Dr. Richard Marceau, vice-president (research) at Memorial and president of the Canadian Academy of Engineering, believes the time is right for Canada to shift from being a world energy superstore to becoming a true world energy superpower.
He, with co-author Dr. Clement W. Bowman, recently published an article in the Hill-Times, a weekly paper focused on Canadian politics and government.
Dr. Bowman is one of the most recognized and respected senior authorities on energy, petroleum and the oil sands in Canada. The pair co-editedCanada: Winning as a sustainable energy superpower, a book that outlines the work of the Canadian Academy of Engineering Energy Pathways Task Force. The Hill-Times article delves into the actions that Canada must take to become an energy superpower as described by the task force.
The task force was charged with defining the barriers that prevent the development of economic and environmentally acceptable energy sources and carriers in Canada and identifying solutions to these issues.
In the Hill-Times article, Drs. Marceau and Bowman suggest that Canada should first focus on developing an east-west power corridor that would enable advanced power generation, SMART grid technologies and low carbon electric power to be available for use in Canada and sale to the North American market.
They also say that oil sands bitumen, commonly misidentified as tar, is a complex mixture of hydrocarbons with high economic potential, and that to ship raw bitumen outside of Canada for processing and upgrading is a missed opportunity on a massive scale.
Drs. Marceau and Bowman also see an opportunity to take advantage of Canada’s huge landmass to build a lower-carbon future. They said the country should focus on developing renewable sources of carbon through biomass from forest and agricultural residue. This would create high value-added products and reduce our dependence on unsustainable carbon fuels and chemicals.
Finally, they see tremendous potential in Newfoundland and Labrador’s offshore petroleum industry as a source for exporting both crude oil and upgraded products to world markets.
“Canada truly has the potential to become an energy superpower," said Dr. Marceau. "Implementing the findings of the Energy Pathways Task Force is on the scale of creating the Canada Pacific Railway, and it has the potential to similarly transform and improve our nation. We have the natural resources and technological ability to do so, but government, industry and citizens must work together to achieve this vision.”