Why Solar: Alberta is serious about the energy transition

  • Jun. 19, 2019 2:30 p.m.

The powers that be are a misguided bunch, literally. It would seem to an average, hardworking, human being preoccupied with putting a meal on the table and maintaining a roof over their head, the leaders of this fair country appear to be more concerned with buying their way into a cushy political pension. To hell with the western electorate, “let them eat cake” as was once declared by another out of touch oligarch.

This observation may seem a little harsh, but there is no denying our efforts to use our resources to finance our transition to noncarbon producing energy is being frustrated at every step. Alberta is serious about innovative, decarbonization, and “green” energy technologies. This province deserves better.

Case in point; Red Deer College has the most extensive post-secondary institutional solar array in Canada, utilizing some 4,190 photovoltaic panels. As well, in the institution’s spirit and mandate of education, in February of this year, RDC has opened the Alternative Energy Lab. The lab is set up for training students in the skills necessary for the operating, maintenance, and installation of alternative energy systems.

For a fossil fuel energy derived economy, such initiatives are a strategic indication of forwarding thinking. Innovation is the essential requirement, not only in the transition away from hydrocarbon energy but is imperative in providing enough electrical power to provide a standard of living for the world’s underprivileged citizenry, to that which Canadians take for granted.

Alberta’s ERA, Emissions Reduction Alberta, which is the registered tradename of the CCEMC, Climate Change, and Emissions Management Corporation, is continuing to fund research and technological innovation and to date has supported 164 projects in four categories. They are itemized as Low Emitting Electricity Supply and Demand, 26 projects, Cleaner Oil and Gas, 58 projects, Low Carbon Industrial Processes, 34 projects, and Food Fibre and Bioindustries, 46 projects. Combined these 164 pursuits account for a capital spending of some $571 million. In total, these projects will ultimately remove or reduce almost 43 million tonnes of GHG, greenhouse gas, emissions by the year 2030.

Alberta entrepreneurs know how to build pipelines, our energy sector is very good at the construction of this type of infrastructure. Once again, this province’s innovators are stepping up to changing the status quo. Enhance Energy is building the worlds largest CO2 pipeline. It will run from a fertilizer plant and the new Sturgeon Refinery near Edmonton to oilfields near Clive, just east of Lacombe.

The Alberta Carbon Trunk Line, as it is known, will carry some 1.8 megatonnes of liquefied carbon dioxide annually for deep well sequestration and enhanced oil recovery. Scheduled to be operating by 2020, at full capacity it will have the same effect as removing 339,000 vehicles from the road over and above the estimated 1 billion barrels of light oil it will assist in recovering from aging, and depleting oilfields.

Alberta is serious about the energy transition, despite respect from our fellow Canadians being absent, and despite national condescension, we continue forward.

Lorne Oja can be reached at lorne@carbon2solar.com

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