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Public policy discourse, planning and measures toward sustainable energy strategies in Canada

Since the 1970s, Canada has formulated various strategy measures to accelerate the development of energy efficiency systems and renewable energy technologies and has made significant progress. "From 1990 to 2003, Canada's energy efficiency improved by an estimated 13%, or 883.3 petajoules, saving Canadians almost $13.4 billion in 2003 alone and reducing annual greenhouse gas emissions by 52.3 megatonnes"‌. In 2000, about 17% of Canadian primary energy supply came from renewable sources (with hydroelectric, combustible renewables and waste). Canada is a leader in devising and implementing energy options for sustainable development. However, the nation still has great scope for furthering energy efficiency and more use of renewable energy. Canada has a higher aggregate intensity"”absolute energy use per capita or per unit of GDP"”than most International Energy Agency (IEA) countries, ranking second and fourth, respectively. In 2000, Canada used only a small amount of renewable energy (without hydroelectric, combustible renewables and waste), accounting for 1.3% of its primary energy supply. Canada has made little use of wind power compared to other industrialized countries. By June 2004, Canada's installed capacity was 341 megawatts (MW), compared to 13,407 MW installed by late 2003 in Germany, the country with the largest installed capacity. Canada's current small-scale hydroelectric capacity is about 2000 MW. Canada also has a few grid-connected wood-waste-fired power plants operational or under construction, with a maximum capacity of 60 MW. By 1999, Canada was generating 85.3 MW of electricity from captured municipal landfill gas. It is also worth noting that solar power is now finding niche applications in Canada, despite the fact that its cost remains relatively high (although falling). Canada is a signatory to the Kyoto Protocol. It has committed to reducing its emissions to 6% below 1990 levels by 2008-2012. But Canada's emissions level was already 24% above 1990 levels by 2003. As nearly 90% of all anthropogenic GHG emissions in Canada result from the production and consumption of fossil fuels, meeting the Kyoto target will challenge all Canadian governments and the energy industry to develop new and more effective strategies for speeding the development of sustainable energy to limit GHG emissions. There is an urgent need for analyzing current strategies of sustainable energy in Canada and examining the issues of these strategies. In theory and practice, however, there has so far been no a clear, integrated and comprehensive strategy framework for sustainable energy in Canada. Nor a clear definition of sustainable energy strategy was formulated. In this paper, we attempted to define sustainable energy strategy as the energy strategy aiming at improving energy efficiency and promoting renewable energy. Based on the definition above, we formulated an analytical framework for developing the strategies of sustainable energy. In the analytical framework, (1) sustainable energy strategy embraces strategic objectives, measures and management, (2) sustainable energy strategy is divided into two major groups: energy efficiency strategy and renewable energy strategy, (3) strategy measures of energy efficiency are classified as ten types, and (4) strategy measures of renewable energy are classified as four types. We have employed the framework to analyze current strategic objectives, strategic measures and policy and management strategies concerning sustainable energy in Canada and examine the issues of these strategies.
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Anne Ling
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