Don’t Forget the Renewables,
Says Pembina Policy Analyst

Mary Griffiths, environmental policy analyst with the Pembina Institute, says the term “clean coal” is a misnomer. “It’s a new technology that will reduce emissions but using a fossil fuel will never be clean in the way renewables will be clean. Clean coal technology doesn’t eliminate emissions, it simply captures and stores them.”

Ms. Griffiths says the government’s resources should not be used to finance “cleaner” coal technologies at the expense of investing in renewables and improved energy efficiency.

“ What we want is a level playing field for all technologies. Renewables and energy efficiency continue to receive significantly fewer fiscal incentives or support from government than new conventional energy technologies. At the same time, most fossil fuel energy production is given free access to water and air to dispose of waste products so it’s not a level playing field.”

Ms. Griffiths says the development of technologies that reduce emissions from existing coal-fired generation plants is potentially valuable in helping facilitate Canada’s transition to a sustainable renewable energy economy. And if new fossil fuel plants are required to produce electricity, Integrated Gas Combined Cycle “offers the best option.”

However, Ms. Griffiths points out that, where possible, IGCC operations should use waste products as their fuel source rather than virgin coal, to further reduce environmental impacts.

-reprinted with permission from C3 Views, the monthly newsletter of Climate Change Central.

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