2.1.5 Renewable energy

Canada is currently the only country on earth not a member of the International Renewable Energy Agency. Failing to participate means that Canada is missing out on the global ideas market. We need to join and aggressively promote Canadian innovation in this field.

We are poised to be a world leader on tidal energy, yet the federal government is ignoring this potential. We need to work with our coastal provinces, particularly Nova Scotia and British Columbia, where potential for tidal is huge. By setting the global pace in this area we can position Canada with an attractive and growing export market.

We need to accelerate a rapid phase-out of coal. The Government of Ontario has taken the lead by shutting down its coal-fired power plants. We need to work collaboratively with those remaining provinces relying on coal-fired electricity (Alberta, Saskatchewan, and to an extent Nova Scotia) to encourage them to do the same. A successful efficiency and building retrofit program coupled with peak load reductions could reduce the required capacity by 25%. Population increase could raise the capacity requirements again, as will the electrification of transport.

Electric vehicle producers should be encouraged to ensure the production of whatever additional electrical capacity (from renewable sources) their cars will require, as some producers offer to do. Vehicle batteries can provide useful support for load shifting to and from the grid, powering up at night when demand is low and potentially releasing energy back to the grid if it is needed at times of peak demand. This can make electric vehicles more affordable.

All carbon-based fuels will be subject to rising carbon fees, through a Carbon Fee and Dividend, as well as industrial cap and trade. Federal approvals for new oil or coal-fired power generation will not be granted. Permits to convert oil or coal-fired plants to natural gas will be allowed in the short term until renewable energy capacity increases to replace them.

Green Party MPs will:

  • Ensure Canada joins the International Renewable Energy Agency;
  • Establish the design and management principles of a trans-Canada nationally integrated electrical power grid capable of efficiently transporting high electrical loads and accommodating many diverse sources of renewable electrical energy;
  • Develop a transition plan that will transform the existing electrical distribution system into a high efficiency national grid;
  • Work with Canada’s wind industry and the Canadian Wind Energy Association (CANWEA) to accelerate the rapid deployment of wind turbines to achieve 20% of Canada’s energy needs by 2025;
  • Restore the Wind Power Production Incentive and incentives for projects with approved Advanced Renewable Tariffs that provide power purchase contracts for a diversity of small renewable energy projects;
  • Provide a two cent/kWh subsidy for renewable energy produced in any province or territory adopting ART+ (Advanced Renewable Tariffs, net metering, peak power pricing, and plans for renewable grid extensions);
  • Support local energy co-operatives forming in provinces or territories adopting ART+;
  • Provide substantial Research and Development (R&D) funding for ocean energy technologies in provinces and territories adopting ART+;
  • Provide substantial R&D funding for electricity storage technologies in provinces adopting ART+;
  • Provide support for power grid extensions to bring wind and ocean power from remote areas in provinces and territories adopting ART+;
  • Work with the solar industry to rapidly install 25 gigawatts (GW) of solar PV;
  • Work with the solar industry to help them achieve their goal of installing over 5GWp by 2017;
  • Work with renewable energy industries to introduce 12 GW MW of ocean energy and to set specific goals for production of biomass and micro hydro energy;
  • Work with the geothermal energy industry and the oil industry (for their drilling expertise) in a well-funded R&D program to develop Enhanced Geothermal Systems (EGS), drilling down to ten km to extract 25 GW of power;
  • Develop co-generation and peak power production from methane obtained from the anaerobic digestion of organic waste;
  • Develop peak power production from burning demonstrably sustainable agricultural and forest waste as necessary to meet peak power demands but within the constraints of maintaining soil nutrients.