$40B natural gas investment could be undermined by China, warns environmentalist
China has outpaced expectations in renewable energy, says Karen Tam Wu
The $40-billion liquefied natural gas project in northern B.C. could be obsolete a lot sooner than we think, according to environmentalist Karen Tam Wu.
"China has proven to be a powerhouse in renewable energy development," Tam Wu, the Pembina Institute's managing director for B.C., told The Current's Anna Maria Tremonti.
"It shouldn't come as a surprise if one day China turns around [and] says we don't need natural gas anymore, because we are fully self-sufficient on renewable sources of energy."
The $40-billion project was announced Tuesday. Construction begins "immediately," according to LNG Canada, and the new facility is scheduled to be operational sometime in the early 2020s.
Five primary investors — Royal Dutch Shell, Mitsubishi Corp., Malaysian-owned Petronas, PetroChina Co., and Korean Gas Corp. — will fund the pipeline. It will carry natural gas from Dawson Creek in B.C. to a new processing plant on the coast in Kitimat. There, the gas would be liquefied and exported overseas.
But Tam Wu warned the investment could be undermined by changing markets.
"The terminal and this project has somewhere between 40- and 60-year lifespan," she said.
Given China's development, improvements in battery technology and research into other sources of fuel, there is a real risk that lifespan could be cut short, she added.
Listen to the full conversation near the top of this page.
Produced by Zena Olijnyk, Allie Jaynes and Kristian Jebsen.