Managing Canada's Resources and Industries

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Environmental Studies

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Managing Canada's Resources and Industries

Managing Canada’s Resources and Industries

How can we use less energy? Reducing is the most effective way to make our community and our environment more sustainable. By reducing our use of energy, we also reduce the amount of fossil fuels we use as well. By using less fossil fuels and non-renewable resources, we can decrease our chances of running out of them completely.

In Canada, there are diverse and reliable sources of energy: oil, natural gas, hydroelectricity, coal, nuclear (uranium), solar, wind, tidal and biomass. Canada is the fifth largest energy producer in the world, after Russia, China, United States and Saudi Arabia, and the eighth largest consumer of energy. Energy consumption sustains economic growth and our standard of living. Canadians are the fourth largest users of energy per person in the world.

How can those in Canada manage its renewable and non-renewable resources wisely?

Non-Renewable - CoalCanada has about 1% of the world’s coal resources. Ninety-seven per cent of Canada’s coal is found in the Western Provinces. Coal is used to generate electricity (thermal or steam coal). Burning coal pollutes our environment with toxins, produces a quarter of U.S. global warming emissions, and accounts for a whopping 80 percent of all carbon emissions produced by power generation nationwide. It’s time to reduce our dependence on this polluting energy source. To decrease our reliance on coal, we must shut down the oldest and dirtiest coal plants and replace them with reliable and clean energy sources (ex. solar, hydro, and wind electricity). Using these renewable resources will reduce coal use.

Non-Renewable - Crude Oil and Natural Gas Canada has significant proven reserves of crude oil (178 billion barrels), second only to those of Saudi Arabia. Crude oil is the term for "unprocessed" oil, the stuff that comes out of the ground. It is also known as petroleum. Crude oil is a fossil fuel, meaning that it was made natural­ly from decaying plants and animals living in ancient seas millions of years ago. Canadian natural gas reserves were 58 trillion cubic feet as of year-end 2006. Natural gas is a hydrocarbon, which means it is made up of compounds of hydrogen and carbon. Natural gas can be found by itself or in association with oil. It is both colourless and odourless. We can reduce our consumption of both of these non-renewable resources by:1. Reducing our use of plastic. A lot of plastic uses fossil fuels in its manufacture. Some ways to do this are:Buy or make reusable bags. Leave some in your car/on your bike for shopping. Tuck a small one into your purse for removing when you buy groceries out of the blue.Ask your local grocery store to stop using plastic bags. Many use biodegradable bags; this is one possible option. Bring your own bags from home.Use glass containers to store food in the refrigerator.2. Being energy conscious with our power in the home. This is both a way to reduce fossil fuel usage and your power bill. We can:Turn off lights. Several million people leave their lights on when going into another room, going away on vacation or business trips, etc., without even knowing or thinking about it. Consider switching to timer lighting or lighting that responds to motion if you need lights on in unused areas for security or safety reasons. Pull appliances out from the plug when not in use. Stand-by mode still consumes energy. Turn down the heating and AC temperature in your house and office/workplace. Even one degree less can make a large difference to your power usage. Use more sweaters and blankets when it's cold. Walking around the house in a t-shirt mid-winter is a luxury, not a necessity. Take shorter showers; you'll use less power and less water. Install a solar water heater.3. Installing solar panels. These have been expensive options in the past but they're rapidly coming down in price as more companies make them and the market is expanding. Solar garden lights can save on outdoor electricity usage.4. Riding a bike or walking more. Instead of driving a car or taking a bus, try cycling or walking to your destination. 5. Consider shifting to a hybrid or electric car. Both cars use less fossil fuels to power them.

Renewable - HydroCanada is the world's second largest producer of hydroelectricity after China which is more than double Canada's level and one of few countries to generate the majority of its electricity from hydroelectricity (59% in 2006). In 2011, Canada consumed the equivalent of 85.2 megatonnes of oil of hydroelectricity, 10.8% of all the hydroelectricity generated in the world.Hydroelectricity is electricity generated by hydropower, which usually requires the potential energy of water stored behind a dam to drive a water turbine and generator. Hydroelectric power is generated from a plant in which the turbine generators are driven by falling or flowing water. We can reduce the amount of hydroelectricity we use by using electricity only during off peak hours. This will reduce the amount of power we use and will decrease the amount we pay for the power that we do use.

Renewable - Solar Canada’s use of solar energy has increased in recent years, although it remains relatively small in terms of market penetration. Installed capacity for solar thermal power has seen annual compound growth rate of 13.8 percent since 2004. The 2008-2014 period was marked by the significant growth of installed capacity for solar photovoltaic power, which in 2014, reached 1,843 megawatts of installed capacity.Solar energy is radiant light and heat from the sun harnessed using a range of ever-evolving technologies such as solar heating, photovoltaics, solar thermal energy, solar architecture and artificial photosynthesis.One way we can reduce the amount of solar power we consume is to install automatic lights where necessary. When we leave the lights on in a room and forget to turn them off, then we waste a lot of energy. Automatic lights reduce the amount of power we use by turning off when no movement is sensed. So, forgetting to turn that bathroom light off? Not a problem. Automatic lights will turn off within 3 minutes when no human activity is detected.

Renewable - Wind Installed wind power capacity in Canada has expanded rapidly in recent years and is forecasted to continue to grow at a rapid pace due to increased interest from electricity producers and governmental initiatives. As of December 31, 2014, Canada had over 5,130 wind turbines operating on 225 wind farms for a total installed capacity of 9,694 megawatts. The kinetic energy in wind can be converted into useful forms of energy such as mechanical energy or electricity. Turbines with large propellers are erected on ‘wind farms’ located in strategic areas that have good wind regimes and that are in proximity to existing electrical grids. Wind energy is captured only when the wind speed is sufficient to move the turbine blades, but not in high winds when the turbine might be damaged if operated.Using battery powered appliances will help reduce our consumption of energy. Using batteries that can be recharged is even better. This can help us and the environment because battery powered appliances don't have to be plugged into electrical sockets. Appliances that have to be plugged in suck up energy while not in use, because they still consume power when "turned off".


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