Clean tech's promise for natural resources

Clean energy has been getting lots of attention, for good reason. Canada’s role as a top exporter of energy is vital to our economy, and new opportunities are swiftly materialising in which Canada could take the lead. In response, the federal government is now rapidly moving towards an energy agenda that embraces the clean energy and clean technology sectors and a fulfillment of the potential they hold for existing natural resource industries.

On February 3rd, on a ministerial visit to Alberta, the federal government’s commitment to clean tech was front-and-centre. Jim Carr, Canada’s Minister of Natural Resources, met with members of the Alberta business community, bringing up Canada’s joining of Mission Innovation, a global partnership aimed at doubling government investment in clean energy innovation over five years. Let’s unpack why that’s a priority.

(For a roadmap of where Canada’s energy strategy is headed, direct from the Prime Minister, check out the PM’s Mandate Letter to Minister Carr.)

Earlier this week, on Monday [Feb. 8th], at a roundtable discussion hosted by Minister Carr in Vancouver, Resource Works’ Executive Director, Stewart Muir, had a chance to chat with the Minister about the government’s ambitious new plan to expand investment in clean technology producers, as well as supporting innovation and the use of clean technologies in our natural resource sectors.

People are noticing that there’s a lot of promise in the clean economy, especially for supporters of responsible, sustainable natural resource development. It may well hold the answers for how Canada will deliver on its climate change commitments – all while growing the economy, keeping jobs for Canadians in natural resources, and making full use of the energy potential we already have.

Simply put, this means two things: firstly, we must ensure that conventional energy extraction is as clean as possible (here’s 12 ways that’s happening already), and secondly, we need to explore non-conventional energy sources with lower carbon emissions footprints (here’s why Bill Gates’ take on it makes sense).

It’s also a no-brainer to make it easier for Canadian innovators and entrepreneurs to secure opportunities with international trade partners. We’ll earn valuable contracts, including repeat business, for our clean energy technologies, services, and expertise, just as the global community rushes to limit GHG emissions. China’s tacit endorsement of clean tech, as now the largest installer of clean energy in the world, is a sure sign of how advantageous these new investments could really be for us.

Here in BC, the latest round of consultation for the Climate Leadership Plan points to the clean economy as a crucial part of a broad-based approach to reducing emissions – and let’s not forget, LNG will soon have a huge role to play as a global transition fuel.

It’s a viable, clean-burning alternative to coal that can power growing global markets. And that’s not all. Technologies for the cleaner extraction of natural gas are quickly arriving, and the federal government’s support for innovation – through investment and a welcoming tax climate for companies – could optimally position LNG and other conventional energy sources, as a market winners with maximal environmental-efficiency.

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