The Council for Clean & Reliable Energy (CCRE) is a non-profit organization that provides a platform for public dialogue and analysis on subjects related to energy policy. The CCRE was formed by a group of volunteers from universities, public and private sector business leaders, and labour. The CCRE membership has collaborated with other stakeholders from Canada’s energy sector to broaden the public debate on energy-related policies.
The Council understands the value of creating a broader and more inclusive public discourse on these matters. During the last decade the Council has facilitated conferences, thought leader roundtables, distributed opinion publications and shared knowledge and expertise. The Council’s efforts have been recognized and appreciated by decision-makers in government and the energy business as providing a neutral forum for the free exchange of ideas and opinions. The Council remains committed to continuing to facilitate the debate on the generation, transmission and distribution of clean, affordable and reliable energy with a clear focus on finding effective solutions for Canada and abroad.
CCRE Commitment and Vision
The CCRE applauds the nuclear sector for the successful development of Canada’s Small Modular Reactor (SMR) Roadmap and NRCan’s plan to develop an SMR Action Plan that will “operationalize” the Roadmap’s recommendations. The CCRE appreciates the opportunity to participate in the development of a Canadian SMR Action Plan in support of the Roadmap’s call to seek members of Civil Society to play a role in enhancing transparency and accountability by contributing to increased public debate and awareness.
The CCRE’s vision for participation in this process is to advance our mandate, with an eye to the role of SMRs. The CCRE mandate is:
- To promote the generation, transmission and distribution of clean, affordable and reliable energy.
- To broaden public knowledge and understanding of the full range of available solutions and encourage fact-based reviews of the best available technologies on generation and emissions control.
- To encourage government action(s) regarding the generation, transmission and distribution of clean, affordable and reliable energy that will enhance and sustain long-term economic growth and the environment.
- To encourage and promote ongoing independent research into policies and technologies that promotes clean, affordable and reliable energy.
The CCRE supports NRCan’s commitment to underpin this Plan with a “statement of principles” that has been endorsed by all participants. While generally technology agnostic, the CCRE supports the Statement of Principles for Canadian leadership in SMR deployment as the CCRE believes that nuclear energy should continue to play a key role helping Canada: meet its future electricity needs; grow the economy; meet national and provincial climate change targets; and ensure Canada’s continued global leadership in nuclear energy technology. The SMR initiative has promise to provide clean energy solutions across Canada.
As such, the CCRE believes that not only those SMR focused principles currently put forward by the Action Plan are required, but also principles that will speak to the basis for the pan-Canadian consensus building that must take place to fully position SMRs within the context of Canada’s overall climate, energy, and economic policies.
The CCRE recognizes that such an inclusive and comprehensive process will benefit from a robust governance framework that helps guide the development of Canada’s SMR Action Plan. Based on the CCRE’s experience, the CCRE suggests the following candidate principles for consideration:
- Process should be inclusive and transparent;
- Initiatives should be fact and science-based;
- Initiatives should be based on Canada’s environmental sustainability and energy self-sufficiency goals;
- Initiatives should demonstrate benefits-sharing among the stakeholders;
- Initiatives should support provincial, regional, Indigenous and Metis aspirations;
- Initiatives should be linked to and advance Reconciliation with Indigenous and Metis peoples; and,
- Canada’s SMR Action Plan should be an element of a national energy plan that is linked to Canada’s economic, climate change and clean energy security goals.
CCRE Support for the SMR Action Plan:
The CCRE will continue through its fora and commentaries to support the SMR Action Plan by:
- Providing avenues to capture, engage, and achieve consensus among stakeholders not otherwise identified as part of the process;
- Informing stakeholders of the role that SMRs could play in Canada’s climate, energy, and economic policies; and,
- Bringing a priority focus on domestic content, jobs, the economy, and regional benefits.
With these objectives in mind, the CCRE will undertake five actions within two Pillars of the SMR Action Plan:
- Policy, Legislative, and Regulation
- Address implications of project Impact assessments affecting Canadian energy & infrastructure projects of all types
- Support inclusion of nuclear energy in addressing climate change
- Participate in the Nuclear Energy Advisory Council
- Capacity, Engagement and Public Confidence
- Encourage public awareness of SMRs
- Support Indigenous engagement
POLICY, LEGISLATIVE, AND REGULATION
Project Impact Assessment (Bill C-69)
Responds to SMR Roadmap recommendation(s): 7
The Roadmap recommended that the Federal government include SMR considerations within the development of Bill C-69 such that they would be mutually reinforcing strategies to protect the environment in a successful long-term sustainable manner (Action 07).
The provisions within Bill C-69 remain contentious and represent an ongoing challenge for planned and proposed energy and large infrastructure projects. This is a pan-Canadian issue that will need to be addressed to advance any major project going forward, including SMR deployment.
The CCRE has convened several energy roundtables in Western Canada in recent year to encourage debate over Canada’s energy policy challenges. A recurring theme are the policy drivers for and implications of Bill C-69.
The CCRE will continue to use its advice, events and commentaries to help address the challenges presented by Bill C-69.
Broad multi-stakeholder support for Bill C-69 amendments to facilitate climate solutions such as SMRs.
POLICY, LEGISLATIVE, AND REGULATION
Climate and Energy Policy
Responds to SMR Roadmap recommendation(s): 9, 18
The SMR Roadmap recommended that governments recognize the role of nuclear energy in addressing climate change. (Actions 09 and 18).
The vast majority of Canadians support government action to address climate change. Currently, there is no national low-carbon energy strategy that integrates Canada’s economic, climate change and low carbon energy goals, plans and policies. While significantly broadening the scope of the required consultations, developing such an integrated national energy strategy that includes SMRs, could help create a more inclusive and comprehensive consensus in support of a clean energy future for Canada.
The CCRE convened an energy roundtable in BC in 2019 to address the go forward implications of Canada’s climate and energy policies. The resulting dialogue on such policy matters has motivated the CCRE to participate in the SMR Action Plan.
The CCRE will continue to use its influence, events and commentaries to identify and address the barriers to, and opportunities for Canada’s clean energy future. The CCRE will participate in the SMR Action Plan to support the development of a broad consensus on the best pathways forward.
A consensus among a majority of Canadians and Canada’s business, energy, environmental, first nations, and policy leaders on enabling steps to the pathways we need for a clean economy in the future.
POLICY, LEGISLATIVE, AND REGULATION
Nuclear Energy Advisory Council
Responds to SMR Roadmap recommendation(s): 5, 32
The roadmap recommended that the Federal Government and the Canadian Nuclear Association (CNA) work together with “Team Canada” partners to create a Nuclear Energy Advisory Council (NEAC) to establish strategic priorities (Actions 5 and 32).
The subject of SMR deployment in Canada is inherently a component of a national energy portfolio of solutions to address climate change. The forum required to carve out a pathway to deployment will necessarily involve multiple stakeholders, much beyond just the nuclear sector.
Such a process works when the governance provides an inclusive process for considering diverse perspectives in a transparent manner that builds trust. The CCRE would like to participate in the NEAC in order to bring these multi-stakeholder perspectives to the discussion.
The CCRE will continue to use its expertise, events, and commentaries to help create a broad consensus on the SMR Action Plan and Canada’s economic, climate change and societal goals.
The CCRE annually convenes Energy and Technology roundtables in both Ontario and Western Canada as neutral forums to promote the free exchange of ideas and opinions on energy matters of national interest and to promote good governance. Through the dialogues that emerge in these fora, the CCRE can deliver insights to the NEAC.
A working Advisory Council that will nurture the development of synergistic pan-Canadian solutions to Canada’s energy challenges.
Transparency, accountability, & evidence-based decision-making that improves outcomes for Canadians and Canada.
CAPACITY, ENGAGEMENT AND PUBLIC CONFIDENCE
Public Engagement on SMRs
Responds to SMR Roadmap recommendation(s): 12, 33, 53
The roadmap recommended that the Federal Government, the Canadian Nuclear Association (CNA), and Civil Society increase their research activities and outreach to assess the views, attitudes and understanding of Canadians to SMRs (Actions 12, 33, 53).
In addition to the energy roundtables, the CCRE supports the development of commentaries on emerging matters related to energy policy. Such commentaries on the subject of SMRs could help communicate the broader implications of SMRs on Canada’s energy and climate future.
The CCRE will continue to use its expertise, events, and commentaries to help inform what the majority of Canadians’ priorities and perspectives are on climate and energy solutions in general, and on nuclear and SMRs in particular.
Transparency, accountability, & evidence-based decision-making improves outcomes for Canadians and Canada.
CAPACITY, ENGAGEMENT AND PUBLIC CONFIDENCE
Responds to SMR Roadmap recommendation(s): 10, 19, 43
The Roadmap recommended that the federal and provincial governments and the utilities conduct meaningful two-way engagement with Indigenous peoples and communities on the subject of SMRs, well in advance of SMR projects (Actions 10, 19, 43).
Canada’s history is marked by the ongoing need to address and reconcile the issues of and relationships with Indigenous peoples. The SMR Action Plan and other energy and infrastructure projects will add to the complexities of these unresolved challenges e.g., self-governance, land rights, environmental sustainability and benefits sharing, etc.
Canada’s Indigenous peoples are critical stakeholders in adoption of SMRs. As such, this Action Plan should be part of a broader, integrated national energy strategy that also includes and responds to Canada’s future economic, environmental and overall energy objectives. Indigenous peoples are key stakeholders in this broader initiative.
The role of Indigenous peoples has been part of the dialogue at CCRE roundtables with representatives providing those views directly. Through the CCRE events and commentaries, the implications of indigenous considerations on not only SMRs but all energy projects are being brought to light for decision makers.
The CCRE will continue to use its expertise, events, and commentaries to foster the basis for a broad consultation process on the roles of indigenous peoples in Canada’s climate, energy and economic future.
Consensus, including the views of Indigenous peoples, is built around the pathway to Canada’s clean economic future.