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  1. Categories: Environment

    Affordable Energy Emerges as Key Issue for Ontario Election

    Natural Gas Critical to Province’s Economic Prosperity

    Toronto, Ontario, May 16, 2014 — With Ontarians heading to the polls in a provincial election on June 12, and affordable energy having already emerged as a key issue, the Ontario Natural Gas Alliance is providing a platform for voters to make their voices heard.

    The upcoming provincial election signals Ontarians’ chance to let elected officials know how important energy—and energy savings—are to their collective pocketbooks, says ONGA spokesperson Stefan Baranski. “Ontarians who don’t have access to natural gas need it to lower their residential energy bills. Moreover, our government needs to consider how fuels such as natural gas can lower greenhouse gas emissions while giving operators a distinct competitive advantage,” he says. “Natural gas enabled the province’s coal phase out and it is time we realized the fuel’s full potential to help us build a better Ontario.”

    To assist voters in communicating their concerns, a new online portal will offer an opportunity to connect directly to those vying for their vote. By visiting www.naturalgasnow.ca, voters can address the issue of affordable energy by sending letters directly to candidates in their local ridings.

    According to ONGA, natural gas’ clean and affordable attributes can play a pivotal role in three distinct areas:

    Natural Gas System Expansion
    While the fuel is often taken for granted in urban centres, the majority of rural and northern Ontario families and businesses are without access to natural gas. Due to a lack of infrastructure, less than 20 per cent of rural residents have access to natural gas, and instead must rely on oil, propane or electric heat for homes and businesses—all of which come at a significantly higher cost. “Not having the option for natural gas is a significant economic disadvantage for these communities,” says Baranski. “Government support is critical if we are going to be able to expand the system to include these communities and would result in immediate and significant savings on their energy bills.”

    Baranski adds that savings for businesses are even greater. Some medium sized commercial businesses would be able to save up to $15,000 per year by using natural gas.

    Natural Gas for Transportation
    The transition to natural gas vehicles could substantially reduce greenhouse gas emissions, positively impacting Ontario’s environment. According to Ontario’s Long-Term Energy Plan, the transportation sector accounts for the largest percentage of emissions in Ontario. Natural gas, meanwhile, provides a significant carbon advantage, with a 20-25 per cent lower rate of GHG emissions compared to traditional transportation fuels.

    Furthermore, with natural gas being up to 44 per cent less expensive than gasoline, and 45 per cent less expensive than diesel, the decreased costs would give operators a tremendous competitive advantage. “Integrating natural gas applications into Ontario’s transportation network will result in huge wins for Ontario, both economically and environmentally,” Baranski says.

    Ontario’s Economic Opportunity
    Natural gas-intensive companies in a range of industries including petrochemicals, mining, steel, and fertilizer production are seeking places to expand their existing production or create new operations and jobs. With natural gas prices up to three times more affordable, North America is a key area in their expansion search. An energy platform that includes natural gas gives industry all the more reason to establish and expand in Ontario. For places such as Ontario’s north, home to the Ring of Fire mining area, natural gas-fired electricity generation offers operators a scalable, rapidly deliverable way to meet their energy needs, without the requirement for new transmission capacity.

    “Ontario requires bold action with respect to its energy policy,” says Baranski. “And Ontarians understand just how important this issue is to create competitive advantage. It is time for all Ontarians to fully benefit from clean and affordable natural gas so we can build a better future for our province.”

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    About ONGA
    The Ontario Natural Gas Alliance (ONGA) is a partnership between two of Ontario’s leading natural gas distribution companies, Enbridge Gas Distribution and Union Gas. ONGA was created to help the public understand the vital role natural gas can play in Ontario’s future-forward clean energy mix. ONGA is dedicated to education around the many positive attributes of natural gas, including its affordability, cleanliness and potential to fuel an economic revitalization that will create jobs and expand Ontario’s economy.  For more information, please visit: www.cleanandaffordable.ca.

    For more information, or to schedule an interview, please contact:

    PM Rendon
    DDB Public Relations
    416-972-7784 (direct) / 416-301-2391 (mobile) / paul-mark.rendon@can.ddbpr.com

     

  2. Categories: Environment
    Natural gas use up, US emissions down

    Natural gas use up, U.S. emissions down

    The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has recently reported their findings that greenhouse gas emissions have fallen 10 per cent from 2010 to 2012, as power generators make the switch from coal to natural gas. The Energy Information Administration, part of the Department of Energy, said U.S. energy-related carbon dioxide emissions have fallen to their lowest level since 1994 — great news for we Ontarians, who get exposed to air pollution from our neighbours to the south.

    Their study collected emissions data from over 8,000 of the largest polluters in their nation. Of the thousands of facilities studied, fossil fuel power plants were the largest source of emissions – at roughly 40 per cent. The most polluting plant, located in Georgia, emitted 21.8 million tons of CO2 equivalent. Other such plants were found in Alabama, Arizona, Indiana, Kentucky, Michigan, Ohio and Pennsylvania. They will be the main objective targeted by Washington’s proposed plan to regulate emissions by June of next year. (Ironically, Kentucky, Ohio and Pennsylvania have Marcellus Shale gas deposits right under their feet.)

    This comes hot on the heels of the World Health Organization’s cancer agency classifying the very air we breathe as cancer causing. This is the first time experts have made such a classification.

    Data indicates that 223,000 deaths worldwide were due to air pollution and particulate matter. From now on, these pollutants will be classified as Group 1 human carcinogens, alongside asbestos, plutonium, silica dust, ultraviolet radiation and tobacco smoke.

    Obviously, clean, affordable and reliable natural gas can and should be part of the greater plan to move towards a cleaner world.

    Please let us know your thoughts in the comments section provided below.

    Sources:
    http://www.theglobeandmail.com/report-on-business/industry-news/energy-and-resources/us-power-plant-emissions-tumble-on-shift-to-natural-gas/article15024711/
    http://www.theglobeandmail.com/life/health-and-fitness/health/air-pollution-should-be-classified-as-carcinogenic-who-cancer-agency/article14901659/

  3. Categories: Environment
    ONGA Blog post 57

    Transporting Our Energy

    Never has the issue of how to transport Canadian energy been more in the spotlight than it is today. However, we all need to look past the headlines and examine the facts.

    Rail or pipeline? As with all things, we need to diversify.

    Fact is, rail transport of our oil is set to quadruple by the end of this year. That’s a lot of energy being shunted around – energy that could be delivered more efficiently by pipeline. And it’s all due to get even busier because Canadian production is poised to increase by more than 1.5 million barrels a day — roughly 50 per cent more, by 2020.

    Vancouver-based think tank The Fraser Institute recently published a study that concluded pipelines remain the safest way to transport energy. Not only are the volumes higher than by rail, the research also found that pipeline leaks are barely one-tenth those of rail transport. On a per ton-miles basis, rail spills were four times more likely in the U.S. than pipeline.

    Of course, these findings are timely considering tragic derailments on both sides of the border, the aforementioned recent escalation in energy being transported by rail, and the political opposition to major pipeline projects such as Keystone XL and Northern Gateway.

    And yet, this doesn’t mean pipelines should be built without thought or concern, crisscrossing our landscapes. As with all things, we need balance – a rational discussion of facts that will optimize safety, environment and prosperity. Let’s recognize the safety argument with regard to pipelines as the scare tactic it truly is. Let’s also acknowledge there’s no perfect answer. One thing is certain: it requires true collaboration to get the solutions we all need and deserve.

    Let us know your thoughts on this issue in the comments section provided below.

    Sources:
    https://secure.globeadvisor.com/servlet/ArticleNews/story/gam/20131016/RBINSIGHTPIPELINESFRASER1015GLOBEWEBATL
    http://www.theglobeandmail.com/report-on-business/industry-news/energy-and-resources/how-we-think-about-energy-is-like-a-train-without-a-conductor/article13070792/