The conversation about energy in Canada has changed over the last year or so. There is a growing understanding of the need to address climate change and lower carbon emission in addition to an overt commitment to enhance movement in this direction. The conversation is getting interesting. Now that we agree on the necessity of change, the talk is about what that change should include. Fortunately, we have options. Let’s look at a few:
According to CanSIA, “Canada’s energy resource-base and human talent have proven to be one of our greatest competitive advantages and sources of economic strength in the past. While many of our significant traditional and renewable energy resources are centralized (e.g. petrochemicals, natural gas, coal and geothermal energy in Western Canada and marine energy at our coasts), solar energy is both ubiquitous and abundant in each and every Canadian community and solar energy enjoys more public support than any other source of energy.”
Much of Canada has superior solar resources. There is great potential to compete with the current global leader in solar technology, Germany. This energy option is one of the cleanest and most abundant. The technology we have available allows for capture of solar energy for both public and commercial use. These technologies utilize both the heat and the light of the sun.
According to CanWEA, “Wind energy is one of the fastest growing major sources of new electricity around the world. In 2012, global wind energy capacity grew by 19 per cent, with the wind industry installing a record level of 44,711 MW of new clean, reliable wind power. Today, there are over 150,000 wind turbines operating around the world in over 90 countries.”
Wind energy is a newer addition to the Canadian energy family, but one with great potential. It is expected that the wind energy industry will continue its steady growth through 2016. It has enjoyed growth already in areas such as BC, Alberta, Ontario and Quebec. These areas also have long-term plans in place for the next decade.
Wind energy has proven to be an affordable source of energy and improvements in cost-effectiveness continue to be made. Wind turbines have an advantage in providing electricity without consuming or contaminating the fresh water supply. Additionally, wind energy reduces harmful air emissions and creates no harmful waste products when compared with other sources of electricity.
According to Canadian Hydropower Association, these are the five things you need to know about hydropower:
“1. Hydropower is clean and renewable. Hydropower draws energy from falling or flowing water and converts it into electricity, without consuming, wasting or depleting water in the process.”
“2. There is additional hydropower potential across Canada. Thanks to generation that is predominantly hydro, Canada has the cleanest and most renewable electricity system of the G8 countries.”
“3. Providing 63% of our electricity, hydropower is a cornerstone of Canada’s economy. The clean electricity that hydropower supplies to Canadians supports the growth of industry, commerce, infrastructure and communities.”
“4. After more than 130 years of proven technology, hydropower is still leading edge. Each hydropower project is unique because it is developed according to site-specific needs. Canada is a global leader in this field and is recognized both as a pioneer and an innovator in state-of-the-art hydropower technology.”
“5. Hydropower benefits local and aboriginal communities. The Canadian hydropower industry works closely with host communities in the planning, construction, and implementation of projects. This is key to the success of project development, ensuring that local and aboriginal communities benefit from the project through improved quality of life, employment, business opportunities, capacity building, and long-term revenues.”
According to the Canadian Nuclear Association, here is why Nuclear is an excellent renewable option:
“Clean: Fossil fuels release pollutants and carbon dioxide, which contribute to climate change; producing electricity in nuclear reactors creates no emissions. When the whole life-cycle of power generation is taken into account, nuclear power is one of the cleanest forms of energy, behind only hydroelectric and wind power.”
“Affordable: Fuel and operational costs for nuclear power are very low, making it more affordable than gas, wind, and solar power. And because most of the cost of nuclear power is derived from the construction of facilities, pricing is both stable and predictable.”
“Safe: There is nothing more important than safety in the nuclear industry: it is more important than cost, reliability, or any other concern. Canada’s reactors are the most protected infrastructure in the country, and there has not been a single death from radiation exposure at a Canadian nuclear power plant in over 50 years.”
“Reliable: Unlike most other forms of electricity generation, nuclear power plants are designed to operate continuously, which is ideal for utilities that need a dependable baseload source of electricity at all times of the day and night. And because the uranium that powers nuclear reactors is plentiful in Canada, nuclear power is reliable over economic cycles as well.”
As you can see, there are many option for the future of Canadian Energy. At The Solar Canada Annual Conference & Exposition, to be held December 7th – 8th, 2015 in Toronto, Ontario, Canada, Dan Woynillowicz, Director, Policy & Partnerships, Clean Energy Canada will bring together leaders from various sectors of the Canadian energy market to discuss and debate their thoughts on this subject. Follow this link for more information about this session as well as other programs that will be available: http://solarcanadaconference.ca/program/