Alberta has the best solar and wind potential in all of Canada more than enough to power the entire province yet utilizes less than 1per cent of it. Alberta also has a highly skilled, trained workforce. Alberta has the welders, it has the electricians, it has the engineers, the machinists, it has all the people power it needs to make the solar powered leap.
There are multiple reasons why governments choose the policy paths they do. Political survival is perhaps the most obvious explanation. But as with any organization, divesting of unnecessary businesses, projects and tasks that are off-mission helps sharpen the focus. That matters if one cares about smarter, more effective government.
Politicians are free to ignore the science, safety and history of hydraulic fracturing. But if the incoming New Brunswick government sticks with its election promise, it will outlaw (temporarily, at least) one of the more innovative ways to extract oil and gas in the 21st century. The science and risk-reward ratio are both on the side of hydraulic fracturing. The potential for a more dynamic economy is staring New Brunswick politicians in the face.
Railways are transforming North America's energy sector and are, coincidentally, helping to save Canada's bacon. But the train business has been allowed to remain a 19th-century technology run with 19th-century mentality by workers without credentials. Aviation, by contrast, is heavily supervised and operated by licensed personnel with professional expertise and constant surveillance. For the moment, the critically important oil industry has been saved, but if governments aren't as tough as nails in their demands and dealings with the railways, then all bets are off.
Canadian charities are experiencing an "advocacy chill" and changing the way they go about their work as a result of what they say is "bullying" by the Harper Conservative government. My just completed Master's thesis research finds that the denunciatory rhetoric of government ministers against charities, followed by stepped up audits is having its toll not only on charity operations, but also on the strength of Canada's public discussions and thus on the vigor of democracy itself.
The University of Calgary's School of Public Policy has put out an important report that sheds light on an under-discussed dimension of Canada's energy export challenge: the time factor. At this point, most people (we hope) are aware that Canada faces physical bottlenecks in the transport of its energy resources to global markets.
For utilities, behaviour-based energy efficiency programs could make for happier customers, as industrial and household ratepayers alike are ready to be empowered to better manage their energy use and bills. Similarly, policymakers charged with delivering on energy efficiency will appreciate having one more arrow in their quiver.
Alberta has led all provinces in average annual economic growth over the last 20 years. Our unmatched strengths in agriculture, forestry and petrochemicals have earned us an international reputation but it is the energy sector that is our driving economic force. We are the energy hub in a nation that consistently ranks among the top 10 energy producers in the world. That's huge.
The HuffPost blog from the Fraser Institute's Senior Director, Natural Resource Studies, Kenneth Green, set out to make me look uninformed based on my submission to the U.S. State Department on the proposed Keystone pipeline. From his first words, it was pretty clear he didn't grasp the concept of writing a letter.
Recently, Green Party leader Elizabeth May orchestrated an open letter to United States Secretary of State John Kerry, urging the U.S. to reject the Keystone XL pipeline. In her note, Ms. May states that she sent Mr. Kerry "4 facts about Keystone XL." Unfortunately, two of Ms. May's facts aren't actually facts, and two of her facts are so lacking in context as to constitute merely factoids.
I was trying to come up with the perfect high-energy snack for my 28-kilometre run this weekend, so I decided to combine many of my favourite snack food ingredients: peanut butter and honey! These little granola bar-like bites are perfect for breakfast on the run, as well as for pre- and post-workout.
Both the people lauding the refinery proposal and those condemning it miss the point. In tying pipeline development to the building of a heavy-oil refinery in B.C., MLA Andrew Mr. Weaver is not so much accepting a reasonable compromise as he is floating still another costly, lengthy, prerequisite to new pipelines.
Standards are also incredibly powerful energy efficiency tools. While it's unlikely that we'll ban top-loading washers like we have incandescent light bulbs, as the price, reliability and efficiency of front-loading washing machines increases the old, inefficient top-loading design will simply fade away.
Discussions surrounding the need for new pipelines to transport Canada's oil to market have been a dominant economic, environmental and political issue for the past several years. Canada's overwhelming reliance on the United States as a customer, the U.S.'s growing energy self-sufficiency, and limited pipeline infrastructure have placed a low ceiling on the prices Canadians are able to secure for our energy exports.
Because Alberta oil is landlocked and therefore traditionally sold below world prices, it's been suggested that bringing it east will lower energy prices for us. It's probably more realistic to expect that Alberta crude will get more expensive as soon as a pipeline links it to us, and the world market.
Whether or not one favors Mr. Obama's energy policy, there's one thing very clear about it: Canada's oil is not something that factors into Mr. Obama's calculations other than in the negative: it's not "American" energy, it's in the basket of "imported oil" that the U.S. wishes to curtail, and to Mr. Obama it's the wrong sort of energy.