Representatives from diverse Canadian sectors are joining forces to lobby federal, provincial and municipal governments to develop a national energy strategy focusing on bio-energy.
The New Economy Alliance, composed of delegates from the forestry, chemical, agricultural, renewable fuels and biotechnology sectors throughout the country, is trying to get governments to realize the potential of using Canadian resources for an energy strategy.
“Canada’s forestry industry has emerged as an environmental leader. Making full use of the biomass waste stream from the forest industry could produce the equivalent energy output of nine nuclear reactors.” Avrim Lazar, President and CEO of the Forest Products Association of Canada told the Canadian Press this week. “Producing clean energy from trees presents a remarkable opportunity for Canada.”
The new alliance is seeking a national energy strategy based on these existing opportunities.
According to Andrew Leach, a business professor at the University of Alberta, however, developing a strategy that every province can support might prove to be a bit of a challenge.
“Everybody wants a national energy strategy that advances their own interests, but they may not be willing to give up anything to get it,” he said in an article published by Canadian Manufacturing.
He uses the Alberta oil sands as a prime example.
“Rules that benefit the oil sands may not have the same upside in Ontario they would in Alberta. A slice of employment and tax revenues may not cut it for those outside the oil-rich province,” wrote Canadian Manufacturing.
Quebec Natural Resources Minister Nathalie Normandeau has already expressed her disregard of a national energy strategy, telling the Canadian Press “she believes Ottawa is trying to find ways to impose its energy policies on the provinces.”
Members of the New Economy Alliance include BIOTECanada, Canadian Federation of Agriculture, Canadian Renewable Fuels Association, Chemistry Industry Association of Canada, CropLife Canada, Forest Products Association of Canada, and the Sustainable Chemistry Alliance.