Alberta's New Energy Strategy

A long-term action plan for Alberta to achieve cleaner energy production, wiser energy use and sustained economic prosperity was outlined by the Government of Alberta with the release of a Provincial Energy Strategy.

“Our strategic approach going forward recognizes that 21st-century energy challenges also represent great opportunities for Alberta,” said Energy Minister Mel Knight.

“The actions described in the Provincial Energy Strategy will help make Alberta a global energy leader that is recognized as world-class energy supplier, energy technology champion, and a responsible energy consumer and environmental citizen.”

Specifically, the Provincial Energy Strategy includes actions to:

  • Address the environmental footprint of energy and encourage the development of renewable energy;

  • Explore ways in which value will be added to Alberta’s energy industry, including supporting upgrading/refining/petrochemical clusters, and aggressively marketing Alberta’s energy globally;

  • Change energy consumption behaviour by industry and consumers through conservation measures and a review of emissions targets and carbon charges for large industrial facilities;

  • Improve innovation through increased investment in research, development, demonstration and deployment of energy technology; and

  • Enhance the capability of our electricity system by planning for a comprehensive upgrade to strengthen the transmission system by identifying requirements, technical solutions, timing, and updating of the approval process.

The strategy also recommends Alberta adopt a Renewable Fuels Standard (RFS) of five-per-cent ethanol in gasoline and two-per-cent renewable content in diesel by 2010. It is hoped this will help Alberta to meet its climate change targets by reducing CO2 emissions by about one million tonnes annually; will support Alberta’s renewable fuels sector; and will stimulate technology development for the next generation of biofuels.

The Renewable Fuels Standards (RFS) provisions of the new strategy drew most attention following the announcement. Regulations will require that renewable fuels be blended into commercial fuels of 5% ethanol and 2% renewable diesel by 2010 to be in line with the renewable fuels standard established by the Government of Canada.

Alberta’s RFS will include benchmarks for environmental criteria, established on a baseline level of emissions or environmental impact assessment of petroleum products. Benefits will include reductions in greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, water consumption and net energy use, as well as improved waste utilization.

The province has also extended the funding deadline for the Biorefining Commercialization and Market Development Program and the Biorefining Infrastructure Development Program from 2009 to 2011.

In addition, the $5-million cap on grants under these programs has been revised to a graduated scale that provides a more balanced funding approach for larger projects. Along with the renewable Energy Producer Credit Program, the province has allocated a total of $239 million to support the expanded production and marketing of bioenergy and biofuels programs.

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