Today, energy security and global climate change are two major problems affecting people and the environment worldwide (IEA, 2010). These problems are highly integrated with each other and mitigating the global climate change without affecting the energy security is becoming a significant challenge for many governments and policy makers in the twenty-first century (Brown & Sovacool, 2011).
According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration’s International Energy Outlook (IEO) 2011 Reference case (EIA, 2011), the world’s total energy consumption is projected to increase by 53 percent from 2008 to 2030. In recent years, energy security is becoming a major concern in many jurisdictions with the increasing energy demand, rising energy costs and energy production and its supply issues (IEA, 2010). “Energy security can be defined as “the uninterrupted physical availability at a price which is affordable, while respecting environment concerns” (IEA, 2000). In general, energy consumption can be broadly divided into three basic end-use energy services: on-demand electricity, heating and cooling, and transportation (IAEA, 2006). On-demand electricity is required to power appliances and equipment in home and office buildings and these energy services are instant in demand. The heating and cooling service is one of the primary energy services during periods of extreme cold or heat. Transportation services include the transport of people and goods from one place to another by air, land, and sea.
Figure 1 : Energy system and its services
Energy sources used to meet these basic services are mainly obtained from fossil fuel supplies – notably crude oil, coal and natural gas; energy sources that are highly subject to price volatility (IEA, 2011) . Fossil supplies are highly rich in carbon content and have serious impacts and effects on the environment. The growing demand for energy and the increased use of fossil fuels to meet energy services is increasing the world’s atmospheric greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions - primarily carbon dioxide (CO2), methane (CH4), and nitrous oxide (N2O) (EPA, 2011). It is acknowledged that the energy sector is a significant contributor to the world’s GHG emissions and one of the principal drivers of global climate change (World Energy Council, 2007).
1.1 Canada’s Primary Energy Demand
From 1990 to 2009, the primary energy consumption in the Canada has increased by one-third (StatsCan, 2011). In 2009, Canada produced 15,326 petajoules (PJ) of primary energy (i.e. energy before any conversion or transformation process) to meet the country’s total energy demand (StatsCan, 2009).
Figure 2: Canada’s Primary Energy Production - 2009 (StatsCan, 2009)
From Figure 2, it is observed that fossil fuels sources accounted for the greatest share of the Canada’s primary energy production- notably crude oil, natural gas and coal representing roughly about 85 % of the total primary energy production. In Canada,...