The latest research released by the Canada West Foundation delves into the world of natural gas, explaining its economic benefits for Canada over the past 50 years, and its value as a foundational fuel for our energy systems going forward. Sound policy decisions will ensure that natural gas continues to be a cost effective and stable energy alternative as we move toward a carbon reduced future.
Seismic Shifts: The Changing World of Natural Gas by Michael Cleland, Nexen Executive-in-Residence, examines the future of natural gas from the perspective of both consumers and producers. Natural Gas accounts for about one-quarter of Canadian energy end use as well as a growing share of fuel for power generation. Seismic Shifts concludes that natural gas is not a “bridging” fuel, but rather a stable foundational fuel that will remain a part of the energy mix in the future.
“Although the energy landscape in Canada is shifting with new technologies and resources, the future of natural gas is extremely positive for consumers. Lower costs underpin the competiveness of the Canadian economy, and in addition to being affordable, natural gas is abundant and reliable and can significantly reduce the environmental impact of the energy system,” author Michael Cleland explains. “While the producer’s perspective is less optimistic, Canada needs to look at both internal policies and Asian export opportunities to remain in the game.”
The Seismic Shifts paper outlines several policy directions that need to be discussed when outlining future policies that deal with this resource.
“Natural gas is abundant, has relatively low emissions and may be the only part of the energy system not facing increasing commodity costs in the coming decade,” said Cleland. “It is a natural foundation fuel in an increasingly carbon constrained world.”
Since the policy foundations for natural gas were laid in the mid-1980s, supply sources, markets, environmental imperatives and technologies have changed. Up to this point, Canada has benefited from a successful natural gas industry, and with some refining and additions to existing policies, has the ability to succeed in the future.
This report is part of the Canada West Foundation’s Powering Up for the Future Project, which focuses on public policy challenges at the interface of the economy, the environment and energy.
To download Seismic Shifts: The Changing World of Natural Gas, click here.