Flipping the switch on a better future in Canada

Never waste a good crisis.

The pandemic has revealed much that was fragile and dangerous in the old “normal” most took for granted only a few short weeks ago. The silver lining, if there is one, is laying bare so much we need to do, and why prompt action is critical.

For the accelerating climate crisis, COVID-19 offers so many lessons it is hard to digest them all. One is the financial shock to oil-industry lenders and investors, who kept thinking growth would follow growth. Now that the energy sector’s share of the S&P 500 index has collapsed 80 per cent in a decade, the oil industry has gone from the mainstream to the fringes of investors’ portfolios with remarkable speed.

With renewed attention to public health, we should see less tolerance for the air pollution that comes from fossil fuels. It is clearer than ever a secure-energy future, clean air and stable climate are based on energy conservation and low-carbon electricity. For an increasing number of people, low-carbon electricity is also the cheapest electricity. For example, Berkshire Hathaway reports generating almost all the power demand of their Iowa customers from wind allows them to charge electricity rates 70 per cent less than the competing, fossil-based utility.

Canada could be a powerhouse in this future, and could offer energy investors large opportunities for low-carbon capital deployment. We have many advantages, including enormous hydropower, wind, nuclear and solar resources. But Canadian power systems are decentralized, inconsistent and poorly connected, just when they most require co-ordination.

To view the full original article by Dianne Saxe & Pierre-Olivier Pineau, click here: https://www.nationalobserver.com/2020/05/07/opinion/flipping-switch-better-future-canada