When you turn on your stove or fill up your car, do you ever take a minute to wonder about where the energy actually comes from? Not likely, although in this world of ever increasing expectations about affordability, environmental performance and security of energy, it might just be a good idea. Did you know that your neighbor, Canada, is now the largest energy supplier to the United States? Growing this relationship makes sense.
Canada has an enviable supply of hydro, natural gas, oil, uranium and wind, and our exports are largely flowing south. We're the third-largest producer of hydroelectricity in the world, and almost all the electricity that the United States imports comes from Canada. Canada holds the third-largest reserves of oil after Saudi Arabia and Venezuela at 174 billion barrels. Eighty percent of the world's known oil reserves are controlled by the state or managed by national oil companies.
However, the government of Canada does not run our oil sector. We are not members of OPEC. And of the 20 percent of the world's oil supply that is openly accessible to market-based development, 60 percent comes from Canada's oil sands.
Canada provides an affordable, reliable and sustainable source of energy for Kentucky and the rest of the United States. That is good for both countries. In fact, 8 million U.S. jobs depend on trade with Canada, including 106,000 in Kentucky. Our relationship is a good news story, given the geopolitical situation of many other major exporting countries and the shared values Canadians and Americans hold regarding energy extraction and use.
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Groups are actively campaigning against the construction of Keystone XL, a pipeline that would carry Canadian oil to the United States. There is no question that Keystone XL is a massive engineering project, but it has been subjected to a comprehensive environmental review and will be going far beyond existing U.S. pipeline safety regulations.
As for projects in Canada's oil sands, these are also subject to extensive environmental and regulatory review. We manage water use by setting withdrawal limits. We work with a wide range of stakeholders to regulate water quality, health and better understand aboriginal considerations. By law, all land disturbed by the oil sands must be reclaimed.
Between 1990 and 2008, GHG emissions per barrel of oil were reduced by 29 percent, and there are technologies under development that will further reduce emissions. The oil sands are a key strategic resource, an economic engine contributing substantially to employment and GDP on both sides of the border. More than 900 U.S. companies (three in Kentucky), large and small, provide goods and services to the oil sands.
In short, expanding the capacity and increasing deliveries from Canada's oil sands mean good things for Kentucky jobs. Indeed, development now under way in the Canadian oil sands will create 5,000 jobs in Kentucky over the next few years.
Our two countries have signed on to exactly the same reduction targets for greenhouse-gas emissions, and Canada has adopted the tailpipe-emissions standard that originated in California. Canada already has a clean electricity system, with fully 78 percent of Canadian electricity production derived from non-emitting sources such as hydropower and nuclear.
In the United States, 70 percent of electricity comes from coal, natural gas and petroleum.
Canada and the United States have a long history of integration within energy markets and infrastructure, and we share an extensive, secure cross-border network of pipes and transmission lines. Given the integration and mutual benefits to Kentucky and Canada, the question really is how do we strengthen and further diversify this energy dialogue?
Canada recognizes the environmental challenge before us and is acting to regulate and invest in science and technology improvements for energy production. Unlike many energy exporters, we are committed to transparency in the way we assess energy projects. Canada is proud of its diversified energy relations with Kentucky and the United States, and we look forward to debate and dialogue on the future of our energy partnership.