Alberta is regulating and reducing emissions from large industrial emitters. Alberta has put a price on carbon dioxide and has a regulated carbon offset market. Alberta is making significant investments in low-carbon technology, such as carbon capture and storage, and is encouraging energy-wise decisions through educational and consumer rebate programs.
Alberta’s Climate Change Strategy involves taking action on three issues: (1) Conserving and using energy efficiently, (2) Implementing carbon capture and storage, and (3) Greening energy production. As one of the largest energy producers in the world, Alberta recognizes that its challenges are perhaps bigger than those of other provinces and other jurisdictions around the world, but so are the opportunities to make a real and positive impact.
1. Conserving and using energy efficiently
Goal — To reduce greenhouse gas emissions by transforming how we use energy, applying energy efficient solutions, and conserving energy.
This goal is designed to engage all Albertans and all sectors of society and economy in conserving and reducing the use of energy. Albertans recognize this is an area where important steps can be taken by all, starting immediately, to reduce the use of energy in homes and daily lives, in businesses and work places, in transportation and travel, in municipalities, health regions and educational institutions.
Currently, facilities that emit more than 100,000 tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions a year are required to reduce their emissions intensity by 12 percent (discussions are under way to decrease the level to 50,000 tonnes). Companies have three ways to meet these reduction targets. They can make improvements to their operations. They can buy Alberta-based offset credits. Or they can pay $15 for every tonne of greenhouse gases above their allowed limit. These funds go directly into the Climate Change and Emissions Management Fund to be used for projects and new technologies aimed at reducing greenhouse gas emissions in Alberta.
2. Implementing carbon capture and storage (CCS)
Goal — To store quantities of CO2 in Alberta’s geological formations instead of releasing them into the atmosphere.
CO2 emissions can be captured where they are produced, transported and stored in geological formations (such as depleted oil and gas reservoirs, coalbeds, and deep saline aquifers) which may be located hundreds of kilometers away. Over the past five years, there has been a growing interest by industry in using CO2 for enhanced oil recovery as a way of extracting more oil and making productive use of CO2. CCS is happening right now in Alberta at a number of industrial sites, including near Red Deer, Zama Lake, Swan Hills, Drayton Valley, Rimbey and Medicine Hat.
3. Greening energy production
Goal — To transform the way Alberta produces energy and to further introduce cleaner, more sustainable approaches to energy production.
Greening energy production involves a combination of actions designed to reduce greenhouse gas emissions produced from more traditional energy sources like oil and gas. And it also includes expanding the use of alternative sources of energy, including wind and solar power, hydrogen and geothermal energy – tapping into the energy stored deep under the earth’s surface. By targeting its actions, combining research, ingenuity and the right incentives, Alberta is transforming the way it produces energy and introducing cleaner approaches.
Alberta is committed to taking part in the global efforts to find effective and real solutions to climate change.