$850 million in economic growth: Energy Efficiency Alberta releases annual report
The government agency charged with making Alberta more energy efficient has injected $850 million of economic growth into the province since it began in 2017, and reduced greenhouse gas emissions by 5.7 million tonnes.
In its 2018-19 annual report quietly posted online July 29, Energy Efficiency Alberta also said every dollar invested in its programs has returned $3.20 to Albertans.
But the future of the agency is up in the air. Its programs were funded by the consumer carbon tax axed by the new provincial government.
‘No stopping’ energy efficiency
Despite the uncertainty in Alberta, Efficiency Canada executive director Corey Diamond said the numbers in EEA’s annual report speak to the sector’s explosive growth.
“Energy efficiency is growing at three times the rate of other sectors of Canada’s economy. There’s no stopping this. A carbon-restrained world is coming regardless, so the faster we design the transition we want, the better,” he said.
Diamond acknowledged it’s a tough sell in Alberta, where energy-efficiency programs are caught in political crossfire by being lumped in with the carbon tax.
But he said the sector’s economic arguments — including job creation numbers and energy cost savings for households, businesses and industry — speak for themselves, adding, “you don’t need a carbon tax to support energy efficiency.”
“When people are presented with smart ideas, they see them … and say, ‘I want to be part of that,’” he said.
“Whether it’s a household that’s done a lighting retrofit or a business that has taken on a deeper retrofit through these programs, Albertans are no different than the rest of Canada. People like energy efficiency. It makes sense.”
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