Collapse of Eastern Pipeline

On October 5, the TransCanada announced that it would be cancelling the Energy East pipeline. This represents a huge blow to the oil industry in Canada. The pipeline would have carried crude oil from the oil sands in Alberta to refineries in New Brunswick and Quebec. The pipeline was a 15.7-billion-dollar project and it would have employed 15,000 people. While many different actors have been swift to either take credit or defer blame, the underlying truth is clear: Fossil Fuels on the decline in Canada


The usual suspects

The Eastern Access pipeline was an enormous project with various stakeholders. All of which had different motivations are varying levels of support. Two interesting actors were Canada’s federal government under Justin Trudeau and the Alberta government under Rachael Notley. Both Trudeau and Notley fancy themselves as environmentalists, but supported the pipeline under the conditions that it created jobs for their constituents. When it was announced that pipeline was canceled the federal liberal quickly came under criticism from the federal conservatives. In a way are correct, part of the liberal election platform was the reformation of the approval process for pipelines in Canada. Instead of focusing entirely on the economic benefits, the reviewal process would consider the environmental effects. The liberals were quick to deflect blame, and pointed to the falling price of oil as the reason for the cancelation.

Is this a good thing for the renewable energy sector?

For decades Canada has attempted to solidify its role as a global energy superpower. The downside of this aim is that it stands in direct conflict with the heart of renewable energy.  If most of the world’s energy came from renewable sources then no nation could be an energy superpower, since most nations have access to equal access to those sources. (No can have a monopoly on sunlight or wind). Therefore, the Liberal’s attempt to balance environment and energy production is always going to be in a precious situation. Politicians should focus on renewable energy since it is a more stable strategy.

While Canada might never be an energy superpower and oil production in Canada might fall, that does not necessarily mean that Renewable energy will dominate the world. The global changing political landscape has contributed more to the defeat of this pipeline, then it political opponents in Canada. The United States has grown to be the large oil in the world followed closely by Russia. The falling price of oil has more to due to the high available supply of crude oil instead of falling demand for crude oil. Fans of renewable energy shouldn’t too excited at the cancellation of this pipeline, but it is a step in the right direction.

Matthew Griffin