Alberta policy makers are developing a "comprehensive energy strategy" which is sorely needed to guide Alberta through the many energy crossroads that it now faces. This paper focuses on the strategy’s "comprehensive" aspect, by analysing why the energy strategy needs to be "comprehensive", what factors must be considered in developing the strategy, and what components must be included in the strategy, to make it "comprehensive". Our analysis of "comprehensiveness" stems from an energy systems perspective, which attempts to account for all energy forms and all other physical and institutional energy system parameters, and the linkages among those energy forms and system parameters. After identifying these energy system characteristics, and several fundamental policy issues that need to be addressed, the paper cautions that, because of the inherent complexities, the development of a "comprehensive" energy strategy requires a continuous, iterative process and a special focus on cross-cutting tools.
The author’s work on this paper was funded by grants from the Alberta Law Foundation.