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CNWC Policy position on industrial electrification

image credit: CNWC
Bob Walker's picture
National Director Canadian Nuclear Workers’ Council

1990-2017: Supervising Nuclear Operator, Ontario Hydro/OPG Sector Vice President, Power Workers’ Union (PWU) 2017-2020 Special Advisor to the President-Nuclear/Regulatory/Environmental Affairs,...

  • Member since 2020
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  • Sep 22, 2022
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CANADA’S INDUSTRIAL DECARBONIZATION PRESENTS opportunities for disruptive world leading economic transformation, with unprecedented greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions reductions. By far the main source of energy use and GHGs in Canada is from heat production, for large scale liquid-fuel feedstock manufacturing. This chiefly occurs in Alberta’s oilsands, and the main energy usage, and GHG emissions source, is burning natural gas to provide heat and chemicals for the main stages of oilsands processing. These consist of separating bitumen from sand and manufacturing hydrogen.

Electrifying these is not practical. Rather, replacing gas with a non-emitting heat source opens new energy and chemicals markets for oilsands operators, whether they are currently in the power generation business or not. Many are; in fact, oilsands-colocated power generation facilities make up most of Alberta’s baseload electrical supply. Their role in general electrification will involve their business shifting more to power generation, which, depending on future conditions, may acquire greater importance as an Alberta export product…

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