Thank you, Mr. Chair.
Good afternoon. My name is Walter Kresic. I'm the vice-president of pipeline integrity for Enbridge Pipelines. My focus is on the oil pipeline side of the business, which comprises approximately 27,000 kilometres of large-diameter pipeline and facilities spread across North America.
The act of maintaining pipeline systems as we do requires a great deal of technology and technology advancement. As well, I oversee the research and development and the innovation framework for Enbridge Pipelines. The role there is for us to drive the culture of innovation deep within all aspects of our organization. I'm going to use Enbridge today as an example of how a large organization stands ready to drive innovation within all aspects of our operations but also on the clean technology side.
I think some slides were distributed to the panel today. I'm on the second slide that shows the map of North America. The idea there is to show the massive footprint of the Enbridge organization and the scale and magnitude of this energy infrastructure business.
It's hard to put into perspective from looking at a one-page map, but I'll provide some simple statistics. This is the longest oil pipeline system in the world. It's a dominant shipper to the U.S. of production in Canada. It has the largest gas distribution business in Canada, bringing heating gas to people's homes. It's the second largest wind and solar producer in Canada, with a strong, growing presence in the United States and Europe. It's also a large player in gas gathering in the Gulf of Mexico at midstream. With the recent integration of Spectra Energy Corporation, now we also have one of the largest gas transmission and storage businesses in North America.
Of course, you can see that a lot of the infrastructure we have touches ocean to ocean to ocean from coast to coast to coast. We have frontier pipelines and many challenges that we've had to face in building this very complex infrastructure.
This type of scale and organization takes on a very influential role in Canadian society, and we deeply recognize the geopolitical and macroeconomic challenges that face us. To face those things, we have to obviously act sustainably and responsibly. It's vital to us as an organization that we appreciate all these complexities. We take a long-term view in how we bring utility to a society. Because of these challenges, the systems for innovation become part of our business structure. We look at objectives and plans in organizational structure with a view to innovation. That includes how we operate in areas of clean technology, which I'll get into detail about now.
Please go to the third slide. The slides aren't that critical, but nonetheless, they are there for some support.
There are two opportunities I would like to suggest within this initiative. Using Enbridge as an organizational example, this company Enbridge, as I mentioned earlier, leads in clean technology adoption, in the generation of wind power, solar power, geothermal, fuel cells, and so on. These are our new forms of energy generation, and we've taken a strong leadership role in Canada for advancing them, so we're obviously familiar with the adoption of clean technology. However, until renewables become built up, in taking the long view we also understand that it's important to recognize we're going to rely on the existing infrastructure while we transition.
In terms of the first opportunity I would like to present, and it was mentioned earlier as well, we believe the decarbonization of existing infrastructure holds a great deal of opportunity. First, we begin with keeping our infrastructure safe and keeping oil and gas within the pipe. This, of course, is a mission critical activity for us and one that helps drive our innovative culture.
There are also a lot of other opportunities. Vapour emissions from the massive storage tanks we have spread out across Canada and the United States.... The gas pipelines have many points where methane gas emissions occur. This is well known and well studied, and now a further advancing part of the infrastructure business to trap methane gas emissions. How we convert electricity from coal-fired to gas-fired....
We're now converting the cars in our fleets and using them as examples for other industries. Within our huge infrastructure, we have many kinds of equipment that require power. We're looking at developing more efficient systems for using that power, and systems that reduce the greenhouse gas emission concerns. We take a very hands-on approach to working with our homeowners who buy the gas we distribute to them, and we strive to find ways to reduce their use of that fuel source.
All of these things are immediately measurable. The ability to measure these things and recognize them as successful can provide a means of growing interest across other industries and within our society. Moreover, this allows us to continue to grow the capability we can create within our country for that type of thought process. We think simple measurement and documenting our success in the decarbonization of existing infrastructure can create access to a lot of low-hanging fruit and increase the value of our efforts in this regard.
The second opportunity I'd like to highlight is related to the power of Canadian thought leadership and looking at that as a commodity. On the pipeline side at least, and I would say in other industries as well, Canadian engineers and scientists are highly regarded. Much as the Swiss are known for making precision watches and the Germans are known for making sports cars, Canadian engineers and scientists are regarded as top notch around the globe. Many upstart businesses have begun in Canada delivering thought results to companies around the globe. Our company is approached by many countries from the Far East, Europe, South America, and Africa. They come to visit us and talk about how we structure our approach to pipeline design, construction, operations, and regulations.
All these facets are highly regarded around the world. It's through Canadian ingenuity and our thought leaders that we arrive at this. There are many successful businesses that export thought leadership. We look at clean technology as sometimes being a widget. A very important part of technology is the peripheral components, which are also critical to making things successful. I'm talking about the analytics, the organizational structuring, and the strategic planning. Many of the human-based thought processes, which many companies have sprung from on the pipeline side, also serve as a model for clean technology development in many industries.
It all has to do with the power of people. Whether it's the training that Canadians have received, the experience they have, or the general Canadian attitude on the pipeline side, Canadians as technologists and scientists truly are leaders in this realm. We think this is a model that can serve in many industries in Canada.
Those are the two opportunities. I want to touch quickly on policy and instruments.
We take a long view on energy infrastructure development and management. For us, this means that the huge investments in our industries require us to access capital, and that is often the challenge.
There are three key points that I want to highlight regarding policy and instruments. First of all, our regulator, the National Energy Board, has a powerful and a very authoritative mandate to ensure that we focus on mission critical activities and remain responsible. They have two strengths that are generally regarded as interesting to outsiders, to observers, and to us. One is that they provide a one-window approach to managing our infrastructure. The second, and it's nuanced, is that they are built upon a goal-setting approach rather than a prescriptive approach.
We work our business in many jurisdictions, and we find that the goal-setting approach is, like the one-window approach, a far more efficient methodology than we see in some of the other jurisdictions we work in. It has many benefits that are intrinsic to innovation. For example, in a technical society, engineers and scientists tend to prefer working towards goals, as opposed to prescriptions. We can always achieve compliance. As a big company, we will always strive to achieve compliance. What we find, though, is that compliance-based regulations often provide too low a boundary.
We feel we can do much better, and by setting the goal, engineers and scientists then can use the best techniques possible, seek the best methods possible, and also drive in efficiency and effectiveness far better than compliance-based or prescriptive-based regulations. This is the strength that we see in our national regulator, the National Energy Board. It is also the strength that countries around the world have been studying.
The next item I want to talk about is societal common ground. As responsible companies and engineers, we feel that we're providing a positive contribution to society, but we all know that energy infrastructure is not viewed in the same light as it is by those of us who are in the inner circle. We appreciate that there's low trust in corporations and energy infrastructure. What the public doesn't understand is that it is organizations like Enbridge that have the best engineers and scientists in the world, and there are many organizations like us. We also work as hard as we can in the Canadian realm to be as responsible a corporation as we possibly can. We compete against the need for our being able to do a better job connecting with the societal calling. For us, we're moving down a journey. In terms of instruments, we could use assistance within that realm, whether it's from the federal government or some other agency, to help us with that translation.
One option we would view as possible is for the government to set performance targets. It's similar to goal setting that's done through our regulator, but through this initiative, setting performance targets would allow engineers and technologists to view them as their goal and would also allow a measurable system for us to track our progress. There are similar circumstances around the world. The United Kingdom health and safety executive has a system relating in that way. Also, if you look at other industries, which we tend to compare to more these days, the aviation industry has also gone through threshold moments and has also set performance targets. It has helped them progress into a very advanced industry.
Finally, the last point on industry coordination is that there are many great agencies within the energy infrastructure industry, the companies, the regulators, and researchers. Individually, they all do very well, and from time to time they connect, but once again, in comparison to other industries, such as the aviation industry, we don't coordinate as a team. That might be where the federal government could provide some assistance. On the aviation side, the federal government and governments around the world do work together with companies, industry agencies, and aviation companies, and they deal with things like technology transfer and adopting new technologies for bettering their industry.
As well on the coordination side, I just want to finish off by saying the reason a lot of the technologies don't succeed is that many of the upstart ideas don't appreciate that technology transfer is a long supply chain of activities. It's not just about the item or the thought; it's about all of the steps prior to it, the analytics, the organizational behaviour, and the many things that require merchandising in part of the technology transfer supply chain. It's something I wanted to raise that might be somewhat useful to furthering the cause.
I'm not sure if I've gone over my 10 minutes. I want to thank you for this opportunity.