HYDROGEN - THE PROMISED FUEL / BOOM OR BUST?
Updated: Aug 25, 2022
Over the past few days, Prime Minister Trudeau has been making deals with Germany to sell hydrogen fuel from a yet-to-be-built project in Newfoundland. Is this a boom, or a bust? In the announcement, Trudeau said, "Canadian regulators and the private sector will expedite the production of hydrogen and critical minerals in the name of cutting emissions and making money at the same time with a radical timeline to deliver in two years."
IS IT BOOM OR BUST?
Map showing the land conversion to a wind farm
In an interview Monday, Nova Scotia billionaire John Risley, a director at World Energy GH2he listed all of the things that need to happen in order to start shipping hydrogen to Europe before the end of 2024.
Wind turbines are in short supply because everyone wants them. The technology to “electrolyze” the wind for hydrogen production needs to ramp up.
Provincial limbo around regulating wind energy needs to be firmed up.
The permits to build and produce need to be streamlined.
And Canada, he says, "Needs to do all of this before Americans gain the upper hand." With U.S. President Joe Biden signing his Inflation Reduction Act into force and aggressively pushing hydrogen production, Risley expects American interests will be nipping at his heels in a flash.
“The point is that if Canada, and the projects that are being talked about in Canada, don’t move very quickly, then we will find ourselves at the end of a very long line,” he said, “and we will have missed an opportunity that being first in the market provides.”
CAN WE DO IT?
No information has been provided by the politicians – is this just another one for politics? I may sound jaundiced, but wind turbine blades are in short supply, everyone is looking to buy the needed equipment, specialized labour is short, no infrastructure is in place and no environmental assessment has been conducted.
This is just a short list of what is required – all in two years? Look how long it takes to develop any project in Canada – Kitimat LNG has been developing for 10+ years. Inuvik Wind Turbine Project has been 7 years, and Woodfibre near Squamish has been in the works for more than 3 years, with a projected completion in 6 – 7 years.
WHAT ABOUT THE CIRCULAR ECOMOMY?
In the announcement, Trudeau said, “Canadian regulators and the private sector will expedite the production of ... critical minerals in the name of cutting emissions. How does production of critical minerals cut emissions?
There is also the negative impacts from habitat loss, converting land to a wind farm, and other environmental impacts to consider. Don’t get me wrong, I am not against these projects; I just do not like flippant prognostications on what reality is not. Have they met a target yet?
These issues are all too important to us all; our future depends on it, and personally, I would rather deal with, and plan for reality than with something that we all know cannot be met.
Hydrogen appears to be a viable option with a number of strings attached. Let’s take the development under the umbrella of a circular economy which will truly consider the people, the planet and profit. All the components are there and we can do it.
SUSTAINABLE CIRCULAR ECONOMY
At Sustainable Circular Economy, we see discussion about how we are going to get there as critical, or all the commitments just become questionable to languish on paper when the politicians who made them are long gone, and we are left holding the bag.
We are 100 percent supportive of establishing goals to reduce our global carbon footprint and helping companies and individuals to do their part.
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Together we can do this, but it will take knowing what is required, and discussion and commitment about how we are going to get there considering the people, the planet and profit – the basis for the circular economy.
Let’s have the discussions. Ask the questions of our leaders, and if you wish to know how to get there in your business, call on us at Sustainable Circular Economy. We offer a free consultation to discuss how we can help you seize an era of opportunity and innovation in the new environmental landscape.
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