A Sliver Of Hope In The Energy Wars

There appears to be a tiny prospect of peace in the continuing war between fossil-fuel based industries (i.e. oil) and advocates of a greater role for cleantech in the energy industry.

A recent report by the Alberta-based Pembina Institute called for a federal clean-energy plan to encourage growth of emerging cleantech companies that can add to the nation’s energy pool.

It concluded that that the clean energy sector is growing around the world, and could grow in Canada to $60 billion by 2020 if encouraged by such a plan.

Of course, it’s a given that the Pembina Institute is a dyed-in-the-wool enemy of the oil industry, and vice-versa, and has long argued against federal and provincial financial support for the fossil fuel industry.

But, despite trash talking about the report by rabid fossil-fuel supporters, there is some merit that might be considered by all involved in the energy debates.

Canada is an oil-exporter, and would like to be a bigger one as soon as possible. A large part of our economy these days is based on energy, largely fossil-fuel based energy. Whether that’s wrong or right can be argued forever and probably will.

But energy is more than just oil and gas. Increasingly, energy is created by wind and water and thermal.

It’s predicted that by 2020, clean energy will be a contributor to a $3-trillion economy, and will continue to grow in value as the world’s supply of oil and gas is depleted or its use cut back by increasing environmental fears.  

So doesn’t it make sense that a strategy for the future should include all kinds of energy instead of just one kind?

With jealousies among provinces, wars between different energy producers and fierce arguments over who controls energy becoming increasingly common, the federal government is the only organization capable of establishing a national plan and educating all energy players in the value of working together.

There are many obstacles to such a plan, but even the thought of it provides a sliver of hope to consumers who need energy and don’t particularly care where it comes from.