CERI at 45

Published on: March 16, 2020

In 2020, the Canadian Energy Research Institute (CERI) celebrates its 45th year of operation. 45 years is an incredible feat for any organization – but it is even more significant for a non-profit organization that each year must prove to its donors that it creates value worthy of continued funding.

1975 marked many significant moments in history: the Apollo-Soyuz mission to link up in space, the premier of Saturday Night Live, the completion of Toronto’s CN Tower, Prime Minister Pierre Elliott Trudeau held office, Canada was in-between the 1973 and 1979 oil crisis, and Petro-Canada was formed to hold the federal government’s investment in a new resource development called the oil sands.

It was the latter that crystalized the establishment of CERI. The country was trying to understand what the scope of this new resource potential could be and the federal and provincial governments, along with businesses, were especially focused on economic development. This was 10 years before the Brundtland Commission’s report on sustainable development and at the nascent stage of environmental stewardship concerns.

Our first report was published in 1977, titled The Availability of Capital to Fund the Development of Canadian Energy Supplies. Even over 40 years ago there was a concern about raising capital for energy resources development in Canada. Since that first report, CERI has produced over 220 more publications, including assessments of electricity rate structures affects on demand (1980), alternative transportation fuels (1982), market projections for oil, coal and natural gas (the 1980s to present), air emissions control strategies (1996) and, more recently, the economic and environmental impacts of our energy choices (2000s to present).

Over that time, CERI has learned a few things, including:

  •   Canada is home to a rich resource base for traditional energy sources and newer renewable options
  •   Canada is home to low-cost energy in all its forms
  •   Canadian companies are at the forefront of environmental management and stewardship
  •   There continues to be a large array of potential economic benefits from continuing to develop these resources
  •   Canada continues to face challenges as it tries to get its resources to the broader world markets

Over the years, CERI has employed many dedicated people who have all shown a passion for producing comprehensive and objective analyses of economic and environmental issues facing Canada’s energy sectors. Our mandate has always been to provide fact-based information, free from bias, to assist decision-makers from all walks of life in addressing the most relevant energy issues to help move Canada forward. As we celebrate our 45th year, CERI continues to occupy a unique space in the research field. We see our role being as important today as it was when we first started; not only to educate and inform, but to stand aside when debates go beyond our analysis. The competition for ideas is sincere. Canadians have passionately held values with a common underlying theme: to help this country develop and grow stronger. We at CERI share the passion for a better Canada, one that can employ its rich energy endowment to benefit us all. We hope we can continue to support these energy conversations for many years to come. To the many people who have contributed countless hours to CERI’s research, our generous funders who have kept us going strong, and our stakeholders who have utilized our studies to inform their decisions – we thank you.