Here’s something you don’t hear every day – the federal government wants to help Alberta with it’s oil and gas industry! I think it’s great, as long as the funding is actually used appropriately. From the CBC article:
Ottawa will spend $155.9 million to make Alberta’s oil and energy industry more environmentally friendly, Prime Minister Stephen Harper announced Thursday.
The money will also support a project in Edmonton designed to convert municipal waste into electricity. Efforts to design a coal-fired electricity plant that releases almost no emissions will also be funded.
Already the announcement has been criticized by The Sierra Club, and I’m sure many more critics will follow. Harper has good timing though, as the Alberta government today “introduced legislation requiring about 100 high-polluting companies to reduce their emissions output starting July 1.”
Maybe this is the Canadian government’s way of saying, “yes, we value the oilsands as a strategic Canadian asset.”
I have written in the past that I think more research and development should go towards extracting more value from the oilsands. This R&D would ideally lead to better “green” technologies, and the profits we gain from the oil in the oilsands could also go toward sustainable energy. I’m sure there is lots of this R&D already going on, but a story about a new University of Alberta research centre caught my eye:
The Imperial Oil-Alberta Ingenuity Centre for Oil Sands Innovation’s mandate is to find more efficient, economically viable, and environmentally responsible ways to develop Canada’s oilsands resources, one of the largest crude oil deposits in the world. The centre will be led by scientific director Dr. Murray Gray.
The centre will invest $15 million over the next five years, will recruit more than 50 faculty, graduate students, and researchers, and will “apply the emerging tools of nanotechnology” to the oilsands. I guess that’s appropriate considering the National Institute for Nanotechnology is also located here at the U of A.
One of the main research goals of the centre is to reduce the amount of water used in the oilsands projects.