PM's defiant message to green power crusaders

Energy investment veteran says hydrocarbon industry is going nowhere fast despite growth of renewables

PM's defiant message to green power crusaders

Don’t be fooled by all the renewable energy “arm-waving”, the maligned hydrocarbon industry is going nowhere fast.

That’s the defiant message from Calgary-based Jennifer Stevenson, who has spent almost three decades in the energy sector and is currently VP and portfolio manager, energy at Dynamic Funds.

A leader in her field, Stevenson naturally springs to the defence of the oil patch but told WP that her beliefs are not based on emotion but on cold, hard economics.

“The biggest challenge [in the energy sector] is that there is all this arm-waving out there about how hydrocarbons are going to be replaced and we’re all going to be wind and solar and electric vehicles. That’s great and they are all growth areas but they are not growth areas to the elimination of hydrocarbons, at least not in my career because the physics, economics and math just don’t work.

“You can wave your arms and go ‘great, we’re going to do this great new green deal’ but I just look at it and say, ‘have you done the math because in order to make enough green power, you will bankrupt us’. You just can’t compete with the technology we have with the energy density of hydrocarbons.”

Having previously worked for more than 10 years in energy investment banking and held senior positions with Dundee Securities, Merrill Lynch/Midland Walwyn Capital and FirstEnergy Capital Corp, Stevenson has seen most things in the industry.

She expressed her disbelief at the feeling of persecution among those within the sector despite the average Canadian’s heavy reliance on hydrocarbon components. When it comes to green issues, she feels a lot of the ill-feeling is being whipped up by politicians grand-standing and chasing votes.

She said: “The dupe is more on the political side because it feels really nice and [then] you’re going to vote for this chap because it’s all going to be green and wonderful! Usually, what the politicians don’t understand is if we make the assumptions they do, it’s not explained how the population growth is going to be paid for and whether it is practically and scientifically possible, which it’s not.

“If we wanted everything wind and solar, that is a huge amount of equipment; things have to be mined and built. These solar and wind farms take up land and we don’t have the storage capacity and back-ups for when the wind doesn’t blow and the sun doesn’t shine. We don’t have the bases loaded.”

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