Clean Energy for Tomorrow: Investing in Carbon Capture and Storage in Alberta

Wabamun, Alberta
14 October 2009


Good morning, ladies and gentlemen.

Thank you, Dawn Farrell for your kind introduction and thank you to TransAlta for hosting us here today.  Greetings to Premier Stelmach and to my Parliamentary colleagues: Minister Ambrose, Minister Merrifield, MP Laurie Hawn and MP Tim Uppal.  It is always great to be back home in Alberta and to see so many familiar faces.  Glad you could all join us for today’s important announcement.

During the worst global recession in half a century, our government's number one priority has been, and continues to be, protecting the Canadian economy.  Our Economic Action Plan is creating jobs.  It is stimulating our economy.  And it is supporting Canadians hardest hit by the recession.

But, at the same time, our plan is focused on the long term, focused on positioning Canada for unprecedented future success.  To keep Canada on the cutting-edge we are investing massively in scientific and technological research and development.  And a major focus of these investments is our energy sector.

As I have told audiences around the world, Canada is an emerging energy superpower.  But, as you all well know,the only way we are going to stay competitive in the global energy market of the future, is if we are also a clean energy superpower.  We must develop new, clean sources of energy, and we must develop technologies that make cleaner use of conventional energy. And that’s what brings us together for today’s important announcement.

Carbon capture and storage has the potential to help us balance our need for energy, with our duty to protect the environment.  In fact, according to the Carbon Capture and Storage Taskforce, the technology could eliminate almost one half of Canada's greenhouse gas emissions by 2050.  That’s why our Economic Action Plan includes a one billion dollar Clean Energy Fund, most of which is being devoted to large-scale carbon capture and storage demonstration projects.

Today, I am pleased to announce that we are partnering with the Government of Alberta and TransAlta to retrofit the Keephills power plant with a fully-integrated carbon capture and storage system; the only one of its kind in Canada, ladies and gentlemen!

The aptly named “Pioneer Project” will reduce carbon emissions from the plant by a million tonnes a year.  And with a completely integrated underground storage system, this plant will not just be a first for Canada; indeed, it will be the first of its kind in the world!

I want to thank Premier Stelmach and his government, for joining us in this bold venture.  And I want to thank TransAlta for taking a leadership role in developing this critical technology.  Innovations like carbon capture and storage will define the future of this industry. 

I’d also like to take a moment to acknowledge the workers here at the Keephills plant who will make this project a reality.  Like the 19th century coal miners and the 20th century wildcatters who gave birth to the Alberta energy industry, history will remember you as the pioneers who transformed the industry in the 21st century, as the pioneers who kept Alberta at the forefront of the global energy market, as the pioneers who contributed to a prosperous future for all of Canada!

Ladies and gentlemen, our government is determined that Canada remains a world leader in the use of this state-of-the-art technology.  Carbon capture and storage could not only drastically reduce our emissions, but by exporting it to other countries, we could also make a major contribution to the reduction of global emissions. Raising awareness about this technology is key to encouraging its use around the world.  That’s why, as I announced last summer at the G-8 in Italy, Canada helped found the Global Carbon Capture and Storage Institute.  And why our government worked with the International Energy Agency to establish a CO2 Monitoring and Storage Program in Saskatchewan.  What’s more, as host of the G-8 and G-20 Summits next year, Canada will have another opportunity to showcase our leadership in carbon capture and storage to the world.

We are taking real action at home and on the world stage to produce real, tangible reductions in greenhouse gas emissions. As a government, we are committed to a cleaner, healthier environment for all Canadians, and for the generations to come.  By investing in projects like this one, our Economic Action Plan is helping achieve these important goals.

As I have said, now is not the time for political uncertainty or instability.  Now is the time to stay on course, to finish implementing our Plan, and to strengthen the foundations of Canada’s future prosperity!

By looking forward today, and supporting projects like the one here at Keephills, we are seizing the opportunities that will get us through these difficult times and ensure that our country, Canada, emerges stronger than ever.

Thank you very much.