The perfect storm of unsustainability

It’s not too surprising that sustainability can be a difficult sell. Because even though the need to become sustainable is the most important thing facing each of us on this planet, sustainability runs counter to the human experience over many millennia.

Only in our day have we realized that we’ve reached the perfect storm of environmental threat. All the things we once took for granted have now grown to be global threats. Population growth, industrial expansion, modern agricultural practices, acquisition and use of natural resources – none of these are essentially evil, but at the scale they have reached, they have combined to produce an unsustainable environment.

Industry, agriculture and resource development all must continue for our economies to be sustainable – but they must be done differently, for our world to survive.

Siemens’ new branding statement “Ingenuity for life” is a fundamental commitment that the company has made, world-wide – a commitment to fostering and adopting innovation that will create a healthy and sustainable environment wherever we are involved.

I’m very pleased that two of our most recent renewable energy projects are located in the province of Alberta, the heart of Canada’s energy industry.

In western Alberta, Siemens is working with AltaLink; we have partnered to create the Western Alberta Transmission Line, which has been built to allow the province to fully harness Alberta’s abundant wind power.

We’ve also collaborated with ATCO in a similar project in eastern Alberta – the Eastern Alberta Transmission Line, which has the same purpose: to utilize the province’s wind power and distribute this new, green energy, reliably and economically.

In both cases, the new transmission lines feature bidirectional flow of power – they can transmit energy from the north to the south, but also from south to north. The latter will come largely from wind power, and for the first time, this new infrastructure will allow wind energy to be distributed throughout the province. The new systems are up to 50 per cent more efficient than their predecessors.

In practical, sustainable terms, I’m told that these new systems have an impact equivalent to taking tens of thousands of cars off the road. I applaud the Alberta energy industry for showing such leadership.

Clean energy must be a priority, everywhere in the world, including in countries and communities where we have traditionally relied on carbon-based energy. Siemens Canada is perfectly placed to understand and facilitate this transition as we have worked successfully with organizations with a variety of energy sources, including both traditional and renewable.

We’re poised and prepared to work with partners across the country – and around the world – to ensure sustainability – in the energy sector, in our communities, and in our world.

We all must do our part to protect and nurture our fragile environment, or we risk perishing in the perfect storm of unsustainable practice. It is essential that industries, communities and countries become carbon neutral; it is essential that we cease to do damage, and work tirelessly to undo the damage already done.

Our projects with ATCO and AltaLink are just two examples of the real impact of Siemens’ commitment. That’s Ingenuity for life.