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Article

Nuclear Energy

Nuclear Energy is energy from the nucleus of an atom. In stars such as the sun, pairs of light atoms (mostly hydrogen) fuse together and release the radiation received on earth as solar energy.

Article

Oil Sands

The Canadian oil sands (or tar sands) are a large area of petroleum extraction from bitumen, located primarily along the Athabasca River with its centre of activity close to Fort McMurray in Alberta, approximately 400 km northeast of the provincial capital, Edmonton. Increased global energy demand, high petroleum dependency and geopolitical conflict in key oil producing regions has driven the exploration of unconventional oil sources since the 1970s which, paired with advances in the field of petroleum engineering, has continued to make bitumen extraction economically profitable at a time of rising oil prices. Oil sands are called “unconventional” oil because the extraction process is more difficult than extracting from liquid (“conventional”) oil reserves, causing higher costs of production and increased environmental concerns.

Article

Fracking

​Hydraulic fracturing is a technique used in oil and natural gas production. It releases otherwise irrecoverable resources from certain geological formations by injecting water and additives at high pressure into the ground to create microfractures in the rock. Hydrocarbons can then flow through these fractures into a well. It has become controversial because of concerns that the technique, and well-drilling activity associated with its use, threatens groundwater, surface water, air quality, and other environmental values. Common in Alberta’s oil patch since the 1970s, the practice expanded greatly in this century, triggering gas rushes in British Columbia and Saskatchewan and resistance in several other provinces.

Article

Northern Gateway Pipeline Proposal

The $7.9 billion Northern Gateway project was a pipeline proposal that Enbridge put forward in 2008. Northern Gateway would have carried diluted bitumen (“dilbit”) about 1,170 km from Bruderheim, Alberta to a terminal on the Pacific Ocean at KitimatBritish Columbia. Enbridge claimed that the project would create $1.2 billion in tax revenue for BC, as well as 560 jobs. The Federal Court of Appeal overturned the pipeline’s approval in 2016. That same year, the Liberal government of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau rejected the project.

Article

Natural Gas in Canada

Natural gas ranks among the fastest-growing energy sources in Canada and is seen by many in the energy industry as a game-changer, a comparatively clean, low-cost and versatile fuel. It can directly generate power and heat and can be chemically altered to produce a wide range of useful commodity chemicals. It burns cleaner and more efficiently than other fossil fuels, releasing significantly fewer harmful pollutants into the atmosphere. Natural gas is colorless, odourless, shapeless, lighter than air and contains a mixture of several hydrocarbon gases, which are organic compounds consisting of some combination of hydrogen and carbon molecules.

The primary consumers of natural gas are the industrial (54.1 per cent), residential (26.6 per cent) and commercial sectors (19.3 per cent). Canada is the fifth largest natural gas producer after the United States, Russia, Iran and Qatar. Currently, all of Canada’s natural gas exports go to the United States through a network of pipelines, making Canada the largest foreign source of US natural gas imports. At the end of 2016, Canada had 76.7 trillion cubic feet of proven natural gas reserves and had produced 152 billion cubic metres of natural gas that year. It is forecasted that global natural gas consumption will double by 2035.

Macleans

CANDU Reactor Deal Controversy

This article was originally published in Maclean’s magazine on December 9, 1996. Partner content is not updated.

Call it the Great Mall of China. Two years ago, Prime Minister Jean CHRÉTIEN led nine premiers and more than 400 business people on a mission to vastly expand trade with the world's most populous market.

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CANDU Flawed

This article was originally published in Maclean’s magazine on August 25, 1997. Partner content is not updated.

In the belly of the nuclear beast, the massive domes of the reactors rise ominously to a height of more than 45 m, their radioactive interiors visible only through the thick windows of airlocks.

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Ontario Hydro Meltdown

This article was originally published in Maclean’s magazine on August 25, 1997. Partner content is not updated.

Carl Andognini gives his diamond pinky ring a fiddle and offers a thin smile. A very thin smile. He has just come from yet another meeting with a crowd of ONTARIO HYDRO staffers in the mega-corporation’s mirrored headquarters in downtown Toronto.

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Electric Cars to be Marketed

This article was originally published in Maclean’s magazine on July 29, 1996. Partner content is not updated.

O'Callaghan was one of the first people in Canada to drive the Impact, a compact electric vehicle (known as an EV) that will soon be the subject of a joint research project by General Motors Corp., B.C. Hydro and the British Columbia government.

Article

National Energy Program

The National Energy Program (NEP) was an energy policy of the government of Canada from 1980 through 1985. Its goal was to ensure that Canada could supply its own oil and gas needs by 1990. The NEP was initially popular with consumers and as a symbol of Canadian economic nationalism. However, private industry and some provincial governments opposed it.

A federal-provincial deal resolved controversial parts of the NEP in 1981. Starting the next year, however, the program was dismantled in phases. Global economic conditions had changed such that the NEP was no longer considered necessary or useful. The development of the oil sands and offshore drilling, as well as the rise in Western alienation and the development of the modern Conservative Party of Canada, are all aspects of the NEP’s complicated legacy.

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Mackenzie Valley Pipeline: Maclean's

This article was originally published in Maclean’s magazine on July 17, 2000. Partner content is not updated.

Along with many other young native activists in the 1970s, Northwest Territories Premier Stephen Kakfwi cut his political teeth fighting against a proposed megaproject to build a northern pipeline through the Mackenzie Valley to the Beaufort Sea.

Macleans

Blackout Hits Ontario and Seven US States

This article was originally published in Maclean’s magazine on August 25, 2003. Partner content is not updated.

IT TOOK just nine seconds to turn the clock back a century. A voltage fluctuation in some Ohio transmission lines. Then, at 4:11 p.m. n a muggy August Thursday, a faster-than-you-can-blink reversal in the flow of current, suddenly sucking away a city's worth of power from the eastern half of the continent.

Article

Hydroelectricity in Canada

Hydroelectricity is energy produced from flowing water. The amount of energy produced depends on volume and speed: the more water moving at a fast rate, the more energy produced. For this reason, many hydroelectric stations are built near waterfalls. To produce energy, water is directed toward turbines — sometimes with the help of a dam — causing them to spin. In turn, the turbines make electrical generators spin and electricity is produced. It is a renewable, comparatively nonpolluting energy source and Canada’s largest source of electric-power generation.

Article

Sustainability in Canada

Sustainability is the ability of the biosphere, or of a certain resource or practice, to persist in a state of balance over the long term. The concept of sustainability also includes things humans can do to preserve such a balance. Sustainable development, for instance, pairs such actions with growth. It aims to meet the needs of the present while ensuring that future people will be able to meet their needs.