17 January 2007

$230 million for Clean Energy

The Canadian Tories (who hold power through a minority government) have just announced a $230 million program to develop clean energy. The details are sparse at this point, but the media is basically reporting that they are looking at clean coal and nuclear power.

This represents a sea change for the conservatives, who have previously held that climate change would not be a net negative for Canada. They seem to have come to the conclusion that they're better served politically arguing with the opposition over what would be the best way to reduce greenhouse gas emissions rather than confusing the issue.

With regards to clean coal, I'm not sure if that's the best approach to dealing with greenhouse gas emissions in Canada. We only derive about 16 % of our electrical power from coal, which is less than the nuclear fraction. As I've expressed before, I think nuclear is to big and slow to compete in the long run with wind and solar power solutions. That said, it establishes important baseload power supply to the grid. Certainly at this stage investing in a new generation of nuclear power plants is not out of line. If we want to do something about our emissions right now, nuclear is ready and able. Clean coal (by which I mean gasification with sequesterization) is not ready, and has only been demonstrated in a limited fashion at Weyburn. Given the extra costs associated with gasification and sequesterization, one doubts if clean coal will developed fast enough to make it to market before the fast growing solar and wind sectors swamp it.


Anonymous said...

I think using of solar power is a good decision. Converting solar energy into usable energy gives off no pollution.And also when combined with other technologies, solar power could be even more useful.

Anonymous said...

The greatest under-utilised energy resource seems to me to be ground source heating, as used extensively in Sweden - the heat pump in that multiplies the effectiveness of electricity by a factor of 3-4.