Many new and emerging green technologies face significant barriers and uncertainties. These include conventional energy distribution systems (sunk investments) and vested interests that support conventional oil and gas industries (carbon lock-in). Without government support many of these innovative technologies will only result in niche markets. Policies that support low carbon technologies and systems are needed so that these barriers and uncertainties can be overcome, enabling these innovative technologies to enter the mainstream.
Carleton research in sustainable technology implementation policies include:
- Carbon Capture and Storage:
Carbon Capture and Storage has captured the attention of governments worldwide as a way to use conventional fuel sources more sustainably. However, there remain many uncertainties and risks associated with the implementation of this technology. Researchers are looking at the issues decision-makers confront in encouraging the uptake of this technology and how to manage uncertainties and regulate risks.
- Photovoltaic Policy and Regulatory Frameworks:
Photovoltaics is a rapidly growing and evolving sector. Researchers at Carleton are involved in an NSERC funded Photovoltaic Innovation Network (PVIN). PVIN aims to provide Canada with the skills and technology base to compete globally. The Carleton research group is focusing on the political, policy and regulatory contexts for the development of PV in Canada. It considers the place PV may occupy in Canada’s energy future and the policy and regulatory regimes required to ensure an appropriate and timely development and deployment of PV.
- Smart Grids:
As Canada moves toward a more sustainable energy system, it will need a much more sophisticated electricity system to manage demand and supply. A smart grid essentially means moving towards a more decentralized electricity system and “computerizing” the electric utility grid. There are different visions of how Smart Grids should be deployed and who will benefit. In this vein, researchers are looking at the societal and policy dimensions of smart grids. Engineers are experimenting with emerging intelligent electricity infrastructure at the recently opened Hydro Ottawa Laboratory for Smart Grid Technologies.
- Technology Transfer to Developing Countries:
There will be an increasing demand for energy in the developing world, where most of the world’s population growth is happening. The provision of clean, reliable energy will play a pivotal role in increasing living standards. This thread of research is examining the development, production, cooperation and adoption processes involved in low carbon energy technologies, particularly in the developing world. In particular, it is investigating the role of policies and appropriate pathways in debates involving low carbon energy transitions in developing countries.