Red Deer Mayor Ken Johnston believes the road to economic recovery for Red Deer will include venturing into alternative, clean-burning energy sources. (Advocate file photo.)

Red Deer Mayor Ken Johnston believes the road to economic recovery for Red Deer will include venturing into alternative, clean-burning energy sources. (Advocate file photo.)

City of Red Deer officials to tour Clive’s carbon-capture plant next week

Mayor wants clean energy to be part of Red Deer’s future economy

Red Deer Mayor Ken Johnston is convinced clean energy will be part of this city’s economic recovery after attending the Canadian Hydrogen Convention in Edmonton this week.

“It is certainly on our road map of economic activities we can be part of,” said Johnston on Thursday. “As this is an emerging opportunity, we’re quite happy to have made some contacts.”

A first step will be taken Tuesday when the mayor and other city officials tour Enhance Energy’s carbon capture plant and battery trunk line in Clive.

“We’re going to sit down with them (to say) ‘We are at the table. We want to be a player, and we can be a player,’” said Johnston.

He noted Red Deer-area geology contains underground caverns that are perfect for storing captured carbon, which can then be converted to clean-burning hydrogen.

This city also has an existing pipeline network, a skilled workforce, and training opportunities at Red Deer Polytechnic, said Johnston — as well as a central location that would make the city a natural fuelling hub for hydrogen-powered vehicles.

The mayor wants to encourage major industry players, such as Enhance Energy, to “look a little closer to Red Deer” for their next expansions. “It’s job security, it’s clean environment. Everybody wins.”

City of Red Deer officials were very impressed by the turnout at the Canadian Hydrogen Convention, which took place on Tuesday and Wednesday in Edmonton. Municipal officials from Red Deer were joined by others from Red Deer County, Strathcona County, Edmonton and Medicine Hat.

Johnston said representatives from higher levels of government in Canada and Europe were also in attendance. Given global climate change-related emissions reduction targets, “all the major players were at the conference,” he added — including some from England and France.

He feels political instability could also be driving the need to come up with viable alternatives to oil and gas.

Johnston said Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, and the subsequent threat to pull Russian gas exports from countries supporting Ukrainian, could hasten the world’s progress towards finding clean-energy alternatives.

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