On May 3 last, the Canadian Government (described in its Press Releases as the Harper Government) showered cash on certain Canadian businesses and research institutions. Coordinated press conferences to announce these grants took place across Canada: in the Maritimes, Quebec City (Harper was there), the Canada Cement Lafarge cement plant in Ontario, Toronto and the Yukon. These grants approved in the 2011 budget under the Federal ecoENERGY Innovation Initiative total 85 million.
Grants for $17 million were awarded for research into Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS), larger than amounts granted to any other research category. Still the amount is relatively small in comparison with the Alberta Government committment to advance $1.3 billion to support the development of CCS as a solution to Alberta’s GHG emissions.
As we noted last year, research into CCS is promising, but still is well short of acceptance as a means of reducing emissions from fossil fuels. The International Energy Agency has noted that the only significant research into CCS is taking place in Canada.
Despite reservations about how effective CCS will prove to be, Canada is right to support technology that Alberta and Saskatchewan regard as key. As an example of its importance, the President of Saskpower expressed confidence that CCS will allow Saskatchewan to use its province-based coal supply for future power generation while reducing GHG emissions to less than those of a comparable gas fired unit.
Too much is at stake not to continue this support, at least as long as there is some progress towards a viable commercial technology. As a recent Globe & Mail article pointed out, these provinces believe that they can “continue their reliance on a fossil fuel economy while dramatically reducing GHG emissions.
“Perhaps this belief explains why Alberta recently approved a large coal-fired generation plant that is scheduled to come into operation in 2015 and continue to emit greenhouse gases for most of the remaining years in this century. For details on this plant Read more.