New legislation would move Alberta from two provincially funded emissions reduction agencies to one. Bill 22 aims to reduce what the government calls “red tape” in six different ministries.

The Red Tape Reduction Implementation Act, 2020, eliminates the need for cabinet to sign off on oilsands projects approved by the Alberta Energy Regulator (AER). Officials say eliminating that extra step could speed up the process by as much as 10 months.

But the Bill would dissolve Energy Efficiency Alberta (EEA), which was set up in 2017 under the previous government and was intended to help Albertans make their homes and businesses more energy efficient.

If Bill 22 is passed, most remaining programs and services that have been led by EEA will transition to Emissions Reduction Alberta (ERA) – an organization that has been helping industries and businesses reduce emissions and reduce cost for more than a decade.

This move will focus the province’s funding into one agency, and make it clearer for applicants and their service providers to access emissions-reduction programs. A portion of EEA’s funding was derived from the now-repealed consumer carbon tax.

“Our government has always maintained that we must leverage our industry partners and small- and medium-sized businesses in order to tackle emissions. We have also committed to streamlining government delivery of services and cutting red tape. By rolling EEA into ERA, we are accomplishing all of the above,” said Jason Nixon, Minister of Environment and Parks. “We thank the board and staff of EEA for their service, and we look forward to continuing important emissions-reduction work under ERA as we move to a stronger, more diversified economy and put Albertans back to work.”

ERA works with government, industry and innovators to accelerate the development of technologies that reduce greenhouse gas emissions and attract investment. Through ERA, Alberta’s emissions-reduction efforts will focus on the commercial and industrial sectors – which account for more than 65 per cent of the province’s total emissions.

“Reducing costs and emissions are core to ERA’s mandate, and we have a proven business model to offer the organizational efficiencies and results the province is seeking,” said Steve MacDonald, CEO of ERA. “We will build on EEA’s expertise and experience to help Alberta’s industries achieve sustainable environmental outcomes, attract investment, and improve their overall competitiveness.”

If Bill 22 is passed, EEA will close on September 30. It will continue to honour preexisting program commitments, collaborate with applicants, and field inquiries until the closing date.

ERA will be supported by the funds generated from the Technology Innovation and Emissions Reduction (TIER) system.

Since 2009, ERA has committed more than $534 million to 161 projects that are worth $4 billion. These projects are estimated to reduce emissions by almost 33 million tonnes of carbon dioxide by 2030.

For further information on ERA, click here.

For further information on TIER, click here.

Featured image credit: ERA: Lafarge Carbon Fuels Project.

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