Canada’s economy is tied to our energy riches. We have vast supplies of inexpensive electricity, we are the world leading source for uranium – the key ingredient in generating nuclear power, we are the third largest producer of gas, and the Alberta’s oil sands represent the second largest proven oil reserve on the planet. How we develop and steward our energy resources will have a defining impact on our communities, our domestic economy and Canada’s brand in the global community for years to come.
If we look across the Canadian landscape to understand how we are stewarding our energy future it is clear that a patchwork of policies, regulations and incentive programmes are emerging at local and provincial levels. Each jurisdiction brings their own definition of the energy challenges and opportunities they face, coupled with their own remedies and prescriptions. While different jurisdictions have spawned innovations in policies and services, it has been difficult for companies to manoeuvre through the diverse and rapidly changing terrain.
Over the years, attempts to forge a national vision for Canada’s energy future have ebb and flowed in tandem with concerns about climate change, rising oil prices, declining energy supplies and excitement about innovations in renewable energy. Recommendations from both public and private sector led initiatives have ranged from creating a national energy policy to setting a clear and consistent price on carbon. But due to any number of political, economic or timing issues, the efforts to address Canada’s energy future have been haphazard and diffuse.
What will it take for us to recognize our strategic advantage and act in a concerted way to create a stable and sustainable energy future for this country? How can we harness our leadership, innovation and global position to build an energy system that protects our long-term resources, supports our social well-being and reduces our ecological footprint What role will different levels of government, the private sector, academic institutions and civil society play in reforming and strengthening our energy future?