How many times have you heard the term ‘net zero’ lately? It’s everywhere. Governments are talking about it—from leaders of G7 countries at international events to the most recent Canadian federal budget that mentions the term 20 times and includes funding for a “Net Zero Accelerator.”
Industry is talking about net zero, too. When it comes to net zero and the energy sector, nuclear has a critical role to play.
This week, I attended an event about just this topic. Let’s start with that thought.
1. Nuclear energy’s contribution to net zero and sustainable development goals
Today, I had the opportunity to listen in to a discussion that was organized by the World Nuclear Association alongside the Canadian Nuclear Association, FORATOM, the Japan Atomic Industry Forum and the Nuclear Energy Institute. The event discussed the role that nuclear energy and other clean energy technologies will play in reaching Paris Agreement commitments and the UN 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development as well as our global commitment to achieving a net-zero economy. Some of the highlights and key takeaways include:
We need to decarbonize our current supply of electricity and ensure that new electricity supply, especially as developing economies continue to build, is also clean. Nuclear offers a proven, reliable clean source of electricity to support decarbonization.
Nuclear is already making a difference (ex. phase out of coal in Ontario) when it comes to decarbonization. It is a proven technology. It is imperative that we keep existing plants open, work on siting new builds, and continue to move forward with work on advanced reactors like small-modular reactors.
Nuclear provides carbon-free electricity but also presents new opportunities like hydrogen, industrial heat sources and more.
The socio-economic benefits of nuclear should not be understated. Nuclear provides stable, high-paying opportunities that support local economies.
The resounding message from the event: a net zero future needs nuclear.
2. Supporting local Indigenous youth leaders
On National Indigenous Peoples Day, Bruce Power and their supply chain partners announced that they will be donating $50,000 to the Saugeen Ojibway Nation’s Youth Leaders in Training Program.
This is an outstanding program that helps youth aged 12-25 develop leadership skills like self-confidence, effective communication, creative planning, and conducting workshops and events. It helps develop local leaders and supports youth becoming more engaged with their community.
A strong, healthy future will require a host of local leaders. It is tremendous to see that this program is supporting so many local young people and inspiring them to become more involved and take a leadership role in their communities.
3. BC-Alberta ultra-fast charging network
Parkland Corporation (the company that operates ON the RUN Convenience stores as well as several gasoline refueling brands) is making the move into electric-vehicle (EV) charging. They announced this week that they are launching the “largest network of Electric Vehicle ultra-fast chargers in British Columbia.” Parkland will be establishing fast-charging locations at “approximately 25 high-quality sites that will stretch from Vancouver Island to Calgary” with up to 100 individual ports across these 25 stations. Highlights of the announcement include:
Strategic vision for coverage: The network will be strategically located on highways in in major destinations like Victoria, Nanaimo, Vancouver, Whistler, Abbotsford, Kelowna, Penticton, Kamloops, Revelstoke and Calgary.
Ultra-fast chargers: The chargers will deliver up to a 150-kilowatt charge with the capability to deliver an 80% charge in most EVs in only 20 minutes.
Convenience and amenities: The chargers will be located near ON the RUN convenience store locations as well as Triple O’s restaurants that will feature complimentary Wi-Fi.
This announcement highlights some of the questions that we have been asking here at the Clean Energy Frontier program with respect to the EV charging network here in Bruce, Grey and Huron.
Soon, we will be publishing the results of a study that we undertook to assess whether our region is ready for an EV revolution and the actions that we can take now to ensure that the region is able to support EV-friendly tourism.
Chad Richards is the Director of the Clean Energy Frontier.