An oil company has teamed with a environmental group in Canada to promote the renewable energy industry in Canada.
CALGARY, Alberta – Suncor Energy Inc. and the Pembina Institute for Appropriate Development have formed the Clean Air Renewable Energy (CARE) Coalition to urge the federal government to implement two mechanisms that would diversify energy supply, clean the country’s air, improve health and reduce greenhouse gas emissions (GHG) that are linked with climate change. The group specifically is seeking a consumer green energy credit to increase demand for green power and a broadening of the Canadian Renewable & Conservation Expense (CRCE) or Investment Tax Credit (ITC) treatments for new capital spending to support the supply of green power. “Aggressive implementation of low-impact energy technologies is an essential component of any credible national program to address air pollution and climate change,” says David Pollack, executive director of the Pembina Institute. The government’s own action plan on climate change estimates that 40 percent of Canada’s GHG emissions for the energy sector could be eliminated by 2012 if the two initiatives were implemented as government policy. Today, a coalition of corporate, environmental non-governmental organizations (ENGOs), and municipal organizations was launched to accelerate development of Canada’s renewable energy industry. The coalition also includes the Federation of Canadian Municipalities, the association for municipal governments, which is committed to reducing emissions among its members which represent 61 percent of the population in rural and urban centres. Its supporters include Friends of the Earth, Pollution Probe, the Toronto Environmental Alliance, and a number of energy firms that recognize the business potential of renewable energy, such as BC Hydro, BP Canada Energy, Enbridge, Shell, Toronto Hydro, TransAlta and Westcoast Energy. The coalition is expected to grow as other organizations join the group. Low impact renewable energy technologies are less used in Canada than in most other industrialized countries. The initiatives promoted by the coalition are designed to increase demand for green power from residential and commercial consumers of power, as well as government departments, and to address the relative costs of supply compared to conventional energy production. In 1996, Canada obtained 0.02 percent of its electricity from green power sources, the group estimates. This does not include the significant hydroelectric generation in Canada, nor its use of biomass. It also does not include the energy used for space conditioning. By contrast, Royal Dutch Shell predicts that renewable energies could provide 50 percent of the world’s energy needs by 2050. Denmark, Germany and the United States each produce between 15 and 30 times more electricity from wind turbines than Canada currently generates, and the group says that Canada’s reluctance to develop or install renewable energy technologies has serious economic and broader implications. “We cannot leave the risk and costs of innovation in renewables to other countries or we will not harvest the rewards of cleaner air, achievement of international GHG commitments, regional development, more diversified energy sources and international competitiveness,” says Rick George, President and CEO of Suncor. Under new definitions to be regulated by Environment Canada, solar thermal, solar photovoltaic, wind power, geothermal, run-of-river and micro-hydro technologies and other low impact renewables will be eligible as renewable energies.