Alberta Budgets for Climate Change
The Alberta Government announced its 2009 Budget yesterday. Reading through the many pages of the document, it is clear that climate change is a priority for both the Department of Energy and for Alberta Environment. It is no surprise that climate change initiatives are addressed in more than one Ministry - climate change isn't the responsibility of just one area of government - it touches matters for which many are accountable.
Of the eleven goals outlined in the Energy Business Plan, six of them are related directly to climate change initiatives in the areas of renewable and alternative sources of energy, conservation of energy and carbon capture and storage. In some cases, strategies for meeting these goals are a combination of the above initiatives.
Renewable and Alternative Sources of Energy
A strategy for meeting Goal 4, to encourage value added development in Alberta, includes facilitating the development and utilization of alternative energy resources such as biofuels and waste to energy opportunities.
Goal 5, to make Albertan's aware of and understand existing and emerging trends relating to energy development and use in Alberta relates to renewable and alternative sources of energy, contains strategies to proactively identify, communicate and address emerging issues that face energy and mineral development in Alberta and to enhance provincial, national and international understanding of Alberta's energy resources and work being done to develop these in an environmentally sustainable manner.
Goal 8 is to ensure effective innovation policies and programs to achieve technology and processing improvements in the development of energy and mineral resources. Realizing Alberta's energy vision will include the development of new technologies or the enhanced deployment of already proven technologies, including renewable energy sources. One of the strategies under this goal is to work with other ministries (Environment?), research organizations and industry to develop an integrated, coordinated approach to research that supports environmentally sustainable energy development.
Carbon Capture and Storage
The Department of Energy identifies Carbon Capture and Storage as a significant opportunity for Alberta in two ways:
Value Added - Alberta has a unique opportunity to develop leading industrial and petrochemical upgrading and refining clusters based on transforming raw feedstocks into synthetic gas and gas liquids for petrochemical development. At the same time we can capture and store carbon emissions and produce electricity for the provincial grid.
CCS - CCS in its ultimate role, is an enabler of clean gasification processes and is a key technology component to realizing the commercial viability of clean fossil fuels. The Western Canada Sedimentary Basin is also one of the world's most attractive sites for storing carbon emissions. Ultimately, Alberta's expertise in the science of solutions will be valued and an exportable resource unto itself.
A number of the goals outlined in the Energy Business Plan specifically relate to CCS.
Goal 3 is to ensure energy and mineral resource development occurs in a responsible, environmentally sustainable manner and achieves the Government of Alberta's outcomes. To do so, the Department of Energy will work with other ministries and stakeholders to implement the provincial action plan on climate change and the recommendations from the Carbon Capture and Storage Development Council, in particular the implementation of carbon capture and storage research and demonstration projects.
Goal 7, that Energy infrastructure is built and sustained to support the Government of Alberta's objectives, includes the need to build infrastructure to support CCS.
Goal 8, ensuring effective innovation policies and programs to achieve technology and processing improvements in the development of energy and mineral resources, specifically mentions the need to develop technologies to realize large scale capture and use of carbon.
Goal 6 in Energy's Business Plan is to ensure that industry, citizens, and communities conserve and use energy wisely. Do to so, Energy intends to promote smart metering, smart grids and better consumption measurement; facilitate the reduction of energy intensity through gains in energy effi ciency and demonstrated government leadership; and support the development of an energy effi ciency policy framework and provincial legislation.
The Department of Energy intends to spend wisely in the areas of renewables, conservation and carbon capture and storage. $100 million for CCS alone has been budgeted for 2009/2010. Next year's forcast is triple that number.
One of the opening statements in Alberta Environment's Business Plan confirms its commitment to addressing climate change:
Leadership is provided to transition Alberta to an outcomes focused environmental cumulative effects management system, implement the provincial Climate Change Strategy, implement the renewed Water for Life strategy, develop all Alberta's energy resources, including the oil sands, in an environmentally sustainable way, and to provide Albertans, stakeholders and industry with information on government's role in ensuring environmental excellence and sustainable development while providing tools to reduce their environmental footprint.
Climate change is specifically identified as a significant opportunity and challenge for Alberta. The Alberta Environment Business Plan summarizes this opportunity and challenge as follows:
Climate change has been described as "the most complex collective action problem in human history". In the United States, President Obama sees climate change as putting "the planet in peril". Global action on this issue continues to build not only from an environmental perspective but in the areas of economics and politics. Albertans and the Ministry are in a unique position of providing global leadership on this issue. The Alberta government's recent announcement of resources towards climate change initiatives including carbon capture and storage is the single largest global expenditure to date. The challenges of managing our global energy resources in an environmentally responsible and economically sound and efficient manner, is creating opportunities for this province to reduce carbon while supporting global energy security.
The budget shows that there is $132 million in the Climate Change and Emissions Management Fund and is projecting another $95 million will be collected next year. March 31 was the date for compliance under the Specified Gas Emitters Regulation and final figures indicating contributions to the Fund should be available from Alberta Environment shortly.
Goal 1, that the cumulative effects of development on land, air, water and climate be managed to achieve Government of Alberta desired environmental outcomes, is the main goal in Alberta Environment's Business Plan which focuses on climate change.
This goal will be addressed using a variety of strategies, including:
This Budget confirms a number of things we have been blogging about:
1. Alberta is a global leader in climate change initatives such as CCS - our government's $2 billion commitment to CCS is the world's largest
2. Cooperation is required - to address climate change domestically, government departments will work together. Both Environment and Energy Business Plans indicate that they will be working with other ministries to address climate change initiatives
3. Addressing climate change is a challenge, but it is also an opportunity for governments
Given the commitments outlined in this budget, Alberta will have much to be proud of at the Copenhagen Climate Conference in December.