Booming the southern Prairies

Exploring food production and renewable energy synergies

Sustainable Canada dialogues (SCD) is a national alliance of academics working on climate change solutions. SCD has published multiple papers and reports showing the most favourable Western Canada location for developing clean green renewable energy; solar and wind energy, is in southern Alberta and Saskatchewan. We have the potential to become a major renewable energy production zone for all of Western Canada. Solar and wind energy are the most cost-effective addition to our energy capacity now, and technology is making solar and wind more affordable. The southern Prairies can become a renewable energy corridor.

But sometimes the wind doesn’t blow and the sun doesn’t shine. We need to better connect the interprovincial electric grid. For much less than the cost of an oil or gas pipeline, we can expand the east-west electrical grid connectivity from British Columbia to Manitoba. Connecting the renewable energy capacity on the southern Prairies with existing hydroelectricity in British Columbia and Manitoba will provide a stable, non-polluting energy system for Western Canada, 12 months of the year. The southern Canadian Prairies should become a renewable energy production corridor. Investments in enhancing our renewable energy production capacity on the southern Prairies will create careers now, at a time when so many Albertans, Canadians, need work.

We have two aligning corridors. The natural advantages on the southern Prairies are for a food production corridor and a renewable energy production corridor. But food is energy and energy is food. Renewable energy is the critical input needed to allow the southern Prairies to become a regional; perhaps a global leader, in high-quality, sustainable food and energy production.

There’s an additional huge advantage. Creating renewable energy production on the southern Prairies will help make up for some of the massive greenhouse gas footprint in Alberta and Saskatchewan. We need regional and global public relations actions if there is to be a market for any of our oil and gas products during the regional and global renewable energy transition.

To view the original article by James Byrne, Kent Peacock, Paul Hazendonk and John Vokey , click here: https://lethbridgeherald.com/commentary/opinions/2020/06/10/economy-and-employment-booming-the-southern-prairies/