Hydro-Québec indirectly subsidizes the wind power sector to the tune of $695 million a year, which amounts to some $200 per Quebec household to produce a tiny fraction of the province's energy. With an estimated 40 billion barrels of oil, developing this resource would provide a minimum of $160 million a year in royalties for the Quebec treasury over 30 years.
In the past few days I have received a number of requests form Toronto Hydro asking me to conserve. So when I went into the Body Shop on Bloor Street in Toronto at midday on Wednesday the 17, the doors were wide open as if they were trying hard to air condition Toronto. I beat up on them to close the doors and they did.
Neither opponents nor advocates of the Keystone XL pipeline have entertained auxiliary projects that would reconcile both concerns, such as hydropower. Given the undeniable environmental and economic benefits, it's difficult to understand why or how policy makers have failed to recognize it as a viable solution.
Leaders in the Canadian hydropower industry believe North America can dam its way to a cooler climate, but some experts say that continual increases in energy supply -- whatever the source -- are not the optimal response to the climate crunch. The answer is not more energy, but much more efficient use of it.