canadians.

“It’s not separate,” Notley told reporters back in March.

British Columbians first needed to understand the importance to landlocked Alberta of getting “bitumen to tidewater — that just has to happen.”

The two provinces did enter into a back and forth about expanding the existing electrical intertie in the southeast or building an all new link in the northeast.

But they did not get far.

Alberta had greater priorities, from establishing a homegrown climate plan to securing federal approval of a pipeline, any pipeline.

On Tuesday, the federal government approved — albeit with 157 conditions — twinning of Kinder Morgan’s existing Trans Mountain pipeline through British Columbia to Burnaby.

Next day Clark was out with a near endorsement of the project, subject only to completion of a provincial environmental review (expected soon) and mostly technical concerns arising out of the conditions she’d laid down for “getting to yes” 4½ years ago.

“They’ve substantially met or are close to meeting the five conditions,” the premier told reporters Wednesday. She repeated that message in a media scrum in the provincial capital Thursday:  “We’re very close to getting there.”

In light of all that progress on Premier Notley’s No. 1 priority, I wondered if the intertie might be back on the table.

“It’s never come off the table,” Clark told me. “Obviously, the Alberta government has been very focused on making sure that this happened. It’s going to be a huge benefit in the long-term for the oilsands in their province.”

So yes, discussions have slowed down a bit. But she’s now hoping they can be made more active given encouragement from her and Notley.

“She and I are going to meet next week and I think we’ll get a chance to start having that discussion again,” said Clark. “I’m looking forward to it because it’d be great for ratepayers in B.C. and it will be great for air around the world to use 100 per cent clean energy to displace coal. That could be a huge benefit for the whole country and help us meet our Paris (climate treaty) obligations without putting people out of work.”

She also granted the Alberta New Democratic Party premier an exemption from the swipe she took at the B.C. NDP for opposition to job-creation and resource development projects like Kinder Morgan.

“I would certainly say that Rachel Notley is very different from the leader of the NDP in B.C.,” said the premier, not naming John Horgan. “They are deeply split on the issue of Kinder Morgan and whether or not it should go ahead. Rachel Notley is trying to get some job creation happening and the NDP in B.C. are trying to stop job creation. If you’re arguing that the NDP in B.C. is more left than any other New Democrats in the rest of the country, I’m not a political scientist but based on what I see today, I think that’s probably true.”

Notley herself is scheduled to visit B.C. early next week for media interviews with a two-fold objective: beginning to make the case that the pipeline expansion is in the economic interest of the whole country, and spreading the word about her climate plan.

The latter includes a carbon tax on the B.C. model, development of renewable energy projects in Alberta, a cap on emissions from oilsands projects and ending provincial reliance on coal-fired electrical generation.

The B.C. Liberals have suggested this province could help with the last two objectives. One would have the province supply hydroelectric power to reduce the reliance on burning natural gas to release the bitumen from the oilsands.  The other would use B.C. Hydro power to supplement renewables in the phase-out of the coal-fired plants.

While Notley is scheduled to make her case in B.C. early in the week,  Clark is expected to begin making hers in a session with the Alberta premier during the first ministers talks in Ottawa at the end of next week.

Another aspect of the intertie proposal that is in play is the prospect that Ottawa could be persuaded to help pay for it. As Peter O’Neil reported in The Vancouver Sun earlier this month, the eligibility guidelines for the new $35-billion federal infrastructure bank includes support for “an interprovincial clean energy grid” and “interprovincial transmission lines that reduce reliance on coal.”

The most ambitious of the two proposals for an Alberta-B.C. intertie is an estimated at $1 billion link in the northeast. It might qualify for federal assistance, presuming the two premiers can get on the same page.

Though one of B.C. five conditions for approval of the pipeline says B.C. must receive “a fair share of the economic and fiscal benefits,” Clark did not specifically make the intertie the quid pro quo for achieving that objective. Which suggests that she is prepared to be patient about making progress with her Alberta counterpart.

Original article at http://vancouversun.com/opinion/columnists/vaughn-palmer-clark-pushes-hy...

Premier wants share of Kinder Morgan's profits for B.C.


December 1, 2016 -  B.C. would like a share of Kinder Morgan’s profits from the extra oil it plans to ship under its newly approved Trans Mountain pipeline expansion.

Premier Christy Clark said Thursday that the province could negotiate money from the company, in an attempt to satisfy one of B.C.’s five conditions for political approval of the project — mainly, a fair share of economic benefits to provincial taxpayers.

“If in an agreement with Kinder Morgan there is a direct economic benefit, or a kind of piece of the profits for British Columbia, we will devote all of that to areas of environmental protection that aren’t currently being funded, that are in the areas of provincial responsibility,” Clark told reporters in Victoria.

“If at the same time we can create jobs for people to protect our environment, that’s a double win for us. But all of that money I think needs to go back into making sure that we mitigate the risk that British Columbians are taking with our land base and on the marine side by allowing heavy oil to be shipped through our province.”

With final approval by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s government Tuesday of the project and Kinder Morgan saying it intends to start construction before the end of 2017, Clark’s comments represent the first bit of clarity on how her government could be satisfied on the issue of economic benefits.

The premier didn’t specify an amount B.C. would like to receive from Kinder Morgan, nor whether it would be a one-time payment or annual contribution.

The comments came following an election-style speech to B.C. Road Builders & Heavy Construction Association members in Victoria, where Clark said only her party can be trusted to provide the jobs generated by projects like Kinder Morgan and the Site C dam.

Construction unions and contractors have always been supporters of Kinder Morgan’s $6.8-billion Trans Mountain pipeline expansion that has promised billions of dollars in economic benefits for the country.

“It’s going to create jobs for my guys,” said UA Canada spokesman Larry Cann, whose union represents 56,000 pipefitters across Canada.

He said he understood and didn’t blame Clark for trying to get the best economic deal from the project for the province. But he said the pipeline will benefit B.C., where some of the union’s members live, and all of Canada.

Added Tom Sigurdson, executive director of the B.C. and Yukon Territory Building and Construction Trades Council: “If there’s a project to be built in British Columbia, we want to build it.”

The trades council, with about 75,000 members in B.C., represents all types of workers that would build the pipeline, including heavy-equipment operators, labourers, pipe workers and truckers.

Sigurdson said that because of the economic slowdown in Western Canada, they could supply all the skilled labour for the project with B.C. workers.

Gord Stewart, Independent Contractors and Businesses Association of B.C. president, said his members — who are non-unionized — are ready to bid on work that includes everything from general contracting to supervising and organizing work on the sections of pipeline, to smaller jobs and construction of camps. “Bring it on,” he said.

In a written response Thursday, Kinder Morgan said it will not tender contracts until it conducts a review of the project. The company has also said a final investment decision is needed from its Houston, Texas,-based board of directors.

Kinder Morgan has touted billions in economic benefits and 35,800 direct and spinoff jobs during construction in B.C. Another 33,900 direct and spinoff jobs a year are estimated to be created during operations.

But a 2014 Simon Fraser University report said Kinder Morgan was overplaying the economic benefits. Construction jobs in B.C. were closer to 12,000, and only about 50 permanent jobs will be created, noted the report.

The number of construction jobs in B.C. would peak at 2,500, according to National Energy Board filings by the company.

In Metro Vancouver, construction jobs would peak at 1,200, including work expanding the docking terminal and tank farm in Burnaby. However, only about 30 per cent of the workforce would be from Metro and only 10 per cent in rural regions of B.C., according to the firm’s NEB filing.

A 2012 study by the Calgary-based Canadian Energy Research Institute (CERI) noted that Alberta would get the bulk of the benefits in economic growth and $291 billion in increased Gross Domestic Product, a measure of the economy, dwarfing B.C.’s take of $4 billion.

B.C. estimates earning more than $2.2 billion in provincial tax revenue and $512 million in property taxes during the construction and operation of the pipeline over 20 years. It also calculates Kinder Morgan will buy $20 million in greenhouse gas offsets, spend $382 million on First Nations mutual-benefit agreements and spend $11.2 million in community-benefit deals. The company’s contributions to marine safety would be $1.2 billion over 20 years, estimates the province.

More recently, Clark has floated the idea of $1 billion in federal money to upgrade B.C. Hydro lines so it can bolster electricity exports to Alberta.

She reiterated Thursday that an intertie to Alberta is still on her agenda, and it would represent a good deal for ratepayers and the environment to sell clean power to Alberta to replace coal-fired electricity plants.

Original article: http://vancouversun.com/business/energy/premier-wants-share-of-kinder-mo...