Alberta Party Candidate Shares Views On Energy, Liability Management Program

Jenny Yeremiy.

This is part of the DOB’s election coverage on energy policy. Click on the link below to read coverage of leaders of the UCP and NDP, and also for information on how to contribute your views on the shaping of future energy policy in Alberta.  

DOB’s Pre-Election Special Report

Long-term goals that prioritize people and the environment, along with maintaining jobs and a strong economy will be key, according to an Alberta Party candidate running in a Calgary riding.

Jenny Yeremiy is representing the Alberta Party in the Calgary-North West riding in the upcoming election and spoke to the DOB on a range of topics recently.

Her employment experience includes, most recently, positions with Canadian Natural Resources Limited. The first stretch of the geophysicist’s career was in seismic processing, followed by time in exploration, among other roles.

She said the party’s “platform message” was built from a group of experts representing multiple sectors, including energy, reflecting many areas touched by the energy transition.

“It’s an ‘everyone’ problem and therefore requires alignment across the entire government and ministries,” she said. “That’s our vision — to re-centre Alberta’s economy on the needs of Albertans and not on the energy sector itself.”

“We used to think the Earth was the centre of the universe,” she added. “We now need to understand the energy sector cannot be the centre of our economy, we have to centre it around people’s needs. And, of course, the energy sector has an important role in that.

“But it helps the energy sector, in my view, for this responsibility not to be placed entirely in their hands.”

Yeremiy helped develop policy for the Alberta Party, which links to a concept she developed called life cycle management economics.

This reflects a set of priority areas guiding decision-making around investment, economics, among others, that includes air, water, land, life, and “the resources required to do what we need to do.”

Long-term goals that prioritize people and the environment, along with maintaining jobs and a strong economy, are key, she noted.

She also singled out the need for methane reduction, GHG reductions, a strategy for the net-zero grid and storage capacity, EV, hydrogen fuel stations, and site and habitat restoration.

“We are strong believers in the sub-regional plans,” said Yeremiy. In April 2022, the government released the Cold Lake sub-regional plan and Bistcho Lake sub-regional plan.

“The intent of the plans, in my view, is to be the sustainable development plans for Alberta. I think we need to build off of that,” she added.

“It already includes the energy industry, it includes the grid, and it includes forestry. It needs to be expanded to include agriculture, transportation, and community development, to name a few [other areas].”

When it comes to the UCP government’s current approach to encouraging the clean-up of old wells, the Alberta Party is not on board.

“We have taken a firm position against the … Liability Management Incentive Program,” said Yeremiy, adding this is based on two reasons.

“The program does not require positive outcomes. What I mean is there is no expectation of reclamation certification.”

The second concern, explained Yeremiy, is “it has the potential to erode the orphan program.

“The orphan program is the only backstop we have — we meaning the public — for the entire liability problem to not fall into our hands.”

She then reiterated, “I am in favour of completing the sub-regional plans that put oil and gas sites on timelines.”

There is also a need for planning around EV and ZEV (zero-emission vehicle) fleets, said Yeremiy, “making public transportation the primary mode.”

Investment is often linked to certainty, which Yeremiy says is an area in which the government has a role to play.

“I believe we need very clear guidelines from the government as to where we are investing in non-renewables and renewables and why,” she said.

Turning back to the balance of life cycle management economics, Yeremiy added, “if we are looking at all energy sources with those …[variables], then we can be very clear on where we are investing and why we are investing where we are. This way, we can provide that certainty for industries.”

The MLA hopeful called for long-term planning in all ministries so that investors can see a path to stability in the province.

“For far too long, we have been riding this wave of the commodity cycles,” she said. “We need to get to a place where we are absorbing those waves and we are working towards this long-term vision.”

Resource intensive

Yeremiy says she is in favour of responsible energy development. When asked about carbon capture and storage, she pointed to two considerations.

“Carbon capture and storage is resource-intensive,” she said. “We have to appreciate that we are doing development-plus.

“It requires all of the same drilling, completing, tying in, facilities, and then we are adding in a carbon capture system. It’s not less resources, it’s more.”

With that said, Yeremiy believes there is, in fact, a place for CCS.

“It is required,” she added. “Renewable energy like solar panels require hydrocarbons. We are not getting away from hydrocarbons, it is our future. In fact, my view is we need to be very responsible with it.

“We need to honour how precious this resource is and make sure that it has longevity.”

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