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  1. Categories: Business

    More jobs as natural gas industry grows, but who will fill them?

    As the natural gas industry continues to grow, we have to think about how we can sustain that development. We’ve talked about how the rise in natural gas use will help create more jobs for Canadians, but at the rate the industry is growing, there’s likely to be a rapid increase in demand for skilled labour, particularly in British Columbia. The province plans to build five plants for the northwest coast to liquefy natural gas drilled from wells in northeastern B.C.

    “It’s going to have a huge impact on the labour force,” says Terry Williams, Dean of BCIT’s School of Energy. It’s expected that the construction of liquefied natural gas plants and associated pipelines will generate at least 63,000 jobs, according to a recent report by a committee of representatives from the provincial government and industry. The B.C. Natural Gas Workforce Strategy committee forecasts that 2,400 new jobs will be available once construction is complete, and at least 61,000 positions will be needed to support LNG operations.

    That’s why the BCIT School of Energy wants to take a leadership role in training the right people to fill the roles needed to keep the industry vital and strong. Interest is growing in LNG-related courses, and applications for the heavy-duty mechanic program have increased by 55 per cent since July 2012.

    To read more, visit here.

  2. Categories: Business

    Carpe Diem, Canada

    Tomorrow’s success is far from guaranteed – it relies on our sound decision-making today. Though Canada’s a vast nation of enormous abundance, many feel we’ve used that fact as a crutch.

    Perhaps, it’s time to seize on the opportunities available to us.

    Firstly, a decision should be made on how to use our energy. For example, during the OPEC embargo of 1973, Albertan oil was transported west to Vancouver, loaded into tankers, sailed south and through the Panama Canal, then north to Montreal. (An absurd 15,000 km journey.) In fact, Eastern Canada continues to rely on 725,000 barrels per day from Algeria, West Africa, the Middle East and the North Sea – and yet, we’re the world’s sixth largest producer. Ending our bickering and red tape will get us closer to making our country’s energy independence a reality.

    It would also be prudent to resist the temptation to place all our chips on the Oil Sands. Perhaps we should consider our entire energy mix – and in particular, our natural gas future.  Applying our best minds to the significant question of our energy future is key.

    Professor Steve Larter, a leading international expert in the location and formation of heavy oil, put it this way: “Energy technology should be a big part of Canadian industrial development but the total spend is very small. We spend about $30 billion a year on Christmas… while the total university research and development is about one billion dollars. We need a different model if Canada is going to be a big energy producer. It needs to get its act together.”

    What do you consider crucial to Canada’s energy future? Let us know in the comments section below.


  3. Categories: Business, Sustainability

    Providing power with game-changing technology

    It’s the size of a dishwasher but does a lot more than just clean up. Redox Power Systems, a Maryland-based start-up company, has partnered with researchers at the University of Maryland to commercialize a technology that could potentially change the way we look at distributed energy generation.

    The two are working together to introduce a fuel cell that is about one-tenth the size and costs 90 per cent less than current commercial fuel cells. Redox’s PowerSERG 2-80 connects to your natural gas line and electrochemically converts methane to electricity, giving homes and businesses the ability to generate their own power. The fuel cell has a capacity of 25 kilowatts—enough to power a gas station or small grocery store. Sales are set to begin in 2014.

    In Ontario, this summer’s heavy rain and storms showed us what could potentially happen to our power when Mother Nature puts the pressure on. Redox’s fuel cell is something that can keep individual homes and businesses powered in emergencies that temporarily affect the larger electricity grid. This promising new technology has the potential to provide us all with safe, reliable, affordable, and clean energy via natural gas.

    To read more, please visit here.

    Is distributed energy something that Ontario should consider investing in? Share your thoughts in the comments section below.