Alberta needs to be at the forefront of the new energy economy regardless of who wins the next election, says the Pembina Institute in its newly-released report. | Pembina Institute photo Scott Hayes, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter

The provincial election is just over two months away now, but as far as the Pembina Institute is concerned, there’s no time like the present to be thinking about the future.

The non-profit, non-partisan clean energy thinktank recently released a report detailing its key recommendations for action on energy and climate policy.  

Simon Dyer, the institute’s deputy executive director and acting communications director, explained that the hope is that the report called “Alberta’s Roadmap to the New Energy Economywould give all of Alberta’s political parties time to read them but also that they might even include those recommendations in their election platforms.

“We certainly provide that information and make ourselves available for discussing this. We’ve had some positive responses from a number of parties. It’s both for the parties, and also to help inform the public and highlight some of the key issues that it’s important for Alberta to be addressing,” he said.

The Pembina Institute strives to provide these reports in advance of all federal elections as well as provincial elections here in Alberta as well as in British Columbia and Ontario.

As a province, Alberta already exists in a unique position in terms of being the source of much of the country’s energy development as well as offering popular natural wonders. Balancing energy and environmental issues must therefore already be part of any political party’s election strategies, and beyond.

“Alberta’s Roadmap” attempts to show the way to achieving just that balance. The full title of the report includes the phrase “Embracing the opportunities for every Albertan.” Inside its pages, it dives into the ways it says that the province can move towards a new energy future and make the most of it.

If the report is truly presented as a roadmap then its recommendations keep emissions reductions and low carbon energy production as a guidepost on the horizon.

It breaks down areas where we face the most challenges. For instance, the province has yet to commit to achieving net-zero emissions by 2050 and our preference toward approving natural gas generation despite increased investments in wind and solar energy projects, not to mention that Alberta oil remains amongst the most emissions intensive in the world.

The report also notes that more than half of Albertans have indicated that they want their next vehicles to be electric. Unfortunately, Alberta lacks supportive policies toward that end, resulting in a slower adoption of electric vehicles here than in much of the rest of the country.

Predominantly, however, it focuses on areas where Alberta has opportunities to move forward with progressive policies and intelligent accounting for the many ways that the world is changing. It suggests that the provincial government should urgently legislate provincial climate targets as a first step in working with industry in achieving their commitments.  

“You can certainly approach this from an impact perspective. Climate change is real, and we have to act. Our report is also framed very much in the positive,” Dyer said. “There is an energy transformation happening around the world, and Alberta has to embrace these opportunities or risk being left behind.”

The report explains that Alberta is strategically placed to capitalize on clean energy thanks to how our economy developed since the discovery of oil. It also says that the province is also home to some of the world’s leading experts on carbon capture technology, methane reduction techniques, wind and solar power and other clean energy solutions. The province has much to offer to the energy transition, and much to gain, it reads.

Now that the world is looking toward net zero targets, Alberta’s next leaders need to recognize the economic opportunities that come with it, the report notes.

“That’s the overarching point: that the next Government of Alberta, whoever they are, need to really increase the prominence of this and catch up with the conversation that’s happening elsewhere in Canada, among municipalities, of course as well, and globally,” Dyer said.

By Scott Hayes, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter

Original Published on Mar 21, 2023

This item reprinted with permission from    The Fitzhugh    Jasper, Alberta

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