Sustainable Energy

picture credit:http://www.uic.com.au/whyu.htm


High living standards require a high level of energy consumption

Even so, Canada's energy consumption is gluttonous. Our far flung communities, cold climate, ample supplies of cheap electricity, and consumption driven lifestyles make us among the heaviest energy users on the planet.

Per Capita Energy Consumption, by country
millions of BTU's per capita per year
Country industry transportation agriculture services residential Total
Canada |94.14 |71.15 |5.64 |35.76 |41.11 |247.8
United States 52.25 88.7 2.08 28.16 38.52 209.71
Sweden |63.2 |38.23 |2.37 |21.61 |34.97 |160.38
Japan 44.25 30.36 3.19 14.43 16.5 108.73
Singapore |41.27 |44.69 |0.03 |8.28 |5.15 |99.42
Slovakia 35.53 10.94 2.18 9.95 17.54 76.14
China |10.07 |2.6 |1.02 |0.96 |9.58 |24.23
Egypt 9.36 5.48 0.13 0.55 4.04 19.56
India |3.76 |1.78 |0.35 |0.19 |8.48 |14.56
Philippines 3.97 4.49 0.25 1.4 2.91 13.02
Haiti |1.71 |1.36 |0 |0.13 |5.28 |8.48
Congo 0.38 1.99 0 0 5.91 8.28
source: Energy Resources and Global Development - Chow, Kopp and Courtney
What happens when rising demand meets a finite supply of non-renewable energy?
Recently, global energy demand has been climbing at a rate of 2% per year. Total global energy use now exceeds 350 quadrillion British thermal units (BTUs) per year, which is equivalent to over 170 million barrels of oil each day. Global energy consumption draws from six primary sources: 44% petroleum, 26% natural gas, 25% coal, 2.4% hydroelectric power, 2.2% nuclear power, and 0.2% nonhydro renewable6 energy.
Global Energy Reserves - Quadrillion BTU's
Energy SourceProven ReservesShare of Current ConsumptionCurrent ConsumptionYears Remaining*
Petroleum |5800 |0.44 |154 |37
Coal 19000 0.25 88 217
Natural Gas |5600 |0.26 |91 |62
Uranium 240000 0.022 7.7 31168
*note: years remaining assumes zero growth in consumption (unlikely in the next 50 years)
source: Energy Resources and Global Development - Chow, Kopp and Courtney

Based on typical estimates, it can be assumed that the world will have to find alternatives for the 70% of global energy currently supplied by petroleum and natural gas within 50 years. The transportation sector in particular will have to shift to a new dominant energy source. The figures above make an implicit assumption that increases in energy demand due to rising living standards will be cancelled out advances in energy conservation or "green" energy - this is unlikely within the first half of the 21st century, but quite possible as humans facing a severe energy crisis in the mid century make deep changes to their fundamental economic infrastructures.

View Energy in the official 2004 platform.

View proposal - open the electricty market proposal by Doug Anderson

Energy - Less is More

When it comes to energy, we can build more power plants and create more pollution, or we can take steps to rebuild factories, renovate homes, refit businesses, redesign products, reassess priorities and reduce waste.

Centralized power plants are very expensive and can require a lot of imported machinery. Conservation activities, on the other hand, match local know-how with sustained effort and they create many more jobs per dollar of public spending.

Our three-step program will:
  • Cut wasted energy in the economy, make better use of the renewable resources available to us and create good jobs through conservation and efficiency measures.
  • Develop renewable and alternative energy sources and a stratgey for greater distributed generation capacity to phase out fossil fuel and nuclear power within fifty years.
  • Focus on future energy and soft energy technologies.

Fact: In Europe, where the Green Party is in government, 2.5 million households are already enjoying the benefits of solar water heaters. In Canada, we have only installed 15,000 solar water heaters.

Fact: Armory Lovins in his new book Small is Profitable (http://www.smallisprofitable.org/) outlines a case that when looking at the total costs of energy infrastructure including the grid, the value of distributed generation can be increased almost tenfold.

Two: Speaking Points

A list of "Sound Bites" that can be used by candidates

Three: A Backgrounder

For notes on limits to fossil fuels, see Limits to World Fuel Supplies by Doug Woodward

This is the Sustainable Energy Plank.

Richard Laszlo is the steward of this plank

In a country with a high standard of living, vast distances, harsh climates, and energy intensive industries, a comprehensive and sustainable long term energy policy is more than important, it is essential. The Green party of Canada has an energy plan to provide a safe, reliable and sustainable supply of fuel and electricity for generations to come.

The Green Party is proposing an energy policy that will create tens of thousands of jobs, will diversify and strengthen the Canadian economy, will improve the health and well-being of Canadians, and will protect our rich natural heritage for future generations of Canadians to enjoy. Our 3-step plan that will bring our vision to reality:

1. Cut wasted energy in the economy, make better use of the renewable resources available to us and create good jobs through conservation and efficiency measures.
2. Develop renewable and alternative energy sources and a stratgey for greater distributed generation capacity to phase out fossil fuel and nuclear power within 50 years.
3. Create an International Center of Research Excellence for future energy and efficiency technologies.
"Does Canada have something similar to the States version of NSF (national science foundation)? We do not necessarily need to create another institution to develop technologies. If we already have a tech. development foundation, then we just need to pump more funding for R&D. "

Introduce fair pricing for fossil fuel and nuclear extraction activities? THis alone would greatly help in fufiling the goal of moving towards greater reliance on renewables.

Create new jobs, not new energy plants.

Meeting Canada's energy requirements will require major investments by both the public and private sector. We have a clear choice in how we meet these requirements however; we can build newer, bigger power plants, or we can build better, more efficient homes, businesses and factories. Choosing conservation over increased consumption will create more jobs, will leave taxpayers with more disposable income, and will work to protect our environment for generations to come. Prevent supply shocks for as non-renewables such as oil and gas enter a state of decline.

"Choosing something over consumption is always a bad idea. Voters are essentially consumers. Telling consumers not to consume is bad. "They work to consume", especially in North America. However, I have to agree that choosing conservation will leave taxpayers with more disposable income. How does "efficient energy consumption" over "irresponsible consumption" sound? " Try smart consumption. I have witnessed the work of ENERACT at http://www.smartliving.ca/ reach a broad range of people in an easy to understand way.

The GPC will:

Establish a special 5-year tax break on energy efficiency retrofits in commercial and residential buildings.

What tax? Biggest taxes paid on a building are municipal property taxes.
Provincial government already offers sales tax rebates on renewable technologies.
Feds have CBIP http://oee.nrcan.gc.ca/newbuildings and The Energy Innovators Initiative (EII) http://oee.nrcan.gc.ca/eii . These programs, which specificaly tie rebates to measurable savings are decent and should not be discounted as effective in helping property owners retrofit. Increase levels of rebate on these in a sensible way.

Create national small business efficiency loans designed to assist small and medium sized businesses to reduce their energy usage and operating costs.
Expand the national retrofit programme and energy audit initiative through NRCan, growing the number of licensed auditors and evaluators.

Push for the adoption of profit linked efficiency initiatives (gas/electric)

By reducing subsudies to industry this will naturaly happen. Creating a new program increases overall costs while not allowing for market to work out it's own ways to more efficiency.

Through the Federation of Canadian Municipalities, introduce a fund for local and municipal procurement of electricity meters.
Through the Office of Energy Efficiency (OEE), assist provincial governments to design, implement, and monitor energy efficiency programmes

"if nuclear, coal energy plants are enjoying any kind of tax breaks, subsidies, gov't benefit programmes, gov't loans, gov't priority treatment of any kind, then the same will be applied to renewable energy plants as well. For details, pls verify with Chownyk.

Why match subsudies. Get rid of them and spend government money on teh following:

The federal government will start using renewal energy for its light and heating (if not more) once any Canadian company (or overseas) can produce energy at the same cost as other polluting plants (cost is understood as before all subsidies).

Wind is already competitive. If looking at all costs (see refrence to small is profitable earlier aswell as all we know about externalized health costs including climate change) renewables are more than competitive. This platform plank is really uninspiring - the Greens will purchase clean healthy power only if it does not cost half a cent more than that stuff that's contributing to climate change.

I'd rewrite as follows: The federal government will aim to purchase at least 40% of it's power needs from renewable sources within five years.

Note that the Federal Government already plans to purchase 20% of power from renewables by 2006. Acording to the Globe and Mail story: Ottawa to revamp Kyoto strategy published Monday January 31, 2005 and available at: http://www.theglobeandmail.com/servlet/story/RTGAM.20050131.wxrkyot0131/BNStory/Business/

There are proposals to revamp the Kyoto Strategy by (among other things):

"Boosting the federal government's plan to purchase renewable power to 30 per cent by 2010 from 20 per cent by 2006, at a cost of $10.7-million."

The Green Party knows that we can do better.

The federal government will implement higher efficiency standards for products such as automobiles, trucks, farm equipment, construction equipment, home electronics etc. This plank recognizes that electricity is not the only form of energy and that buildings are not the only consumer of energy.

Generate Renewable Energy

The second involves a much longer-term strategy whereby Provinces (and companies and community groups and co-ops, depending on the market) invest in renewable and alternative energy generation, diversifying their assets, increasing their adaptability to market fluctuations, reducing the negative impacts of their activities on the environment and preserving the natural resources on which the economy ultimately depends.

Canada has over 300 remote communities where the high current cost of power enables the
cost-effective integration of green energy technologies immediately.
Pembina Institute, 2002

The integration of distributed generation to remote communities and other communities is freedom from an incapacitated electricity grid. This freedom is critical when the grid is knocked out due to winter storms - distributed generation can help prevent a community from freezing in the dark.

Fossil Fuels

Because of the already observable effects of climate change on the threat posed by climate change to the
• Put an end to petroleum drilling and extraction in ecologically sensitive regions, including arctic and offshore areas.
• Add CO2 to the National Registry of Pollutants, and require large companies to report their emissions.

Nuclear Power - Unsafe at any price

"We need to stop saying "unsafe at any price." If we say that then we must support the closing of all nuclear reactors in Canada immediately.

Canada has operated nuclear power plants for nearly 50 years without a major accident but with many small accidents and "acceptable" releases of toxins into the biosphere which has affected teh health of the global ecology. Most people would prefer that the plants were not located near them but are mostly comfortable with the operation of nuclear plants due to the out of sight out of mind point of view.

Many people believe that nuclear plants are the only non CO2 producing sources of electricity capable of meeting our energy needs for the next 30 years (specifically in Ontario). Some consider global warming as the major threat to the planet's ability to maintain balance and think that fossil fuels are the most dangerous energy resource that we use. Global Climate Change has changed the playing field for energy production. Greens can't just yell "No Nukes" because we have been for the last 3 decades.

Some greens would take this a step farther and make the building and operation of nuclear plants in the third world one of our priorities for aid.

Canada's record for exporting nuclear plants is quite poor. Some examples can be seen here: http://www.ccnr.org/exports_3.html

t is our fault that India and Pakistan have teh capacity to build nuclear weapons. The planned sale of a CANDU to Turkey was cancled in the late stages when it was determined that the proponents mislead people as to the siesmic activity in the region in which the plant would be located. There are many other examples of problems with exporting CANDU reactors.

If Ontario can not keep the plants running safely (Pickering A was about to be shut down by regulators and the refurbishment and restart is lose to one billion dollars over budget and years away from completion) what makes you think that a developing nation can handle the operations responsibly?

"I truly support the development of alternate energy sources over nuclear power. Unfortunately alternate energy sources cannot meet our energy needs in the next 30 years even if we poured all our budget resources into them. " Gareth White gmw at boreng.ca

I disagree.

Nuclear energy is the by far the most dangerous energy resource in use today. Technical and safety problems persist in Canada's reactors (which are considered among the world's safest) resulting in power outages and increased energy prices. The Green Party believes that using nuclear reactors for electricity production and encouraging the development of nuclear energy abroad poses a risk that far exceeds the benefits of maintaining this power source.

That's why we will:

- Perform an evaluation of all federally funded nuclear programmes, and schedule a phase out of federal funding for development of the technology but keep funding for activities related to the safe phase out and decommisioning process.
- Stop the export of CANDU reactor technology, with the objective of halting all non-medical nuclear research by 2007.

While electricity markets are the jurisdiction of the Provinces, the government of Canada should be playing a stronger role in energy policy by promoting a cohesive vision for the country, and by leveling the playing field and introducing stronger regulatory measures for businesses and households to cut waste in teh economy.

Denmark has 11 times the installed wind power capacity of Canada, equivalent to over
2,400 MW in 2001 as a consequence of supportive program and fiscal measures, producing 18 per cent of
the domestic electricity supply.
(Pembina institute)
The International Center of Research Excellence for future energy and efficiency technologies.

Canada and the world need green energy now, both to maintain a stable climate and sustain our standard of living. As North Americans are the world’s biggest energy consumers, we must also be the most focused on how to supply our energy requirements safely and sustainably. North American economies currently rely primarily on fossil fuels for their energy needs, but North American reserves of oil, and natural gas are either almost tapped out or ecologically unfeasible. Under these circumstances, the necessity is clear. We need to ramp up green energy, soft energy supplies and a sustainable energy infrastructure as quickly as possible.

To serve this international need, the GPC will:

Allocate 100 million to promoting academic research on future energy and energy efficiency.
Allocate 20 million to hosting bi-annual international energy conferences.
Allocate 100 million to forming an international advocacy organization to foster sustainable energy policies worldwide.

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