The Energy for Life Program at The School of Public Policy (SPP) leads and informs policy discussions about the relationship between energy, environment, economy and social well-being in Canada. The program develops evidence-based policy options by engaging in research and outreach. Over the last year, it has focused on two related elements of Canada’s energy and environmental policy: emissions pricing and decarbonizing Canada's electricity grid.
In September 2021, Dr. Jennifer Winter, PhD, and Dr. Kent Fellows, PhD, from SPP, along with Dr. Brett Dolter, PhD, an economics professor at the University of Regina, launched the website, carbontaxcosts.ca, which allows Canadian households to examine the net effect carbon pricing has and will have on their budgets. The website shows an interactive breakdown for the resultant costs associated with carbon pricing across all household-budget items (transportation fuel, home heat and electricity, etc.). Households can compare carbon costs against different levels of income, as well as investigate the implications of different revenue-recycling options (such as how carbon tax revenues are spent by government).
The Energy for Life program has also supported SPP faculty involvement in significant electricity sector modelling over the last year. Dr. Fellows, along with co-authors Dr. Dolter and SPP research fellow Dr. Nicholas Rivers, PhD, of the University of Ottawa, have been examining the value of the Site-C hydroelectric project in British Columbia within the context of decarbonizing the Western Canadian Electricity Grid. This work has resulted in three publications, including an article in The Conversation.
Energy for Life funds have supported SPP’s efforts to establish itself as Canada’s go-to centre for electricity policy research. Funds have also supported the 1st Annual Electricity Camp in the Rockies, organized by Dr. Blake Shaffer, PhD, of the Department of Economics; Dr. Sara Hastings-Simon, PhD, of the Department of Physics and Astronomy; and Dr. Megan Bailey, PhD, an assistant professor with SPP and the Haskayne School of Business. The event brought together leading electricity scholars in the U.S. and Canada, with industry practitioners and government and agency policy-makers. More recently, Energy for Life was instrumental in matching funds towards getting conditional acceptance of a large grant from Alberta Innovates, in partnership with the Alberta Electric System Operator. The grant will support Drs. Shaffer and Hastings-Simon in establishing the Net Zero Electricity Research Initiative at UCalgary.