By August 29, 2017 0 Comments Read More →

Hanna, Alberta preparing for coal phaseout, diversification

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Hanna, Alberta

Province commissioned coal transition report from world-renowned energy expert Terry Boston

The Town of Hanna is partnering with residents, local business leaders and economic development experts to attract investment and create new jobs and opportunities for local economic diversification, according to an Alberta Government press release.

The project, called Community Action to Create Diversification, is receiving an approximately $450,000 grant from the Alberta government to create 10 Community Action Teams.

They will focus on initiatives and opportunities identified in a recently completed report by the Hanna Climate Change Strategy Task Force commissioned last year.

“Our community members have been bringing forward suggestions for economic development opportunities for some time and this project provides a structure to take these ideas from concept to action. Our message is clear – diversification must be a priority as we work together to build an economy for the future,” said Chris Warwick, mayor of Hanna.

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Recognizing that effective diversification efforts require a regional approach, the Community Action Teams will be led by the Cactus Corridor Economic Development Corporation, which includes members from the Town of Hanna, the Special Areas Board, the Village of Youngstown and the Hanna Learning Centre.

The Alberta government says its working to ensure coal communities continue to power our province, by securing exemptions from the Trudeau government that will allow coal plants to continue operating past federally mandated end-dates by converting to natural gas.

In 2012, the Harper government approved regulations to end coal-powered electrical generation at Battle River and Sundance in 2019, at Keephills in 2029, and at Sheerness starting in 2036. In 2014, the Harper government introduced regulations that would have prevented all Alberta coal plants from converting to natural gas, according to the Alberta Government.

The teams will also partner with the Rural Alberta Business Centre in Hanna, which helps more than 65 entrepreneurs and startups in the area each year.

The work of the new Community Action Teams will also incorporate feedback from the Alberta government’s Advisory Panel on Coal Communities, which is expected to complete its report this fall.

The province also commissioned a coal transition report from world-renowned energy expert Terry Boston. He has worked on complex energy issues for decades on four continents. Boston oversaw the successful transition off coal for one of the world’s largest electricity grids.

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Based on his recommendations, the Alberta government reached agreements last fall that ensure power companies:

  • fulfil their existing and future legal obligations to affected employees, including severance and pension obligations
  • keep their head offices in Alberta
  • continue to generate power for Alberta’s electricity market

These steps provide options for transitioning to new electricity generation that would see coal communities continue to power Alberta and create new long-term, local economic opportunities.

 

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