The Energy Transition – Our Winter of Discontent

Grant Wach
Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences
Dalhousie University


Access to energy has been recognized by The United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE) as “critical for assuring quality of life”, and at present 80 per cent of the energy usage in the UNECE region is fossil-fuel based. Many countries are reliant on non-renewable sources for their energy security and economic well-being, yet there is a growing global urgency to transition to a more sustainable energy future with increased dependence on renewable energy sources, improved energy efficiency, and reduced global carbon emissions but at present this is being disrupted by severe spikes in energy prices, delivery networks and the supply of both fossil and renewable energy systems.

Canada also has carbon reduction targets that the energy transition must help achieve. In Atlantic Canada, the provinces are in a unique position to become a green energy powerhouse, with reduced dependence on fossil fuels and to help lead Canada, and the World, in the transition to clean energy. An area we call the Energy Corridor, straddling the New Brunswick and Nova Scotia boundary, has all the components for green energy success, including regular wind patterns in the nearby Gulf of St. Lawrence, salt deposits suitable for energy storage, and a central location with power links to the northeastern U.S.A.

Research into the Scotian and Sydney basins for Carbon Capture and Storage for emission reduction, renewable energy sources such as biomass, geothermal, tidal, hydrogen, and wind energy, and the energy storage potential in salt caverns will be discussed with other issues contributing to the overall energy situation in Atlantic Canada. This lecture will present an overview of the ‘greening’ of the Atlantic Canada provinces, review the vision for the energy future, and highlight opportunities to improve energy sustainability in the region. With energy costs spiking around the world, and a “winter of discontent” looming, the Energy Transition is very important for Atlantic Canada and the World.



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I. Coutand