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Alberta

Clean tech innovation cuts emissions, creates jobs

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7 minute read

March 12, 2019

Alberta’s Climate Leadership Plan is helping major industries reduce emissions and create jobs while cutting costs and becoming more competitive.

Emissions Reduction Alberta is funding more than a dozen new clean technology projects across the province, while Energy Efficiency Alberta is supporting small and medium-sized oil and gas companies to reduce methane emissions through upgrades.

“Innovation is a key part of Alberta’s economic and environmental success, and our industries continue to show tremendous leadership. Clean technology investments lead to made-in-Alberta solutions that support jobs, protect our environment, and point Alberta toward a healthy, prosperous future.”

Shannon Phillips, Minister of Environment and Parks and Minister responsible for the Climate Change Office

Emissions Reduction Alberta (ERA)

From Fort McMurray to Waterton, 16 innovative clean technology projects will receive funding through ERA’s $100-million Biotechnology, Electricity and Sustainable Transportation (BEST) Challenge – the largest challenge in ERA’s history.

These projects have a combined value of $600 million and the potential to reduce a total of 2.5 million tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions by 2030 – the same as taking 530,700 cars off the road. These projects will also result in 114 new jobs.

“Our BEST Challenge is about accelerating the most promising clean technology solutions across multiple sectors – from new solar opportunities in coal-impacted communities to efficient fleet solutions. These projects will be a showcase for innovative technologies that can be adopted in communities across Alberta. They support economic growth, community health and demonstrate environmental leadership on a national and global scale.”

Steve MacDonald, CEO, Emissions Reduction Alberta

The Alberta Motor Transport Association (AMTA) is working to develop and demonstrate a 700-kilometre-plus-range zero emission truck. These trucks will reduce greenhouse gas emissions through improved fuel efficiency of the fuel cell hybrid drivetrain. Sequestering carbon at the hydrogen generation facility will result in even greater emissions reductions.

“This is a very exciting project for the AMTA and our member companies. This initiative is primarily about moving freight on Alberta’s highways with zero emissions, but it is also about the future of the Alberta economy. Alberta is in the transportation fuel business, and that business is changing. The AZETEC project demonstrates that Alberta’s commercial transportation industry is leading the transition towards innovative, zero-emission transportation that meets the province’s unique needs.”

Chris Nash, president, Alberta Motor Transport Association

Another funding recipient, eCAMION, is working on a project to transition Alberta’s buses from diesel to electric. Its first-of-a-kind charging system could lower installation and operating costs, encouraging broader and faster adoption across the province. eCAMION will partner with the City of Edmonton on a trial of its fast-charge technology. A complete list of BEST Challenge projects is available here.

Energy Efficiency Alberta (EEA)

Government is providing an additional $5 million to support the continued success of EEA’s popular $10-million Methane Emissions Reduction initiative.

The program has already made it easier for 30 small and medium-sized oil and gas companies to address methane waste through energy-efficient equipment upgrades, which also helps facilities hire more staff, reduce annual emissions and boost competitiveness. To date, 2,534 applications are approved, with at least 1,500 more anticipated by March 31, 2019.

“Through methane-reduction education and deployment of existing technologies, companies ultimately have the ability to become more competitive and efficient. This announcement will result in a great collaboration to further our methane-reduction programming for the oil and gas sector.”

Monica Curtis, CEO, Energy Efficiency Alberta

The funding boost will also support a $1.5-million grant for the Petroleum Technology Alliance of Canada to introduce technologies that reduce methane emissions. The grant is expected to reduce up to 200,000 tonnes of emissions – the same as taking 42,460 cars off the road.

“Energy Efficiency Alberta’s Methane Emissions Reduction initiative is a momentous step towards a massive deployment of proven, cost-effective, economic methane-mitigation technologies that will benefit our people, planet and industry. It will enable producers – large and small – to maintain competitiveness, while helping Alberta’s entrepreneurs and small technology providers prosper and create jobs.”

Soheil Asgarpour, president, Petroleum Technology Alliance of Canada

“EEA’s Methane Emissions Reduction Program continues to improve the province’s emissions inventory while growing local jobs and incentivizing capital investment in Alberta-based emission-reduction projects. We look forward to continuing to contribute to the success of this program and working with industry to implement emission-reduction technologies.”

Jackson Hegland, executive director, Methane Emissions Leadership Alliance

Quick facts

  • The biotechnology, electricity and sustainable transportation sectors account for more than 40 per cent of Alberta’s annual greenhouse gas emissions.
  • ERA takes action on climate change and supports economic growth and diversification by investing carbon pricing paid by industry directly into clean technology solutions that reduce emissions, attract investment and create jobs. To date, ERA has committed more than $572 million in funding to 164 projects with a total value of roughly $4.3 billion.
  • The climate change impact of methane is 25 times greater than carbon dioxide over a 100-year period. Methane emissions in 2014 from Alberta’s oil and gas sector accounted for 70 per cent of provincial methane emissions, and 25 per cent of all emissions from the upstream oil and gas sector.
  • The Methane Emissions Reduction Program was announced in October 2018, and 60 per cent of the first year’s budget has already been committed. The program received three dozen applications in the first six weeks.

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Alberta

Provinces should be cautious about cost-sharing agreements with Ottawa

Published on

From the Fraser Institute

By Tegan Hill and Jake Fuss

According to Premier Danielle Smith, Alberta will withdraw from the federal government’s dental care plan by 2026 mainly because the plan would duplicate coverage already provided to many Albertans (although she plans to negotiate unconditional funding in lieu of being in the program). Indeed, all provinces should be wary of entering into such agreements as history has shown that Ottawa can reduce or eliminate funding at any time, leaving the provinces holding the bag.

In the 1990s, for instance, the federal government reduced health and social transfers to the provinces amid a fiscal crisis fuelled by decades of unrestrained spending and persistent deficits (and worsened by high interest rates). Gross federal debt increased from $38.9 billion in 1970/71 to $615.9 billion in 1993/94, at which point debt interest costs consumed roughly $1 in every $3 of federal government revenue.

In response to this debt crisis, the Chrétien Liberal government reduced spending across nearly all federal departments and programs. Over a three-year period to 1996/97, health and social transfers to the provinces were 51 per cent ($41.0 billion) less than what the provinces expected based on previous transfers. In other words, the provinces suddenly got a lot less money from Ottawa than they anticipated.

This should serve as a warning for the provinces who may find themselves on the hook for Ottawa’s big spending today. In the case of dental care, an area of provincial jurisdiction, the Trudeau government has earmarked $4.4 billion  annually for the provinces on an ongoing basis. However, any change in federal priorities or federal finances could swing the financial burden from Ottawa to the provinces to maintain the program.

The current state of federal finances only heightens this risk to the provinces. The federal government has run uninterrupted budget deficits since 2007/08, with total federal debt climbing from $707.3 billion in 2007/08 to a projected $2.1 trillion in 2024/25. The current government—or perhaps a future reform-minded government focused on balancing the budget—could reduce transfers to the provinces.

The Trudeau government has committed to significant new funding in areas of provincial jurisdiction, but provincial policymakers would do well to understand the risks of entering into such agreements. Ottawa can unilaterally reduce or eliminate funding at any point, leaving provinces to either assume the unexpected financial burden through higher taxes or additional borrowing, or curtail the programs.

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Alberta

Just in time for Canada Day weekend! Crescent Falls ready to be enjoyed again

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The new staircase structure and viewing platform are among many upgrades that visitors can look forward to at the reopening Crescent Falls Provincial Recreation Area. (Credit: Alberta Parks).

The popular Crescent Falls Provincial Recreation Area reopens following a significant capital investment to improve visitor safety and experiences.

Crescent Falls Provincial Recreation Area is ready to welcome visitors back to enjoy one of the most remarkable, accessible waterfall viewing opportunities in Alberta. The upgrades at Crescent Falls will help improve the park’s visitor experience. Guests can expect expanded parking, improved access roads, trails and day use areas, new and improved viewing areas to take in the falls and upgraded safety measures, including signage and wayfinding.

The Provincial Recreation Area (PRA) is reopening over the July long weekend after being closed since 2023. Visitors will notice increased public safety upgrades through additions such as new parking lots, a new stair structure to access the lower falls, new pedestrian trails, a new vehicle bridge to access the camping area and a viewing platform to enjoy the Crescent Falls.

“We are thrilled to welcome visitors back to Crescent Falls Provincial Recreation Area in time for the Canada Day long weekend. These additions will help visitors to safely access and enjoy the area’s natural beauty. Parks are for people and Alberta’s government will continue to invest in high-quality outdoor recreation opportunities.”

Todd Loewen, Minister of Forestry and Parks

“Today marks a significant milestone for our community as we reopen the Crescent Falls Provincial Recreation Area following extensive upgrades. Our province is well known for its incredible natural beauty, and these improvements will make our backcountry more accessible and ensure that Albertans and those visiting our great province can continue to explore our stunning landscapes for years to come.”

Jason Nixon, MLA for Rimbey-Rocky Mountain House-Sundre
This project is part of an investment of more than $12 million to upgrade 13 sites along the David Thompson Corridor. The improvements at Crescent Falls will provide improved safety measures and better visitor access to and from popular tourist destinations in the area. Partners from Clearwater County, Rocky Mountain House and other organizations were critical in helping to move the upgrades forward. Clearwater County and its officials worked with Alberta Parks staff to advise on the upgrades needed around the area.

Alberta’s government is committed to reconciliation and acknowledges the significance of the land around Crescent Falls Provincial Recreation Area to the Stoney Nakoda First Nation. The completed upgrades reflect an ongoing commitment to creating more outdoor recreation opportunities while protecting the land’s natural and cultural values so it can be enjoyed by current and future generations.

“The Alberta Government’s reopening of Crescent Falls is a remarkable achievement for our region. This project not only enhances recreational opportunities, natural beauty and accessibility in our area but also means safer, more enjoyable visits for our citizens and visitors alike.”

Michelle Swanson, councillor, Clearwater County

“The Town of Rocky Mountain House is where adventure begins, and we are thrilled that Crescent Falls Provincial Recreation Area has reopened to the public in time for the summer adventure season. This is a wonderful day trip destination for visitors and residents alike setting out from Rocky Mountain House. The provincial investment has only improved its accessibility and safety, making it a must-see destination if you are in the area.”

Dale Shippelt, incoming deputy mayor, Rocky Mountain House

“Westward Bound Campgrounds is the proud facility operator of the Crescent Falls Provincial Recreation Area and we are very excited to see our campers and visitors return to its beauty. These upgrades will have a significant impact on enhancing guest satisfaction levels, providing unique and memorable camper and visitor experiences while providing a safe environment to enjoy spectacular scenery.”

Lonnie and Edena Earl, Westward Bound Campgrounds

This work is part of an ongoing commitment to creating more outdoor recreation and camping opportunities, building trails and facilities and ensuring Alberta’s provincial parks can be enjoyed by all Albertans.

Quick facts

  • The upgrades at Crescent Falls PRA include the following improvements:
    • Enlarging the existing parking area
    • Developing a new parking area for large RV vehicles
    • Upgrading the access roads down to the lower area
    • Installing a new pedestrian trail to the lower day use area
    • Installing a new vehicle crossing from the day use to the camping site
    • Upgrading and expanding the day use areas
    • Increasing signage
    • Installing additional toilets and bear-proof garbage bins
    • Developing a new stair structure to access the lower falls areas with a viewing platform
  • Enhancing safety features throughout the PRA. The upgrades were part of a significant capital investment of $12.3 million by Alberta’s government to address safety and experience opportunities in 13 key provincial recreation sites along the David Thompson Corridor. Along with Crescent Falls PRA, other sites that were upgraded include:
    • Bighorn Dam Recreation Area
    • The following 11 Public lands and parks sites:
    • Coliseum
    • Allstone
    • Abraham Slabs
    • Hoo Doo Creek
    • Coral Creek
    • Pinto Creek
    • Preachers Point
    • Cavalcade
    • Kinglet/Tuff Puff
    • Wildhorse
    • Owen Creek
  • Crescent Falls PRA is located 22 km west of Nordegg on Highway 11 and 6 km north on a gravel access road. Crescent Falls PRA has a first-come, first-served campground with 12 tent-only sites and 22 RV sites. The day use area includes multiple viewing platforms of the upper and lower falls and picnic tables with views of the river. Access to the lower day use area is available on a 0.8 km trail from the main parking area or, alternatively, from the Bighorn Canyon lookout via a 3 km trail. The lower day use area also has accessible-only parking stalls adjacent to the viewing platforms with an accessible vault toilet and picnic areas.

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