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UBC Theses and Dissertations

A legislative model to regulate solar technology Cannon, Gerald William

Abstract

This thesis develops and discusses a strategic model to regulate the solar technology industry, based upon the following arguments: 1) that solar technology will be a major source of energy in the future, 2) that the nature of the solar industry warrants it being regulated, 3) that existing energy legislation is not suitable to be extended to the solar technology industry, and 4) that a strategic model gleaned from the radio and television legislation can be adapted to regulate the hypothesized solar technology industry. The amount of solar energy reaching the earth is massive. The only thing stopping it from being a ready source of supply is the conversion efficiencies of the devices needed to make it usable. As the economic and technical characteristics of the solar industry improve, it becomes more competitive with other sources. It is highly likely that these characteristics will improve to the point that solar technology will be one of the largest energy industries by the next century. The solar technology industry is highly centralized. Major multinational corporations are very active in increasing their economic strength in this industry. Because Canada will probably face a market controlled by foreign multinational corporations importing goods into this country, any national involvement can only come via regulatory legislation. National involvement will be needed because energy is fast becoming a major political issue. Thus, it is likely that for reasons of political sovereignty, Canada will have to regulate the solar technology industry. The existing legislation is not suitable to do this for two reasons. The first is that although some of the legislation at a general level conceptually includes solar technology, none of it includes it in a comprehensive manner. The second is that the legislation for the energy sector is organized on an industry by industry basis. To structure legislation to cover this new industry, entirely new acts are needed which will follow the existing pattern and which will serve this one industry. The most suitable model to do this is that which functions within the context of the radio and television legislation. This legislation has the characteristic of being strategic. This means there are different strategic approaches that government can take to regulate this industry. The value of this approach is that it is flexible, allows efficient policy formulation, and is still subject to public accountability. The model formed is a combination of the strategic structure of the radio and television legislation and the conditions necessary to properly regulate the solar technology industry. This combination conceptually analyzed for validity and reliability and its positive and negative points are discussed with a view to evaluating its benefits to Canadian legislation.

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