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Title: Is "Conservation" Worth Conserving? - The Implications of Alberta's "Energy Resource Conservation" Mandate for Renewable Energy
Authors: Wenig, Michael M.
Moore, Michal C.
Issue Date: 2007
Publisher: Canadian Institute of Resources Law
Citation: Michael M. Wenig & Michal C. Moore, Is "Conservation" Worth Conserving? - The Implications of Alberta's "Energy Resource Conservation" Mandate for Renewable Energy, Occasional Paper No. 20 (Calgary: Canadian Institute of Resources Law, 2007)
Abstract: Several ongoing energy policy developments in Alberta - including recent provincial commitments to develop a "comprehensive energy strategy" and to split the Energy and Utilities Board into two separate Boards - provide good grounds for a rigorous reassessment of assumptions and principles that currently guide provincial decisions with respect to energy. One prominent basis for the province's current energy decision-making is the objective, in the Energy Resources Conservation Act, to "effect the conservation" (and to "prevent the waste") of Alberta's "energy resources". This paper assesses the implications of this objective for renewable energy sources. After noting the Act's lack of relevant definitions and implementing provisions, the paper assesses the meaning of renewable energy "conservation" by considering several plain meanings of that term. The paper then considers additional clues from the term's use in several fossil fuel "conservation" statutes, as well as from the extensive historical record of oil and gas "conservation" programs in North America. This analysis concludes that, while the meaning of oil and gas "conservation" is itself ambiguous, the oil and gas "conservation" record provides several lessons or principles that could be applied in the renewable energy context. Finally, the paper suggests that, because of these ambiguities in the meaning of "conservation", and the lack of full cost, life cycle considerations in "conservation" decision-making, the province's energy resource "conservation" mandate should either be overhauled, or completely replaced.
Appears in Collections:Occasional Papers

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