$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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About Efficiency Canada:

Efficiency Canada is the national voice for an energy efficient economy. Our mission is to create a sustainable environment and better life for all Canadians by making our country a global leader in energy efficiency policy, technology, and jobs. We conduct rigorous policy analysis; communicate compelling narratives; and convene and mobilize Canada’s dynamic energy efficiency sector. Efficiency Canada is housed at Carleton University’s Sustainable Energy Research Centre.

In late 2019, we will publish a comprehensive report card that will assess the energy-efficiency policies of all provinces and territories. Subscribe here for updates.

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