Investing in Jobs, Innovation for Natural Gas Sector

Alberta’s government is investing in 20 new projects that will create more than 750 jobs while reducing emissions in the natural gas sector.

In October 2019, Emissions Reduction Alberta (ERA) launched the Natural Gas Challenge and invited technology developers to share project concepts for innovation opportunities in Alberta’s natural gas industry. Alberta’s government is providing $58 million through ERA to support this opportunity to create jobs in the natural gas sector.

Funding recipients include a project that uses artificial intelligence to locate and measure methane emissions, and a project to produce renewable natural gas from biogas at an agricultural facility that will be the first of its kind in Alberta.

The 20 new projects have the potential to reduce a combined one million tonnes of emissions by 2030 – the same as taking about 750,000 cars off Alberta’s roads. These projects will also get Albertans back to work by creating more than 750 new jobs when they are needed most.

“Investing in innovation and technology gets Albertans back to work, while ensuring the resilience of our responsible natural resource sector. We’re telling the world that Alberta is open for business. As we move forward with Alberta’s Recovery Plan, we will continue to invest and build partnerships that help get our province back on track. Alberta is already a leader when it comes to our environmental footprint, and our ongoing work with Emissions Reduction Alberta will help us become even better. Congratulations to the successful Natural Gas Challenge funding recipients. We look forward to watching these exciting projects take shape.”Jason Nixon, Minister of Environment and Parks

Projects were selected through ERA’s competitive review process. Experts in science, engineering, business development, commercialization, financing, and greenhouse gas quantification reviewed 117 submissions and chose projects based on the strongest potential for success.

“Unlocking innovation across our natural gas sector will create jobs while helping industry become more efficient. With Alberta’s 300-year supply of affordable natural gas, a technically skilled workforce and world-class environmentally responsible facilities, there is tremendous opportunity for Alberta to compete with international markets. Funding opportunities like this, in partnership with Emissions Reduction Alberta, are critical to attracting investments that will grow Alberta’s economy by reducing upfront costs, while reducing our province’s share of global emissions.”Dale Nally, Associate Minister of Natural Gas and Electricity

Government funds ERA through the Technology Innovation and Emissions Reduction (TIER) system. TIER is an improved system to help energy-intensive facilities find innovative ways to reduce emissions and invest in clean technology to stay competitive and save money. Facilities can pay into a TIER Fund, which is used for innovative and cleaner Alberta-based projects like those selected under the Natural Gas Challenge.

ERA’s funding model requires that every dollar committed to an initiative is matched or exceeded by additional investments, which ensures there is a market demand for the technology. Government’s $58-million investment through ERA has been more than doubled by private and public investment to stimulate the economy, lower emissions and create jobs, leading to a total of $155 million in funding.

“Investing in the next wave of technological advancements will help Canada’s natural gas industry achieve new efficiencies, reduce costs, and continue to drive world-leading environmental performance.”Steve MacDonald, CEO, Emissions Reduction Alberta

A complete list of the successful Natural Gas Challenge projects can be found here.

“We are grateful for the ERA’s support to help advance Canadian Natural’s Alternative Fugitive Emissions Management Program. Through working together, results from the pilot will accelerate industry reductions in greenhouse gas emissions through cost-effective methods. These performance improvements play an important role in supporting industry competitiveness and a sustainable industry that meets Canada’s and the world’s long-term energy needs.”Joy Romero, vice-president of technology and innovation, Canadian Natural Resources Limited

“Hydrogen can play a central role in affordably decarbonizing the production of heat in our homes and businesses, while also supporting economic growth and diversification across our province. The funding received from ERA will enable ATCO to pursue this low-carbon option for our customers, starting with a pilot project in Fort Saskatchewan. This project is an important first step for Alberta, which has all the ingredients to be a leader in the hydrogen economy – including the ability to produce a near zero-emission hydrogen at a lower cost than most jurisdictions in the world.”George Lidgett, executive vice-president and general manager, Canadian Utilities Inc.

“ERA is making an instrumental contribution to Ekona’s product development process. ERA’s financial contribution and reporting requirements will enable Ekona to move quicker by leveraging our equity investments and providing additional project oversight, helping to foster even greater focus on key progress milestones. Without ERA’s support, Ekona would not be able to progress to the field trial stage in a time frame commensurate with customer expectation.”Chris Reid, chief executive officer, Ekona Power

Quick facts

  • In 2018, Alberta produced almost 70 per cent of the marketable natural gas in Canada.
  • ERA works with government, industry and innovators to support technologies that reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
  • Since 2009, ERA has committed $607 million in funds from industrial carbon pricing toward 183 projects worth $4.1 billion that are reducing emissions, keeping industries competitive, and leading to new investment opportunities.
  • These 183 projects are estimated to deliver cumulative reductions of 34.8 million tonnes of emissions by 2030.

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