The shale gas boom that started in the United States is now spreading to Canada. Alberta’s
landscape displays substantial potential for the development of shale gas in this province. As a result
of the exploitation of shale gas plays across North America, the price of natural gas plummeted in
2009. Natural gas is a significantly cleaner energy source than coal, which still makes up 41% of
Alberta’s energy mix. However, Methane emissions resulting from the natural gas extraction process
diminish this advantage. If Methane emissions cannot be kept below a threshold of 2%, the
environmental benefits of natural gas are entirely negated. Moreover, due to the low natural gas price,
renewable energy sources are no longer sufficiently competitive to be developed in large quantities.
Since natural gas in itself is not clean enough to eliminate the need for the future development of
renewables, Alberta must ensure the continued entry of renewable energy into the power grid.