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OilMonster
Natural Gas June 24, 2021 02:46:43 AM

Alberta Bets Hydrogen will Breathe New Life into Province’s Natural Gas Sector

Anil
Mathews
OilMonster Author
But proponents say advances in technology have solved these problems.
Alberta Bets Hydrogen will Breathe New Life into Province’s Natural Gas Sector

SEATTLE (Oil Monster): Today, much of Alberta’s economy stems from its vast natural resources, from the oilsands to coal and vast natural gas fields.

But as the world moves away from fossil fuels, some provincial leaders, along with the federal government, are hoping Alberta can build an economy out of hydrogen, an abundant element and versatile form of energy that has been on the brink of success for decades, but has never quite lived up to expectations.

“It’s just so fascinating what’s happening with hydrogen,” David Legg, chief executive of Invest Alberta told the Financial Post. “It’s sort of like electric vehicles back in the 70s or A.I. in the 80s — you heard about those things and nothing seemed to happen, so everyone sort of rolled their eyes but now it’s just part of the furniture.”

He added, “and that’s what it feels like is happening with hydrogen right now.”

At issue, as the federal government contemplates how to dole out a proposed $8 billion ‘net zero’ fund, is whether investing in hydrogen production makes sense as a way for Alberta’s fossil fuel industry to bridge the transition to a decarbonized economy in the coming years. Long hailed as a new energy, hydrogen has fallen flat before because it can be inefficient to produce, results in some greenhouse gas emissions, requires significant infrastructure investment and is also highly combustible. But proponents say advances in technology have solved these problems.

Earlier this month, both the federal government and Invest Alberta, the economic development corporation that the province set up in 2020 to help rejuvenate its economy, announced they have each signed a memorandum of understanding with a subsidiary of U.S.-based Air Products and Chemicals about building a new $1.3 billion hydrogen production facility outside Edmonton.

Legg, who left his position last week but remains an advisor to Invest Alberta, said it is only the first of several multi-billion dollar projects that his organization hopes to bring to fruition in Alberta in the next five years, and Alberta has already put up $15 million to support the project.

A spokesman for François-Philippe Champagne, Minister of Science, Innovation and Industry declined to comment on how the federal government might support the project, but analysts have raised questions about whether the government might actually buy some of the hydrogen produced, while the company has said it expects some level of support.

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Courtesy: www.financialpost.com                                                                                    

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