Alberta surges ahead with climate change action plan



    $2 billion invested in carbon capture and storage; $2 billion in
    public transit

    CALGARY, July 8 /CNW/ - The Alberta government is surging ahead on its
climate change action plan with two new funds totaling $4 billion to reduce
greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions equal to taking more than a million cars off
the road each year.
    The province will create a $2-billion fund to advance carbon capture and
storage (CCS) projects while a second $2-billion fund will propel
energy-saving public transit in Alberta.
    "We're tackling both sides of the emissions challenge on behalf of
Albertans and all Canadians," said Premier Ed Stelmach. "We're reducing the
impact of industrial emissions with carbon capture and storage and investing
in public transit to reduce the impact from our tailpipes."
    Stelmach said while other jurisdictions talk, his government's Climate
Change Strategy has legislated real targets and real action. "With this
announcement we will continue to demonstrate leadership and encourage the
federal government and Alberta industries to make real investments in carbon
capture and storage."
    Funds will be allocated to encourage construction of Alberta's first
large-scale CCS projects. The province has issued a request for expressions of
interest to begin identifying those CCS proposals with the greatest potential
of being built quickly and those which provide the best opportunities to
significantly reduce greenhouse gas emissions. With the potential to reduce
emissions at facilities such as coal-fired electricity plants and oil sands
extraction sites and upgraders, the $2-billion fund will support CCS projects
that are expected to reduce emissions by up to five million tonnes annually.
That is the equivalent of taking a million vehicles off the road, or one-third
of all vehicles registered in Alberta.
    In addition, the equivalent of thousands more Alberta vehicles will be
taken off streets and highways through $2 billion in public transit
investments. The Green Transit Incentives Program (Green TRIP) will promote
the use of local, regional and inter-city public transit. The program will
support new public transit alternatives throughout the province that will
significantly reduce the number of vehicles on Alberta roads and reduce GHG
emissions.
    Funds for the two initiatives will come from this year's surplus, which
the province expects will be significantly larger than predicted due to
higher-than-forecast oil and gas prices.

    Alberta's Climate Change Action Plan, which will cut projected GHG
emissions in half by 2050, is based on three key areas: carbon capture and
storage; energy conservation and efficiency; and greening energy production.
For further information visit www.alberta.ca.


    
                                                                Backgrounder
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    July 8, 2008

    Questions and Answers about Carbon Capture and Storage

    1.  What is carbon capture and storage?
    Carbon capture and storage (CCS) is a scientifically proven technology to
    reduce greenhouse gas emissions by permanently injecting and sealing them
    in deep underground rock formations. CCS is supported as a safe and
    viable climate change solution by groups including the United Nations
    Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change and the International Energy
    Agency. The same unique geology that developed the abundance of
    hydrocarbon resources in Alberta also makes it ideally suited for
    permanent storage of emissions through CCS.

    2.  Is CCS a safe and viable technology?
    Experience in Canada and around the world has shown that CCS can be done
    safely and produce positive environmental results. In Alberta, the CO2
    will be injected one to two kilometres deep into an empty rock formation.
    It will be injected, sealed and monitored by experts to ensure there is
    no leakage or impact on public safety or the environment.

    Since 2000, more than seven million tonnes of CO(2) have been
    successfully injected into a depleted oil field near Weyburn,
    Saskatchewan without adverse effects. Other CCS projects are being
    pursued around the world in a variety of countries including Norway, the
    United Kingdom and Australia.

    3.  What kind of results do you expect this funding will help Alberta
        achieve?
    An investment in three to five large-scale projects has the potential to
    permanently store up to five million tonnes of CO2 per year by 2015,
    which is the equivalent of one million cars off the road each year (or
    one third of all the cars registered in Alberta or about 200,000 more
    cars than are currently registered in the City of Calgary).

    4.  Why is the government investing in carbon capture and storage?
    A provincial investment in CCS is essential in helping to meet the goals
    of Alberta's Climate Change Strategy to reduce emissions, while also
    allowing the economy to continue to grow and provide jobs for Albertans.

    This economic growth, as well as the potential for value-added industries
    and enhanced oil recovery through CCS, also provide significant taxes and
    energy royalties, which are invested into priority programs for
    Albertans, such as health care and infrastructure. Albertans have said
    clearly they expect government to find a balance between development and
    protection of the environment.

    This provincial investment is intended to accelerate the development of
    projects and encourage the necessary investment from industry to make CCS
    viable in Alberta.

    5.  What is enhanced oil recovery?
    Additionally, injecting carbon dioxide (CO(2)) into existing conventional
    oil fields could increase recoveries from those fields by an estimated
    500 million to two billion barrels. This enhanced oil recovery (EOR) will
    create new opportunities for the province's conventional oil sector,
    resulting in additional jobs and increased royalties for Albertans. CO2
    injection also offers significant potential for enhanced recovery of
    coal-bed methane and potential to reduce the amount of water currently
    used in enhanced energy recovery projects.

    6.  How does CCS encourage value-added development in Alberta?
    CCS projects will encourage new value-added projects to proceed in
    Alberta (rather than in jurisdictions without emissions targets) on the
    basis that they will be able to meet the province's emissions standards
    for large industrial facilities. Value-added projects such as bitumen
    upgraders, gasoline refineries and petrochemical facilities provide
    sustainable jobs for Albertans.

    7.  How will this money be allocated? What are the next steps?
    The province has issued a request for expressions of interest to begin
    identifying those CCS proposals with the greatest potential of being
    built quickly and that which provide the best opportunities to
    significantly reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

    Building on the continuing work of the Alberta Carbon Capture and Storage
    Development Council, a request for proposals will be issued later this
    year. This process will be used to determine specific details about how
    the funding will be allocated.

    8.  What kind of investment has the province made in alternative energy
        sources?
    Recognizing that renewable and alternative energy sources are becoming an
    increasingly important part of the energy mix, Alberta has made a
    significant investment in alternative energy through its $239 million
    bioenergy initiative, which has led to more than $850 million in
    additional private investment to date in renewable energy projects.

    Private investment by industry has also made Alberta the nation's leader
    in wind-generated electricity.

    Note: A CCS Fact sheet is posted on the Alberta Energy website at
    www.energy.alberta.ca.

    Media inquiries may be directed to:
    Jason Chance
    Alberta Energy
    Communications
    780-422-3667
    To call toll-free within Alberta dial 310-0000.


                                                                Backgrounder
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    July 8, 2008

    Questions and Answers about the Green Transit Incentives Program
    (Green TRIP)

    1.  How will the new transit funding be used?
    The Green Transit Incentives Program (Green TRIP) will provide $2 billion
    in funding assistance and incentives to improve and expand local,
    regional, and inter-city transit systems. The program will support new
    public transit alternatives throughout the province, which will
    significantly reduce the number of vehicles on our roads and reduce
    greenhouse gas emissions.

    2.  Who qualifies for the new funding?
    The program is open to all municipalities, regional entities, non-profit
    organizations, and private sector groups.

    3.  How will the Green TRIP funding be allocated?
    Funding for the program will be allocated on a project-specific basis.
    There is no per-capita formula. The aim is to generate creativity and
    innovation and to fund projects that will significantly reduce the amount
    of vehicles on our roads and reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

    4.  What types of projects would qualify for funding?
    The program will focus on initiatives aimed at reducing carbon emissions
    and the number of vehicles on Alberta roads. Some examples of eligible
    projects include:
    -   purchase of transit vehicles (hybrids, diesel, natural gas, fuel
        cells, etc.);
    -   transit systems that provide service to regional communities and
        reduce commuter traffic;
    -   Light Rail Transit (LRT) and inter-city commuter rail systems;
    -   new public transit projects such as LRT extensions;
    -   planning for and acquisition of transit or commuter rail corridors;
    -   park and ride facilities to enhance public transit;
    -   planning and design of transit-oriented developments in new
        residential areas; or
    -   construction of regional transit terminals and facilities.

    5.  Is this funding a part of the federal Public Transit Trust Fund?
    This new funding is separate and in addition to the Public Transit Trust
    Fund established earlier this year by the federal government.

    6.  How does this program fit with Alberta's climate change strategy?
    Green TRIP is a prime example of how Alberta is using the revenue from
    our energy resources to invest in green initiatives that will help
    contribute to Alberta's climate change strategy. The emphasis will be on
    regional transportation initiatives that make public transit more
    accessible to Albertans. In this way, the Government of Alberta is taking
    advantage of a unique opportunity to foster Alberta's growth in a
    responsible, environmentally-conscious way.

    7.  When will the program details and application forms be available?
    Complete information on funding criteria will be developed by Alberta
    Transportation in consultation with stakeholders and details will be
    announced in fall 2008.

    Media inquiries may be directed to:
    Jerry Bellikka, Communications Director, Alberta Transportation - Office:
    780-415-1841, Cell: 780-237-5509

    To call toll-free within Alberta dial 310-0000.

                                                                Backgrounder
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    July 8, 2008

    Questions and answers about Alberta's action on climate change

    1.  What is Alberta's Climate Change Strategy?

    Alberta announced its new Climate Change Strategy in January 2008. The
    goal of this strategy is to ensure environmental protection while
    maintaining Albertans' quality of life and allowing continued economic
    growth. Under the strategy Alberta will cut projected greenhouse gas
    (GHG) emissions in half by 2050.

    2.  What is being done besides carbon capture and storage to combat
        climate change?

    Alberta's climate change plan is based on three key areas: carbon capture
    and storage, energy conservation and efficiency, and greening energy
    production.

    Energy efficiency and consumer incentives

    -   Alberta will provide incentives for energy efficiency to help
        Albertans reduce their greenhouse gas emissions. Details on incentive
        programs will be announced at a later date.
    -   Government will develop energy efficiency standards in building codes
        for homes and commercial buildings.
    -   The plan includes support for municipalities and other groups in
        finding ways to reduce emissions, including land use planning.
    -   Strategies to help the agricultural and forestry sectors to reduce
        emissions will also be implemented.

    Greening energy production

    -   The updated plan includes increased investment in clean energy
        technology. For example:
        -  Funding projects that will help reduce the cost of separating
           carbon dioxide from other emissions in order to support carbon
           capture and storage.
        -  Supporting research on new oil sands extraction processes that use
           less energy, less water and reduce tailing ponds.
        -  A focus on testing and implementing new clean energy technologies
           will be included in the Climate Change and Emissions Management
           Fund.

    3.  What is Alberta's record on climate change?

    -   Alberta developed and implemented the first comprehensive climate
        change action plan in Canada (2002);
    -   became the first province in Canada to require large industry to
        report greenhouse gas emissions (2004);
    -   implemented a system where 90 per cent of electricity to power
        government-owned buildings comes from green sources (2005);
    -   held comprehensive consultations with public, stakeholders and
        experts to gather input for new climate change plan (2007);
    -   legislated mandatory greenhouse gas emissions reductions across
        sectors - becoming the first in North America to do so (2007);
    -   became the first in Canada to institute an emissions levy with the
        Climate Change and Emissions Management Fund (2007);
    -   announced new Climate Change Plan that will cut projected emissions
        by 50 per cent through carbon capture and storage, consumer
        incentives and greener energy production. This plan will result in a
        reduction of 200 megatonnes of emissions by 2050 (2008);
    -   reduced emissions from large industrial emitters by over 2.6 million
        tonnes of actual reductions through operational changes and practices
        - including better use and re-use of energy - and investing in
        verified offsets created by other Alberta projects. The reduction is
        equivalent to taking 550,000 vehicles off the road in a year (2008);
    -   collected approximately $40 million for the Climate Change and
        Emissions Management Fund, which will invest in projects and
        technology to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in Alberta (2008); and
    -   launched Carbon Capture and Storage Council, to develop a roadmap for
        implementing carbon capture and storage in Alberta (2008).

    4.  How has the province supported Albertans' efforts to address
        climate change?

    -   Alberta created Climate Change Central, a public-private partnership,
        helping Albertans cut emissions (1999);
    -   provided more than $30 million in interest-free loans for 60 projects
        to increase energy efficiency in municipal buildings (2003-2006);
    -   helped Albertans replace more than 5,700 old furnaces with energy
        efficient models, cutting greenhouse gas emissions by 90,000 tonnes
        (2004/2005);
    -   helped nearly 14,000 Albertans switch to Energy Star qualified
        clothes washers (2005/2006); and
    -   launched Alberta's new Conservation Team to encourage Albertans to
        commit to One Simple Act to conserve energy and water and reduce
        waste (2008).

    Media inquiries may be directed to:
    Kim Capstick
    Director of Communications
    Alberta Environment
    780-427-6267
    Kim.Capstick@gov.ab.ca
    To call toll-free within Alberta dial 310-0000.
    




For further information:

For further information: Media inquiries may be directed to: Tom Olsen,
Office of the Premier, (780) 422-4905, Cell: (780) 718-3034; Kim Capstick,
Environment Communications, (780) 427-6267, Cell: (780) 914-6590; Jason
Chance, Energy Communications, (780) 422-3667, Cell: (780) 905-0294; Jerry
Bellikka, Transportation Communications, (780) 415-1841, Cell: (780) 237-5509;
To call toll-free within Alberta dial 310-0000

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