Most Americans have only the haziest idea of Canada’s importance to the U.S. economy, particularly in the energy field.
According to the U.S. Energy Administration, the United States total crude oil imports in 2011 averaged 9.033 million barrels per day, with Canada topping the list of the top four exporting countries with 2.666 million barrels per day crossing the border, followed by Mexico with 1.319 mbpd, Saudi Arabia sending 1.107 mbpd and Venezuela in fourth place at 930,000 barrels per day.
Little wonder then, that Republican presidential contender Mitt Romney has made energy a centrepiece of his campaign. “The Romney Plan For A Stronger Middle Class: ENERGY INDEPENDENCE” in its “Pursue a North American Energy Partnership” section reports, “As Canadian Prime Minister Harper notes, fostering a greater North American energy partnership that replaces OPEC imports with stable supply from secure sources at discounted prices should be a “no brainer.”
But while the Romney white paper foresees a North American, Canadian-American-Mexican energy partnership based on fossil fuels production, Canada’s Ontario province could soon become a major source for American electricity imports generated by – renewable energy.
Ontario is Canada’s most populous province, the country’s fourth largest in total area and home to the nation’s most populous city, Toronto as well as the national capital Ottawa. Along its 1,677 mile border with the U.S. are the states along the southern shore of the Great Lakes – Minnesota, Michigan, New York, Ohio and Pennsylvania.
The province’s population is roughly 13 million, and they suffer from a problem rare in the world – a surplus ofelectrical energy. Ontario now produces roughly 2,000 megawatts of wind and solar power dumped into the province’s electricity grid, with such a surplus at times the province sometimes has to sell surplus electricity at a loss.
Other energy sources in Ontario’s treasure chest? The province is home to Niagara Falls, which supplies a large amount of hydroelectricity, and the Bruce Nuclear Generating Station, the world’s second largest nuclear power plant, is also in Ontario and uses 8 CANDU reactors to generate 4,640 megawatts of electricity for the province.
On 14 May 2009 the Ontario Legislature passed the Green Energy and Green Economy Act.