Alberta puts incentives offer behind effort to cut emissions

March 29 (UPI) — More than $25 million in funding is available for large industrial polluters who come up with clever ways to cut emissions, an oil-rich Canadian province said.

The provincial government in Alberta launched a challenge to heavy polluters, saying they could apply for $27 million in funding to cut emissions of greenhouse gasses and improve their cost competitiveness.

“We’re committed to making the transition to energy efficiency as smooth as possible for Albertans,”
Environment Minister Shannon Phillips said in a statement. “Innovative technologies help Alberta industries reduce emissions while also reducing costs that make them more competitive in global markets.”

The funding is part of a broader $1 billion, seven-year investment aimed at diversifying a provincial economy that depends heavily on oil revenue.

Along with much of the Canadian economy, Alberta is adding layers of diversity with low-carbon ambitions. Solar power in the province doubled in 2015 thanks in part to municipal and farm-area incentive programs. Since a municipal rebate program was launched in 2016, more than two dozen new solar installations have been financed in the province.

Other provincial governments are taking the initiative on clean energy, with Saskatchewan leading efforts with its commitment to source 50 percent of its electricity from renewable energy by 2030.

“The funding will result in investment attraction, economic and environmental benefits and job creation for Albertans,” Phillips added.

Alberta Finance Minister Joe Ceci said the economy has moved from recession to an expected growth rate of 2.7 percent this year. Outpacing most other provinces, Alberta is coming out of its worst recession in generations.

Provincial forecasts for growth are based on a price for West Texas Intermediate, the U.S. benchmark for the price of oil, at $59 per barrel. WTI was near $64 per barrel early Thursday.