The Pembina Institute congratulates the Alberta government for its recent announcement to commit $239 million over the next five years to strengthen and expand the province’s bioenergy sector.
This represents a meaningful early step in the development of a more sustainable energy economy, but to realize the full potential of bioenergy and other renewable energy sources within the province more action will be necessary.
“This announcement provides the support necessary to get the bioenergy industry off the ground in Alberta,” said Jesse Row, Director of the Sustainable Communities Group at the Pembina Institute. “We congratulate Minister Horner for his leadership in advancing renewable energy in the province and helping to diversify Alberta’s economy.”
The move to kick-start the bioenergy sector is key in building a more sustainable economy. Non-renewable fossil fuel production dominates the Alberta economy making it inherently unsustainable; however, the wealth created by exploiting oil and gas can be harnessed to create a sustainable energy future for Alberta. Alberta should make significant and deliberate investments to increase the supply of sustainable energy sources and to maximize energy efficiency.
“This announcement is just one of the steps required for the Alberta government to ensure a successful and sustainable future for Alberta,” cited Row. “More action is needed to realize our full potential when it comes to clean, reliable renewable energy and energy efficiency.”
Alberta is in the bottom half of provinces when it comes to energy efficiency, according to the Canadian Energy Efficiency Alliance. The development of other renewable energy resources, such as wind and solar, is also stagnating in Alberta while expanding rapidly in other parts of Canada and the world.
According to the Canadian Solar Industries Association, the solar energy industry is growing 35% every year, with several countries such as Spain, Holland, Greece, Israel and China requiring the use of solar energy in new buildings. It is barely on the horizon in Alberta. According to the Canadian Wind Energy Association, Alberta will soon be greatly surpassed by both Quebec and Ontario when it comes to installed wind capacity. This is a direct result of the constraints placed on wind developers when trying to access Alberta’s electricity market, as well as provincial government policy.
The province’s bioenergy announcement will provide $209 million in tax exemptions to producers of bioenergy, and $30 million to support the commercialization of new technology.