A 2014 survey shows the adoption of advance green technology in the utilities sector of Alberta is sparse compared to elsewhere in Canada.

Alberta’s utilities sector’s use of advance green technology only totaled 5.8 per cent in 2014 according to Statistics Canada compared to 11.7 per cent in the rest of the country.

Statistics Canada defines advance green technology as, “processes, devices or applications designed to mitigate the effects of human activity on the environment and to promote the sustainability of ecosystems.”

Annabelle El-Hage, media relations officer for Statistics Canada, said that these technologies include gasification, biomass utilization include co-firing, fuel cells, renewable energy including solar hot water, wind energy, passive design, cogeneration, waste-heat recovery and ground-source heat pumps.

When asked about why there was a low adoption of green technology in Alberta, Adam Scott, the climate program manager for Environmental Defence, said, “Alberta has some of the best areas for wind farms and was one of the earliest adopter of the technology, but Alberta still uses coal power for electricity though hopefully this will change in 2030.”

In fact, according to Alberta Energy as of 2014, 55 per cent of Alberta’s electricity comes from coal power plants with only nine per cent of electricity coming from alternative energy sources such as wind and hydro.

Marc Strous, professor of geoscience at the University of Calgary, who is currently researching the use of biotechnology and carbon capture to create electricity says that a major problem is funding.

“The risk of adopting new technology is the biggest problem that the companies I have spoken to say. Capital is hard to come by when using newer technology let alone green technology,” says Stous.

When asked for a comment about the use of advance green technology, Amber Goulard, a communication advisor for Transalta, “TransAlta remains committed to innovation and the continued pursuit of cost-effective technologies contributing to Alberta’s transition to a cleaner energy economy.”

Goulard goes on to say that the decision to adopt more green technology will be easier once more people know about it.

“Further clarity around the market impact of the provincial clean energy policy will aid decision-making around implementing these technologies,” says Goulard.

But if new green technology isn’t implemented Alberta could see higher greenhouse gas emissions in the future and, once non-renewable resources are depleted, a poorer job market.

Despite this, Scott says “Alberta has many skilled workers and that is what should be used. Using Alberta’s strengths to move forward. Those people working in the oil and coal industries have skills that could be transferred to something like geothermal.”

mmorales@cjournal.ca

The editor responsible for this piece is Bigoa Machar and can be reached at bmachar@cjournal.ca.