Shared Future: Your questions on fossil fuels

Canadians are having an important conversation about the future of energy in this country. As a result, they are asking us some big questions about pipelines and what role they will play.

Given how important this conversation is, we have put together our thoughts on some of the most common questions we receive. This is the first in a new blog series, Shared Future, which addresses your questions to us about the future of energy in Canada. We’re listening.

How is fossil fuel development helping fund the transition to renewable energy?


The shift to renewable energy has already started in Canada. According to Natural Resources Canada, moving water (hydro) already provides 59.3 per cent of Canada’s electricity generation. Canada is the second largest producer of hydroelectricity in the world, we are ninth for wind power capacity, eighth in liquid biofuels and there’s been a tremendous amount of growth in solar in the last eight years.

There are two key ways in which fossil fuels, and by extension pipelines, fit in to the mix.

Direct investment – some oil and gas companies have been investing in renewables since the 1970s. CEPA members are also playing a role in that evolution, investing in areas like wind, nuclear, solar and power to gas technology.

Sustaining our economy – one of the biggest barriers to renewable energy is the upfront capital costs for building and installing infrastructure like solar and wind farms. Money collected through taxes and royalties paid by the oil and gas industry helps governments provide incentives for green energy research and development. Having a strong economy now, supported by resource development, will help ensure funds are available to invest in renewables.

If we look at our energy mix with a long-term view, we can continue to strengthen our economy and protect the environment – the energy sector already accounts for 11 per cent of nominal Gross Domestic Product. There is a lot of potential, if we invest in our future wisely.


What role will fossil fuels and pipelines play in the future?


According to the BP Energy Outlook for 2018, oil and gas together account for over half of the world’s energy. And with global demand for energy continuing to grow, it’s not going to be one solution that will define our energy future.

Energy production is progressing, but we are not yet at a point where we have alternative energy sources capable of meeting today’s energy needs efficiently and effectively. We are reliant on oil and natural gas – they are the ingredients in consumer goods like medical instruments and technology, they fuel our transportation and provide heating and electricity to our homes and businesses – and that’s unlikely to change quickly. And looking to our future, there are other reasons the oil and gas industry is important.

Check out some of our recent videos where we explore the role pipelines will play going forward:

There isn’t a single plan for the future – it’s going to take the collective action from all different energy industries (renewable and non-renewable), the government and the public to impact the future of where our energy comes from and how we use it.

Pipelines must exist, and they must function at the highest possible level to affordably deliver the energy Canadians need for energy security. There are smart paths forward, and the scientists and environmentalists at CEPA member companies are working hard to create a positive, secure energy future for Canada.