If we’re transitioning to greener energy, why should we build more fossil fuel infrastructure like Line 3?
Minnesota and the rest of the country is making important progress toward a greener energy future that will expand the use of sustainable energy sources. The challenge is how do we both maintain the economy we depend on today while at the same time support the important change that is happening.
There will be a time when green and renewable energy will be the primary way we power our homes, businesses, and communities. The reality is that scenario is still decades away, making it important to have the energy we need today and in the immediate future to make this transition successful. Projects like replacing Line 3 are still essential and will be for quite some time.
Brad Shamla, Vice President of U.S. operations for Enbridge talks about this in a Star Tribune piece about how the Line 3 replacement is in line with goals to reduce greenhouse gas emissions while also meeting energy demands:
- Minnesotans currently use over 12.8 million gallons of petroleum products every day, 2/3 of which come from Minnesota’s two refineries. Eighty percent of these come from Canadian crude oil, which all comes from Enbridge’s system.
- A study by the International Energy Agency suggests that in 2040 48% of global energy demand will still be met by oil and gas, while meeting the reduced greenhouse gas emissions in line with the Paris Agreement.
- Continued innovation has led to greenhouse gas emissions from the Alberta oil sands falling by 21% since 2019, with more improvements to come – some of this production is already lower than the average refined barrel in North America.
- Electricity for powering the new Line 3 Replacement will be supplied by renewable energy sources.
- Replacing Line 3 will have little impact on oil sands production – if not sent by pipeline, this oil will be shipped by rail, which is a less energy-efficient and more carbon-intensive method.
The oil that Line 3 brings to refineries will continue to be needed, as will the fuel and other products produced when the oil is refined. Enbridge’s Line 3 Replacement Project will make sure oil will be transported more efficiently, with a lower carbon footprint.
Beyond the fact we will continue to need fuel for cars, trucks, and airplanes, there are also many other uses for petroleum products that will also be needed for years to come. Jason Hayes, of the Mackinac Center for Public Policy summarizes these uses:
“Petroleum is the base of many products we use today, including transportation fuels, electricity, plastics, synthetic rubbers, chemicals, medicines and toiletries. All but the most basic of North American activities would cease without it. Additionally, we need fossil fuels to make many products that are not petroleum-based, including minerals and agricultural products. Only the most rudimentary, locally produced products would be available to us without oil and natural gas.”
Finding more efficient, sustainable means of energy production is a very important goal to keep working toward, but we also can’t ignore the reality of how important petroleum products are and will continue to be for a long time in so many facets of our modern lives.