CCS Knowledge Centre CEO Shares Considerations For Next Alberta Government

While supports around carbon capture and storage advancements were not a hot topic in the Alberta provincial leadership debate, there have been encouraging indications on this front, according to the head of the International CCS Knowledge Centre.

“I think it has been fairly quiet … other issues have taken centre stage and that happens in an election,” James Millar, the centre’s president and chief executive officer told the DOB.

“I think there is a recognition by both political parties that if we are going to meet the targets, whether it be the higher level net-zero or the targets set by the government of Canada — we need CCS.”

In the shorter-term, he added, this means large-scale — but he emphasized, small-scale will be needed, as well.

Albertans head to the polls May 29.

In addition to policy measures put in place at the federal level to benefit CCS development, some say the province has a role to play here, as well. At this point, Millar can’t go too far down that road.

“There had been discussions prior to the election around the APIP program and sourcing that for support, but I hate to go beyond that because I don’t want to try and direct policy because I don’t know who is going to be in certain roles,” he replied.

“I think you need to have discussions first after the election to get the lay of the land.”

At a higher level, Millar has some guidance, singling out the importance of addressing concerns around certainty.

“Some of that is in the federal sphere, we saw it in the federal budget with carbon contracts for difference,” he added.

In recent weeks, including during Millar’s participation in the 18th annual Calgary Energy Roundtable, he notes hearing emphasis on the importance of the regulatory environment and reducing related timeframes where possible.

“It really is [about] creating that right business climate for these decisions to take place,” he continued. “I think the federal government did a good job in their budget of putting forth the right policy elements in what were announced.

Again referencing remarks heard during the energy roundtable, he said “what I heard again … was ‘good job there, now let’s work on the timelines and getting things done.’”

“At a higher level, it is creating that right environment, that right business climate of certainty and also ensuring the regulatory process is streamlined as much as possible so we don’t have a scenario where you have a final investment decision made and you move forward but then you are caught up by not having the efficiency of getting your approvals on your permitting. I think that is a key element that … whoever forms government needs to be cognizant of.”

While the Knowledge Centre does engage government, it hasn’t made contact with candidates after the election was called.

“Others have other views and I respect that —  but I would like to let the process see itself play out and then of course at the appropriate time start to re-engage because there very well could be a lot of the same players at the bureaucratic level that we have been dealing with and you have those relationships developed,” Millar said. “We are excited to re-engage post-election because, I think, many recognize how important CCS is in following through with the UCP … on their plan to control emissions. And I think, even if it’s the NDP, they are recognizing the importance of controlling your carbon emissions and having a plan to do that. CCS has to play a role in that.”

He continued to say, “It is going to be interesting to see, once the election wraps up, once the results are known, once the cabinet posts are known, especially in energy and environment, and we start to re-engage … can we continue some of those good conversations that we have had?”

Millar singled out the province’s fiscal support for the CCS Knowledge Sharing Hub, established by the Knowledge Centre, which will collect and curate best practices and lessons learned from Canadian CCS projects.

“That leadership in providing us with the grant … to set up the hub is something I am really excited about moving forward after the election and working out the details on that,” he added.


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