We seem to confuse diversification of our economy with heating our homes and fueling our transportation.
Natural gas is in abundance and has proven to be an efficient, affordable and reliable source of heat and fuel. Until recently, it was also seen as clean energy. After all, we are replacing our coal fired plants with natural gas for that very reason. Extraction and delivery are continually being improved to honour our environmental responsibilities and obligations.
Solar and Wind are part of the whole energy picture but they are not universally applicable or reliable 100% of the time. They are add ons. Although the environmentalists don’t give these two industries the same press the oil and gas industry is allotted, they too need to be policed. How they dispose of used solar panels and batteries, and public plans as to how they will not interfere with the natural pathways of migratory birds would be a good start.
The short answer is until we are ready to embrace nuclear energy, natural gas is our best bet.
Diversifying our economy does NOT mean we forfeit our natural resources. Diversification means we build on our strength of our current fossil fuel hydrocarbons and explore other avenues like carbon fibre manufacturing, and develop technologies for hydrogen development and further petrochemical potential.
Alberta Innovates recently published an article that said “markets for carbon fibre and other asphalten products are estimated at $84 billion annually.” That’s a reasonable incentive. We need to consider Alberta introducing the building blocks for this global industry. Carbon fibre produces everything from helmets to airplane parts. It is lightweight (fuel efficiency) and extraordinarily strong. Strong as steel in fact. We have the raw material, the land to build manufacturing plants if we can’t re-position any of our current facilities and an abundance of professional talent to execute its operation.
How exciting is that!?