CALGARY – A task force appointed Monday to advise the Alberta government on climate technology investments is being given an open-ended mandate with no limits on size or type of proposals to be considered, says Economic Development Minister Deron Bilous.
The five-member panel is to hold public meetings in four Alberta cities in October — Edmonton, Calgary, Grande Prairie and Lethbridge — and present a report to Bilous in November with ideas on where to spend the province’s new carbon levy scheduled to begin Jan. 1. Albertans are also encouraged to send their ideas for investments in emails to the task force.
The carbon levy, approved in the legislature in June, is expected to bring in $9.6 billion over the next five years — of which $6.2 billion is to be used to diversify the energy industry and create jobs, and $3.4 billion is to help households, businesses and communities adjust to the levy. It’s being collected on the sale of all fuels at a rate of $20 per tonne of emissions, rising to $30 in 2018.
The government has promised the proceeds will be used entirely for initiatives to help Alberta become more environmentally friendly.
“Part of the carbon levy that we’ll be collecting will be directed toward innovation in clean technology, and we’re relying on experts to go out in the field and speak to business, industry, targeted community members, First Nations (and) small business owners on what is the best use for some of this carbon levy,” said Bilous.
“(This is) investing in innovation to ensure we get, not just the best bang for our buck, but really, where can we be globally competitive.”
Last week, Environment Minister Shannon Phillips said some carbon levy funds could be used to encourage private companies to build 5,000 megawatts of hydro, solar and wind power in Alberta by 2030 as it phases out coal plants. The green projects are estimated to cost about $10.5 billion to build.
The new task force will be chaired by former Suncor Energy executive Gordon Lambert, who recently served on Alberta’s Climate Change Advisory Panel.
“Clarity of defining what success looks like is going to allow for alignment of efforts across academia, business and small entrepreneurs towards getting those outcomes,” Lambert said.
It will also include University of Alberta researcher Vic Adamowicz, First Nations business adviser Shelly Vermillion, Imaginea Energy CEO Suzanne West, and Sara Hastings-Simon with the Pembina Institute environmental think-tank.
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