September 6, 2012
A new study which identifies the one key element that could overcome differences on a national energy strategy: changes to how Canadian governments invest in energy technology.
Toronto – The Mowat Centre at the School of Public Policy & Governance at the University of Toronto has just released a major report which identifies the one key element that could overcome differences on a national energy strategy: changes to how Canadian governments invest in energy technology.
The report, Smarter and Stronger: Taking Charge of Canada’s Energy Technology Future, suggests that a coordinated national energy technology strategy would result in increased Canadian economic prosperity and enable Canada to fulfill its ambitions to be a global energy superpower.
“The dispute between Alberta and British Columbia over the proposed Northern Gateway pipeline highlights again that Canadian provinces do not have identical perspectives on energy. But a sustained investment in energy technology could be the glue which binds all provinces together in a common energy strategy. Unlike physical resources, expertise in energy technologies is more broadly distributed across the country,” says Tatiana Khanberg, an Energy Policy Associate with the Mowat Centre and the study’s author.
Ministers of Energy will no doubt find it challenging to agree to a common national energy strategy when they meet in Prince Edward Island later this week.
“The Ministers meeting this week provides provinces with an unprecedented opportunity to shape Canada’s role as an energy superpower. A more targeted focus on energy technology – from smart grid management to energy storage to unconventional oil extraction – could be an important foundation of future prosperity. It could even give energy ministers something they can all agree on,” adds Matthew Mendelsohn, Director of the Mowat Centre.
Becoming a real energy superpower requires Canada to become a global leader in energy technologies, according to the study. Based on dozens of interviews with experts and an examination of successful practices around the world, Khanberg concludes that the current ER&D suite of policies and programs, coupled with a piecemeal approach to energy policy generally, provide a relatively shaky foundation for an emerging energy superpower.
“The unfortunate reality is that Canada’s current approach to energy technology policy is piecemeal, fragmented and too focused on exploiting and exporting natural resources. Instead, a focus on investing in the energy technologies that could help the world transition to lower carbon energy use is a more solid foundation for future Canadian prosperity. It is also a better foundation for a national energy strategy that appeals to more Canadians and more regions,” says Mendelsohn.