A green grid that’s smart

Imagine this headline: Canada’s Green Energy Poised to Power the World. It isn’t a utopian dream. It’s an attainable solution. The technology that will enable it is here, now, in the form of next-generation “smart” electricity grids.
Innovations in grid infrastructure will maximize energy efficiency and meet power demand consistently by drawing on a much wider and cleaner variety of energy sources. Two-way communication between consumers and the grid will help people save power and money.

© National Geographic Stock/ Jim Richardson

The ability to deploy distributed generation will maximize the potential of renewable sources (wind, solar, geothermal), making both fossil fuel generation and big, baseload power ultimately obsolete. Resilient and self-healing, smart grids will virtually eliminate shortages and blackouts.
But, like all disruptive technology, the real transformative power of smart grids will be driven by human creativity. Think about, for example, transportation – Canada’s largest source of greenhouse gas emissions. Electrifying public transit and personal vehicles through green-powered grids would represent a massive step forward in meeting global climate imperatives, while simultaneously spurring the growth of infrastructure for more livable cities.
Further, there’s the opportunity to take full advantage of Canada’s manufacturing base, our energy expertise, well-educated work force, and most importantly, our vast renewable energy potential – one of the greatest in the world. Think about green electrons flowing south to help the United States lower emissions, while Canadian-made green technology and know-how is exported across the world.
In concert with thought-leaders across the country, we’re calling for an Energy Strategy that empowers Canada to achieve our economic potential while demonstrating climate leadership.
The electricity networks that power our world are one of the greatest engineering feats of the last hundred years. Modernizing them over the coming decades will determine Canada’s success in the next. This is nation building at its best—creating jobs and an economy designed to thrive in a world whose future hinges on low-carbon solutions. This is the Canada that’s possible, the Canada that does better than compete – that leads.
Article originally published in The Globe and Mail on September 26th here.