Episode Title Accelerating a pan-Canadian electricity grid with Electrifying Canada
Release Date: 02/13/2023
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With goals like net zero by 2050, Canada is a leader in the energy transition movement. But another deadline looms – decarbonization of the electricity sector by 2035. It’s 82% emissions-free now, but big challenges remain. Multiple grids governed by individual provinces and territories, regional resources, politics and economics. In thinkenergy episode 105, Moe Kabbara, Vice President of The Transition Accelerator, unpacks the value of an integrated electricity grid and the Electrifying Canada initiative.
The Transition Accelerator: https://transitionaccelerator.ca/
The Transition Accelerator, LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/company/transition-accelerator/
The Transition Accelerator, Twitter: https://twitter.com/CanAccelerator
Electrifying Canada: https://transitionaccelerator.ca/electrifying-canada/
Moe Kabbara, LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/moekabbara/
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Dan Seguin 00:06
This is think energy, the podcast that helps you better understand the fast changing world of energy through conversations with game changers, industry leaders, and influencers. So join me, Dan Seguin, as I explore both traditional and unconventional facets of the energy industry. Hey, everyone, welcome back. Meaning Canada's long term climate goals will require a profound transformation of contemporary systems in order to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. One of these major transitions we're seeing around the world is with the energy sector. Canada is certainly at the forefront of the energy transition movement, and seen as a leader on the world stage thanks to its targets to achieve net zero emissions by 2050. But there's another much closer interim deadline looming with respect to Canada's Net Zero targets. And that's the decarbonisation of Canada's entire electricity sector by 2035. If we don't achieve that, it's very unlikely we will meet our 2050 Climate goal. In fact, many experts believe there is no pathway to net zero without zero emission electricity. Although Canada's electricity sector is currently at 2% emission free today, removing the remaining fossil fuels from our system is still an ambitious goal to achieve in under 12 years, mainly because we don't have one national electricity grid, we have multiple electricity grids overseen by their respective province, or territory. To further complicate matters, different regions in Canada have different resources. Some are water rich, while others are rich in oil and gas. And of course, there is also reasonable politics and economics at play. As we move forward in the new world of electrification, from transportation to how we heat and cool our homes and businesses, it's believed that we will need a lot more electricity than currently produced. So here's today's big question. What is it going to take to achieve the federal government's target to have 100% emission free electricity by 2035? Today, my special guest is Mo Kibera, Vice President of the transition accelerator, a national not for profit organization that is working to advance Canada's 2050 climate targets in multiple sectors. Our guest oversees a new initiative called electrifying Canada. And we're going to talk about that and the need for an integrated electricity grid in Canada. Moe, welcome to the show. Now, perhaps you can start by telling us a bit about yourself and how the transition accelerator came to be.
Moe Kibera 03:26
Yeah, so my name is Moe Kibera. I'm the Vice President at the transition accelerator. My background has been in clean energy and climate for you know, over a decade now started working in sort of applied research context on renewables and energy storage. I had a thermal energy storage startup in Atlantic Canada, and that I worked in energy efficiency consulting, I worked in Investment Attraction for automotive sector and batteries, specifically related to EVs, that I also I went back into consulting worked on various projects when it comes to like electricity, electric vehicles, battery supply chain. And, yeah, I've been with the accelerator, you know, for since last year, and, you know, the accelerator came to be around 2019, really, with the idea or the basic philosophy that, but it emphasizes that, you know, LinkedIn climate concerns, the broader efforts to really improve society and your disruptive and transformative changes that are going to be reshaping the world around us. So it's really based on the idea of transition. And the idea of transition is not necessarily just about the technology itself, but it's about all the different political, social, economic aspects that come with it. So really, the methodology that the Accelerator has established which is basically methodology or theory of pain of how do we actually get you know, We get to transition out of the systems that we need to bring, you know, new systems that we need to bring forward. And it really starts with examining the issue. So that's really starting with our first kind of approach is understanding. So understanding what are the current systems that we use? How did they come to be, and, and basically, understand the forces that are disrupting the way that we do things. The second approach is called developing or working with stakeholders to co develop the pathways for the future. The number three is analyzing those pathways, and assessing things like costs and benefits and trade offs and public accessibility barriers and bottlenecks. And then the fourth thing, which is how do we get things into the real world, which is advancing, and we've been working on kind of putting off consortia and alliances, that actually are supposed to be implementing the pathways. So it's not about we're not like we like to say we're not a think tank, we're a do tank. So that's kind of our approach and possibly overall.
Moe Kibera 06:13
Dan Seguin 06:13
Okay, how about we dive into your newly launched initiative, electrifying Canada? What is it all about?
Moe Kibera 06:22
Yeah, I mean, the idea is really going to be that electrifying Canada is an initiative that brings together stakeholders, from industry, labor, indigenous groups, civil society, all have a vested interest in accelerating and use electrification, and the build out of a netzero electricity system. And basically, our vision is that we see that widespread electrification can enable an affordable and resilient, clean energy system that powers Canada's economy and kind of gives us a competitive edge when it comes to industrial activities as well. So really, the idea there is that we know electrification is going to be a critical path to get to zero. We can talk about all the other solutions like hydrogen and r&g and the role that they can play, which is great, but what we really know right now is that if occasion is ready to go solution that we need to start on regardless. So it's really about trying to get different stakeholders together, the right voices, the key voices that are needed for action. And that includes, you know, the major TriCity users. So the we needed we needed voice, you know that companies that need electricity or or sectors like transportation and buildings that are going to be in need of electricity to decarbonize, but also includes the supply side of the compensation. So the utilities and the developers and the regulators, that's the we can build it voice. And then the finance community that is looking for investment opportunities in the face, you can finance this, for the bank, the pension fund is the financial institution. But then also bringing into overtime, NGOs, think tanks, the you know, that are working on advancing solutions in the space. So it's really, um, you can think of it as an umbrella initiative, trying to bring everybody that's working on this topic under its wings. And we've we've successfully done that we have 28 partners, that includes all the major players in this in the country working on electrification. And then the sort of activities that we're going to be looking at are research analysis, public outreach, engagement, developing policy frameworks. So we are going to be going across the country this month, starting next week, until April, we're going to be visiting eight cities. So we're going to actually meet people in person where they need them where they're at both physically and metaphorically speaking. And that's going to be the first step to establish the form, which is working as, you know, not just a one off conversation, but as an extended form, to have collaboration, ordination and partnerships. So we're very excited about this initiative. And, yeah, very quickly, we're at/
Dan Seguin 09:22
Mo, can you remind us what some of Canada's key target dates are?
Moe Kibera 09:27
Yeah, I mean, just the very, very big picture. Canada has committed to reaching that zero cross architecture by 2050. And then when we look at some of the sectoral target, we have a target to get to a net zero electricity grid by 2030 500%. New sales of vehicles being zero emissions by 2035 60% of new vehicles being zero emissions by 2030. building sector sector oil contribution Uh, you know, readmission reduction 40% reduction by 2030. So a lot of these different targets when it comes to decarbonisation in the building sector and transportation sector and electricity system, all going to require a huge effort today, and two, that we need to get, get get working on right away. So these are very, you know, ambitious target, and we definitely support them. But that means that we really need to understand the barriers and advanced solutions very quickly, because we're going to meet the target, we're going to be, you know, we need everybody to come on board, and to really have a concrete strategic strategic approach to the widespread electrification and the build out of electricity systems.
Dan Seguin 10:52
Okay, for a follow up question Mo. What does electrification mean? And are these targets driving it?
Moe Kibera 11:00
Yeah, so I mean, I think that really, if you think about it, electrification is basically moving away from technology, that use of your, that coal, oil or natural gas, with technology, they use electricity as a form of energy. So depending on, you know, how you generate electricity, electrification can be zero emission, right. So the idea is that, if I have electricity coming from solar, and I use that solar, they use electricity to write to charge my Eevee, then my Eevee is Eurovision both at the source and also in terms of the upstream emissions. But if I have gasoline in my vehicle, there's really no net zero compatible pathway to getting like I can continue on in improving the emission standards of the vehicle. But at the end of the day, I'm limited by laws of thermodynamics, that I'm always going to have emissions and, and low efficiency for internal combustion engines. So electrification is really using electricity as a source of energy, as opposed to fossil fuels or molecule fuels. And in basically the notion of like, well, we can get electrons that have molecules of fuel. And if we can get the electrons to be centralized in terms of production, and clean electricity, then we can use that to decarbonize our sectors. So a target that I mentioned, they're not necessarily prescriptive, exactly how to decarbonize. So zero emission vehicles include things like, like fuel cell vehicles, and it just, you know, like hydrogen fuel cell vehicles. But the clearest pathway right now, in terms of what are some of the ready to go solutions that we can implement today would be electrification. So that's why those targets are driving the need to electrify because it is something that we can get started right away and technology is available. So electric vehicles have ramped up significantly over the last two years, battery costs went down by 90%. In the last 10 years. Heat pumps are also available and ready to go. decarbonize our buildings. So I think that's really what's driving expectations, because it's a very clear path to get started on right now.
Dan Seguin 13:34
So will electrification mean that we will need more electricity? And if so, how much more?
Moe Kibera 13:43
Yeah, I mean, that's a great question. Definitely, it's going to mean that we're, we're going to need more electricity, because we're going to be, you know, displacing fossil fuel use without with with another source of energy, which is electricity. So that come from somewhere. debate. And it's not very clear that part of what we're doing now with electron now that we're doing a meta analysis of all the studies that have been published over the last 18 months to look at, what is the expected demand growth, you know, just a quick scan of literature and Canadian analysis, and I've been done, you know, we're looking at like, maybe doubling or activity grid, and some people say, we're going to triple it. I'm not too concerned about whether it's double or triple right now. I mean, obviously, a very big difference. But what's clear that we need to get started on the pathway over the next few years is going to be the same whether it's double or triple, that we need to really understand what are what are some of the near term opportunity, the near term challenges. So we're gonna need a lot more electricity, but also, some, some of the need for electricity is not going to materialize overnight, right. So people are like, well, we can't electrify a petition because we don't have enough electricity, but transcription transitioning our petition stuff T V doesn't happen overnight. It's something that is as follows sort of a technology diffusion theory of, you know, it's not every neighbor, every vehicle in one neighborhood is going to become a view overnight and plug in. So the idea is that we can actually plan for the certifications like electricity demand. And things like energy efficiency and demand side management and demand response and distributed energy refer to all of the all of these different measures, and be very, very critical to reduce our increased demand. So that, you know, we don't, we don't know, I think that that's the cheapest resource, we can avoid using electricity. That's going to be our first cheapest resource. And then we can build out the delta between what we can basically Well, we can reduce completely right. So the idea is that we're gonna need a lot more electricity. But although there are ways to basically mitigate, you know, the impact on the grid and make sure that it's not necessarily very possibly well, to the to the baseline scenario,
Dan Seguin 16:16
Who are some of the partners in the electrifying Canada initiative? And what does their involvement mean to achieve your overall mission?
Moe Kibera 16:26
Yeah, I mean, so brought together as I mentioned, on the demand side, companies like tech resources and Rio Tinto, on the supply side, you know, we have the electricity alliance of Canada, which includes the industry associations, that electricity Canada, the Canadian Renewable Energy Association, the Canadian Nuclear Association, Marina Renewables, Water Power Canada and Electricity HR. And you know, also we have individual companies like Energetic OPG, as well as organizations like OPG Hydro One. And then on the civil society front, we got Pembina Instituten Netzero Atlantic. On labor, we got maybe EW, that comes from Brotherhood's Electric Workers. Also, we have First Nation major project coalition. It's really a broad coalition, and in terms of their involvement, really, it's about bringing, bringing the different voices together that are needed for action. So understanding the barrier, prioritizing those barriers, understanding the solution, prioritizing the solution, and getting through to have a shared vision of what we need to be working on, you know, on a national level, but also at the regional level. So that's why we're doing a regional approach in terms of, you know, figuring out for each province, what is the framework that we need to be working on for it to get to net zero electricity? So we're very happy to bring together you know, as I mentioned, 28 organizations, that's been, you know, the whole supply chain of electricity, but also include civil society, indigenous people, labor, and also the finance community.
Dan Seguin 18:10
Now, in addition to affordable, resilient and clean, what are some of the other qualities you're looking to achieve in your mission to electrify Canada?
Moe Kibera 18:20
Well, I think that, you know, really thinking through accessibility, and, and, and making sure that the electricity is available to everybody, in terms of, you know, different regional perspectives and different regional representation. So I think that we can get an electricity system that is actually affordable. So we don't have, you know, we don't bankrupt people for energy, which is really critical for us. So that's kind of like a trilemma there. And I think valid, there is a balance there to be struck between affordable, resilient, so resilient and reliable, put them in a box, and they clean. So for me, really, the vision is quite simple. And you wanted to keep it simple, because it's simple, but it's not easy, right? So we know what we need to do. We know what kind of characteristics we want our future electricity system to look like and our future energy system to have. But getting there, it's going to be a challenge. So our philosophy of the accelerator is we're starting with the end state, knowing that we need an electricity system that is affordable Atlantic clean, and then working backwards from there.
Dan Seguin 19:35
Okay. Maybe you can unpack your plans for public outreach and what are you hoping to learn from these more regional conversations?
Moe Kibera 19:46
Yeah, so I mean, we're going to be going to Vancouver Regina, Winnipeg, Calgary, Toronto, Montreal, Halifax, St. John's and we're going to be doing also in northern communities and indigenous communities. Some online workshops, to start off, really what we want to do is establish a baseline. So one is we want to understand where each region is in terms of their understanding of the look, the challenge at the regional level. So we're sort of established something called the, we want to start with something called the real world overlay. And it's a framework to really ground everything that we know is a barrier or an issue that will stop us from getting electricity. So that, that includes things like rate increases that include things like lighting constraints, labor constraints, skill needed, the all of these different barriers, we talked about, they're around, people keep mentioning them, but they're not gonna floating in the air, like, like I imagine the the more like floating with the cloud, and part of our objective is to really round them somewhere, so we can actually keep track of them. So what we're hoping to establish is this framework that will be public or developed. So it's not just us doing it. It's the stakeholders, informing it through the sessions that we're hosting, and through the relationships that we're building and the partners that we brought into the initiative, and then having it be evergreen and public. So that, really, if you think of it, this can be the sort of centralized forum for tracking all the barriers and solutions that are being implemented to address those barriers of Quebec. or BC, wants to implement a trial rate structure for low income households. With this framework, we track that over time, so that others who are working on these issues can go in and learn from that in a very kind of centralized and consolidated framework.
Dan Seguin 21:48
Now, why are Canada's electricity systems central to the country's netzero 2050 goals? Do we have a clean energy advantage?
Dan Seguin 22:01
Yeah, I mean, more than 80% of our electricity is already non emitting, which is great. Like relatively to other countries. So that's really gonna, it's one of our biggest value propositions as well, like when thinking about attracting new supply chains like battery manufacturing, and critical minerals extraction, for example. And the idea there is we want to retain that advantage, as we, you know, potentially double or triple our grid, right. So the the core thesis there is that we want to basically build a future electricity system that build on the community connected to the event that we have retained that, and it's going to be as I mentioned, if we're going to use electrification as a key pathway to get to net zero, then that electricity has to be clean. So this is why it's critical,
Dan Seguin 22:54
Okay, well, what would you say, are some of the biggest challenges to the creation of a national strategy and a zero emission pan Canadian electricity grid?
Moe Kibera 23:07
Well, I think the idea there is that we don't have one grid. Right. So that's one of the challenges to start with is because we have sort of a decentralized Federation. So I think that to create a national strategy will require each province to understand where they're, where they're at, and where they want to get to. And right now, it's not a uniform. So we're not, we're not like in the uniform state in terms of every province, kind of understanding that the condition is so BC and Quebec, maybe maybe very different in Saskatchewan, and Manitoba. So we don't have any sort of clarity. So that common framework, so I would say, in terms of the biggest challenge of creating a national strategy is that we need to have each province kind of understand and get their ducks in a row. Before we can really put up, put all the pieces of the puzzle together.
Dan Seguin 24:10
Okay. And in your view, Mo, who leads this and is best positioned to address structural and regulatory obstacles?
Dan Seguin 24:19
Yeah, I mean, I think this is why we want to we wanted to bring and build this coalition, because, you know, at the end of the day, you know, we want you need industry at the table, you need to digitize people to the table, you need to verify the labor, you know, so it can't be just government on its own. It can't be just an industry on its own. So what we're hoping that this initiative will do is provide the sort of good framework to start tackling these issues. And in terms of the regulatory changes, I think there's a role obviously for the provinces or the provincial governments. There's a key role for the federal government and, you know, we're seeing things like the development of clean electricity regulation and the Feds playing that role. So I think that it can't just be a government and it has to be sort of a broader coalition. And that's kind of why we're as part of our fourth step in the accelerator, which is advancing solutions. It's building these consortiums and these alliances that really make sure that we converge on the next steps, and we're not really talking past each other. So I think that provincial governments, Crown corps utilities, vertically integrated utilities in certain provinces, you know, understanding where they're at, and modernizing the sort of regulatory framework so that putting electricity is also part of the mandate of the utilities, which is not necessarily the case right now. And it's something that is going to be critical.
Dan Seguin 25:57
Now, time for the crystal ball, what kinds of major investments need to be made to reach the 2035 timeline?
Moe Kibera 26:08
Well, I think it's really a lot of investments in new infrastructure. So generation, renewables and other non emitting electricity and transmission distribution, it's really about a fully integrated investment strategy that looks at, you know, how much more generation do we need? Can we offset some of that initial duration needs with transmission? Okay, but then at the distribution level, you know, what's going on there, when it comes to substations and transformers, like, a lot, like if you look at, for example, electric vehicle and option, you know, the could the bottleneck is not going to be what we have electricity at the director level bottleneck is going to be, we have the infrastructure at neighborhood levels, right, like, our little over the Transformers in the substation be able to handle all the things that are materializing. And it's going to be more critical, more of an issue in certain areas and than others. So I would say, really, the major investment are not going to be we need to build solar and wind, it's going to be you know, looking at all the solutions on generation solar, wind, nuclear, hydro, potentially, in terms of increasing some competence, some hydro capacity, using more efficient turbines, for example. And then storage, making sure that we have energy storage that can help offset or, you know, some of the increased generation needs so that we can have a more reliable facility. And then on the transmission side, looking at opportunities for regional transmission possible and that can help be a more cost effective way to get electricity added to the capacity of the system. And then on the division side, really looking at the local distribution networks and how it's, you know, the modernization of the assets there, basically meet the demand side, that materializing from transportation and building electrification.
Dan Seguin 28:22
And Mo, are intermittent renewable sources, district energy resources and non wire alternatives being considered. And at what scale?
Moe Kibera 28:34
Yeah. Oh, absolutely. I think I think it's a great question. So I think that a lot of different jurisdictions, especially in the US, and even here at home, are considering things like non white alternatives and distributed energy resources as a way to mitigate some of the major investments required at the distribution level, potentially even the transmission level. So I think that, you know, we need to basically try to find as much cost savings as possible across the supply chain or across the ecosystem. So thinking through generation, we can't, we have to find sort of the most effective low cost electricity. But then thinking throughout the solution level of we can use things like demand response, non viable alternatives to build energy generation to mitigate some of the heavy, high costs of distribution RCEP, then I think that's something that is being considered and we're doing it I've been involved in sort of comparative analysis in the US to look at, you know, what would, what would it cost if we just kind of do traditional distribution and what would it cost if we did not write alternatives? And then what are the cost benefits there? So I think that is something it is one of the tools in the toolbox for sure.
Dan Seguin 29:56
Now, Canada is a major fossil fuel exporter. With the oil and gas sector generating substantial revenues and supporting 1000s of jobs, oil and gas also contribute 26% of Canada's total greenhouse gas emissions. How do we approach this issue thoughtfully to achieve our climate goals?
Moe Kibera 30:22
Yeah. So I mean, I think there are opportunities to really look at the upstream missions, from the oil and gas sector, and actually using electrification, to help decarbonize the oil and gas sector as well. So thinking through, you know, this, you have, you know, you have the actual emissions that come from burning gas, and then you have the actual emissions that come from producing it. So if we're thinking about the production emissions, you know, there's there are going to be a lot of opportunities to leverage new technologies like carbon capture electrification, but even thinking about the hydrogen that is currently using the oil and gas sector that maybe coming from what we call black hydrogen, turning that into blue or hydrogen. But there's a lot of actually low hanging fruits that can really help us reduce a lot of the oil and gas emissions from coming from production. And then I think about what we're interested in as well as understanding what are the opportunities coming up from an industrial strategy or industrial perspective that can help us, you know, grow sectors or the Canadian economy. So I'm the co-chair of the game battery Taskforce. So it's a taskforce that's focused on basically growing Canada's battery supply chain, and electric vehicle manufacturing. So in that sense, the auto sector contributes 500,000 jobs directly and indirectly, as a youth contributor to GDP. How do we make sure that we retain that advantage when retaining that contribution to the sectors but also grow it because, you know, we want to be able to diversify our economy and be part of an industrial green industrial future. At the accelerator, one things that we're very interested in is industrial policy that is focused on competitiveness, and understanding where that competitiveness comes from, in terms of the emerging sectors, so things like zero emission vehicles, biofuels, hydrogen, aviation, fuels, mass, timber, critical minerals, so we need to basically understand the opportunities that are emerging as part of this new world order of being industrial futures. And I understand how Canada can can play in that so that on the export table, you know, you know, that we're able to sort of elevate some of those protectors, to be able to cover the gap that, you know, will come into play as part of the natural world that is emerging in terms of decreasing reliance on fossil fuels.
Dan Seguin 32:53
Now, how does your initiative electrified Canada fit in the federal government's plan to create a pan Canadian grid Council?
Moe Kibera 33:04
Yeah, so we're, we're working very closely with natural resources, Canada, they're very supportive of this initiative. You know, and we're still kind of keeping our ear to the ground when it comes to the national grid Council. But we hope that basically, this initiative can be sort of a parallel process, in terms of really having INTEL RESEARCH, convening, that can feed into the group Council, because the idea of the good Council is not going to be able to bring together hundreds of people, right, it's going to be more, we don't know exactly what it will look like. But it will be a bit more stark, smaller scale. So the hope there is that the regional engagements that we're doing the sort of more granular analysis that we're doing, can help feed into some of the recommendations and feedback from the grid council. So it's kind of like a parallel process.
Dan Seguin 33:56
Okay. Now, let's go beyond the borders here. What can we learn from the EU or Denmark or other Nordic countries with respect to their cooperation, to expand the electricity grid and decarbonize it?
Moe Kibera 34:13
Yeah. So I mean, I think that for Denmark, and for the rest of Europe, really kind of showcasing the advantage they've had when it comes to renewable energy development. And focusing also on sort of the green electricity advantage. Some of the collaborations or integration that we've seen, even actually in Switzerland, you know, it's really about rent integration, and integrating different grids together. So, you know, in Switzerland, we had a little bit more of a decentralized structure and there was an initiative last few years to kind of bring it together into sort of digital using technology and digitize Vation and sort of modernization efforts to be able to, you know, integrate the math supply in Switzerland and make it a bit more of a national grid. So I think that the lessons there, there's a lot of lessons to be learned. The idea of electricity supply theory of supply is very big in Europe right now. And, and I think that there was a bit of a sort of force of hand, given the crisis in Ukraine, that kind of pushed or accelerated the need for integration. And I think that was a very critical aspect of what were some of the trends you're seeing in terms of good integration there.
Dan Seguin 35:48
Okay. Now, what about lessons from discussions happening with respect to the Atlantic loop? Do you have an update on that?
Moe Kibera 35:57
Well, I think the Atlantic loop, you know, it's gonna be, you know, it's very interesting to see, it really highlighted that there's a lot of challenges when it comes to actually building up a major project like that are still kind of waiting to see especially given you know, Nova Scotia Energy Board, basically put a cap on on a rate increases, which basically prompted Nova Scotia to say that, you know, they're they're going to be put in a position where they can't invest if they can't recover costs from ratepayers. So I think that it's still something that is very, it's going to be a very positive precedent for US and Canada that we can bring together these provinces, you know, multiple provinces together, people had Labrador, Nova Scotia, Quebec, both were New Brunswick. So I think it's going to be obviously a critical project to reach the net zero targets for those for Atlantic Canada, right. So especially for Nova Scotia. So I think that you know, some of it's gonna be interesting to do like a little bit of a post mortem, hopefully, after we're done to basically dissect some of the lessons learned in terms of the barrier of bringing together you know, the different provinces in independent electricity system and also the different structures of the utility right? Nova Scotia has a different structure and then New Brunswick Power and BC Hydro and Hydro Quebec.
Dan Seguin 37:42
What are the biggest obstacles with our provinces when it comes to cooperation, and successfully achieving an integrated grid? How can electrifying Canada play a role?
Moe Kibera 37:56
So I think we don't want to over promise. And I think part of what we're trying to do, and we're very genuine, is to really help kind of, like I mentioned before, round all these different issues and put them somewhere that we can actually understand. And be clear that we're all looking at the same thing, while having a sort of shared understanding of the baseline of where we're at. So I think provinces a big part of it is communication and integration. So a lot of provinces don't necessarily know what other provinces are doing. So when I worked as a consultant, a big part of what we did, or a lot of our clients with fictional scans, so you'd be talking to utility in BC or utility in Alberta. And they'd be like, Why would somebody do it? What are they doing in Quebec? And I think that kind of knowledge sharing is not necessarily there sometimes. And so I think it's something very simple but, but it's something that is going to be very critical, because it's a way for us to turn the challenges of the decentralized Federation into an advantage in terms of running different experiments in different places, because we are able to do that. So trying different rate structures in different provinces trying different programs in different provinces. So what we're trying to do with with overcoming the provincial barriers, is to really offer those lessons learned and best practices and consolidating them into a framework that we're developing, ensuring that ensuring that we are kind of that conduit for information sharing and for integration collaboration,
Okay. polar opposites now, what are the biggest opportunities that provinces and territories could benefit from with an integrated grid?
Moe Kibera 39:47
Well, I think the biggest opportunity would be to really take advantage of, you know, the differences in the provincial system. So you know, a province that has A lot of when versus a province that has a lot of solar versus a province that has a lot of hydro, you can basically look at the system and try to develop an integrated approach to that. It will be overall cheaper for them to basically work together and take advantage of the different technology that they have. Right. I think really, at the end of the day, if cost reduction, and being able to meet their targets, you know, in a way that it's that that ensures the affordable, resilient, reliable, and clean electricity system.
Dan Seguin 40:39
Okay, so, does reaching the 2035 targets hinge on a unified and integrated grid across Canada? Or can it be achieved without it?
Moe Kibera 40:51
Well, no, I don't think it hinges on a unified electricity grid, I think I think we need to realise that we do have multiple grids and multiple systems. And that we need to start from that position. We need to look at a national approach that can basically help us reduce costs, ensure more reliability, and a cleaner system. But I don't think necessarily, you know, it's either or, it's not like we either have a national grid, or we're never getting there, I think it's more about integrating as much as possible to reduce barriers and to reduce costs.
Dan Seguin 41:36
Now, looking forward to your response to this next question. Is there a huge communication challenge to overcome? I read in the transition accelerators report building path to a sustainable future, that this shouldn't be framed as just about electricity or technology, or even net zero emissions. How do you think electrification, and the climate conversation should be positioned?
Moe Kibera 42:07
I think the climate conversation really at the end of the day, for us, it kind of eats up with the world moving very quickly. So we have things like the Inflation Reduction Act in the US, and we have failed policies emerging in Europe. And all of that is leading us down a path of great green industrial growth and industrial future. So people are driving EVs. Yeah, sure, because of emissions, but really, because the more efficient, the more reliable in terms of, you can just come home and charge it, and you know, how you never have to go to a gas station? Yeah, sure, the issues range, but you know, 99% of the time, it's not really an issue. So we're thinking through a lot of technologies. And we kind of see the climate and that zero emission aspect is a sort of secondary or a, like a byproduct of, of the green industrial transition. And then the candidate position, you know, we want to be able to participate and get all of the economic benefits that come from this being an actual global leader in effectors. And we do have that opportunity, because they have access to critical minerals and metals, they have access to technology and intellectual property development that is happening here, boom, we have the electricity advantage. So for us, really, the framing is about, you know, how do we position Canada to be an economic powerhouse when it comes to green wind technology. Because we technology is obviously going to be needed for climate change. And that we're, you know, but but really, at the end of the day, it's about, you know, taking advantage of the economic benefits that come with that. And as well as the front of the same coin, and given how the world is shifting, and especially as I mentioned, Europe and Europe in the US the demand is there. And how do we basically position ourselves to be able to take advantage of that growing demand and, and be an exporter of different technologies? The world?
Dan Seguin 44:16
Okay, do you truly think we lack a shared vision as Canadians on the future? And how do we get there together? How do we fix it?
Moe Kibera 44:27
I think initiatives like the Canada initiative that we're doing as well, when it comes to the emission vehicle, light chain and building electrification and all these we were involved in several initiatives is the first step right. So I think it's really about understanding what the future could look like, where are the where, what are our strengths? What are what's our value proposition of the country, and then you're using the computations and forums and convening aspect to really sort of tool to create a shared vision. I think that also, you know, making sure that we have communication collaboration between provincial energy depictions is going to be critical. So, yeah, I mean, I think, for us, we really believe that advancing solutions means bringing in the actual people and the stakeholders that are involved in that and implementing the solutions together, and waiting, insistent for collaboration. So if you look at Europe, the Canadian battery, the European Battery Alliance, you know, they brought together hundreds of stakeholders, and they've successfully started to build out a very, you know, sophisticated battery supply chain in Europe. So this kind of private public partnership is, you know, through a third party intermediary, we see that as a very critical tool to actually reaching a shared vision.
Dan Seguin 46:04
Now, there is something I know that's on the top of the list of considerations, customer affordability. What are your thoughts on how we can achieve our goals, while maintaining costs for customers?
Moe Kibera 46:21
Yeah, I mean, I think part of it, part of the process that we're going through is to actually landlord solutions for that issue. And that those solutions can be different for different provinces and different regions. I think that I don't really have the answer. But there's a lot of different but a lot of smart people that we have brought together and part of this ultra pine Canada initiative, have ideas. And like I mentioned before, we need to basically consider those ideas, maybe do some trials. I'll give just one example. You know, one thing could be like a means tested rate structure for low low income households, right. So like, but also we're also thinking about and talking about how energy costs can be reduced because of efficiencies gained through electrification. So if you are somebody that drives a car, and has a baseboard heaters in Quebec, for example, you know, if you can, if you get an electric vehicle, and if you get heat pumps, your energy consumption will actually be reduced, or even a brace increase increased by a little bit, your overall energy costs could potentially be much lower than the existing energy costs. So there's a lot of nuance there. And I think that we need to be careful that nobody's left behind and design our structures to rate structures and how we manage energy costs, to make sure that affordability is top of mind, right? So I think this is something that there's no one answer for every single province or every single region in the country, there's going to be multiple solutions that we can try out multiple suites of solutions that are going to work hand in hand. And we're motivated that by bringing together the coalition that we brought together, we're basically going to be able to get to the answers and advanced solutions.
Dan Seguin 48:13
Now Mo, are you looking at opportunities to integrate our electricity grid with the US? What are the benefits that could help modernize and even optimize our grid with a US partnership?
Moe Kibera 48:28
I think that's a really great conversation. One of our partners, you know, was in the US recently had this exact conversation, I would say, at a high level, we should be exploring all opportunities when it comes to integration, whether it's regional within Canada or cross border, because at the end of the day, as I mentioned, it's about you know, it's very simple. If I have I have access, and you have demand. And then let's make sure that my access goes to your demand. If you have access, and I have demand, let's make sure that your access comes to my demand, and then as a way to reduce, you know, cost because then okay, well, I'm not going to overbuild my generation because there's there's sort of a pathway for me to meet my demand, knowing that there's excess electricity coming from across the border, or vice versa. So I think that the integration with the US is something that is critical for us to consider. But also it's going to be a lot easier once we have our ducks in a row within Canada. Right. So once we have our own strategy and our understanding of what is the delta between what we can do in house, what is the delta, between what we can export, what is our access? That's going to make the conversation we're going to be coming to the conversation from a position of strength and position an advantage right? So I think that it's something that is top of mind, but it seems a little bit a little bit down the road from today. I mean, we already have integration with us, obviously But, in terms of that broader integration, it seems like the conversation is a little bit in the early stages.
Dan Seguin 50:07
Lastly, what's exciting you and giving you hope about the possibility of an integrated and zero emission electricity grid?
Moe Kibera 50:18
Yeah, I mean, it's really exciting that we are going to be able to really decarbonize a huge amount of our sectors under carbon on buildings, reputation, industrial agriculture. And really the idea of having a fully netzero grid. I mean, for Canada, as I mentioned, we're largely not emitting which has been great, but to get to net zero. And what I'm really optimistic about is seeing all of the different efforts that are happening when it comes to electricity generation when it comes to developing some kind of policy certainty for investors. So as I mentioned, this is sort of a trend that is an industrial economic trend. I'm excited to see that coupling that's happening where it's like, it's not either or it's really, this is where the world is headed. This is where the where the money that is where the economy is going at a global level, we need to get there and hey, guess what, as part of this, we get to also get into zero and help, you know, address climate change, but I think that's really what's exciting for me at this point in time is that we reached the stage where there is that integration between, you know, economics and climate.
Dan Seguin 51:36
Okay, sir, we always end our interviews with some rapid fire questions. Are you ready? For more? What are you reading right now?
I'm rereading a book called Electrification by Paul Griffith from Rewiring America.
Dan Seguin 51:56
Now, what would you name your boat? If you had one? Or maybe you do have one?
Moe Kibera 52:00
I don't. I guess Transatlantic.
Dan Seguin 52:03
Okay. Now, who is someone that you admire?
Moe Kibera 52:08
I really admire Bruce Laurie from the Foundation because I recently had an amazing conversation with him. And you know, the work that he's done, especially with the get Ontario off call,
Dan Seguin 52:17
this next one is always a challenging one. What is the closest thing to real magic that you've witnessed?
Moe Kibera 52:26
I guess, diving underwater.
Dan Seguin 52:29
Now,what is the biggest challenge to you personally, since the pandemic began,
Moe Kibera 52:35
I guess with live music went away. It was tough.
Dan Seguin 52:38
Okay, last one here. We've all been watching a lot more Netflix and TV lately. What's your favorite movie or show?
Moe Kibera 52:47
I really love Succession, an HBO show?
Dan Seguin 52:50
Okay, MO. Lastly, what is exciting about your industry right now.
Moe Kibera 52:55
What's really excited me is the growth. It's really seeing how fast we're growing. You know that it's not necessarily mainstream now. It is the future, we've hit that point of inevitability. And it's really exciting to be that.
Dan Seguin 53:12
Okay, so this is it. We've reached the end of another episode of The think energy podcast. Thank you so much for joining us today, Moe. If our listeners want to learn more about you, or your organization, how can they connect?
Moe Kibera 53:26
Yeah, we're at transition accelerator.ca. And you can go there and find our contact info. Also on social media, Twitter, LinkedIn, happy to connect with folks. And, yeah, really appreciate that opportunity to be here today, Dan.
Dan Seguin 53:43
Cool. Okay. Thanks. Now, again, thank you so much for joining us today. I hope you had a lot of fun. Cheers.
Moe Kibera 53:50
Yeah, for sure. Thanks so much. Appreciate it.
Dan Seguin 53:52
Thanks for tuning in to another episode of The thinkenergy podcast. And don't forget to subscribe and leave us a review wherever you're listening. And to find out more about today's guests, or previous episodes, visit thinkenergypodcast.com. I hope you'll join us again next time as we spark even more conversations about the energy of tomorrow.