Alberta’s location advantage
Located in the Western Canadian Sedimentary Basin, Alberta has the ideal geology for carbon capture, utilization and storage (CCUS). Rock formations that have securely stored oil and gas for millions of years can also safely store carbon dioxide (CO2) permanently.
To help realize this potential, over a decade ago, Alberta started to invest billions into CCUS projects and programs, as well as significant regulatory enhancements and knowledge sharing. Today, building on a strong track record as a responsible energy developer, Alberta is also recognized as a global leader in supporting the development of CCUS.
By continuing to advance this technology, we will help Alberta diversify the energy sector and reduce emissions in many different industries, including concrete and fertilizer, and hydrogen development.
History of CCUS in Alberta
Alberta’s CCUS regulatory framework is one of the most advanced in the world. The process to enhance this framework began with a Regulatory Framework Assessment in 2011, in which more than 100 global experts on carbon capture and storage, including representatives from industry, environmental groups, scholars, and government worked on a review of existing regulations. The final report of the findings includes over 70 conclusions and recommendations that continue to inform the ongoing development of the carbon capture and storage (CCS) regulatory framework in Alberta to ensure the safest and most environmentally responsible regulatory environment for carbon capture and storage.
Other jurisdictions often look to Alberta’s leadership as an example of progress in the advancement of CCS due to its regulatory and policy development and support for commercial scale projects.
Alberta is also one of the few jurisdictions in the world with a pore space tenure framework. Other jurisdictions have mechanisms to transfer liability; however, Alberta is one of the global leaders with its implementation.
Developing more CCUS projects will advance opportunities for Alberta to produce low-carbon energy, while creating new economic opportunities
CCUS is critical to meeting Canada’s and the world’s long-term energy needs and climate goals. The International Energy Agency acknowledges that, without substantial support to further develop and employ CCUS technology and infrastructure, it will be difficult to meet emission reduction targets.
Continuing to develop CCUS will help Alberta diversify the energy sector, support the shift towards a net-zero energy grid, capitalize on emerging opportunities, such as clean hydrogen production, and reduce emissions across the energy sector and other hard to abate industries such as power generation, petrochemicals, concrete, steel and fertilizer production.
Alberta has one of the best and abundant geological formations to safely store emissions. Over a decade ago, the province established one of the first legislative and regulatory frameworks to set the foundation for developing CCUS. To date, the province has invested or committed nearly $1.8 billion to support CCUS-related projects and programs.
Alberta has a strong and effective CCUS regulatory system, existing CO2 infrastructure in place, and dedicated sequestration sites, where investors and global energy buyers can have confidence that emissions are being safely and permanently stored.
Legislation and policy
Many aspects of CCS projects are covered by Alberta’s existing oil and gas regulations, but the following acts and regulations promote the safe and effective use of carbon capture and storage technology:
- Carbon Capture and Storage Funding Act approved up to $2 billion dollars to encourage and expedite the design, construction and operation of CCS projects in Alberta.
- Carbon Capture and Storage Funding Regulation enabled funding for education and the assessment
- Mines and Minerals Act, as amended by the Carbon Capture and Storage Statutes Amendment Act, 2010, allows the government to assume long-term liability for storage sites. The act makes it mandatory for carbon capture and storage operators to contribute to the Post-Closure Stewardship Fund. Further information on the fund can be found in the Alberta Energy and Minerals Annual Report. The provincial government will use this fund for ongoing monitoring and any required maintenance and remediation. This act also clarifies that the Government of Alberta is the owner of pore space but does not change ownership of mine and mineral resources in any way. The Carbon Capture and Storage Statutes Amendment Act, 2010, also amended the Surface Rights Act, Public Lands Act and the Oil and Gas Conservation Act.
- Carbon Sequestration Tenure Regulation
Alberta’s CCUS regulatory framework requires careful site selection, numerous approvals, rigorous monitoring and reporting requirements, and public involvement processes.
Alberta also created the Post-Closure Stewardship Fund that carbon sequestration operators pay into to offset costs associated with the long-term monitoring and maintenance of the site.
Carbon regulatory framework
In Alberta, CCS projects are eligible to generate offset credits under Alberta’s carbon regulation – Technology Innovation and Emissions Reduction (TIER). TIER provides the quantification protocol for CO2 capture and permanent storage in deep saline aquifers.
The regulation was amended in December 2022 to further enhance the support for CCS deployment by establishing two new types of CCUS Credits – Sequestration credits and capture recognition tonnes.
- Sequestration credits enable recognition under the Clean Fuel Regulations.
- Capture recognition tonnes also enable large emitters and opt-in facilities to reduce sequestered emissions from total regulated emissions at carbon capture sites.
Carbon storage hubs in Alberta
To help manage growth of this technology, Alberta is also issuing carbon sequestration rights through a competitive process that enables the development of carbon storage hubs. Along with storage hubs, Alberta Energy and Minerals will continue to examine carbon sequestration scenarios, including small scale and remote opportunities. Learn more about the hub development and approval process.
Connect with Carbon Capture, Utilization and Storage:
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