Taylor, Director of Alberta Energy Solutions at the Pembina Institute,
made the following statement in response to the announcement that the
Governments of Alberta and Canada will provide a $779 million subsidy
to TransAlta’s Pioneer Carbon Capture and Storage project:
the urgency of tackling climate change, Canada should not build new
coal plants without carbon capture and storage (CCS) technology to
sequester all or most of its emissions. Today’s announcement means that
the only new coal-fired power plant under construction in North America
will use CCS to partially capture its emissions — and that’s an
important step in cleaning up the dirtiest source of electricity.
technology has the potential to reduce emissions from existing sources
of pollution. While it is a step in the right direction, it is worth
noting that today’s announcement will only reduce the emissions from
this project by less than one third.
truly cut Alberta’s emissions, companies must retrofit existing
coal-fired electricity plants, which comprise over 70% of Alberta’s
electricity supply, or replace them with clean energy alternatives.
announcement of a significant subsidy for CCS comes at a time when the
federal government has not announced even the outline of a national
cap-and-trade system. Canada urgently needs regulations that put a
price on pollution high enough to compel polluters to invest their own
money in the deployment of technologies like CCS.
parallel to their support for CCS, governments need to support a
massive scale-up in renewable energy and energy efficiency, the most
sustainable solutions to provide electricity and address climate
change. The Pembina Institute’s recent “Greening the Grid” analysis
found that Alberta could meet its electricity demand over the next 20
years without building any new coal plants if it aggressively targets
renewable energy and efficiency.
Unfortunately, the federal government has ceased support for
renewable energy development in Canada, failing to renew the ecoENERGY
for Renewable Power program in the last budget, while the Government of
Alberta has never offered targeted incentives for the production of
renewable electricity. In sharp contrast, President Obama’s recovery
and reinvestment package included $27 billion of support for renewable
energy, almost 14 times more per person than Canada’s economic stimulus package.”
Pembina Institute is a non-partisan sustainable energy think tank. The
Pembina Institute’s perspective on carbon capture and storage is
available at http://www.pembina.org/pub/1787