New federal funding to support hydrogen energy development in the Edmonton region is great, but Red Deer and central Alberta are also ready to play a role, says Mayor Ken Johnston.
“Good on Edmonton, and good on Fort Saskatchewan. They certainly have the infrastructure. But we want to play in that space,” said Johnston who has been meeting with many industry players like ATCO, NOVA, and Enhanced Energy in the last 12 months.
“Central Alberta, with its underground geology and its prospects and its infrastructure for hydrogen, should be a player.”
Edmonton is the site of Alberta’s hydrogen centre of excellence and of more than two dozen hydrogen and hydrogen-related projects in development.
On Tuesday, Dan Vandal, minister in charge of Prairies Economic Development Canada, announced $10 million to support 1,600 jobs by improving access to hydrogen fuels, product testing, attracting investment and providing more training for Alberta workers.
Along with $3 million from the province, the federal money will also be used to create a database of businesses ready to move into the hydrogen supply chain, and increase the availability of hydrogen fuel for heavy vehicles and improve testing for hydrogen fuel infrastructure.
Johnston said Enhance Energy’s carbon capture plant and battery trunk line in Clive is linked to Fort Saskatchewan facilities. Central Alberta’s connection shouldn’t end there.
He said local industry and partners, like Red Deer Polytechnic, are prepared to work together on this new way forward in energy.
“Hydrogen is the way of the future. We’re starting to see it more and more.
“If we have a reasonable shot at net zero, and that’s where everybody is aiming, hydrogen is the practical step forward and also carbon capture. They really are linked in many ways.”
Johnston said there’s no question there will be spin off and employment opportunities from hydrogen development in Edmonton and looks to the day when Red Deer and central Alberta has a share of this technology.
“I continue to say why not Red Deer? Why not central Alberta?
“We’re going to continue to drive it forward, that we can be a home for this kind of infrastructure. We can play a part.”
— with files from The Canadian Press