Tag Archives: National Energy Strategy

Nuclear Energy Nuclear News Nuclear Pride

Celebrating Catalysts of Innovation

The CNA is proud to support Pollution Probe by attending their annual dinner this evening!

Pollution Probe is a Canadian charitable environmental organization that:

  • Defines environmental problems through research;
  • Promotes understanding through education; and,
  • Presses for practical solutions through advocacy.

In fact, we have been working with Probe on various energy literacy initiatives over the past year that serve to help Canadians better understand Canada’s energy system. We like to remind our stakeholders that we understand the energy mix required for a large, diverse (and cold!) nation like ours. Because nuclear power plants operate all the time, they play an important role in Canada’s energy portfolio — and with electricity demand projected to increase by 34% by 2025 (due to population growth and new technology developments), meeting this demand will required increased capacity to produce reliable electricity.

Each year, Pollution Probe’s Annual Gala Dinner brings together 400 to 500 leaders and enablers from industry and government for an evening of networking and celebration. The theme of this year’s Gala is innovation, reflecting the premise that significant environmental change needs positive, tangible innovation. A new feature, the Innovator‘s Showroom, will be dedicated to showcasing leading-edge technology and thinking that advances environmental improvement and sustainable development. Proceeds from the Gala support Pollution Probe’s work to advance public policy that results in positive and tangible environmental change.

His Excellency, the Right Honourable David Johnston, Governor General of Canada, will be at the Gala as the recipient of Pollution Probe’s inaugural Environmental and Sustainable Development Leader Award. This year’s award recognizes His Excellency as a driving force for environmental innovation in Canada. Perhaps we can find some time to talk to the GG about the key role nuclear plays in S&T and innovation over dinner? We’ll let you know!

Nuclear Energy Nuclear News

Canada’s Energy Ministers Discuss a National Energy Strategy

Canada’s energy ministers met in Kananaskis, Alberta this past weekend to discuss creating a national energy strategy, as well as opportunities in the mining sector. Federal Natural Resource Minister Joe Oliver says the ministers have been taking a collaborative approach, while still trying to respect provincial jurisdiction.  The meetings focused on oil and natural gas development but ministers did received a presentation of recommendations from The Energy Policy Institute of Canada (EPIC) which looked at developing a more coherent national energy policy framework.

Joe Oliver, minister of natural resources, left, Ron Liepert, Alberta minister of energy, centre, and Richard Brown, PEI minister of environment, energy and forestry, prepare for a group photo with their provincial colleagues before the start of their meetings in Kananaskis, Alta., Tuesday July 19. Photo Credit: Jeff McIntosh, THE CANADIAN PRESS. Photo Source: globaltvbc.com

EPIC’s  five interim recommendations they would like to see in any national strategy:

  • Improve Canada’s regulatory regime by eliminating overlapping and inconsistent requirements at
    the federal, provincial, and municipal levels.
  • Enhance Canada’s energy security by moving beyond our historical reliance on the United States
    and capturing growth opportunities in Asia and elsewhere.
  • Adopt interim carbon pricing measures, and define the criteria that should inform the design of a
    long-term carbon-pricing regime in Canada.
  • Promote greater public knowledge of energy’s impact on our economy, environment, and society –
    with a view to increasing conservation behaviour.
  • Foster energy innovation by encouraging more private sector investment in game-changing technologies.

The CNA is a member of EPIC and served on its Innovation Subcommittee. Our contribution to the report ensured that nuclear science and technology innovation was included in the recommendation to foster innovation. Nuclear S&T supports materials testing and product improvements, medical products and services, training and development of scientists and engineers, and other activities of high value to an advanced economy. As it says in the EPIC report:

Strong, robust nuclear research initiatives at our national laboratories and universities support improvements and medical services. Neutron beam testing, for example, which can only be done at major nuclear facilities, is applied almost daily to new materials and products. This research underpins safe operations within the nuclear industry, and in many non-nuclear sectors (aerospace, autos, health and medicine).

We look forward to seeing a national energy strategy for Canada that is consistent with the CNA’s vision:  maintaining Canada’s nuclear leadership role at home and around the world!

Nuclear Energy

Canada Needs a Serious Conversation on Electricity

This was one of the key messages from yesterday’s Canada 2020 panel on the future of Canada’s electricity sector.

A conversation on electricity for us, of course, means Talking Nuclear. Nuclear energy is an affordable, available and reliable source of energy, meeting growing demands for electricity, now and in the future – if we let it. And nuclear provides a clean and reliable source of power too making it an important part of Canada’s clean energy portfolio — because there are virtually no greenhouse gas emissions from our power generating plants and it doesn’t contribute to climate change or smog.

__

Canada 2020 has made quite a name for itself by hosting a number of high-profile panels on pressing public policy issues. Today’s Power Talk event was no exception: with Don Newman as the moderator, some of Canada’s leading thinkers took two hours out of their busy days to discuss the future of Canada’s power infrastructure.

For decades, Canada’s public has become used to cheap, reliable electricity. Got a Flat Screen TV ? Plug it in. New computer? Plug it in. That’s the current reality in Canada – and one of the reasons life in Canada is as good as it is.

CEA's Pierre Guimond

In his opening speech, Pierre Guimond – President & CEO of the Canadian Electricity Association – reminded the audience that much of Canada’s electricity infrastructure is now more than 50 years old, and that it was originally built to provide electricity to about 20 million people. And while the system was set up – fortunately – with considerable overcapacity – it is becoming quite stretched, now that Canada’s population has reached about 35 million people, and continues to grow.

Since the 2003 Blackout, the Ontario electricity system has come more than once very close to the point of becoming overloaded from excessive demand – and while excellent management and a bit of luck succeeded in avoiding widespread outages, the risk of major brownouts and blackouts is increasing from year to year. Already, some companies have decided against doing business in Ontario, simply because they have looked at the local electricity system and found it wanting.

 

The Cost of Not Investing in Canada’s Electricity Infrastructure

If Canadians want to continue living in a country where electricity comes from a plug in the wall whenever it is needed, it will be necessary to invest at least $15 billion every year, for 20 years.

This certainly is a lot of money – particularly during the current economic downturn – but certainly also pales before the costs of not investing enough.

CME's Jayson Myers

Jayson Myers – President and CEO of the Canadian Manufacturers & Exporters – provided the audience with a good illustration of what can happen when the electricity system is not reliable: a small Ontario-based food manufacturing company lost more than $25,000 when it suffered a series of power surges lasting no more than 6 seconds. Most consumers probably wouldn’t have noticed this – beyond a brief flickering of the room lights – but since all the company’s control systems were electronic, the entire factory reset and needed to be restarted.

TD Bank's Craig Alexander

As several speakers pointed out, Canada as a whole currently invests only around $10 billion annually into the electricity system – almost a third too low.

And while some analysts have pointed to the recent slump in electricity demand, Craig Alexander – Senior VP and Chief Economist at TD Bank Financial Group – was adamant that expecting Canada’s electricity demand to stagnate, or even drop further, is unrealistic. Just on the consumer side, there is an increasing demand for electronic devices across the board. And once the economy finds its footing again, industry demand is bound to rise as well.

Derek Burney

Not only are current investments too low, according Derek Burney, Canada’s regulatory system is needlessly cumbersome and often delays desperately needed energy projects by decades, while companies spent billions just to go through the process. This is no argument against good regulation to protect the environment and public health, but regulators should take steps to make it more efficient.

 

Nuclear Power Part of the Solution

John Manley

There also was broad agreement on the need to pursue an energy policy that focuses on ensuring improved environmental performance, and a reduced reliance on fossil fuels. However, while going ‘green’ is generally a good thing, care should be taken to invest in technologies that are likely to provide Canadians with sufficiently reliable energy over the years. In this context, John Manley summarized the sentiment around the table by saying that nuclear must remain part of the solution, particularly in Ontario, where its role as base load power is irreplaceable.

A Pan-Canadian Strategy

Finally, all participants agreed that Canada needs to find a way for a national strategy – not just provincial or regional solutions. This country is blessed with some of the richest and cleanest energy sources in the world. Energy should be Canada’s economic advantage, not challenge. While the federal government does not determine provincial energy policies, there is a role for the federal government to provide leadership and encourage cooperation between provinces and across the country on energy.

This could involve streamlining the regulatory system throughout Canada, helping to improve interconnections across provincial borders, raise awareness for the need of greater energy cooperation and improved energy policy.

To this end, the Canadian Nuclear Association, along with the Canadian Electricity Association and others, is a member of Energy Policy Institute of Canada (EPIC), an organization whose sole purpose is:

to develop a comprehensive, pan-Canadian approach to energy which will provide the foundation for recommendations to federal, provincial and territorial government authorities responsible for energy and environment policy. We believe better analysis, based on better information, will lead to better policy.

Whatever the roles of the federal and provincial governments maybe in the future, one thing is clear: Canadians cannot afford to postpone serious conversation and decisive action on electricity much longer. Every year we wait is a year closer to the point where our current system becomes so unreliable that it no longer enables economic growth in this country, but undermines it.

Among the documents handed out during the event was this little graph. Puts the cost of electricity into perspective, doesn’t it?

a little bit of history

 

An event recording of the PowerTalk symposium, and other materials, is now available online.