Moving towards de-carbonization – Marine renewable energy as part of the solution
Michael Porter, economic development guru from Harvard, spoke at a Greater Vancouver Board of Trade event at the recent GLOBE 2016 conference (http://www.hbs.edu/competitiveness/Documents/america-unconventional-energy-opportunity.pdf). He spoke about the US unconventional energy opportunity as their strategic advantage in movement to a decarbonized economy. He exhorted Canada to use its unconventional gas reserves to follow the same path.
However, following Michael Porter’s own theories, would we not arrive at Canada’s existing clean electricity system as a better starting point? Would we not recognize the abundant undeveloped marine, wind, solar, hydro and geothermal resources as the lever that builds a Canadian clean electricity sector, an exporting industry (clean electrons, services, equipment and project development) and a competitive advantage throughout Canadian industry and society “powered by clean electricity”?
His hosts and the audience questions may have missed the point. The move to decarbonisation needs to exploit strengths and advantages in order to attract the economic echo that will benefit the leaders. In Canada we are not so dependent on coal and we have many advantages that will get us to a clean electrified economy much faster than the US can.
Canada’s unconventional energy opportunity is actually “more of the same”! Adding wave, river current and tidal energy to the regional electricity developments is a part of the opportunity. Marine renewables are not a science experiment! We are doing this because they will be a competitive, benign and sustainable alternative to fossil fuel.