Canadian provincial premiers propose national energy strategy

Provincial premiers in Canada have proposed a national energy strategy with actions targeting “sustainability and conservation,” “technology and innovation,” and “delivering energy to people.”

The move caps an effort begun by former Alberta Premier Alison Redford in 2012 as a way to streamline energy projects (OGJ Online, Sept. 12, 2012). In intervening years, the strategy has become a contest for priority between energy projects and response to climate change

The premiers’ group, the Council of the Federation, issued its strategy after meeting in St. John’s, NL, this month.

Here are goals (in italics) and actions, by subcategory (capital letters), from the strategy document:

PROMOTE ENERGY EFFICIENCY AND CONSERVATION

GOAL 1.1 Strengthen Canadians’ understanding of the benefits of energy efficiency and conservation.

Action 1.1.1 Expand consumer access to reliable and meaningful energy use information that supports informed decision-making, influences behavioral change, and builds awareness of the benefits of energy efficiency and conservation.

GOAL 1.2 Maximize access to energy savings by all energy consumers.

Action 1.2.1 Build on existing loan, subsidy, rebate programs, as well as taxation designed to overcome financial barriers, and ensure consumers have fair and reasonable access to energy efficiency benefits.

GOAL 1.3 Encourage market transformation through targeted energy efficiency and conservation policies, including regulations.

Action 1.3.1 Evaluate opportunities to implement or expand minimum energy efficiency performance policies, such as increased standards, as a means to drive uptake of energy efficiency improvements, especially in sectors such as transportation, buildings, and appliances.

TRANSITION TO A LOWER CARBON ECONOMY

GOAL 2.1 Develop complementary carbon management mechanisms across Canada.

Action 2.1.1 Review different approaches regarding greenhouse gas emissions reporting requirements to continually improve, and align where possible, inventory information across Canada.

GOAL 2.2 Foster an understanding by governments on the use of market-oriented policies to reduce greenhouse gas emissions across Canada.

Action 2.2.1 Review and explore the potential to expand the use of market-based mechanisms across Canada, and identify elements and opportunities to promote collaboration to increase the efficiency and effectiveness of programs.

GOAL 2.3 Actively pursue greenhouse gas emissions reductions with targets based on sound science.

Action 2.3.1 Collaborate on the development of options for an integrated pan-Canadian and North American approach to greenhouse gas reductions. Any such approach should be built on initiatives introduced by governments and aimed to enhance jurisdictions’ ability to flexibly implement ambitious measures for reducing greenhouse gas emissions. The approach should also take into account possible impacts on competitiveness.

ENHANCE ENERGY INFORMATION AND AWARENESS

GOAL 3.1 Improve quality of energy data across Canada.

Action 3.1.1 Collaborate with stakeholders in the energy sector to identify possible improvements to the identification, collection, and management of energy data, including greenhouse gas emissions in Canada.

GOAL 3.2 Increase awareness and understanding of energy in Canada.

Action 3.2.1 Encourage interested sectors and stakeholders to take a leadership role to improve access, encourage understanding, and use innovative methods to present and disseminate energy data, including greenhouse gas emissions and information to all users

Accelerate the development and deployment of energy research and technologies that advance more efficient production, transmission, and use of clean and conventional energy sources. GOAL 4.1 Enhance research into transformational technologies that support safe and sustainable energy production, conversion, storage, transmission, distribution, and consumption and are resilient to climate change and its impacts.

Action 4.1.1 Identify gaps in existing research, barriers to further technology development, and opportunities to expand research.

Action 4.1.2 Support the development and use of new practices, technologies and infrastructure that improve the resilience of energy systems and enhance the expansion of renewable energy resources into existing energy systems.

GOAL 4.2 Work collaboratively across jurisdictions and with key stakeholders, to support enhanced knowledge sharing with respect to energy research, innovation, demonstration, production, and use.

Action 4.2.1 Share best practices related to the demonstration and implementation of technologies, including bilateral/multilateral agreements.

Action 4.2.2 Facilitate collaborative research projects among governments, industry, and academic institutions, including identifying opportunities for Canadian companies to leverage the expertise of provincial and territorial governments in export promotion and in regard to energy partnerships.

GOAL 4.3 Identify new approaches to support greater adoption of innovation processes, products, and services for the energy sector.

Action 4.3.1 Seek new models for financing energy innovations to expand markets and attract investors.

Action 4.3.2 Explore options to improve collaboration on an energy innovation strategy for remote off-grid communities, which could be presented by Canada’s premiers to the federal government.

Develop and implement strategies to meet energy sector human resource needs now and well into the 21st century.

GOAL 5.1 Improve access to employment in the energy sector for all Canadians and increase participation of underrepresented groups by developing partnerships among employers, communities, and postsecondary and training institutions.

Action 5.1.1 Identify mechanisms to increase energy industry investment in skill development and training programs including partnerships with governments and educational institutions.

Action 5.1.2 Assist underrepresented Canadians, such as aboriginal peoples, persons with disabilities, and older workers, to access and benefit from labor market opportunities in the energy sector.

GOAL 5.2 Improve labor supply and demand information for the energy sector to inform project planning, training, and employment initiatives and to create awareness of career opportunities.

Action 5.2.1 Define key core occupations and skill requirements for the energy sector, and collaborate with postsecondary and training institutions and industry to support the adequate supply of graduates.

Action 5.2.2 Enhance the collection of labor market information, and make that information more publicly available, timely, accurate, accessible, and easy to understand.

GOAL 5.3 Increase the number of qualified workers engaged and retained in the energy sector.

Action 5.3.1 Work collaboratively to continue to remove barriers to labor mobility within Canada, and increase immigration of workers in occupations that are in demand for the energy sector.

Action 5.3.2 Identify strategies which assist existing workers to:

• Transition into more advanced jobs and with career progression.

• Qualify for skilled employment opportunities through job-specific training and/or apprenticeship streams.

• Maintain employment in the energy sector.

Facilitate the development of renewable, green and/or cleaner energy sources to meet future demand and contribute to environmental goals and priorities.

GOAL 6.1 Support the efficient deployment of clean and renewable energy sources across Canada.

Action 6.1.1 Enhance the use of cleaner and renewable energy in electricity generation, industrial processes, heat, and transportation.

Action 6.1.2 Encourage further deployment of alternative and renewable energy through the use of innovative approaches such as energy storage, smart grids, and on-site microgeneration.

GOAL 6.2 Support greater access to affordable, clean, and reliable supplies of energy for all Canadians.

Action 6.2.1 Work with aboriginal and rural and remote communities and other partners to increase the use of cleaner renewable energy projects to reduce off-grid dependency on diesel.

Action 6.2.2 Examine opportunities to increase interconnectedness as a means to support the development of renewable and alternative energy projects.

Action 6.2.3 Identify opportunities to ensure the continuing security of energy supply and infrastructure, and integrate the implications and uncertainties of a changing climate.

Develop and enhance a modern, reliable, environmentally safe, and efficient series of transmission and transportation networks for domestic and export/import sources of energy.

GOAL 7.1 Ensure that regional, Canadian, and international infrastructure exists for the transportation and transmission of energy products to domestic and international markets.

Action 7.1.1 Compile and evaluate capacity of existing transportation and transmission infrastructure to facilitate cross-jurisdictional transportation and transmission of energy products.

Action 7.1.2 Identify shared priorities for energy infrastructure projects to address transportation and transmission constraints and meet demand.

Action 7.1.3 Identify the type, nature, and quantity of energy products by province and territory (region) which require improved transportation and transmission infrastructure to facilitate the safe and economic transportation and transmission of energy resources.

Action 7.1.4 Identify the investments needed to sustain and improve transmission and transportation infrastructure.

GOAL 7.2 Maintain world-leading practices for the safe, secure, efficient, reliable, resilient, and environmentally responsible construction and operation of Canada’s energy infrastructure.

Action 7.2.1 Identify research gaps, and explore opportunities to pursue joint research.

Action 7.2.2 Identify and adopt policy and regulatory best practices within provinces, territories, and internationally, and explore the establishment of common technology standards.

GOAL 7.3 Facilitate greater exchanges and transfers of energy between or across the provinces and territories.

Action 7.3.1 Provinces and territories will collaborate to identify opportunities to increase development of electricity transmission between jurisdictions.

Action 7.3.2 Expand access to transmission and transportation infrastructure by enhancing provincial/territorial/regional collaboration to facilitate the free trade of electricity.

Action 7.3.3 Remaining compliant and continually assessing and meeting transmission reliability standards and ensuring that any purchase or sale of electricity between or across provinces and territories respects North American market rules and occurs on a commercial basis.

Action 7.3.4 Share information on provincial and territorial regulatory mechanisms to enhance transparency.

Improve the timeliness and certainty of regulatory approval decision-making processes while maintaining rigorous protection of the environment and public interest.

GOAL 8.1 Enhance the efficiency and effectiveness of energy regulatory systems in Canada to facilitate timely regulatory decisions while maintaining the highest standards.

Action 8.1.1 Improve information and enhance engagement practices to help proponents and stakeholders navigate energy regulatory processes in Canada.

Action 8.1.2 Collaborate to identify, reduce, or remove duplication and inconsistencies between regulatory processes in Canada.

Action 8.1.3 Continue to share knowledge between jurisdictions and identify best practices to enhance regulatory systems.

GOAL 8.2 Continue to ensure that provincial and territorial energy regulatory systems maintain the rigorous protection of the environment and protect the health and safety of people.

Action 8.2.1 Continue to support the development, improvement, and integration of health and safety-related standards within provincial and territorial regulatory systems.

Action 8.2.2 Develop measures to ensure that energy regulatory systems are supportive of new technologies, innovation, and alternative and renewable energy sources.

Action 8.2.3 Develop and enhance mutual and coordinated regulatory practices for preventing and responding to energy-related incidents.

PROMOTE MARKET DIVERSIFICATION.

GOAL 9.1 Attract capital investment to Canada and open new international and domestic markets.

Action 9.1.1 Create a provincial and territorial compendium of investment attraction practices to find commonalities to leverage best practices.

GOAL 9.2 Build social license to support the efficient movement of energy products, technologies, and services across Canada.

Action 9.2.1 Build awareness of the diversity of Canada’s energy portfolio.

Action 9.2.2 Promote the benefits of interconnected energy transmission and transportation infrastructure.

GOAL 9.3 Identify and analyze opportunities for domestic energy processing that optimize the value of Canada’s diverse portfolio of energy resources.

Action 9.3.1 Explore opportunities for provinces and territories to collaborate on strategic value added development.

Pursue formalized participation of provinces and territories in international discussions and negotiations.

GOAL 10.1 Establish a stronger, more predictable provincial/territorial role in formal international negotiations involving energy and climate change.

Action 10.1.1 Call on the federal government to be an active partner in reducing greenhouse gas emissions in order to make Canada a world leader.

Action 10.1.2 Engage the federal government on developing a formal mechanism that provides provinces and territories the opportunity to participate in international negotiations, agreements, and forums.

Action 10.1.3 Pursue alternative mechanisms and processes to formalize the role of provinces and territories in international negotiations.

GOAL 10.2 Establish a more coordinated and active provincial/territorial presence in international forums dealing with energy and climate change.

Action 10.2.1 Expand bilateral and multilateral provincial and territorial collaboration in international fora on areas of common interest in the energy sector.

Action 10.2.2 Leverage existing provincial and territorial bodies and networks, as appropriate, to improve provincial/territorial coordination on international energy issues.

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