Energy hub – lessons from the West

A couple of days ago, CBC had a interview with an advisor to President Obama on energy and climate change issues.  The guy singled out Manitoba Premier Gary Doer and said he had been working with California on clean energy strategies.  The Premier of Manitoba.  He also said that Manitoba was positioning itself to be the clean energy (hydro and wind) Saudi Arabia to the United States.

Today, the Globe has a story about Saskatchewan possibly buying the federal government’s stake in AECL:

Saskatchewan Premier Brad Wall says he is keen to forge a partnership with Atomic Energy of Canada Ltd. to develop reactor technology and other business from the province’s vast uranium deposits.  “It’s a natural fit. We are the Saudi Arabia of uranium for the world,” he said in an interview at his Saskatoon office.  “We’d be open to different partnerships or dynamics with other levels of government or companies to make sure Saskatchewan is a leader in this regard.”

This is what it means to be an energy hub.  Not just a few capital intensive but limited economic impact after the construction.  Manitoba’s vision is to have thousands of megawatts of wind energy on the same grid that takes its hydro to the U.S. market today.  If you throw in wind energy systems manufacturing and R&D, Manitoba could turn this into multi thousands of good paying jobs and hundreds of millions each year in new tax revenue.   Nuclear energy is a high value business.  Like it or not, nuclear engineers get paid more than regular engineers.  Nuclear welders get paid far more than regular welders.  Everything is on steroids in order to insure safety and security. 

What is New Brunswick’s vision of an energy hub?  500 more jobs at the refinery in SJ and 300 more at a second reactor?   My question would be how do we turn the energy hub concept into 25,000 jobs over the next 10-15 years and then work backwards from that.

4 thoughts on “Energy hub – lessons from the West

  1. If oil is not self-renewing, nuclear is the only affordable energy at the present time and in the foreseeable future.

  2. A bit off-topic, but the sale of AECL is such a crock in my mind. The federal government has choked off funding for years, reducing the efficacy of our public nuclear industry. Due to lack of funding, AECL has a harder and harder time meeting the tight budget and schedule standards in the industry (see Lepreau). The price we’ll therefore get for AECL, an underperforming company, will be much less than we would have had we supported the corporation properly.

    Nuclear is about to have a renaissance as countries realize that it’s the best way to reduce our reliance on carbon-heavy fuels for baseload power generation. Meanwhile, we’ve neglected our nuclear R&D, and will sell our stake in it in the largest market trough in decades. How is this in any way fiscally conservative? It’s a classic case of buying high and selling low.

    That being said, if SK and ON are going to take the AECL ball and run w/ it, NB should jump on board. We have a clear government policy supporting expansion of nuclear power in the province. We should ensure that we receive some of the ancillary economic benefits described above.

  3. “My question would be how do we turn the energy hub concept into 25,000 jobs over the next 10-15 years and then work backwards from that.”

    This is more of a question than a comment, but isn’t the point of things like an energy hub, to provide revenue to the government so they can lower taxes and make our province more attractive to business? This isn’t something I know a lot about and had just assumed that is why we were investing in things like the second nuclear reactor.

    Is the government promoting these projects as creating jobs???

  4. “Is the government promoting these projects as creating jobs???”

    I sure hope so. If the plans does not involve using energy as a lure to business development and creation of high-paying jobs then its really a wasted effort. Tax reductions? We won’t see any; perhaps some energy rate reductions to selected business sectors, that’s it.

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