According to Alberta’s energy minister, creating a North American Energy Security Coalition would require a “delicate rebalancing” of policy.
Sonya Savage is one of 500 provincial, state and federal legislators and business leaders who gathered in Calgary this week. Pacific Northwest Economic Area Summit (PWNER).
The summit includes representatives from Alaska, Idaho, Montana, Oregon and Washington.
“We are right next door. We are ready, willing and able to increase supply and supply,” Savage told reporters.
The four-day summit highlights a number of important cross-border topics, but building the North American energy security and sustainability framework remained central on Monday.
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Richard Gottfried, president of PWNER and legislator from Calgary, told Global News, “Supply that protection, not only to Canada, but to North America.” “How can we move those energy products, how can we generate electricity, how can we make sure there is sustainability and a lack of volatility, not only for our consumers but for our businesses.”
The debate over the uninterrupted availability of affordable energy sources has seen a “sea change” due to the fallout of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine earlier this year, according to Gary Marr, president of the Canada West Foundation.
It comes as several countries around the world impose restrictions on imports of oil and gas produced by Russia.
“I think it has intensified the debate on North American oil and North American energy security,” Marr said.
US Ambassador to Canada David Cohen and Canadian Ambassador to the US Kirsten Hillman both addressed energy security at the summit on Monday before visiting some oil sands facilities later this week.
“My goal is to go and see what’s going on,” Hillman said. “To talk to the people who are involved in the projects there, so that I can go back to the US and talk about what’s happening in Alberta, and talk about the efforts being made and our industry.” Let’s talk about environmental management.
Savage said he hoped the visit would help boost Alberta energy within the Biden administration.
According to Savage, there is a “softening” in the conversation about energy security across North America, “the realization that the energy is going to come from somewhere.”
“If we leave it here in the field, it’s going to land somewhere else, like Russia,” Savage said. “I think we are realizing the need to work together and better in collaboration across North America.”
He said there is a “desire” for more cooperation between the two countries on the issue.
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Alberta government officials have lobbied US lawmakers for the growing role of Canadian oil and gas south of the border as a replacement for “conflict oil” from Saudi Arabia, Iran and Venezuela.
The province is setting up offices in Denver, Chicago and Seattle this summer, following the installation of former Conservative MP James Rajote as Alberta’s US envoy to the Canadian embassy.
Savage said that reaching a framework with the US would require a change in policy that balances climate change goals with energy security.
“This is a big, emerging issue that we have to address climate change,” Savage said.
“If we’re going to address climate change, we have to address energy security. We can’t do one without the other.”
The PWNER summit continues on Tuesday with discussions on agriculture, transport and infrastructure.
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