Alberta government only invites industry to consultation on new emissions regulations

First the province scrapped its carbon tax. Now clean energy advocates say they’re being shut out of talks about the province’s proposed new plan to deal with heavy polluters

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Minister of Environment and Parks Jason Nixon (middle), Minister of Energy Sonya Savage and Minister of Agriculture and Forestry Devin Dreeshen announce summer engagement on a new proposed emissions reduction system that would replace the carbon tax. Photo: Government of Alberta via Flickr

The Government of Alberta announced Tuesday it is beginning consultation on the emissions reduction system it hopes will replace the province’s existing carbon pricing for large emitters — but The Narwhal has learned no organizations working on environment or climate change issues have been included on the government’s list of stakeholders

Minister of Environment and Parks Jason Nixon said at a news conference that the government is now “seeking feedback on an improved way to manage emissions” — the province’s proposed Technology Innovation and Emissions Reduction (TIER) system, which focuses on heavy emitters.

Nixon told reporters that government representatives will meet with approximately 150 stakeholders this week in Calgary, including representatives of the oil and gas, agriculture, chemicals, mining, forestry and electricity industries.

list of the stakeholders obtained by The Narwhal does not include any public interest groups.

The Pembina Institute, a clean energy think tank started in Drayton Valley, Alta., in the 1980s, told The Narwhal it was not invited to participate in the consultations.

“It’s highly unusual,” Simon Dyer, executive director of the Pembina Institute, said in an interview.

Dyer said he heard first about the consultation in a news story following the government’s announcement.

“It’s a worrying signal about how this government is going to collect input from stakeholders,” he said.

Jess Sinclair, press secretary for Alberta Environment and Parks, told The Narwhal by email that “because the [emissions reduction] framework is designed with heavy industry in mind, we are beginning the consultation process focusing on affected industries.”

“That said, we are happy to engage with other interested parties in the spirit of collaboration, should they approach us and have relevant information to share.”

Sinclair provided The Narwhal with a list of “companies we’re currently consulting.” They include the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers (CAPP) and other industry associations, the so-called ‘Big Five’ oil giants and dozens of other companies. (The University of Alberta and the University of Calgary are both also included, as a result of their roles as producers of their own electricity).

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Alberta steps up on solar: Cheap, clean and local

Pembina Institute reacts to Alberta’s solar procurement announcement


Photo: Green Sun Rising

CALGARY — Binnu Jeyakumar, Director, Clean Energy at the Pembina Institute, made the following statement in response to the Government of Alberta’s announcement on its procurement of solar power:

“The Pembina Institute welcomes the Government of Alberta’s announcement of the results of the competitive process to procure solar energy for their operations.  This will mean the construction of 94 MWp of solar projects in Southern Alberta, and will almost double the amount of solar power in the province.

“This program takes advantage of the fact that Alberta has some of the best solar resources in the country, which can be taken advantage of concurrently when demand for electricity is high, and can also complement generation from wind facilities. In addition, minimal operating costs mean solar energy can help lower the wholesale price of electricity.

“The government used a competitive contract-for-difference process for this procurement, with an average price of $48.05/MWh, which is comparable to that of natural gas costs.  The long-term contract structure means Albertans will be protected against rising electricity prices. Meanwhile, any additional revenue from these projects is returned to government. MORE