This may finally be the year that clean-burning hydrogen faces the music about its role in a low-carbon future. Proponents of hydrogen say it is so versatile and practical that it’s the world’s best bet to transition away from fossil fuels. Detractors say it’s a highly inefficient use of resources that will require massive investment, likely in the form of government subsidies flowing to fossil-fuel companies.
But there are signs that hydrogen could be gaining traction as a transportation fuel. For example, energy company HTEC in December announced it will begin producing 15 tonnes per day of clean hydrogen from a bleach-manufacturing plant. That’s enough to power all the buses in Vancouver and maybe other cities as well.
But many transportation modes, such as rail, remain in a trial stage, where hydrogen has been stuck for a decade. Critics say there are a lot of reasons why it’ll never progress from there. — Gabriel Friedman
Last year was a big one for electric vehicles (EVs). Politicians made strides in establishing Quebec, and Canada more broadly, as a one-stop-shop for EV batteries and components, with, for example, General Motors Co. agreeing to establish a plant for cathode active materials in Bécancour, Que. The materials are an integral component of EV batteries.
Across North America, EV subsidies are bridging the price gap between EVs and their gas-powered counterparts. Prices are nearing the “tipping point” where manufacturers will be able to build EVs that cost less than gas-powered cars and trucks over their lifetimes. Subsidies aside, EVs still cost more than their gas-powered equivalents.
Though EVs continue to gain popularity, there are still concerns that recent clean-vehicle mandates could drive up the cost of all vehicles. Nonetheless, an ever-narrowing price differential between gas and electric vehicles could dramatically increase EV uptake in the year ahead. — Marisa Coulton
The oilpatch is anticipating an onslaught of highly consequential federal climate policies in 2023 (and we thought last year was busy when it came to policy, with the Emissions Reduction Plan, Clean Fuel Regulations and carbon capture investment tax credit all rolling out in 2022).
This coming year will bring the long-awaited and controversial federal cap on emissions for the oil and gas sector, the potential introduction of carbon contracts for differences and the new Clean Electricity Regulations (CER) that will help drive progress on a net-zero electricity grid.
Also anticipated early this year is the Liberal government’s controversial Just Transition bill, which is designed to transition oil and gas workers to green energy jobs. — Meghan Potkins
That’s a lot to take in, but FP Energy will be there to keep up with the news and help fit developments into the bigger transition puzzle.