Using energy for economic development

Fill up for $5? You can in Utah. Natural gas powered cars can fill up for about 63 cents a gallon. Utah has a large supply of natural gas and is obviously using it to the benefit of its citizens. As I saw $1.35/litre gas in Newfoundland a couple of weeks ago I was thinking about $0.4/litre gas in Venezuela.

I don’t necessarily think offering residents massively cheap gas is a good thing – although I am surprised that some politicians in oil/gas rich areas aren’t thinking of it. However, I do think the principle is a good one but it should be targeted at industrial development. Lower cost energy – and I am even talking post cap/trade system/carbon tax – will be a key community differentiator for some economic development agencies. I hope that includes New Brunswick some day.

I didn’t hear on the news about the Premiers’ discussion regarding Lower Churchill Falls. The more I think of this the more I believe that New Brunswick taking a financial stake in the project in return for a guaranteed long term supply of cheap hydroelectricity is a good idea. Of course, I haven’t seen the economic model or other private information but on the surface this could be a better option that nuclear – or even both. We need to dump the oil (and coal?) fired energy plants in favour of cleaner options – maybe Lower Churchill could also mean cheaper.

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0 Responses to Using energy for economic development

  1. Anonymous says:

    Hydro is substantially less cost than nuclear but has minimal direct spin off and NB would always pay more than NFld or PQ so it is hard to imagine it as a competitive advantage over those provinces. Tidal power might be a differentiator.

    Your thinking is on the right track. Regions rich in energy are rich in economic activity