This past year, the story of energy in Canada was a story of Alberta oil -- who owns it, who wants it, and how we're going to get it to them. But there was more going on out there. Here are a few stories that we argue matter just as much to our energy future, but that didn't necessarily trend on Twitter.
We should learn from history. What the oil lobby glosses over is that this boom, like every other boom, could go bust. Instead of putting all our eggs in the oil sands basket, instead of digging up Alberta at a break-neck pace, we should be more balanced and strategic in our approach. And we should develop a plan to wean our economy off oil.
I went to Toronto, New York, London and especially Oslo to explain the resource potential of Quebec. I told all who would listen how Quebec had worked for over a generation to become energy independent. I told them Questerre had an idea for natural gas that could help Quebec achieve its energy independence dreams. I was successful and convinced them to take the high risks involved and we were successful in finding one of the largest natural gas fields in North America.
The Environmental Review Tribunal continues to grind through its list of anti-wind appeals. On December 5, it rejected an appeal against the Renewable Energy Approval for another wind farm, Pattern Energy's South Kent Wind facility, 127 turbines between Tilbury and Ridgetown. In each of the appeals, the opponents have argued that approval of the wind farm will cause serious harm to human health. In each case, the Tribunal has found that this allegation has not been proven.
On the heels of big data grabbing headlines the world over for its role in President Obama's re-election, could 2013 be the year big data makes the big leap into the mainstream, especially business? The task ahead of us is to take the promise of big data and realize it in every department and in every industry. Some surprising pioneers are already leading the way.
Kinder Morgan would like us to believe that their Trans Mountain pipeline project in British Columbia is a better proposal than the one Enbridge has put forward, and that they're a more responsible company. Of course, as a climate activist I don't see any oil company proposing to expand oil consumption as playing a positive role in today's day and age. But given all of Enbridge's bungling as of late, some folks may be swayed by this argument.
For all we do during the summer months to try to be more "green," hosting dinner for the holidays can really have the opposite effect, not to mention hike up your hydro bill. In case you're hoping to save on energy and be a little better to the environment this holiday season, we've compiled a list of a few easy tips on how to do so.
Canada's entire "energy superpower" strategy hinges on high-priced oil, and a recent International Energy Agency report demonstrates that betting on high prices is risky. Canada should pin our future prosperity to the burgeoning renewables market, rather than doubling down on oil. It's the only choice we have for the sake of our environment. And it's the best path forward for our economy, too.
To Warren Sarauer putting a solar electric system on his roof was a no-brainer but when some innovative electricity retailers in Alberta decided to offer almost double the going rate for his exported solar energy he was ecstatic. Sarauer is a big solar energy supporter - through his company Evergreen and Gold Renewable Energy he puts renewable energy systems into people's homes. But last year he tackled a project that would set an example for his clients, he built a net-zero office.
The slow sway of the oilfield pumpjack, or nodding donkey as some call it, is one of the most familiar sights in Alberta. Drive around long enough and they become just another part of the landscape. But a small, innovative company based in Edmonton, Alberta named Canadian Control Works is re-imagining pumpjacks as green micro-generators. A pumpjack is like an iceberg. The vast majority of it is hidden, mysterious and out of sight. Underneath the pumpjack there are two to three kilometers of rod string which can weigh between five and 10 tons. Moving that weight requires a lot of electricity. Canadian Control Works is the group behind the Enersaver, a device which generates electricity from otherwise wasted kinetic energy created by the downswing of a pumpjack.
According to lobbyist registry data, there are currently 57 lobbyists representing the natural gas industry to elected officials and government agencies in the province of British Columbia. This is a pretty astounding number when you consider that the provincial government only consists of 85 elected representatives.
Basing our national energy strategy on the oil industry would would lead to too many emissions and too few jobs. Increasing our dependence on oil drives up the Canadian dollar which in turn hurts export-oriented sectors like manufacturing and forestry. The petro-dollar also makes our economy vulnerable to the boom and bust cycles typical of oil. In short, it's unwise to put all our eggs in an oily basket.
With the arrival of the crisp, fall weather, it's more important than ever to make sure you have the right nutrients to stay fit, healthy, and energized. Plant-based foods provide all of the macronutrients essential in maintaining optimal energy. Since working out causes physical stress, it's essential to neutralize the body by consuming a plant-based diet filled with fruits and vegetables. Here are some of my favourite superfoods.
In the wake of the 2010 BP Horizon spill in the Gulf of Mexico, our government needs to make changes to our outdated liability regime. Currently, the Canadian taxpayer is liable for offshore oil spills in the Arctic. Under current law, an oil company is responsible for damages up to $40 million of absolute liability, regardless of fault or negligence. Beyond the $40 million, it is either Canadian taxpayers or the company paying, depending on fault. Why are we providing public insurance for oil companies? We do not provide public insurance for homeowners in the case of a fire, or car owners in the case of a motor vehicle accident.
Alberta and Ontario are, from an outsider's perspective, remarkably similar. Their residents sing the same anthem, they drink the same double-double's and a vast number of people in both places live vicariously through the local hockey team. But in one key aspect Ontario is practically another world. It has embraced renewable energy like nowhere else in North America.
Fatigue is one of the most common concerns that initially prompts a new patient to book an appointment at my clinic. While the cause can range from insomnia or excessive stress to food allergies or a hormonal imbalance, more often than not I find that low levels of vitamin B12 (and often iron, which can go hand in hand) are at least partially to blame. The good news is that it's also one of the easiest things to restore and replace.
Mitt Romney, the Republican candidate for president of the United States issued his "white paper" on energy policy on Thursday. It calls for an integrated energy market with Canada, the United States and Mexico. Romney also endorses Prime Minister Stephen Harper's environmental fast track "one project, one review" policy.
Yesterday in British Columbia, Prime Minister Stephen Harper tried to sound a note of reason on the subject of the increasingly unpopular proposal to build 1,100 kilometres of Northern Gateway pipeline. And he talked about basing these decisions on science. My favourite bit, if I am allowed favourite bits of whoppers, was the gratuitous, "As I've said repeatedly." Where and when did he ever say anything like this before? Let's look at what he actually has said repeatedly...
During a long weekend in Toronto, everything here seems to slow down, calm down, and allow for maximum staycation bliss. So, what's on my agenda? Breakfast. Well, breakfast bars to be exact, and these chewy tropical treats are just the thing to fuel me through a long to-do list. Plus, the recipe will leave plenty of leftovers to pack for the road, and snack on all week long!