Alberta prepares to throw money down a hole

Carbon storage will cost $3 billion a year and double electricity rates, yet still not meet the province’s reduction targets


Alberta’s Stelmach government has consistently pooh-poohed monetary constraints on its oil sands emissions—whether a carbon tax or cap and trade—in favour of the panacea of carbon capture and storage, which it says will keep Alberta’s cash at home. And how! Today Edmonton Journal columnist Graham Thomson exposes the folly of the Stelmach argument. “What we already knew was that the Alberta government is planning to spend $2 billion over 12 years on three pilot projects to bury up to five million tonnes of CO2 a year by 2015,” writes Thomson. “What we didn’t know is the cost of ramping up the process.” According to a recently released report commissioned by the Alberta Tories, Accelerating Carbon Capture and Storage Implementation in Alberta, those costs will be enormous—”up to $3 billion a year for 10 years,” Thomson writes. “That gets us burying 30 million tonnes a year. But Alberta wants to bury 140 million tonnes a year by 2050.” Electricity rates, meanwhile, are expected to “at least double” (coal-fired power plants are major emitters), meaning Albertans will pay twice, first as taxpayers, then as consumers. Burying carbon will certainly keep Alberta dollars at home—buried deep beneath the earth. “No other jurisdiction in Canada has done as much as Alberta” to hammer out a plan that will reduce emissions, writes Thomson, and with good reason. “That’s going to help Premier Ed Stelmach gain the higher moral ground at next week’s annual premiers meeting in Regina.” That too may be so. Still, isn’t it time the province reconsidered putting a reasonable price on carbon?

Edmonton Journal

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Alberta prepares to throw money down a hole

  1. Umm…I thought Alberta was going to start running deficits this year? So I guess with this giant boondoggle Alberta will be running deficits inperpituity. Time to stop this madness and tell Al Gore and Co. to take a hike. Canada produces less than 2% of this make believe problem. If we do everything the eco-loons want us to do that will drop to 1.7% ans slow down alledged global warming by 12 months(figures supplied by the eco-loons, not me). For this we are going to bankrupt ourselfs? Think of all the hospitals, nurses, doctors, etc, etc, could be built or hired. Schools built, free University for anyone that wanted to go. And we are going to pump hot air into the ground instead? Are you kidding me?

    • Are there any real problems that need the collective action of the entire world?

      If there was such a problem, for what portion of that problem would Canada be responsible?

  2. Alberta's glorious leader had better figure out a way to dig a hole large and deep enough to bury that big yellow ball in the sky instead if he wants to cool things down. AGW is increasingly exposed as bad science; there is no positive feedback of runaway water vapour levels causing runaway greenhouse warming in response to increases in CO2. But as always the world's politicians are way behind the eight ball and fully beholden to the leftists, activists and lobbyists that now control this cabal.

  3. Alberta does indeed have this report from the CCS advisory panel that it set up long ago. It is the second report. It advances our work to launch CCS here, and broadens the world's accumulated knowledge of how CCS can be delivered to reduce GHGs globally.
    Macleans may be aware, but does not mention in this lamentably short post, that Australia, China, the UK and the US are some of the other jurisdictions looking at – and investing in – CCS. The IPCC encourages it.
    We're pleased to be in a position to share knowledge with these and other governments to address a global issue. And that includes understanding how this mitigation could impact costs.
    As to your closing question, we are the only province that has a price on carbon; we have charged our large emitters for exceeding emission targets for over two years. It is not just the highest charge for CO2 emissions in Canada, it is still the only charge. Despite the fact that it's still free to emit everywhere else in Canada and North America, we have said repeatedly that the price here will rise.
    Thanks for the critique, however, it is great that is interested in this issue.
    – David Sands, for the Government of Alberta