Energy Minister: Alberta Set To Become A ‘Major Global Force’ In Hydrogen Development
Edmonton — Two Alberta ministers underscored their government’s willingness to back the province’s emerging position in the hydrogen space.
Days before the writ is expected to be dropped, Pete Guthrie, minister of energy, and Rajan Sawhney, minister of trade, immigration and multiculturalism, spoke at the Canadian Hydrogen Convention in Edmonton.
“We all know hydrogen has huge potential,” Guthrie said. “Here, in Alberta, we are striving to be a big part of that market.”
He emphasized the need for collaboration and strong relationships between government, industry, and Indigenous communities, along with continued engagement to drive innovation and technology.
“Alberta is definitely up to the task,” Guthrie said. “Between our natural gas, renewable feedstocks and carbon sequestration infrastructure, as well as our geology, strong funding mechanism, and our policy and regulatory alignment, this province, as Canada’s leader, is set to become a major global force in hydrogen development.”
The Airdrie-Cochrane MLA touched on the impact of geopolitical events on world energy supply. This has made energy security top-of-mind, particularly for jurisdictions that lean on unstable countries for critical needs, he added.
“No doubt, hydrogen has captured their attention,” noted Guthrie. “So, getting our products on international markets is critical.
“We are working hard to improve market access and establish the foundational infrastructure necessary for hydrogen-based exports like ammonia,” he continued. “This includes collaborations with other government, regulators and industry to streamline project approvals, improve rail and pipeline access, and to get infrastructure built to ship natural gas and hydrogen to a world that desperately needs it.”
The province is already seeing strong interest, according to Guthrie.
“Recently, Germany, Japan, South Korea and the Philippines all expressed their desire to do business with Canada.”
“We are also working directly with … global companies interested in sourcing ammonia to understand and address any competitiveness goals and infrastructure constraints that may exist in our systems today. Through these types of projects and our sustainably-produced natural gas, it is helping solve global energy security challenges.”
International markets, such as Germany and Japan, Guthrie explained, seek security, reliability and affordability in a business partnership.
Thinking of Canada first
“Countries want to do business with Canada because there is a high degree of trust that exists here and our reputation precedes us,” he added. “Hydrogen has the potential to play a major role in delivering secure, reliable, affordable products for decades to come and no question Canada should be the first jurisdiction to come to their minds.”
Guthrie said the Alberta Petrochemicals Incentive Program (APIP) is making Alberta “one of the most attractive jurisdictions for companies looking to invest in hydrogen.”
He added: “We are seeing enormous interest in our petrochemical sector at large.”
Furthermore, Guthrie noted, “we are also actively working with the government of Canada … and other provinces to advise on the development of pan-Canadian and global emissions intensive standards to ensure Alberta’s hydrogen is assessed fairly based upon life cycle metrics.”
Guthrie said the Alberta government’s commitment to the environment includes movement in carbon capture utilization and storage. To that end, he announced that its small scale and remote CCUS application program is targeted to open July 4.
Sawhney, in a separate talk, spoke about a recent memorandum of understanding (MOU) between the Alberta government and the Korea Atomic Energy Research Institute (KAERI) on small modular reactors.
“While this MOU is focused on the deployed of small modular reactors in Alberta, the signing of this MOU is a testament to our government’s dedication to working with international partners to expand our hydrogen energy sector.
“We all know Alberta has always been a leader in producing the most environmentally-friendly natural gas energy in the world,” she added. “Yet, Alberta and its government has recognized that there are necessary changes that must occur to secure a robust and sustainable hydrogen future.”
The minister then referenced Alberta’s new Emissions Reduction and Energy Development Plan, which she said focuses on “reducing our emissions while investing in cleantech.”
Sawhney said the government is accepting expressions of interest from parties interested in providing information about designing, building, operating and owning hydrogen refueling to primarily serve the heavy-duty transportation sector.
“Alberta is a leading supplier of hydrogen to the rest of Canada and that is why Alberta’s government is ready to work with key partners to ensure we continue to lead hydrogen exports while expanding our capacity to export clean hydrogen energy to international markets,” she said.
Investing in partners
During her talk, Sawhney announced the provincial government will be investing $2.8 million ($1.4 million each) in Calgary Economic Development and Edmonton Global. She described both organizations as “key partners that will help Alberta secure a hydrogen future.”
In a prepared statement, Malcolm Bruce, CEO, Edmonton Global said, “the Edmonton Metropolitan Region is globally competitive in so much of what the world needs: hydrogen, AI, life sciences, agriculture and global logistics.
“One of the region’s, and Alberta’s, biggest challenges is awareness of what’s possible here in international markets. This funding will help us build capacity, reach global investors and help us build both our trade and talent programs.”