According to the National Energy Board (NEB) who are an autonomous body mandated with the purpose of promoting safety in reference environmental protection as well as efficient infrastructure state that Canada’s change in energy demand in 2013 has shown that the country’s energy demand is on the increase. The increase in energy projects over the last three years has been based on the fact of reducing the energy deficit that is bound to hit the country by the year 2020 as explained by Henderson, (2013). However, the increase in energy consumption has a negative impact on the environment with the, increase in hydropowerand other power sources reducing sustainable growth. This being mentioned there is an increasing need for renewable energy. This paper provides an in-depth explanation of the renewable energy options that are available to meet the increased energy needs.
Since the beginning of the 21st century,the unequal distribution of the globe’s carbon based energy has been an instigator of significant environmental degradation. However, there is an increasing awareness about the issues the need and demand for energy has been on a constant increase consequently highlighting on the significance of renewable energy. Canada is one of the countries that is known to be in a position to provide both carbon and n0n-carbon based energy, despite this potential a number of significant projects have been developed to increase renewable energy.
Canada’s renewable energy resource options
According to Froschauer (2011), a research by the National Energy Board suggested Canada had five potential property rejoins that would increase the number of hydroelectric and tidal power plants. The investment of these plants is estimated to double the current energy provisions that are an offer today.
According to Steed (2015) the increase in technology in recovering fossil fuel from the oil sands of Alberta has shown the potential of increasing the presence by the use of nuclear generated heat. Other than the burning of fossil fuels that emit carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gasses nuclear heat has the capability to burn out the required end products with a reduction of about 75% of the toxic gasses (Bernstein, 2008). This aids in the increase of fossil based fuels without increasing the carbon footprint improving sand oil mining profile. Nuclear power has also been known to increase the electricity capacity in Canada from thermal power plants. The National Energy Board (NEB), in a research conducted in 2014 showed that Canada has approximately three regions that are best suited to having thermal nuclear power plants namely Alberta and Ontario.
Consequently, the increase of nuclear technology that has aided in the reduction of the carbon footprint has led to the increase in oil soil mining. According to (cite), the increase in demand for energy has led to prediction that by 2020 the mining of oil soil would have tripled this making it the primary source of energy for the country’s future. According to (cite) only 55% of the sand oil mines in Ontario and Alberta are operational this is due to the use of the old mining methods used today.
Natural Gas and Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG)
Currently Canada exports approximately 50% of its natural gasas raw material to the United Sates; however, 15% of the finished product ends up back into the country consequently suggesting that the country has a need for such energy products (Capitol.Net, Inc. 2010). In addition to this, the US has for the last decade increasing its natural gas explorations and it is estimated that by 2025 it would produce and serve its own natural gas demands making Canada seek other market options. However, there has been an increase in Canadian citizens who are currently taking part in setting up the US gas network and are expected back into the country to aid in increasing the knowledge used today. This being noted there is a current project being undertaken to increase the amount of liquefied natural gas with the first fully functional natural gas plant scheduled to be opened at Kitmat by the end of 2016 (Capitol.Net, Inc. 2010). This would aid the country attain more readymade gas supplies for an economy bound to remand for more energy.
According to the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (2012), bio energy in form of biomass is significantly under-utilized in Canada. This premise is derived from the fact that the country is covered by approximately 450 million hectares of forest this constituting to about 10% of the global forest cover. This is then in added to 67.5 million hectares of agricultural land suggesting the high amount of biomass that is used for attaining bioenergy. The National Energy Board (NEB) undertook a project that was set to exploit this under taped resource with reports suggesting an increase of 10% of the energy would be realized by the end of 2020.
Major Drawbacks and Challenges to Using Renewable Energy Options
The potential of Canada using these renewable options is clear and stands as significant considering that the country’s energy needs are expected to increase significantly by 2020. However, there are particular drawbacks that are estimated to be meet in the process of achieving these goals two however stand out namely finances and skilled man power.
The first major challenge is financing of major projects for instance, the hydropower project to be set at St. Lawrence River-Great Lakes Basin and “Northern Waters”, James Bay, and Western Half of Canada is estimated to generate approximately 163,000 MW of power adding up to 55% of the current power (Froschauer, 2011). However, this would cost the government approximately 9 to 15 billion US dollars to cover up for all these projects. The nuclear facilities are also quite costly and though the reduction of the carbon footprint would be considerable the amount of capital that would be required to develop and maintain the plants in addition to the training cost considering that nuclear power plants are highly volatile.
Other than the capital required to develop these projects, the work force required is significant challenge. As highlighted in both Fukushima and Chernobyl without proper skilled personnel a nuclear meltdown is imminent and the disasters last for years. Save for the nuclear plants it is also evident that the technologies that are required to be adopted to reduce the carbon footprint are new and may require trained personnel who are in short supply. This would also be evident considering that the oil soil mining as well as the bioenergy project are bound to require new technologies hence well qualified workforce.
Other non-logistic challenges
Excluding logistic challenges Canada’s pursuit to increasing its energy supply with renewable options it is likely that there would be considerable collective challenges such as;
Social challenges; it is expected that an increase in energy by the use of renewable options would be a welcome prospect; however, the increase in such projects is expected to increase urbanization that consequently brings in several negative issues such as pollution and other environmental degradation issues. The Chernobyl incident serves as an example of one of the challenges that may be faced in the future.
Economic challenges. As stated the Canadian authorities would require a considerable amount of capital to set up the projects and these would consequently suggest an increase in energy prices which may cause country wide inflation.
Environmental degradation.According to McKirdy and Solar Energy Society of Canada, (2014) the hydropower set up is the best renewable power option in Canada today. However, with dams increasing the countries water table would change as well as land that was one used for agriculture would be placed under water. This factor would change the environmental set up and consequently have a negative impact in the future.
According to Capitol.Net, Inc. (2010) the increase in energy demand is an imminent outcome and the increase in power sources ought to be sustainable or the future generation. Canada like any developed country requires a significant amount of energy to keep up with the rest of the growing world and the options provided in this paper draw a clear road map towards achieving energy goals in environmentally safe manner. The best possible projects that the country may undertake at the moment are both nuclear and hydropower this is because the two options offer the country an additional 65% of what is being provided today. The carbon footprint of using nuclear heating would increase the fossil fuel as well as electricity. Both alternative power options highlighted in this part of the paper have a limitless life span and will serve the countries future power needs fully without extreme environmental degradation.
In summary, Canada is expected to increase its energy demands significantly consequently requiring an increase in the current energy supply. However, with the increase in carbon-emissions that have increased environmental degradation this requiring the need for renewable energy options. Canada has several renewable options for instance hydropower, biomass, nuclear, as well as liquefied gas that would increase the energy supply in the country. However, these options come at a high logistic as well as other social, economic as well as environmental cost. It is a recommendation that the best and safest renewable power option is hydropower and nuclear as they are more consistent and provide a wider range of power quantity.
Bernstein, S. F. (2008). A globally integrated climate policy for Canada. Toronto: University of Toronto Press.
Capitol.Net, Inc. (2010). Energy: The production and use of natural gas, natural gas imports and exports, EPAct Project, liquified natural gas (LNG) import terminals and infrastructure security, underground working gas storage, Fischer-Tropsch fuels from coal, natural gas, and biomass, gas hydrates, gas shales, hydraulic fracturing, Alaska natural gas pipelines. Alexandria, VA: Capitol.Net, Inc.
Froschauer, K. (2011). White gold: hydroelectric power in Canada.
Henderson, C. (2013). Aboriginal power: Clean energy & the future of Canada’s First Peoples. Erin, Ont: Rainforest Editions.
McKirdy, A. R., & Solar Energy Society of Canada. (2014). The Canadian renewable energy guide. Burnstown, Ont: General Store.
Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development. (2012). Linking renewable energy to rural development. Paris: OECD.
Steed, R. G. (2007). Nuclear power: In Canada and beyond. Renfrew, Ont: General Store Publ. House.