Canada Effectively Cancels Its Cruise Season, Expanding Ban Through October

Port of Halifax
Halifax in Nova Scotia.

Citing the COVID-19 pandemic, Canadian authorities have effectively cancelled the rest of the 2020 cruise season in Canadian waters by banning any ships with overnight accommodations allowed to carry more than 100 persons from operating in Canadian waters until October 31, 2020.

The order came down via the Minister of Transport, the Honourable Marc Garneau.

The news cancels the Alaska season except for U.S.-flagged vessels and will put a stop to the late summer and early autumn fall foliage sailings in Canada/New England. It will also impact expedition operators in the Arctic.

“Our Government is committed to protecting Canadians, particularly during these challenging times. It is for that reason I am announcing updated measures for cruise ships and other passenger vessels in Canada, which includes prohibiting larger cruise ships from operating in Canadian waters until October 31, 2020. Our Government continues to work with other levels of government, transportation industry stakeholders, and Indigenous peoples to re-examine measures and to ensure Canada’s transportation system remains safe and secure during this time. We are all in this together,” said Garneau.

As of July 1, 2020, all other passenger vessels must follow provincial, territorial, local and regional health authority requirements for timelines and processes to resume operations, the government said.

Passenger vessels with the capacity to carry more than 12 persons continue to be prohibited from entering Arctic coastal waters (including Nunatsiavut, Nunavik and the Labrador Coast) until October 31, 2020.

Beginning July 1, 2020, passenger vessels will be allowed to operate in inland rivers and lakes in the Northwest Territories, Nunavut and Yukon.

Oil and Gas Refugees Are Being Courted By Clean Energy in Texas

wind turbine
By Brian Eckhouse and David Wethe (Bloomberg) –Jeff Bishop’s LinkedIn post gets right to the point: “Houston Oil & Gas Folks — we’re hiring in Texas” for jobs in cleantech.

His company, battery developer Key Capture Energy, is making the pitch even as tens of thousands of renewable-energy jobs have dried up amid the coronavirus pandemic. That’s because Bishop and a handful of other clean-power executives see an opportunity to recruit talent from the oil and gas industries, which have been even harder hit.

While there are plenty of overlapping skills, it wasn’t always easy for clean-power companies to lure top talent from oil and gas. Wind and solar were young and niche industries that tended to attract environmentalists. Now they’re big energy, and they appeal to a wider class of workers. Since publishing the post two months ago, Bishop has received about 200 applications.

“We’ve always wanted oil and gas folks,” said Bishop, Key Capture’s chief executive officer.

When boiled down, much of oil, gas, wind and solar is about building projects and selling the output. That requires workers with backgrounds in geology, land acquisition, engineering, finance, asset management and energy contracts.

“We are hiring oil and gas refugees for sure,” said Christian Fong, CEO at Spruce Finance Inc. The solar company moved its headquarters from San Francisco to Houston two years ago to recruit more energy veterans. It plans to boost its staff by 30%, or 20 people, during the second and third quarters.

Clean power already has momentum in Texas. It’s long been the top wind-power state in the U.S. Solar has been booming. Houston plans to power all of its city-owned properties — from fire stations to airports — with renewable energy. And now the city’s mayor is trying to bring two Elon Musk companies to the city — Tesla Inc. and SpaceX — in his push to broaden the city’s economic base beyond oil.

“We’re having to make certain adjustments,” Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner said. “It’s about the energy transition.”

To be clear, clean-power companies aren’t even close to being in a position to absorb the nearly 90,000 fossil-fuel jobs shed in March and April, including drillers, frackers and refiners. Renewables companies shed nearly 96,000 of their own jobs during that period as lockdowns put rooftop solar installations and other larger projects on ice.

But while some furloughed clean-power workers are already being called back to work, the pain in the oil patch continues as the industry suffers its worst downturn ever as the pandemic cripples demand.

On Wednesday, Chevron Corp. said it’s planning a 10% to 15% reduction in its global workforce this year, the biggest recent cut to headcount yet among global oil majors. It comes after oil-services giants Halliburton Co. and Schlumberger Ltd. have already made steep jobs cuts, including in Texas.

In the end, clean-power executives say they’re confident they’re better-positioned to bounce back and ultimately prevail in the struggle for the future of energy.

“We clearly see renewable energy coming out as a relative winner from this COVID crisis,” analysts from Sanford C. Bernstein & Co. including Deepa Venkateswaran wrote Friday in a note to investors. “The COVID crisis will result in an acceleration of decarbonisation initiatives.”

In some instances, the pay is even better in clean power. The median hourly wage for a mid-career wind-industry worker is now $29.79, above the $26.67 for oil, according to the U.S. Energy & Employment Report from the Energy Futures Initiative and the National Association of State Energy Officials.

“Before 2020, I had never heard of any firm specifically hiring from oil and gas into advanced-energy companies,” said Nat Kreamer, CEO of the trade group Advanced Energy Economy and a founder of the solar giant Sunrun Inc. “Now you look at a place like Texas with so much work to be done in renewables and so little work to be done in oil & gas — it’s obvious.”

Houston-based Sunnova Energy International Inc. has hired oil and gas workers before, and CEO John Berger expects to hire more. 8minute Solar Energy is looking for oil and gas people with experience in power trading, greenfield development, land acquisition and mineral rights, according to CEO Tom Buttgenbach.

“Ten years ago, the idealistic change-the-world folks were attracted to clean energy,” said Bishop, whose company has installed three 10-megawatt storage projects in Texas. “Today, we still get some of the change-the-world folks, but it’s an increasing number of team members wanting stable jobs in a growth industry.”

Storylines Pick Up Project Manager, Names Newbuild

Storylines New Ship Concept

Storylines, which is poised to build a new residence cruise ship, has announced Dr Paul Read as the newbuild project manager.

Read is CEO of Gelen Marine Ltd and has over 25 years of experience in shipbuilding and conversions, according to a press release.

He is a chartered Naval Architect and Marine Engineer with comprehensive experience in project management, engineering design and ship construction. Read will project manage and oversee the engineering, design and construction of the Storylines newbuilds.

The company said Read has been aboard for over three months, working closely with the designers, classification, shipyards and engineers to assist in the timely delivery of the company’s first ship, now named the Narrative.

“I’m excited to be heading up this unique project with all the challenges it brings at this current time and looking forward to seeing this fantastic ship take shape.” Read said.