Crude Oil and the Prospects for Natural Gas

Oil is peaking or already peaked. Prospects for natural gas may be running on fumes. So what’s next? A look into the future of B.C. energy.


Oil is peaking or already peaked. Prospects for natural gas may be running on fumes. So what’s next? A look into the future of B.C. energy.

The past year has been a roller- coaster ride for those who consume and produce energy – in other words, all of us. The price of a barrel of crude oil – affecting everything from the cost of gasoline to plane tickets to couriered packages – sat at around $80 in October 2007; by July of this year it had raced past $140 before dropping below $70 in late October. It was a similar tale for natural gas: from $8.30 (per thousand cubic feet) to $14.00 to $6.20 over the same time period.

That’s what we tend to pay attention to in the media business: the up-and-down prices, the fluctuations in consumption. Yet despite the episodic turbulence of recent months, our energy story remains the same: we have an unsustainable relationship with fossil fuels. There are only so many wells we can drill and mountains we can mine. And there are only so many lakes, rivers and forests we can pollute, which is why the environmental havoc wrought by fossil fuels – which collectively produce around 21.3 billion tonnes of carbon dioxide each year, with natural processes able to absorb only half of that amount – has risen to the top of both the political and corporate agenda.

The global move toward all things “green” has buoyed the prospects of several B.C. companies and organizations, including the three we profile here: NaiKun Wind Energy Group Inc., Day4 Energy Inc. and the Hydrogen Highway initiative. Each alternative energy solution – wind, solar and hydrogen power – presents a unique set of challenges. But if these local alt-energy promoters are successful – a big “if” at this point – they could ultimately transform our local economy from one that takes from the environment to one that preserves and protects it.

B.C. Wind Energy

B.C. wind farms: so much power, but so little profit. Can the uneconomic costs of generating wind power be overcome? by Christopher Pollon

A multimedia look at the cutting edge – or is it the lunatic fringe? – of alternative energy

Solar Energy

How retired MDA founder John MacDonald saw the light by Brenda Bouw

“Renewable energy will be the way humankind derives its energy, and it will happen this century,” predicts Macdonald. “I may not be around when it happens, but I see it coming.”

Highway of Dreams

A reality check on B.C.’s bold vision and detours for a hydrogen-fuelled future by David Jordan

The “highway” has somehow morphed into a highway only in the metaphorical sense: a gateway to a future in which hydrogen figures prominently in our daily energy needs.