Feds looking to use regional hubs to boost hydrogen

by Stephen Dafoe

The Honourable Seamus O’Regan, federal Minister of Natural Resources, launched the governments Hydrogen Strategy for Canada Wednesday in a move the Liberals say will position Canada as a global hydrogen leader, and as a key part of the government’s road to net-zero carbon emissions by 2050.

The strategy comes with a $1.5 billion investment in the Low-carbon and Zero-emissions Fuels Fund, which the government says will increase both the production and use of low-carbon fuels, including hydrogen.

The government anticipates low-carbon and zero-emission hydrogen could reduce greenhouse gas emissions by up to 45 million metric tonnes a year by 2030, creating up to 350,000 new Canadian jobs by 2050.

“Hydrogen’s moment has come,” O’Reagan said. “The economic and environmental opportunities for our workers and communities are real. There is global momentum, and Canada is harnessing it.”

In Alberta, Minister of Energy Sonya Savage and Associate Minister of Natural Gas and Electricity Dale Nally issued a joint statement on the announcement.

“As a province central to Canada’s efforts to build a globally groundbreaking clean hydrogen sector, Alberta’s government supports Ottawa’s work on a collaborative strategy that will rely on our industry’s experience and expertise in natural resource production and emissions reduction technology,” the statement reads.

“The federal strategy – which Alberta contributed to – supports the work we are doing to build a provincial hydrogen road map and provide significant environmental and economic benefits to Alberta, Canada and across the world.”

Savage and Nally anticipate Alberta will play a leading role in Canada’s future clean hydrogen economy. We are already one of the world’s biggest producers of hydrogen, and our abundant natural gas supply and experience with carbon capture and storage means we have the tools and experience to produce clean hydrogen right now, and for decades to come.”

Nally said to make sure Alberta is positioned to capitalize on opportunities in this emerging sector, the Government of Alberta included hydrogen as one of five key growth areas in their Natural Gas Vision and Strategy.

“The Alberta Government is also working on our own hydrogen road map,” Nally said. “In fact, last week we met with almost 100 organizations – including industry partners, researchers, environmental groups and others – to identify the unique opportunities we have to advance the industry in Alberta.

NDP Energy Critic Kathleen Ganley said it’s encouraging to see several points of alignment with the NDP’s own hydrogen proposal, including building the necessary infrastructure to develop Alberta’s hydrogen industry.

“Unfortunately, the UCP government continues to delay the development of Alberta’s hydrogen industry,” Ganley said. “Currently they don’t have a developed plan, just a plan to make a plan.”

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