Looking beyond the controversies surrounding the Alberta oil sands and the Keystone XL pipeline, more than 70 leading figures from the Canadian energy sector gathered for CNBC's EnergyFuture brainstorm in Toronto Wednesday to tackle how to break in to Asia.
Responding to host Geoff Cutmore's provocation that Canada has serious questions to ask itself, brainstorm participants were asked how Canada could become the leading exporter of energy and environmental technology to Asia within 20 years. Though the participants were free to imagine any possibility, the participants called for: a national energy policy, a price on carbon, and clean electrification of the nation's economy.
The winning solution, presented on behalf of his table by Bruce Lourie, president of the Ivey Foundation, focused on electrification. Aided by flexible smart grids, and improved management of demand through better use of big data, Canada needed to double down on its already extensive use of renewable energy in the grid.
"We have the lowest carbon footprint in electricity of any jurisdiction in the world," Lourie said. "So how do we build on that? We optimise electrification of the economy, and that means looking at end uses."
David Runnalls, senior fellow at Sustainable Prosperity, said that the best method to build incentive and drive innovation was the obvious one - taxation.
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