Varcoe: Set to journey to Center East, Smith to unleash plans to draw as much as $35B in carbon seize initiatives

Carbon seize is seen as a central component in Alberta’s technique to achieve net-zero emissions by 2050

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Alberta Premier Danielle Smith will head to the COP28 convention in Dubai this week after which journey within the Center East with a pivotal new local weather coverage in hand: a carbon seize incentive program that might entice as much as $35 billion in funding.

On Tuesday, the province will announce particulars of Smith’s journey to the area, together with later stops in Doha, Qatar, and probably Saudi Arabia’s capital of Riyadh, because the COP28 local weather summit begins Thursday.

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The province will even launch particulars Tuesday of Alberta’s long-awaited carbon seize, utilization and storage (CCUS) program, which is seen as a lynchpin to unlocking billions of {dollars} in funding from a variety of key industrial sectors.

The brand new program will present mission builders with an anticipated 12 per cent grant on eligible capital prices to construct such services, which seize carbon emissions and retailer them underground.

Provincial grants can be paid out over three years, however solely as soon as a mission is working.

This system is anticipated to price between $3.2 billion to $5.3 billion by 2035, relying on the variety of initiatives. In flip, the federal government estimates such developments will generate about $35 billion in capital funding throughout the province throughout that interval, creating as much as 21,000 jobs.

“We’re going to make some actual headway in serving to individuals to know how dedicated we’re to reaching a 2050 carbon impartial goal and doing it with the assistance of the business and know-how,” Smith stated in an interview.

“However whereas we’re within the area, we need to attempt to contact base with representatives from Abu Dhabi and Doha and Riyadh … I need to begin exploring the methods through which they may need to put money into Alberta.”

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Carbon seize is seen as a central component in Alberta’s technique to achieve net-zero emissions by 2050 as industries equivalent to oil and fuel, energy technology and petrochemicals search to decarbonize whereas local weather considerations develop.

The oil and fuel sector is the biggest emitting sector within the nation, though a variety of CCUS initiatives have been proposed throughout the business, together with within the oilsands.

Alberta Power Minister Brian Jean stated the province has the geology to develop quite a few underground storage hubs, together with expertise working carbon seize initiatives.

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A part of the funding for the brand new program is anticipated to come back from the province’s Expertise Innovation and Emissions Discount (TIER) program. Additional program particulars are anticipated to be launched subsequent spring.

“Alberta just isn’t (in) for a penny till the funding is made … If nothing is spent by these corporations or by the federal authorities, then nothing is spent by the individuals of Alberta,” Jean stated.

“The world is searching for alternatives like this to retailer their carbon and we’re capable of do it proper beneath in our basement.”

Brian Jean
Alberta Power Minister Brian Jean. Jim Wells/Postmedia

The announcement comes a number of days after Ottawa vowed to introduce laws on a federal funding tax credit score for CCUS initiatives — value as much as 50 per cent — within the coming weeks.

It has additionally pledged to determine carbon contracts for distinction, that are designed to backstop the longer term value of carbon.

“It’s essential for the federal and provincial authorities to face collectively on this problem and say that we intend to be leaders on this know-how attraction,” Smith added.

“If it’s going to price $3 to $5 billion to safe our place in order that we’ve got that regular stream of royalties and manufacturing for 30 or 40 years, I feel that the majority Albertans will see that’s a fairly honest funding.”

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Federal Pure Assets Minister Jonathan Wilkinson stated CCUS isn’t a silver bullet to resolve the challenges on local weather, nevertheless it has an essential position to play — and there’s a motive for governments to supply help.

“I might say there is a vital public coverage crucial for us to be working aggressively with business to cut back carbon emissions,” Wilkinson stated in an interview.

Nonetheless, a report final week by the Worldwide Power Company warned in opposition to “extreme expectations and reliance” on carbon seize.

It stated CCUS is an “important know-how for reaching internet zero emissions in sure sectors and circumstances, however it isn’t a technique to retain the established order.”

Carbon capture and storage
The Quest carbon seize and storage facility in Fort Saskatchewan, Alta., on November 6, 2015. Jason Franson/The Canadian Press file

The report identified {that a}bout 45 megatonnes of CO2 yearly is being captured by means of CCUS initiatives in 11 nations, together with Canada.

Whereas many initiatives have been introduced, solely 5 per cent have made a optimistic remaining funding determination, the IEA famous.

The concept of offering incentives to the oil and fuel business will face some opposition, with environmental teams noting not too long ago the sector has not too long ago recorded massive income.

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In Alberta, the Pathways Alliance group of six oilsands producers has spent $1.8 billion on decarbonization initiatives and plans to spend about $16.5 billion on the primary section of its foundational carbon seize and storage community.

The group stated in a information launch Monday it expects to make regulatory purposes on its CCUS mission imminently, though a remaining funding determination would nonetheless be required.

“We’re not sitting round ready,” stated Pathways Alliance president Kendall Dilling. “We’re working as laborious as we probably can to maintain this mission on monitor and hold all these applied sciences advancing.”

Pathways Alliance CEO Kendall Dilling
Pathways Alliance CEO Kendall Dilling. Jeff McIntosh/The Canadian Press

With the federal and provincial applications now in place, Smith expects proposed CCUS initiatives in Alberta will begin to transfer ahead.

“I’d like them to begin saying that they’re making remaining funding selections now that this final piece is in place,” she added.

As for COP28, greater than 100 delegates from Alberta — together with officers from Pathways Alliance members, Capital Energy, Enbridge and Nutrien — can be heading over to the worldwide local weather assembly.

For Smith, the journey will even embody assembly with officers from Dubai, Abu Dhabi, Doha and Riyadh to speak about funding alternatives.

In Doha, Qatar, Smith will meet with the CEO of QatarEnergy and officers with the nation’s sovereign wealth fund.

Smith stated she expects to speak in Dubai with Saudi Arabia’s power minister, Prince Abdulaziz bin Salman, though a separate journey to the dominion might additionally happen.

Chris Varcoe is a Calgary Herald columnist.

[email protected]

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