Oil Spill in Minnesota After Canadian Train Derails
A Canadian train carrying crude oil through western Minnesota derailed Wednesday, causing the first major spill in North America by rail transit—a bad omen for the prospect of the Keystone XL pipeline?
Canadian Pacific Railway Ltd, Canada's second-largest railroad, reported that 14 of its 94-car, mile-long train fell off the tracks. A spokesman says only one 26,000-gallon tank had ruptured and has yet to comment on the type of crude spilled. Meanwhile, the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency estimates that 20,000 to 30,000 gallons, 475 to 715 barrels, leaked, Reuters reports.
Colder weather has somewhat hindered cleanup, making it more difficult to recover thickening oil. Frozen grounds, fortunately, offer more protection to surface or ground water in the area.
Rail shipment of oil has rapidly increased in North America as oil production has outgrown pipeline capacity. On average, about 40,000 barrels per day were shipped via train to the US in 2012, according to Canada's National Energy Board.
Although environmentalists continue to vehemently oppose the prospect of pipelines carrying oil from Canada's vast tar sands to refineries in the US Gulf Coast, supporters beg the question: is rail any better?
Actually, it probably is. Spills from rail cars are rare, and delivering crude by rail has been historically effective for producers to develop massive volumes of oil production in areas of the US lacking pipelines. The Keystone oil pipeline alone has already seen twelve oil spills in North Dakota—the largest of which included about 400 barrels of oil. And that's just the beginning. Is it worth the risk?
Photo Credit: REUTERS/Doug Bellfeuille/Minnesota Pollution Control Agency/Handout
Hydrostor receives $4m funding for A-CAES facility in Canada
Hydrostor has received $4m funding to develop a 300-500MW Advanced Compressed Air Energy Storage (A-CAES) facility in Canada.
The funding will be used to complete essential engineering and planning, and enable Hydrostor to plan construction.
The project will be modeled on Hydrostor’s commercially operating Goderich storage facility, providing up to 12 hours of energy storage.
Hydrostor’s A-CAES system supports Canada’s green economic transition by designing, building, and operating emissions-free energy storage facilities, and employing people, suppliers, and technologies from the oil and gas sector.
The Honorable Seamus O’Regan, Jr. Minister of Natural Resources, said: “Investing in clean technology will lower emissions and increase our competitiveness. This is how we get to net zero by 2050.”
A-CAES has the potential to lower greenhouse gas emissions by enabling the transition to a cleaner and more flexible electricity grid. Specifically, the low-impact and cost-effective technology will reduce the use of fossil fuels and will provide reliable and bankable energy storage solutions for utilities and regulators, while integrating renewable energy for sustainable growth.
Curtis VanWalleghem, Hydrostor’s Chief Executive Officer, said: “We are grateful for the federal government’s support of our long duration energy storage solution that is critical to enabling the clean energy transition. This made-in-Canada solution, with the support of NRCan and Sustainable Development Technology Canada, is ready to be widely deployed within Canada and globally to lower electricity rates and decarbonize the electricity sector."
The Rosamond A-CAES 500MW Project is under advanced development and targeting a 2024 launch. It is designed to turn California’s growing solar and wind resources into on-demand peak capacity while allowing for closure of fossil fuel generating stations.
Hydrostor closed US$37 million (C$49 million) in growth financing in September 2019.