Even in the face of renewable energy and sustainable oil and gas, one has to wonder how green natural gas and its cohorts really are compared to other fuel sources and sources of energy.
Technologies and innovations are helping renewables such as wind, solar, and natural gas see a larger market presence, and the hope is they can provide energy and power for planet as it makes a shift from fossil fuel consumption. Natural gas does help to diversify the energy mix and provide more options for people.
Via the CER, in 2018, Alberta’s natural gas production averaged 10.5 billion cubic feet per day, and Alberta’s gas production represented 65% of total Canadian natural gas production in 2018.
Relatively speaking, while natural gas is a cleaner-burning fossil fuel, it still raises concerns over how much it burns and the impact it has on the environment. And while it may sound good, is it an antidote for climate change?
Used in homes and for electricity (such as all the air conditioners blaring during Calgary’s historic heatwave), and industrial applications, natural gas poses challenges and problems.
Extracted via methods such as horizontal drilling and fracturing, the methane within natural gas mixed with extracting is a troublesome cocktail for the environment, even though ‘going green’ is gaining steam. It just may not be as green as people think.
Are people researching themselves on where their energy comes from? Such as the increasingly popular Teslas. More and more, you see people plugging in their electric cars at charging stations. The sales for zero-emission vehicles in Canada are skyrocketing, such as Q3 2020, with 18,771 new vehicles registered across Canada between July and September, more than doubling the 9,069 sold in Q2.
The Liberal government is also accelerating its goal of wanting all light-duty vehicles sold in Canada to be electric, stating by 2035 all new cars and trucks will be zero-emission vehicles.
Behind the electricity is where the blinders are: that the manufacturing process, batteries, and charging the car requires a lot of energy, and that energy has to come from somewhere. Charging comes from the local electric network and grid, which are also high emissions emitters, and lots of the time, fuelled by coal and oil and gas products.
And in Alberta, coal and natural gas provide the vast majority of the province’s electricity, with 43% coming from coal and 49% from natural gas, and renewables make up the remaining 8%. Alberta’s coal fleet is also the largest in Canada, with a total capacity of 5,555 megawatts. These percentages make up important and vital figures for the province’s economic wellbeing.
Elon Musk boasts about Tesla’s environmental benefits, but people never hear about the considerable energy, particularly coal, required to manufacture these Mars-looking vehicles. It has been argued that production of Tesla’s batteries make their vehicles emit more than a gasoline-powered car.
Much like natural gas requiring considerable amounts of traditional energy sources, while Teslas and zero-emission vehicles are being built at breakneck speeds, the coal and oil and gas industries are there to supply much of the energy required to continue the ruse.
On their face, natural gas, renewable energy, and zero-emission vehicles are a sign of the future and step towards fewer emissions. In this case, two things can be true: these are good for the environment but require considerable amounts of oil and gas and coal services to help further their growth.
It can also be hard to find renewables and solar as reliable energy sources, especially with fluctuant and inconsistent weather.