Make a New Year’s resolution to increase your energy IQ

New Year’s resolutions come in many forms: hit the gym, spend more time with family, start saving for retirement . . . the list is endless. One resolution we hope all Canadians will make is to learn more about energy and its transportation. Resolutions are easy to make but not as easy to keep, so here are five simple steps you can follow to increase your energy IQ in 2014:

Step 1: Understand how you use energy and how it gets to you

Is your vehicle fueled by gasoline? Is your home heated by natural gas?

Just look around your house, crude oil was required to manufacture and/or transport a lot of your household items (like running shoes and bike tires).

“In Canada, because we have a cold climate and widely-spaced population, natural gas and petroleum products provide more than two-thirds of our energy,” explained David Carson, vice-president of the Canadian Centre for Energy Information.

Now take a minute to consider how that energy is transported.

“Not everyone has a gas well or oil refinery in their backyard, so oil and gas have to be transported long distances from producing regions and refining centres to end users,” Carson pointed out.

That’s where pipelines come in. Read more about why these pipelines are needed.

Step 2: Learn the lingo

Terminology that describes the energy transportation process can sometimes be used out of context, which leads to misinformation. Understand for yourself some of the energy-industry vocabulary.

Here are just a couple of examples:

  • Not all pipelines are the same. For example, there’s a difference between transmission pipelines (CEPA represents transmission pipeline companies) and distribution pipelines.
  • You have probably heard a lot of people talk about “market access” as a reason new pipeline projects are necessary. Learn what improving market access really means.

Canadian Geographic’s Energy Glossary is one of many great online tools you can use to learn more about energy-related terminology.

Step 3: Do your own research

We have provided links throughout this post for you to click to get more information, but we encourage you to do your own fact checking. Also check the “facts” you get from the media and from other blogs.

“If people do their own research, they’ll make better decisions,” explained Carson. “Too often what is presented as fact is really opinion.”

Step 4: Look at all sides of an issue, question information

We want Canadians to understand arguments by both pipeline opponents and proponents. When you are reading about pipeline-related issues, question the information and form your own opinion on the right path for Canada.

“Question statements that are offered without proof or supporting data,” advised Carson. “Realize that all sides of an issue have their own agenda. Also realize that just because someone is a celebrity doesn’t mean they are knowledgeable about energy matters or climate change.”

Step 5: Understand the bigger picture

Take a minute to learn more about the economic impact of pipelines (and of the energy industry in general) on your community, on your province and on the Canadian economy.

Also, take an objective look at the steps companies are taking to protect the environment and to improve the overall safety of pipelines.

We want you to be in the know. Here’s why:

The transmission pipeline industry is committed to continually improving its performance. That’s why we want Canadians to be knowledgeable about energy transportation. We want all Canadians to join the debate about the role of pipelines in this country.

The Canadian Energy Pipeline Association represents Canada’s transmission pipeline companies who operate approximately 115,000 kilometres of pipelines in Canada. In 2012, these energy highways moved approximately 1.2 billion barrels of liquid petroleum products and 5.1 trillion cubic feet of natural gas. Our members transport 97 per cent of Canada’s daily natural gas and onshore crude oil from producing regions to markets throughout North America.