University of Calgary

School of Public Policy calls for better energy information

UToday HomeApril 9, 2012

Canada is an energy superpower that lacks energy information, says professor Michael Moore in a report published by the School of Public Policy. The report calls for the creation of a national, arms-length, independent and well-funded Energy Information Organization that would be able to deeply research and quantify energy issues, and provide timely, high-quality and objective national, provincial and local analysis.

“Right now, there are a variety of agencies gathering data with varying standards using different evaluation methods,” says Moore. “Further, this data is spread through a wide variety of portals. The need for uniform data underlines the value of a single, official source of energy analysis throughout Canada.”

He says the proposed new system would enhance “the knowledge and premium from a single agency whose entire mission is independent analysis.” And the analysis would support long term and critical energy policy development throughout Canada.

The proposed Canadian Energy Information Organization would be similar, but not identical, to the Energy Information Administration in the U.S. and the International Energy Agency. It would supplement the data collection activities of Statistics Canada, by conducting data analyses and offering reports and forecasts based on these analyses.

“Fundamentally, energy is the most important part of the Canadian economy today,” says Moore. “To fail to fully and deeply understand it with solid and independent research and data limits our ability to compete in a world energy market.”

Moore proposes an annual budget of $5 million for the agency. The federal government would provide funding initially, supplemented by the provinces. The amount each province pays could be determined either by population or energy use. After the fifth year, the agency is expected to be fully independent and reliant on provincial contributions.

The study can be found online at www.policyschool.ucalgary.ca/publications.