CALGARY, ALBERTA--(Marketwire - Aug. 2, 2012) - The Energy Policy Institute of Canada (EPIC) has released its framework for a Canadian energy strategy - a comprehensive, pan-energy approach that would leverage all of the country's energy resources to Canada's advantage. Formed around five strategic pillars, EPIC has developed a blueprint that will help Canada establish itself as a global energy leader in a world where the demand for and importance of energy is continuously growing.
"EPIC has led the conversation on a Canadian energy strategy for the last two and a half years. We have seen it grow from an idea shared by a small few to a national conversation. Canadians are coming to realize that a national approach to energy can benefit everyone regardless of what province they live in and that today is the opportunity to use our energy to our utmost advantage," said Doug Black, president of the Energy Policy Institute of Canada.
EPIC has been the foremost organization in spurring the need for a Canadian energy strategy over the last two and a half years. The organization represents the most diverse group of energy producers, transporters, specialists, think-tanks, industry associations and large scale consumers among any organization examining Canada's energy potential for the future.
In its paper presented to provincial and federal governments, EPIC outlines 39 recommendations across five pillars that the group feels are key to Canada's global energy leadership: regulatory reform, innovation, energy literacy and conservation, market diversification and carbon management.
Early in EPIC's discussions, Canada's regulatory system was identified as a potential obstacle in maximizing the value of the country's energy resources. Canada has a strong regulatory system but one that has been riddled with duplication and redundancy, leading to unnecessary delays in the process and uncertain timelines that can dissuade companies from investing in Canadian energy projects. Streamlining the process and ensuring a more set regulatory timeline are important recommendations made by EPIC to help the regulatory system operate more effectively.
EPIC's concentration on regulatory improvements were clearly laid out in draft documents presented to provincial and federal ministers in the summer of 2011 and, earlier this year, Federal Natural Resources Minister Joe Oliver announced legislative changes that would put EPIC's recommendations into federal law. Regulatory changes within Bill C-38 reflect recommendations of EPIC surrounding regulatory streamlining.
Key among recent developments in the energy sector has been the debate surrounding market diversification. With the overwhelming amount of Canadian energy being exported to the United States, evidence that Canadian energy resources may be worth more overseas has resulted in a greater push for increased exports to Europe and Asia. To allow greater exports overseas, EPIC supports the need to develop appropriate infrastructure to find the best and most profitable global markets for Canadian energy products. Given our geographic location, overseas exports are necessary to diversifying Canada's energy trading partners.
"It's vitally important that Canada finds the best possible markets for its energy exports," said Gerry Protti, one of EPIC's Board members, "But policies on production and regulation of the resource are still only a part of the puzzle. EPIC strongly supports building Canadians' understanding of energy and empowering them to become part of Canada's energy leadership as well."
Energy Literacy and Conservation
Understanding that by using less energy, Canada extends its resources and can increase the resource value, EPIC has suggested the development of a shared national vision on energy conservation and literacy supported by all levels of government. EPIC further supports a recommendation from the environmental organization, Pollution Probe, to develop a Canadian Centre for Energy Learning to further Canadian's understanding and respect for the country's greatest source of wealth and prosperity.
Becoming a global energy leader is not just about how many barrels of oil can be produced or how many megavolts of power are created. In order to establish true leadership, Canada must continually push the envelope and find new ways to advance the energy industry and improve both economic and environmental performance. In its recommendations, EPIC has made increased investment in innovation- both from private industry and from government- a top priority.
"Canada has played a lead role in developing many new energy technologies and extraction techniques that have changed the face of the industry. Now is the time to further encourage Canadian ingenuity and encourage companies and the government to work together to discover new avenues of scientific research that will create the energy industry of tomorrow," said Protti.
EPIC's recommendations to foster innovation centre around the idea of creating "innovation clusters" - collaborations of a broad spectrum of industry players, including producers, academics, suppliers, service providers and non-governmental organizations. The clusters would focus on enabling technology development that would, in turn, inspire new ideas from other members of the cluster in related areas - creating a holistic improvement across a given subject.
Carbon management is an incredibly complex issue and finding the best solution requires more time and study. EPIC has recommended that a joint committee of all Energy and Environment Ministers undertake a dedicated review of carbon management alternatives to make a recommendation to governments.
The complete development of a Canadian energy strategy is a monumentally complex task and, although EPIC has taken the first difficult steps to establish a framework, more work is needed. At July's Council of Federation, provincial Premiers committed to advance work on an energy strategy. Over the next several weeks, EPIC will be meeting with various political representatives across Canada to brief them on the Framework.
"We are pleased that the Premiers of Canada share our view of the importance of an energy strategy and have committed to continue to work towards its development. Of course, we are disappointed that British Columbia has chosen not to participate in this important work at this time but we welcome their participation at a later date," said Black.
"No one said building a strategy would be easy. If it was, it would already be done," continued Black, "There are hurdles to overcome but we urge governments to continue to push the agenda so Canada does not lose this opportunity to be a global energy leader and other countries claim the benefits that should be ours."
EPIC's final report has been released to all federal and provincial leaders as well as all energy ministries. For more information on EPIC or to download a copy of the report, visit www.canadasenergy.ca/.
To schedule an interview or for more information, contact Kyle Bottoms.