CanESS model

Posted on Monday, June 26, 2017 - 06:46 by David B. Layzell, PhD, FRSC , Benjamin Israel, MS, Bastiaan Straatman, PhD, Ralph Torrie

Energy systems – the production and use of fuels and electricity – are under intense pressure to change for the good of the environment and the economy. However, the flow of energy through these systems is not the problem. Rather it is the flow of carbon, especially when those flows bring carbon dioxide (CO2) and methane (CH4) to the atmosphere where they become greenhouse gases (GHGs).

Six months ago, CESAR released Sankey diagrams for Canada showing how energy flows from the sources we extract from nature, to the demands of society for fuels and electricity. Today, we are pleased to release a new set of Sankey visualizations – the first of their kind – showing how carbon flows through the same fuel and electricity systems.

Posted on Tuesday, June 14, 2016 - 06:38 by Mark Lowey, BA

As a research group focused on how best to transform Canada’s energy systems towards sustainability, CESAR was very interested in the recent release of the Trottier Energy Futures Project report, Canada’s Challenge and Opportunity: Transformations for major reductions in GHG emissions. In this blog post, Mark Lowey reviews the report’s findings, including an interview with Project Manager Oskar Sigvaldason.  

Posted on Tuesday, March 29, 2016 - 07:10 by Mark Lowey, BA

Improving energy efficiency in Alberta’s residential housing sector could potentially reduce greenhouse gas emissions by more than 4 million tonnes annually compared to a business as usual (BAU) scenario – or over 122 million tonnes by 2060, reports a group of University of Calgary engineering students working with David Layzell, professor and director of the Canadian Energy Systems Analysis Research (CESAR) initiative at the University of Calgary.

Posted on Tuesday, January 26, 2016 - 07:56 by David B. Layzell, PhD, FRSC , Bastiaan Straatman, PhD, Mark Lowey, BA

For many years, governments in Canada and Alberta have predicted a prosperous future based on sustained pricing of about $US90 per barrel for West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude oil. Such a price had been predicted to drive oil sands production to more than 5 million barrels per day by 2040, from the current level of approximately 2.3 million b/d. As a result, Alberta’s population was estimated to rise to about 6.2 million people (currently 4.1 million) by 2040 and deliver a provincial GDP of more than $380 billion per year (currently approximately $215 billion/yr).

Such high oil sands growth (HOSG) projections do not seem realistic in 2016, with WTI prices now under $US35 per barrel and Canadian bitumen discounted by at least $15 per barrel on that price – with no respite in sight. Clearly, a low oil sands growth (LOSG) projection may provide a better window on the future, especially when these projections are needed to inform economic and environmental policies, including those guiding the transformation of our energy systems to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and meet climate change commitments.

Posted on Tuesday, February 24, 2015 - 08:12 by David B. Layzell, PhD, FRSC , Bastiaan Straatman, PhD

The Canadian government has committed to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions to 80% of 2006 levels by 2020 and to 30%-40% by 2050. Given that the auditor general has recently noted that we are not on track to meet these commitments, an obvious question is how far off are we?  Even more important from a policy perspective is the need to understand the potential of specific technologies or policies in helping to close this gap. 

Posted on Wednesday, June 11, 2014 - 11:11 by David B. Layzell, PhD, FRSC , Bastiaan Straatman, PhD

We are often asked where we get the numbers to generate the ‘Sankey’ diagrams in CESARnet that represent the Canadian energy systems. Some assume that these Sankey diagrams are calculated by summing the flows of oil, natural gas or electrons moving through pipes or wires. This is not correct...

Posted on Monday, May 5, 2014 - 10:56 by David B. Layzell, PhD, FRSC

We all know that Canadian provinces differ greatly in their capacity to produce energy. Less well known is how Canadians from across the nation differ in their demand for energy services.

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