Using energy for economic development

Fill up for $5? You can in Utah. Natural gas powered cars can fill up for about 63 cents a gallon. Utah has a large supply of natural gas and is obviously using it to the benefit of its citizens. As I saw $1.35/litre gas in Newfoundland a couple of weeks ago I was thinking about $0.4/litre gas in Venezuela.

I don’t necessarily think offering residents massively cheap gas is a good thing – although I am surprised that some politicians in oil/gas rich areas aren’t thinking of it. However, I do think the principle is a good one but it should be targeted at industrial development. Lower cost energy – and I am even talking post cap/trade system/carbon tax – will be a key community differentiator for some economic development agencies. I hope that includes New Brunswick some day.

I didn’t hear on the news about the Premiers’ discussion regarding Lower Churchill Falls. The more I think of this the more I believe that New Brunswick taking a financial stake in the project in return for a guaranteed long term supply of cheap hydroelectricity is a good idea. Of course, I haven’t seen the economic model or other private information but on the surface this could be a better option that nuclear – or even both. We need to dump the oil (and coal?) fired energy plants in favour of cleaner options – maybe Lower Churchill could also mean cheaper.