The Alberta government announced a new framework of incentives, regulations and levies that it says will result in the province reducing its greenhouse gas emissions by 50 megatons by 2030.
Alberta Environment Minister Shannon Phillips said at a press conference in Calgary on Wednesday that the new rules for large industrial greenhouse gas emitters will encourage those companies to invest in cleaner, more efficient technologies in order to pay a smaller share of Alberta’s carbon tax.
“That’s how we’re going to create a race to the top in Alberta,” she said.
The new framework includes the Carbon Competitive Incentive (CCIs) Regulation, which will replace the existing Specified Gas Emitters Regulation on Jan. 1, 2018.
Any facility that emitted 100,000 tonnes or more of carbon dioxide equivalent (CO2e) greenhouse gases in 2003 or any subsequent year will be subject to the CCI regulation.
The program sets benchmarks for emissions per product. Companies below a given benchmark generate credits, while those above must pay $30 per tonne.
The province expects revenues to reach $800 million per year by 2021.
The province says the new regime is designed to encourage investment in clean technology while protecting jobs and reducing pollution.
The plan was designed in consultation with industry leaders over the past two years and replaces previous governments’ policies with a more modern approach, Phillips says.
Michael McSweeney, president of the Cement Association of Canada, said the new framework is good news from the perspective of his industry.
“It demonstrates that the Alberta government has a comprehensive understanding of the pressures that EITE (energy-intensive, trade-exposed) industries face to remain competitive in the global market while fighting climate change,” he said in a release.
“This has been the most collaborative stakeholder consultation exercise I have ever seen.”
Phillips says the CCI scheme compliments a plan unveiled earlier this week to invest $1.4 billion to drive innovation, boost the energy industry and diversify the economy.
That plan includes $440 million for oilsands innovation, and $240 million for energy-efficiency projects in large-scale industrial, agricultural and manufacturing operations.
Another $225 million will be aimed at driving innovations that reduce greenhouse gas emissions across a wider range of industries.