A renewable energy economy may emerge from the heart of Canada’s oil industry thanks to announcements made in Alberta’s provincial budget last week. The budget promises spending $51.5 billion in 2016 despite resource royalties projected to be as low as $1.4 billion, representing a 90 per cent drop.
The province pledged $2.2 billion for clean infrastructure, $645 million for energy efficiency and unveiled an expanded carbon levy that the government estimates will generate $3.4 billion for renewable energy development. An additional $195 million has been set aside to help First Nations communities transition off coal and onto cleaner sources of energy.
“We’re very proud of our climate leadership plan as a progressive way to bend the curve on carbon,” Finance Minister Joe Ceci said in a press conference Thursday.
Sara Hastings-Simon, director of the clean economy program at the Pembina Institute, commended the province’s decision to expand the carbon levy to beyond industrial emitters.
“We know it is the most efficient way to reduce emissions in the province,” she said.
The UK’s largest pension company will call on the government to discuss legislative backing for clean energy investment later this year.