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No, this isn’t a post advocating that Alberta or Canada follows Texas and issue licenses allowing people to carry concealed handguns. It is, however, a post urging federal and provincial governments to follow our cousins to the south and promote more actively the development and use of renewable energy technologies.

If you ask me what I associate with the word Texas I’ll reply with words like: Oil, Dallas Cowboys (don’t like them), JR Ewing (nor him), oil, oil, Stevie Ray Vaughn (like him), oil,  and Ben Hogan (like him too). I’ll bet oil would be on your list as well.

“Renewable energy” wasn’t on my Texas list until recently. But, you’re never too old to learn. Texas, like a majority of states in America, has adopted what’s called a “renewable portfolio standard.” This is a regulation requiring a certain percentage of electricity to come from renewable energy (sources such as wind, solar, biomass, and geothermal). Also, the U. S. federal government (during the Republican Bush Administration – yes, a Republican administration) also introduced a 30% personal tax credit for people who purchased and installed renewable energy systems.

If American conservatives think that renewable energy should be supported by government I’d argue it’s time Albertans and Canadians ditched the idea (and the tired rhetoric that goes with it) that renewables are just a twinkle in the eye of some environmentalist dreamer. Supporting higher percentages of renewables in our electricity mix isn’t a liberal or a conservative idea — it’s just a good idea.

It’s why my wife Theresa and I took advantage of a City of Edmonton program and installed a 1.41 kw solar electricity system on our home. EPCOR tells us we’ve joined the ranks of Alberta’s independent power producers. Since we installed our system in December 2010 we’ve generated 1.90 MWh of electricity; we have offset 1.32 tons of carbon. Here’s the link if you want to see our solar system in action (

The Senate cannot introduce money bills. But as an Independent Senator I can urge members of all parties in the House of Commons to realize that it’s just common sense to support the development and use of renewable energy. Why isn’t a renewable energy personal tax credit on the Harper government’s agenda? If it was good enough for George Bush shouldn’t it be good enough for Stephen Harper?