Government pledges renewable energy strategy

Canada needs a renewable energy strategy to help it tap into its "great potential" for generating power from sources like the wind, says federal environment minister Stéphane Dion. The government plans to work with industry, the provinces, non-government organisations (NGOs) and consumers to develop a renewable energy strategy to provide "a framework for further investments in hydro developments and transmission, cogeneration, wind and other emerging renewable energy forms." Dion points out that the federal government has traditionally been a key player in energy development. When the oil sands were discovered in northern Alberta in the 1960s "no technology existed to exploit them and the economics were simply crazy." Now, with the help of C$40 billion in various federal fiscal incentives and tax breaks, it has been transformed into a thriving industry. NGO Pollution Probe recently released its own version of what a long term renewable energy strategy for Canada should look like. The Green Power Vision and Strategy for Canada lays out a series of interim renewable energy targets, starting with 45-60 TWh in 2010 up to 150 TWh by 2025. At that time, the strategy says, 21,000 MW of installed onshore wind capacity could supply 55 TWh, with another 12 TWh supplied by 3400 MW of offshore wind. To meet these goals, though, "concerted action will be required on a number of fronts," including investment incentives, infrastructure development and the implementation of policies addressing barriers like grid access and permitting bottlenecks.