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2010/19 (a)

Backgrounder

Canada–U.S. Clean Energy Dialogue Declaration of Intent for Cooperation in Energy Science and Technology


The Clean Energy Dialogue was established between Canada and the United States by Prime Minister Harper and President Obama in February 2009. Its objective is to enhance joint collaboration on clean energy science and technologies in order to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and combat climate change.

This dialogue is an important initiative in support of our ongoing efforts toward building a low-carbon economy. Canada and the United States are both taking steps to combat climate change domestically, and these efforts will be further reinforced by the joint actions between our two countries under the Clean Energy Dialogue.

The Declaration of Intent (DOI) for collaborative activities between Canada and the U.S. will support expanded research and development in bioenergy and carbon capture and storage. The DOI will cover a number of ongoing and future projects, including:

  • A cooperative research and development agreement to investigate the productivity and harvesting of algae and its ability to produce biofuels.
  • The North American Carbon Atlas Project, which is developing an atlas of major CO2 sources, potential CO2 storage reservoirs and storage estimates in Canada, the U.S. and Mexico, based on common methodologies.
  • Research and development of new coal gasification technology to reduce emissions from the production of coal.

The activities under the DOI are being led by the Clean Energy Research and Development Working Group and the Clean Energy Technology Working Group. Along with the Electricity Grid Working Group, a number of other activities are also being undertaken for the Clean Energy Dialogue:

1. Clean Energy Technology Working Group

The group is seeking to advance the development and deployment of carbon capture and storage (CCS) in Canada and the U.S.

Initial efforts have focused on implementing the following Clean Energy Dialogue Action Plan commitments:

  • Next-generation Technologies: Canada and the United States are enhancing links between CCS researchers in order to further next-generation CCS technologies by sharing information and collaborating on projects.
  • CO2 Injection and Storage Testing: Canada and the United States are developing and demonstrating CO2 measuring, monitoring and verification methods to confirm the safety and efficacy of CO2 storage.
  • Collaboration on Large-scale CCS Demonstration Projects: Canada and the United States are sharing best practices and lessons learned from large-scale CCS demonstration projects.
  • Strategies for Public Engagement: Canada and the United States are strengthening their partnership in this area by engaging federal and state/provincial governments, as well as industry, universities and other non-government entities, while also effectively communicating with the public on CCS.
  • Working Toward Compatible Rules, Standards and Practices: Canada and the United States are working toward developing compatible CCS regulations to minimize business barriers and facilitate possible future cross-border CCS projects.
  • Bilateral National Conference: An annual U.S.–Canada CCS conference has been established to further this dialogue and to facilitate CCS-based activities on an ongoing basis. The first conference will be held May 10, 2010, in Pittsburg, Pennsylvania.

2. Clean Energy Research and Development Working Group

This group aims to connect Canadian and U.S. experts and improve collaboration in priority areas such as future-generation biofuels, clean engines/vehicles and energy efficiency (homes and buildings). Pursuing joint research, development and deployment (RD&D) in these areas will enable significant greenhouse gas reductions while strengthening North American economic performance and creating green employment.

Initial efforts have focused on implementing the following Clean Energy Dialogue Action Plan commitments:

  • Clean Energy RD&D Collaboration Framework: In order to expand collaboration, the United States and Canada are developing a framework to provide mechanisms and resources for expanded joint R&D collaboration.
  • Clean Energy RD&D Roadmap: The United States and Canada are creating a joint roadmap to identify technology and associated research, development and deployment pathways that would help reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 2050.
  • Immediate Collaborative Projects and Initiatives: Projects and initiatives that have been launched include:
  • Analyzing the economic feasibility of different methods for converting trees killed by the mountain pine beetle into biofuels.
  • Facilitating the integration of buildings into the smart grid through the identification of requirements and the development of standards and tools to evaluate and control the energy demand of buildings.
  • Expanding ENERGY STAR criteria and programs with the development of new and revised specifications for product categories.
  • Signing partnership agreements to improve energy efficiency in the transportation sector by coordinating research and development of lightweight materials development.

 3. Electricity Grid Working Group

The group is focused on Canada–U.S. collaboration to facilitate the long-term transition to a modernized electricity system. This collaboration includes the identification of options for increasing Canada–U.S. trade in clean electricity, including the role that energy storage technologies might play in helping to accommodate increased penetration of renewable sources in that trade. It also includes the sharing of best practices and engaging industry and stakeholders in the increased application of communications technologies, sensors and computer software to the electrical system, or what is known as the “smart grid.”

Initial efforts have focused on implementing the following Clean Energy Dialogue Action Plan commitments:

  • Increasing Opportunities for Trade in Clean Electricity: Natural Resources Canada and the U.S. Department of Energy are working with industry and other levels of government to identify potential resources and markets for increased clean electricity and ancillary services trade.
  • Advancing Smart Grid and Clean Power Technologies: Both governments are working together and sharing government-sponsored electricity research, development and deployment as well as government- and industry-sponsored reliability standards, cyber security and joint system guidelines.
  • Realizing the Potential of Power Storage: Both governments are engaging industry and other levels of government to improve understanding of the existing storage potential, in particular the existing live storage potential across the Canada–U.S. grid.
  • Building the Power Workforce of Tomorrow: Conference was held in Toronto in February 2010 to work with industry and educational institutions to identify the additional skills necessary to meet future labour requirements associated with modernizing and building a more efficient electricity grid.

Canada–U.S. Electricity Grid/ Smart Grid Forum: Canada and the U.S. have committed to host a regular Canada–U.S. Smart Grid Forum, which will serve to assess progress toward a more efficient electricity grid based on clean and renewable generation while identifying new priorities.


Media may contact:

Margaux Stastny
Director of Communications
Office of the Minister
Natural Resources Canada
Ottawa
613-996-2007

or

Media Relations
Natural Resources Canada
Ottawa
613-992-4447

NRCan's news releases and backgrounders are available at www.nrcan.gc.ca/media/index-eng.php.

Information on the Clean Energy Dialogue Report to Leaders and Action Plan is available at http://pm.gc.ca/eng/news/2009/09/16/us-canada-clean-energy-dialogue.