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New Funding in Alberta to Boost Efforts to Reduce Greenhouse Gas Emissions

By Dufferin Harper and Matt Hammer (Articling Student)
November 17, 2020

On November 2, 2020, the Government of Alberta announced it was dedicating up to C$280-million to programs to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and create jobs in the province. This funding creates opportunities that may be of interest to companies located or looking to invest in Alberta, especially companies working on novel emissions reduction technologies, processes and practices. It may also be of interest to small and medium-scale businesses looking to improve the energy efficiency of their facilities.

The funding comes from both the federal and provincial governments and will support the following three programs run by Emissions Reduction Alberta:

  • The Shovel-Ready Challenge

  • The Energy Savings for Business Program

  • The Partnership Intake Program


The provincial government is supplying C$180-million for these projects from the Technology Innovation and Emissions Reduction fund. This fund is financed by compliance payments made by large industrial emitters as part of the Technology Innovation and Emissions Reduction System. The remaining C$100-million is being supplied by the federal government under the Low Carbon Economy Leadership Fund, which requires that eligible projects directly create demonstrable GHG reductions by 2030.


This program will use up to C$150-million to fund field piloting, commercial demonstration and first-of-kind commercial implementation of emissions reduction projects. Expressions of interest for the Shovel-Ready Challenge are open now and close Tuesday, December 22, 2020. This call is open to new builds, retrofits and projects that have been previously initiated but have subsequently stalled due to the current economic situation. Funding will be focused on but not limited to the following areas:

  • Low-carbon products (e.g., materials, chemicals, fuels and secondary products)

  • Novel processes for energy production, processing, petrochemical manufacturing, etc.

  • Waste-to-value and waste energy utilization

  • Novel low-emitting electricity generation

  • Low-carbon industrial heat

  • Digital optimization and automation

  • Carbon capture, utilization and sequestration

  • Methane emissions management (from fossil and biological sources)

  • Optimization of agriculture and forestry operations

  • Enhancement of natural GHG sinks

  • Novel fuel-switching opportunities (e.g., electrification, hydrogen, renewable fuels, etc.)

  • Mobility and transportation solutions (e.g., industrial, freight, rail and aviation)

Work is expected to commence on selected projects by mid-2021. The minimum funding request per project is C$2-million, and the maximum is C$15-million. These funds will be provided only on a one-to-one matching basis with unencumbered cash contributions from the project applicant. Lead applicants can be technology developers, industry operators, industrial associations, small and medium-sized enterprises, municipalities, and others; and collaboration is encouraged. The lead applicant does not need to be located in Alberta. The project must be demonstrated or implemented in Alberta, however, and the host site must be a significant partner in the project. Expressions of interest will be evaluated based on the merits of the opportunity, the quality of the project implementation plan and the potential for GHG reductions and economic benefits (see Emissions Reduction Alberta, Shovel Ready Challenge: Call for Expressions of Interest Guidelines).

Emissions Reduction Alberta hosted an informational webinar on the Shovel-Ready Challenge on November 12, 2020. Further details can be found on the Emissions Reduction Alberta website.


This program will provide up to C$55-million to small and medium-scale businesses for quickly achievable energy-saving retrofits and upgrades for facilities located in Alberta. Applications for this program are expected to open in January 2021 and will be accepted for six to 12 months. Funding will be awarded on a first-come, first-served basis and partially cover costs of eligible projects. Up to C$250,000 will be available per project to a maximum of C$500,000 per company. Eligible projects could include but are not limited to:

  • HVAC projects, including the installation of efficient boilers, hot-water tanks, furnaces and pipe insulation

  • Upgrades to fan and pump motors, including the installation of variable frequency drive units

  • Installation of electronic building-automation systems to control temperature, airflow and even lighting across the facility

  • Lighting projects, including replacement of outdated lighting systems, addition of automation, etc.

  • Installation of alternate on-site power sources such as solar photovoltaic and combined heat and power systems

  • Measures specific to industry/facility needs (e.g., restaurants, manufacturing, etc.)

  • Insulation, building envelope or air sealing

Emissions Reduction Alberta will host an informational webinar on the Energy Savings for Business Program on November 25, 2020. Further details can be found on the Emissions Reduction Alberta website.


This program will direct up to C$75-million to projects referred from specific organizations identified by Emissions Reduction Alberta as trusted partners. These trusted partners include universities, government agencies, and major research and development institutions. The Partnership Intake Program aims to act as a catalyst to de-risk and deploy novel technology solutions, including in energy efficiency, hydrogen, geothermal, natural gas and nature-based solutions. In the past, the program has supported carbon capture, utilization and sequestration projects; petrochemicals projects; biofuels and biomass projects; and innovation in the oil and gas industry. Further details can be found on the Emissions Reduction Alberta website.


According to the Government of Alberta, these three programs will support around 5,000 jobs and cut an estimated 13 million tonnes of GHG emissions by 2030. Collectively, they represent an important opportunity for companies and facilities looking to invest in innovation and efficiency in Alberta.

For further information, please reach out to any member of our Environmental group or your usual Blakes contact.