US Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee holds hearing to examine the U.S. and Canada energy and mineral partnership
On 17 May 2022, the US Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee held a hearing to examine ways to strengthen the energy and mineral partnership between the U.S. and Canada as a means to address energy security and climate objectives.
The hearing was joined by Canadian witnesses including Minister Wilkinson, Natural Resources; Minister Kenny, Premier of Alberta; the Honorable Natalie Camden, Associate Deputy Minister of Mines from Quebec; and Mr. Francis Bradley, President and CEO, Electricity Canada.
The hearing focused on ensuring energy efficiency, security, and promotion of a North American partnership around energy. Most of the questions raised by the senators were aimed at the oil and gas and minerals sectors. They often suggested that Canadian regulatory regimes were more efficient than that of the U.S and that the U.S. industry and government should learn from Canada. They often sited the quicker approval processes for mineral mine development in Canada.
Minister Wilkinson’s opening statements provided an overview of Canada’s energy and natural resource development priorities and the country’s goal of achieving a transition to a clean energy future. The Minister highlighted how Canada’s climate policies that aim at dealing with the climate crisis are directly linked with emerging concerns over energy security associated with the invasion of Ukraine.
The Minister stated that Canada hopes to work with the U.S as well as the European Union to achieve common goals on climate and energy security. In the short-term, Canada is on hand to assist to meet energy demand from the U.S and the EU. However, the long-term goal of replacing fossil fuels with renewable energy was and is Canada’s ultimate goal for climate and energy security reasons.
The Minister also stated Canada and the U.S have a strong relationship as it relates to energy cooperation, and it will be leveraged to meet the climate and energy security goals. He outlined that U.S. – Canada energy cooperation includes working closely together on renewables, hydrogen and small modular reactors (SMRs).
Critical minerals, including uranium, were identified as a critical focus of the Canadian government and is another area for cooperation between Canada and the U.S. Critical minerals were described as being a high priority for the clean energy transition (EV and battery development) as well as for other key industrial goods.
Minister Wilkinson emphasized Canada’s energy mix, which received much praise from the US senate, in its strategy to address climate change and energy security. He mentioned that clean energy will allow democracies to delink from ‘petro-dictators’ who weaponize energy and listed clean technologies Canada and the US need to show alignment on, including nuclear technology and SMRs.
Premier Kenney’s remarks focused exclusively on the opportunities for more oil and gas from Alberta to the U.S and beyond in order to meet the geopolitical pressures associated with the boycott of Russian fuel imports.
Mr. Francis Bradley, Electricity Canada, focused on the existing positive relationship between Canadian and U.S. grid systems. The integrated electricity grid between both countries supports reliable and sustainable transitions to new and clean energy sources. Canadian hydro exports into the U.S. represents benefits for both countries. He mentioned SMRs as being a new technology that also represents an opportunity as demonstrated by the new MOU TVA and OPG partnership.
In response, Senators used the hearing largely to reinforce their domestic agendas. Republican Senators in particular were supportive of working with Canadian energy and mining sectors in developing a North American approach to meet common goals.
Media ContactChristopher Gully
Director of Communications