By Trevor Busch
A new advisory panel appointed by the UCP has been tasked with developing a long-term vision for Alberta’s energy sector and recommends steps the province should take to ensure the industry continues to thrive.
Taber-Warner MLA Grant Hunter feels the time is right to map out Alberta’s energy future.
“It’s absolutely critical, because I know that there’s some people who say we’re transitioning off of oil and gas exponentially, but remember that the world needs more Alberta oil and gas. LNG is going to be an absolute critical part for the rest of the world and they demand more energy, we need to be able to provide for that, Germany is begging for it. But in order for us to be able to do that, we need to be able to see where our growth needs to be, how we get to market – to tidewater – all of these things we are going to study so that we can know what is the future of this industry? And and how can we make sure that it thrives and provides the day jobs for Albertans? That’s really what it’s all about.”
The five-member panel will be chaired by David Yager, a respected leader with more than four decades of experience and expertise in the energy industry. He will be joined by Hal Kvisle, Bob Curran, Carey Arnett and Phil Hodge.
“There’s many, many global entities that are trying to transition off quickly. And we need to be able to understand what will this be – truly be – not just the rhetoric of some NGO that says that they know exactly how fast the game should be transitioning,” said Hunter. “When will it be transitioned off, will it be by 2030? Will be by 2050? Will it be by 2070? We need to do some studies to be able to find out when that will happen, and if it will happen, because remember, that’s all dependent upon innovation. You need to be able to innovate, to the point where you can transition off.”
The advisory panel will engage with the Ministry of Finance, the Ministry of Energy, the Ministry of Environment and Protected Areas, the Ministry of Affordability and Utilities, the Ministry of Municipal Affairs and the Ministry of Service Alberta and Red Tape Reduction to ensure collaboration across government, in consultation with industry stakeholders.
The panel will conduct research, gather input from experts, prepare analysis and generate recommendations in consultation with relevant ministries.
“And then the last thing that you need to think about is what’s the actual cost to our ratepayers,” said Hunter. “Think about how much we’re paying right now for natural gas, for electricity, in this province, and all of it is because of this headlong train towards greening our grid. The problem is, is that if everybody in the world is going to be doing this, moving off, you’re not going to be able to bring on the supply of natural gas fast enough to be able to keep the price down. And that’s what we’re seeing right now is that the supply can’t come up fast enough to be able to drive the price down… and that’s why we’re seeing that increase.”
A final report from the council will be completed by June 30.