The Energy Future Forum has released its first policy position paper on Canada’s quest for a clean energy future that meets environmental and economic goals. It calls on the federal government to immediately lend support to the development and implementation of Canada’s unique carbon capture, utilization and storage (CCUS) technology.

The Energy Future Forum is a collaboration of government, industry and nongovernmental organizations (NGOs). In this inaugural paper, the signatories explore how Canada could reach Paris commitments while optimizing the energy sector for clean energy growth.

The paper, entitled “Energy Future Forum: Carbon Capture, Utilization and Storage. The Time is Now,” is the first of several to come and is an example of how stakeholders are coming together to make policy recommendations to all levels of government. It is a collaboration between industry and NGOs to recommend comprehensive strategic policies to governments in order for Canada to achieve climate targets and shift to a low-carbon economy.

“It is critical that Canada maintain and advance its leadership position in carbon capture. It must be understood as part of a broader strategy to sustain our comparative advantage as a leading energy-exporting nation and reliable, responsible resource developer,” said Mac Van Wielingen, founder and partner of ARC Financial Corp. “Our commitment to the ongoing reduction of emissions and the attainment of the highest levels of the environment, social and governance standards and performance, must be evidenced in our industry activities. This carbon capture policy initiative points to a serious opportunity for government and industry collaboration.”

According to the forum, by combining cutting-edge environmental innovation with Canada’s comparative advantage as an energy-exporting nation will allow Canada to achieve or exceed climate targets. Canada can make a significant impact in response to climate change and has the tools and the expertise to boldly move towards a clean energy future. The partnership cements Canada’s commitment to an innovative future economy, shared prosperity and national unity.

The first Energy Future Forum position paper notes that if Canada aims to meet its 2030 climate change objective and establish a plan to achieve net-zero carbon emissions by 2050, CCUS – including direct air capture (DAC) and other developing technologies – will play an integral role. CCUS technology has a proven 90 per cent capture rate of the carbon dioxide (CO2) produced from the use of fossil fuels in electricity generation and industrial processes. The captured carbon is sequestered underground, either as part of enhanced oil recovery (EOR) or stored in geological formations. It can also produce valuable products such as carbon fibre and other low or emission-free fuels.

As a resource and energy-producing nation committed to emission reductions goals, Canada’s economic future hinges on these natural assets as part of a low (an eventually net zero) emissions, clean energy strategy. For Canada to lead in CCUS, an industry-civil society-government collaboration will be needed to spur innovation and make investments competitive with those available in the United States and elsewhere.

The Energy Future Forum’s recommendations include the following:

  • Climate Change Policy: Clear signals from the federal and provincial governments that carbon capture and direct air carbon capture, utilization and storage are integral components of our climate change policy framework and a low-carbon export strategy;
  • Carbon Capture Incentives: Federal tax policy in the next Budget that combined with climate change policies meets or exceeds the U.S. measures such as 45Q and a result, will attract private sector investment in both carbon capture and direct air capture, utilization and storage. Currently, we are not incenting Canadian companies with the know-how to invest here. As a result, they go abroad to find opportunities, and in the process fail to optimize our emissions reductions;
  • CCUS Fund: Federal and provincial governments working together to establish stackable tax credits and the creation of a CCUS fund that will help leverage private sector investment into the three streams of carbon capture.
  • Carbon Reduction Standards: Canada Infrastructure Bank standards that reward carbon reduction strategies, including carbon capture and storage, in the allocation of capital;
  • Regulatory Framework: Federal and provincial governments working together to build on existing expertise to implement a strong regulatory framework to minimize the risk of leaks, monitor movement of the CO2 and address outstanding issues such as the ownership of pore space and long-term liability of carbon storage;
  • Green Bonds and Partnerships: Creation of financing vehicles, such as “green” transition bonds, public-private partnerships and equity investments by the federal and provincial governments, and the Canadian Infrastructure Bank, to help attract private investment into the CCUS sector.

The Energy Future Forum urges the federal government, as part of its Paris targets, to build on its carbon pricing policies and take the lead in working with carbon-intensive industries and provincial governments in putting this agenda into action. Levelling the playing field through a 45Q tax credit equivalent is a good place to start both in furthering climate targets and a low-carbon export economy.

The following members have endorsed the first Energy Forum Position paper:

Canadian LNG Alliance
Canadian Natural Resources Limited
Cenovus Energy
CIBC
Ed Whittingham
Enbridge
Evok Innovations
EY
GE Canada
Husky Energy
Imperial Oil
Ivey Foundation
Mac Van Wielingen
MEG Energy
Michelle Adams
Nuclear Innovation Institute
Pembina Institute
Peter Tertzakian
RBC
Shell Canada
Suncor Energy
Sustainable Development Technology Canada
TC Energy Corporation
Toronto Region Board of Trade
Total E&P Canada
Waterloo Institute for Sustainable Energy, University of Waterloo

The Energy Future Forum is a pan-Canadian and multi-year initiative that addresses climate action and our energy future. The forum includes leaders from business and government, academic, environmental and Indigenous organizations, comprising participants from five regions. The foundational partners – RBC, Suncor Energy, Hydro-Québec and Ivey Foundation, together with the Public Policy Forum – are determined to see this collaborative effort map out an ambitious set of actions that are environmentally sound, economically beneficial and publicly acceptable.

To read the complete CCUS position paper, click here.

Featured image credit: Energy Future Forum.

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