Background

The development and deployment of sustainable energy systems is essential to both ensuring the near-term diversity of Canada's electricity supply and also, in the longer term, to paving the way for future transportation systems based on renewable electricity sources.

Energy is highly relevant today and will continue to be for the foreseeable future. Oil prices have risen dramatically with consequent negative impacts on the world economy. Less developed nations are striving to bring their economies to the level of the more developed countries, a process that will double global energy consumption. In countries such as Canada, the energy production and distribution systems are aging with large investments needed to arrest the deterioration of the current energy infrastructure. All energy activities must be sustainable not only in terms of economics and resource limitations but also they must address the overarching concerns of climate change and pollution.

In Ontario for example, about 80% of the electric power generation capability will need to be replaced, refurbished or upgraded over the next 15 years, an investment estimated to be in excess of $40 billion. Therefore, Ontario, the engine driving Canada’s economy, now faces energy choices that will have enormous impact on the long term viability of the province and the nation. Furthermore, the difficulties in fulfilling the greenhouse gas reductions required as a signatory of the Kyoto Protocol has presented many sectors in Canada with severe challenges.