Four Years of doing nothing!

One institution that enables citizens to inform the Federal Government of a desired policy is the Petition to the House of Commons.  Four years ago 4RG submitted a petition on the subject of renewable energy.   The petition requested that the Federal Government take immediate steps “ “. . .  to develop in cooperation with the …

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A Ray of Hope

Three years ago For Our Grandchildren (4RG) submitted a petition requesting the Federal Government to cooperate with the Provinces to develop a national policy on Renewable Energy by 2014.

In January 2012 we received a response from the Honourable Joe Oliver. He said nothing whatsoever about a national policy on Renewable Energy by 2014 or any other year!    See our blogFederal Government short-changes Renewable Energy”.

At the 2007 a meeting of the Council of the Federation, the Provincial Premiers explored the prospects for a national policy.  They did not anticipate the indifference of the Federal Government, which was too busy selling the tar sands internationally to be concerned about renewables.

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A Pivotal Moment!

The Honourable Joe Oliver, Canada’s Minister of Natural Resources, used these strong words in his keynote remarks to the 2013 Energy and Mines Ministers’ Conference (EMMC).

Minister Oliver observed that oil and gas are natural resources that generate $30 billion of government revenue  “for critical social programs, including health care and education.” To maintain those social programs at the level Canadians enjoy will require new infrastructure to ensure that our fossil fuel resources are delivered to the world’s buyers.

Oliver noted that Canada cannot expect to continue the current level of exports of oil and gas to the United States, which may well be self-sufficient in four years. However, global energy demand is estimated to be 35 per cent greater in 2035 than in 2010.  Canada needs to tap this demand and find new markets in Asia-Pacific countries.  This means that Canada must build pipelines to transport its resources to “tidewater”, whether on the West Coast, the East Coast, or perhaps even the Arctic.

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The need for a Canada-wide strategy on renewable energy

This spring many of our neighbours signed a petition requesting the Ontario Legislature to

“. . . ask the Government of Ontario to submit the subject of a national policy on renewable energy for consideration at the August 2013 EMMC Conference (the Energy and Mines Minister’s Conference) and exercise leadership in developing this policy in conjunction with the Government of Canada and other Provinces and the Territories, and report to the Legislative Assembly of Ontario after this Conference on steps to be taken to develop a policy for Renewable Energy in Canada.”

Naturally we communicated our intention before we set about knocking on doors to collect signatures.

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Ontario Leadership Required!

On May 6th last, the Ontario Government released a new policy for renewable energy. The new policy gives municipalities more control over the location of new large renewable energy projects. This change is a response to public criticism of the Government’s failure to consult with respect to the location of large gas-fired generating plants and placing of wind turbines.   While the new policy is politically necessary, it is administratively cumbersome. By way of contrast, a recent Report of the Ontario Distribution Sector Review Panel recommended consolidating the province’s local distribution companies (your municipal hydro company), which will encourage the development of “smart grids” that efficiently deliver electricity at a lower cost.

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