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Canadian Energy Strategy recognizes need for low carbon options


Canada’s provincial premiers and territorial leaders reached unanimous agreement on a national energy strategy last week, despite early rumblings of dissent, particularly from Premier Brad Wall of Saskatchewan.

The strategy was outlined in a 40-page document released July 17 during the meeting of Canada’s Premiers in St. John’s, Newfoundland. It is an important pointer for consulting engineers who design everything from hydro, nuclear, and renewable energy generating projects, to transmission and distribution infrastructure. The energy industry in Canada amounts to almost 10% of GDP and employs hundreds of thousands, including engineers.

Premier Rachel Notley, recently elected premier of Alberta, said the agreement was “an important meeting of the minds across Canada about its national energy infrastructure. She said: “The consensus reached today on what we’re seeking to achieve is the first step towards making real progress.” At the same time, the strategy recognizes that Alberta and other provinces are the “constitutional owners and managers of Canada’s natural resources.”

With regard to climate change and efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, the agreement’s “Vision” section said the leaders and premiers “Recognize the importance of environmentally and socially responsible energy development, transportation systems, and enabling technologies to support conservation, efficiency, and effectiveness in the use of energy resources.”

Another point was in favour of: “Transition to a lower-carbon economy through

appropriate initiatives, such as carbon pricing, carbon capture and storage and other technological innovations, while meeting current and future energy needs.”

And the vision appears to favour easing inter-provincial transmission, saying that the authors wanted to “Foster the development of pan-Canadian, regional, and bilateral agreements on energy development, transportation, and transmission.”

The document listed impressive facts about Canada’s energy resources: one of the world’s five largest energy producers, world’s third largest hydro-electricity generator, seventh in term of installed wind generating capacity, fifth largest natural gas producer, and owner of the world’s third largest crude oil reserves. Almost 80% of the country’s electricity is generated from low or zero carbon sources.

To read the Canadian Energy Strategy document of July 2015, click here.

To read a statement from the Council of the Federation of Canadian Premiers of July 17, click here.