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Generation Energy Discussion: Highlights

The Generation Energy Dialogue resulted in three themes representative of the national discussion:

Download the Dialogue Summary (PDF, 1.5 mb)

The following is an overview of ideas that Canadians contributed.

Our energy future plan

You told us is it important to plan Canada’s low-carbon energy future through meaningful dialogue that includes everyone’s voice.

Canadians want a clear energy vision for the future.

  • National direction and clarity on long-term roles of energy sources: petroleum, natural gas, renewables and nuclear energy.
  • A long-term energy plan that promotes economic growth and jobs, while keeping energy affordable, sustainable and reliable.
  • Government policy to provide leadership, set research direction and drive innovation.

The path forward must be informed by collaboration with partners, Indigenous people, industry and Canadians.

  •  Establishing mechanisms to improve cooperation and collaboration between federal, provincial, territorial, Indigenous and municipal governments while advancing energy priorities and improving long-term confidence in energy decision making is a priority.
  •  Communities and Canadians should have the opportunity to participate at national, regional and local levels to inform energy policy and planning.
  •  Networks, engagement and leveraging connections can help stimulate and accelerate new low‑carbon discoveries and ways of doing business.

The energy transition provides an opportunity for reconciliation with Indigenous peoples.

  •  The low-carbon transition provides opportunities for Indigenous people to become increasingly engaged in the energy sector.
  •  Indigenous communities should define their energy pathways, rather than having them defined.
  •  Indigenous engagement needs to “start off in the right way” – by including recognition and respect for their values.
  •  Governments should move beyond the “legal minimum” requirement to consult and embed Indigenous perspectives throughout the policy development cycle. This should be done by contributing to capacity development and community empowerment in a culturally and spiritually appropriate manner.

Canada’s diversity is a source of strength, bringing a broad range of skills, expertise and resources to meet the varied requirements of all Canadians.

  •  Regional and community diversity means different approaches are needed in different locations.
  •  Low-carbon transition brings opportunities for economic growth, which should leverage regional advantages to meet global demand for clean energy products and services.
  •  The low-carbon future will have a significant impact on our economy, including regional labour markets. Advances in technology, social ingenuity, business innovation and market changes will affect how and where people work in the energy sector.
  •  Building a future for cities and communities that includes integrated and efficient energy systems, opportunities for local production and trading of energy, and low-carbon modes of transportation is fundamental to a low-carbon society.

Gender equality in Canada’s energy future is an important issue that deserves attention and action.

  •  The energy sector faces challenges around gender diversity that may require a shift in workplace culture.
  •  Gender equality will require greater awareness, targeted training, apprenticeships, employment placement, financial tools and social policies.
  •  The Government of Canada should cooperate with private industry to take measurable actions to support gender diversity in the energy sector.

It is important to continue to foster an inclusive dialogue on our energy future.

  •  Governments should support an open and realistic public discussion on energy to confront our physical, economic, social, institutional and political realities, while simultaneously addressing our climate change emissions targets.
  •  Canada should pioneer transparent policy development processes and decision-making tools that reflect long-term thinking and integrated approaches in order to consider collaborative approaches to energy decision making across all levels of government. This approach requires a long-term energy plan.
  •  Governments must respect the rights of Indigenous people and ensure their participation in energy policy development and decision making.

Innovative, fact-based decisions

You told us about the importance of supporting transparency in energy decisions and growing a competitive low-carbon future through entrepreneurship, science and innovation.

Science and innovation will be critical to driving the low-carbon transition.

  •  A low-carbon economy cannot happen without innovation to drive change across the sector and provide transformative options to support a competitive energy future.
  •  We must build a system that supports long-term innovation and benefits Canada’s diverse regions.
  •  Clean energy opportunities focused on research and innovation include:
    • Renewable technologies
    • Nuclear energy
    • Storage solutions
    • Carbon sequestration
  •  Clustering research around specific energy challenges could attract researchers and support for multidisciplinary projects. We need to find innovative approaches to support competitiveness while reducing emissions and meeting environmental objectives. Solutions that reduce emissions and costs will be significant factors in determining the role for fossil fuels in Canada’s energy future.
  •  Co-developing energy research and energy projects with Indigenous communities is paramount. A lack of diversity, including a lack of Indigenous perspectives, is seen as an impediment to discovery.

Success will hinge on support for entrepreneurs and new energy businesses.

  •  The transition will require bold leadership and action by all facets of society, a willingness to take risks and a strong culture of entrepreneurship.
  •  Potential transformative changes are coming through the advancement of new technologies and ways of doing business.
  •  Public and private sectors need to work together to support entrepreneurship and finance new energy businesses.
  •  Renewables are expanding because of technology shifts such as high-efficiency solar panels and energy-efficient products, which could provide new options for energy planning.
  •  Grid modernization, distributed grids, integration of smart grid technologies, and democratization of electricity production, supply, and use can create opportunities and challenges. Indigenous rights are opportunities for inclusiveness in energy businesses (e.g. harnessing and leveraging traditional wisdom to solve future energy problems).

Transparent regulation and policy can build public confidence in energy decision making and promote a strong and resilient industry.

  •  Public confidence in energy development and decision making requires sharing information, involving Canadians in decision-making processes, and stimulating education efforts on energy issues.
  •  Improving communication and transparency is critical to fostering greater public confidence.
  •  Clear policy and regulation can foster a stable investment climate in the energy industry and help grow Canada’s energy system.

Energy decisions need to be informed by evidence using accurate and accessible data.

  •  Canadians feel people have their own opinions and, increasingly, their own facts, which makes accurate and transparent energy data important.
  •  Access to quality energy data and information will improve analysis and energy policies and foster discussion of different forms of energy use.

Sharing information across industries, governments and other organizations can promote learning and limit mistakes across jurisdictions or businesses. Youth and entrepreneurs are eager to lead and require support to do so.

  •  Empowering youth with training and leadership opportunities can help them act as difference makers and co-creators of new energy practices at home and in the private sector.
  •  Engagement of youth, Indigenous people and other under-represented groups will be essential to tap into new ideas and raise ambition. Canadians want the transition to be cooperative and inclusive.
  •  Skills and technology required for the low-carbon economy can be a long-term competitive advantage and a source of export revenues for Canada.
  •  Education needs to include all Indigenous community members and the public for a successful transition.

Clean and affordable energy practices

You told us that we need to make smart energy investments to promote economic and environmental outcomes.

Our future energy system will be clean, safe, reliable, accessible and affordable.

  •  Canada must have a flexible approach that adapts to future changes in global prices for fossil fuels and renewables. The goal is for Canada to produce clean and affordable energy that serves as a long-term competitive advantage for Canadians, including domestic businesses and industries, in particular those that are energy-intensive.
  •  Remote communities, of which the majority are predominantly Indigenous, are facing several long-term challenges related to energy security and the consequences of using diesel for heating, electricity and transportation.
  •  Identifying long-term opportunities to support both decarbonisation and competitiveness in Canadian industries is important.
  •  Alternative fuels and bioenergy can provide energy-dense solutions to decarbonize heavy industry, aviation, freight transportation and electricity systems.
  •  Climate change will impact our electricity infrastructure; plans need to ensure a resilient and secure electricity system.

Investments are needed in energy efficiency, clean energy and renewables, and zero-carbon transportation.

  •  Investments will be required to support energy infrastructure, research and commercialize new technologies, and fund programs to drive the transition. These efforts are needed to improve low-carbon energy trade and increase the integration of energy systems between regions.
  •  Renewables are the foundation of Canada’s energy future and the key to meeting emissions reduction commitments.
  •  Transportation will change as new technologies come on-line, from biofuels to electricity, hydrogen, natural gas and propane. All will need opportunity to grow based on regional advantages and needs.
  •  Energy efficiency is a critical tool in our energy transition, as a low-cost option to reduce energy demand.
  •  Many Canadians view nuclear energy as fundamental to achieving and sustaining climate change goals while remaining concerned about nuclear waste management.

There is support to build a smart, cross-country electricity grid.

  •  Canada’s electricity system must meet emerging demand for low-carbon electricity in the transportation, heating and industrial sectors.
  •  The electricity system in 2050 should be resilient, reliable, affordable, 100 % non-emitting, consumer-centric, and clean, with more high voltage direct current transmission and distributed generation.
  •  Nuclear, solar, wind, hydro, fossil fuels, tidal and geothermal working together will give us the best chance of meeting climate change goals while supporting a competitive electricity sector.
  •  East-west electricity connections can connect provinces more reliant on fossil fuels with provinces with an abundance of renewable and non-emitting electricity capacity and potential.

Canada’s energy expertise should be leveraged to decarbonize fossil fuel production and enhance Canada’s competitive position in global energy markets.

  •  Canada needs to leverage its core strengths and use fossil fuels to fund the transition to a low-carbon economy.
  •  Canada’s fossil fuel industries are leaders in energy innovation – a source of economic growth and an important source of jobs and revenue. Many Canadians are advancing innovative approaches to support the competitiveness of these industries while reducing emissions and meeting environmental objectives.
  •  Environmental impacts of fossil fuel development and meeting Canada’s climate change objectives are some of the biggest concerns for Canadians. Canadians said efforts need to be strengthened to meet Canada’s reduction targets for greenhouse gas emissions.
  •  Canada could expand its export markets to be a responsible energy supplier. Technology development and innovation are critical factors in decarbonising fossil fuel production and supporting non-combustion fossil fuel products.
  •  Natural gas, including renewable natural gas, can play a critical role as lower carbon fuel and can help move Canada and international counterparts toward a low-carbon future.

Strengthening partnerships with Indigenous communities is vital to achieving long-term energy solutions.

  •  Indigenous communities should be active in decision making and economic opportunities and have equal access to energy programs and information.
  •  Challenges can be overcome by collective action from governments, Indigenous peoples and the private sector.
  •  The high cost and emissions intensity of diesel fuel  and the lack of reliable grid connections are strong motivators for remote communities to seek opportunities for change.
  •  Biomass heat and power plants should be considered in northern remote communities where sustainable biomass is available to support such development. Propane and natural gas projects can also be developed and deployed as cleaner alternatives to diesel.

Skills training and education will help strengthen the jobs of the future.

  •  Training and re-training programs to support skill development and transfers between traditional and new energy industries should be developed across governments. One focus could be on an energy workforce strategy for youth.
  •  Canada’s education system is a competitive advantage. Our highly skilled labour and expertise provide us with a foundation for the transition to low-carbon energy.
  •  We need to understand the  implications of the transition on labour markets through research, analysis and open communication with citizens.
  •  Canadians want clean energy training programs in remote and Indigenous communities, leveraging partnerships with educational institutions.

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