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Energy

Indigenous Clean Energy (ICE) promotes collaborative frameworks for renewable energy, energy efficiency, advanced energy systems and green energy infrastructure

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Indigenous communities across the country have a growing capacity to deliver energy projects that deliver clean, affordable and reliable power to their communities, and into the grid, thus generating jobs and revenue.

Indigenous Clean Energy (ICE) is the national platform for Indigenous communities to promote collaborative frameworks for renewable energy, energy efficiency, advanced energy systems and green energy infrastructure. ICE has cross-Canada relationships amongst Indigenous communities, along with a demonstrated track record of accomplishment in capacity-building, project/organizational collaboration, and clean energy cooperation.

Initiatives, such as the Indigenous Energy Across Canada Compendium demonstrates how the relationships have evolved in the last decade between industry, and the Indigenous People in Canada.

Indigenous communities are already major participants and owners of clean energy projects and businesses comprised of 184 medium-large scale projects in hydro, wind, solar, or biomass, and over 2,300 small renewable energy projects. Projects owned, or co-owned, by Indigenous communities, or with a defined financial benefit agreement represent a total of 18% of Canada’s electricity generating capacity, which is approximately one of sixth of the electrons consumed in Canada.

While the energy sector is broad and shifting towards more innovation in energy transition, there is still much to do in terms of sharing opportunities and building capacity for Indigenous communities. Capacity building programs include the award winning 20/20 Catalysts Program, which has an alumni of 82 Catalysts and has empowered First Nation, Inuit and Métis communities to drive forward clean energy projects and initiatives in their communities. Working collaboratively with the guidance of Indigenous leaders and clean energy practitioners from across the country, catalysts gain the skills and tools needed to maximize the social and economic benefits communities gain through clean energy initiatives. A result of ongoing dialogue with communities the need to act on housing and community energy efficiency to make energy more affordable, improve health conditions, and establish new and ongoing jobs. ICE has responded to this by creating a new program Bringing it Home. (BiH) The premise of BiH is that ‘Healthy Energy Living’ in Indigenous communities can be unlocked through synergy between clean energy and sustainable investment to ensure that homes: a) last longer, b) are more durable and healthier, and c) are cheaper to operate over the short and longer term.

Platforms such as the icenet.work allow the growing community of Indigenous clean energy leaders, to further collaborate with clean energy industry and governments on clean energy projects, access to financial capital for clean energy infrastructure, and share project and business experiences internationally.

Indigenous inclusion in Canada’s growing clean energy, and clean growth economy is a force for change, and partnering with First Nations, Inuit and Métis is the way forward.

By Terri Lynn Morrison, Director of Strategic Partnerships and Communications, Indigenous Clean Energy

 

Thanks to Todayville for helping us bring our members’ stories of collaboration and innovation to the public.

Click to read a foreward from JP Gladu, Chief Development and Relations Officer, Steel River Group; Former President and CEO, Canadian Council for Aboriginal Business.

JP Gladu, Chief Development and Relations Officer, Steel River Group; Former President & CEO, Canadian Council for Aboriginal Business

Click to read comments about this series from Jacob Irving, President of the Energy Council of Canada.

Jacob Irving, President of Energy Council of Canada

The Canadian Energy Compendium is an annual initiative by the Energy Council of Canada to provide an opportunity for cross-sectoral collaboration and discussion on current topics in Canada’s energy sector.  The 2020 Canadian Energy Compendium: Innovations in Energy Efficiency is due to be released November 2020.

 

Click below to read more stories from Energy Council of Canada’s Compendium series.

Read more on Todayville.

Hydro-Québec takes partnerships, environmental measures and sharing of wealth to new levels

The Energy Council of Canada brings together a diverse body of members, including voices from all energy industries, associations, and levels of government within Canada. We foster dialogue, strategic thinking, collaboration, and action by bringing together senior energy executives from all industries in the public and private sectors to address national, continental, and international energy issues.

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Alberta

CP NewsAlert: Alberta government cancels coal leases, pauses any future sales

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EDMONTON — The Alberta government says it has decided to cancel 11 recently issued coal leases in the Rocky Mountains.

It is also pausing any future coal lease sales on lands that were protected from open-pit mines under a policy the government revoked last May.

Energy Minister Sonya Savage says in a release that the United Conservative government has listened carefully to concerns raised in recent days.

She says the move will have no impact on existing coal projects currently under regulatory review.

More coming …

The Canadian Press

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Alberta

Oilpatch woes boost Calgary’s downtown office vacancy rates to record levels

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CALGARY — Vacancies in Calgary’s downtown office towers have risen to record levels and there’s no landlord relief in sight with almost one in three offices sitting empty and sublets accounting for a quarter of available spaces on the market.

The city’s glut of empty office space has previously been linked to overbuilding but two commercial real estate reports released this past week show that downtown vacancy rates in Canada’s oil and gas capital are the highest in the country and growing — despite no major new towers opening in the past two years.

Vacancies are likely to go even higher, both reports note, driven by short-term factors including layoffs resulting from the takeover of Husky Energy Inc. by Cenovus Energy Inc. and longer-term job losses from cost-cutting and mergers in the oil and gas sector.

In its report released Thursday, real estate firm CBRE says the equivalent of four CFL football fields in downtown office space was emptied in the last quarter of 2020.

The net reduction of 355,000 square feet (32,000 square metres) took the vacancy rate to a record high of 29.5 per cent compared with 27.2 per cent in the fourth quarter of 2019.

“The negative absorption is due to the oilpatch, not COVID-19,” said Greg Kwong, Calgary-based regional managing director for CBRE.

“People may not be going back to work because of the lockdowns but these companies still have leases in place and have to pay the rent. It’s not considered vacated space.”

CBRE found that 23.7 per cent of the available downtown office space in Calgary is being sublet by the lease holder.

In a separate report using different calculation methods, Avison Young pegged the downtown office vacancy rate at a record 26.9 per cent in the fourth quarter, up from 24.2 per cent in the year-earlier period.

Under an optimistic scenario, Avison Young predicts the vacancy rate will rise to 28.6 per cent by the end of 2023; in its pessimistic forecast, it foresees a rate of 32.9 per cent.

The merger of Cenovus and Husky offices in 2021 is projected to result in between 36,000 and 54,000 square metres of downtown space being vacated later this year, said Todd Throndson, managing director for Avison Young’s Calgary office. That’s around one per cent of the total inventory of 4.16 million square metres.

“We have a very difficult marketplace and there’s no quick solutions to solving that problem,” he said. “The next 12 to 24 months are going to be a challenging time for there to be any growth in our marketplace.”

Cenovus and Husky have said their merger will result in a reduction of between 20 and 25 per cent of the 8,600 combined employees and contractors — potentially more than 2,000 workers.

The two companies have about 300,000 square metres of lease commitments in Calgary, with some of it already being sublet to other tenants, said Cenovus spokesman Reg Curren. More space is expected to be sublet going forward, he said, declining to give specifics.

“Once COVID-19 restrictions are lifted and we determine our plan to return to the workplace, Brookfield Place will be the head office of the combined company,” he said, referring to the 56-storey glass and steel tower opened in 2017 that Cenovus calls home.

Husky’s head office is a few blocks west in the much older Western Canadian Place.

It’s not hard to find other Calgary companies reducing staff and their need for office space.

Suncor Energy Inc. announced in October it would reduce total staff by 10 to 15 per cent over 18 months, cutting as many as 1,930 jobs. Those cuts will be offset by the relocation of its Petro-Canada head office and most of its 700 jobs from Ontario to Calgary.

Imperial Oil Ltd. announced in November it would lay off 200 staff.

Meanwhile, office space held by Equinor Canada at Jamieson Place in downtown Calgary is on the sublet market after the Norwegian oil company decided to consolidate its Canadian operations in St. John’s, N.L.

Lower staff counts are also expected with the close of a handful of smaller oil and gas producer corporate mergers announced late last year.

Calgary’s office buildings have lost an overall 13 per cent of value, about $2.3 billion, over the past year due to higher vacancy rates and lower rents, the city said Thursday as it issued its 2021 property assessment notices.

Declines in recent years have pushed more of the municipal tax burden to residential and other business ratepayers.

Economic Development Calgary is using the city’s abundance of discounted office space as a “huge selling feature” in attracting Calgary employers in new sectors like technology and renewable energy, said CEO Mary Moran, but she concedes those new tenants haven’t replaced the oil and gas losses.

“I think, long-term, we know that the energy industry is not going to be the job creator,” she said. “It’s a jobless recovery in oil and gas.”

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 17, 2021.

Companies in this story: (TSX:CVE, TSX:SU)

Dan Healing, The Canadian Press

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