The Premier of Alberta is not convinced that “Net Zero” energy goals can be met by 2035.
“I think it’s quite frankly it’s unachievable to have all industrial power, all heating, all transportation all on a net-zero power grid by 2035,” Smith said in an interview with The Western Standard’s Nigel Hannaford. “I don’t even want to pretend that it’s possible to do, because in the end our job is to make sure life is affordable for people.”
Regardless of timeline, however, Danielle Smith believes that reducing her province’s carbon emissions is going to involve the region’s hydrogen sector.
As Deloitte forecasts the worldwide hydrogen market at $11 trillion a year by 2050, Alberta is already the largest hydrogen producer in Canada.
The Province announced earlier this month that it is providing $50 million through Alberta Innovates and Emissions Reduction Alberta to support researchers, innovators, companies and industry to develop technologies that are critical to advancing the region’s Hydrogen Roadmap and Natural Gas Strategy.
On top of that, The Hydrogen Centre of Excellence was launched this year by Alberta Innovates in order to accelerate technology and innovation across the hydrogen value chain, from production to end use.
And this clean energy tech is at a critical junction as policymakers like Smith look to adapt the clean energy solution for various applications.
For example, the Premier praises hydrogen-hybrid vehicles as an energy-wise supplement to electric cars.
“In some markets, it may make sense to have a plug-in vehicle, probably in the big centres because if you can plug in at home at night when power is at a lower price, because there’s not as much demand on it,” Smith said to Hannaford. “But when you’re traveling long distances between cities, long haul trucks, it’s not going to be a very good option. What is a good option is hydrogen so we’re very supportive of what the Alberta Motor Transportation Association is doing with their dual-fuel vehicles, bio-diesel and hydrogen.”
This sort of “dual approach,” as Smith calls it, can apply to other areas as well, such as home heating.
“I like what Atco is doing in experimenting with how you add hydrogen to the natural gas stream,” she told WS. “There is even a community that’s proposing entirely fuelled off hydrogen in the Strathmore County area, so maybe that’s the future. But I think we’ve got to look at all options.”
Smith believes 2050 is a more realistic goal for Alberta’s clean energy transition.
“We’re going to have a three-pronged approach of emissions neutrality by 2050, reliability, and affordability,” promised the Premier.