Energy: Find out where parties stand before Alberta votes

From left, wind turbines in southern Alberta; the icon on a hydrogen fuel pump; a pump jack near Drayton Valley, Alta. (From left, Jeff McIntosh/The Canadian Press; Sean Gallup/Getty Images; Kory Siegers/CBC - image credit)
From left, wind turbines in southern Alberta; the icon on a hydrogen fuel pump; a pump jack near Drayton Valley, Alta. (From left, Jeff McIntosh/The Canadian Press; Sean Gallup/Getty Images; Kory Siegers/CBC - image credit)

By and large, the oilpatch is sitting pretty these days.

Profit levels hit a record high in 2022, helping companies pay down debt and provide lavish returns to investors.

Workers are busy, prices are still rosy, and after all the failed pipeline proposals over the last decade, the scheduled completion of the Trans Mountain expansion and the Coastal GasLink pipelines will provide a boost to the sector.

All that said, several issues continue to weigh down the sector and attract criticism.

The oilpatch is working to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, but it's not as quick or as bold as some expect.

The industry still has tens of thousands of old oil and natural gas wells in need of cleanup and the problem of unpaid taxes to rural municipalities is getting worse, not better.

The recent toxic water spills by Imperial and Suncor are the latest problems causing reputational harm for the industry.

— Analysis from Kyle Bakx, CBC News

Below is a snapshot of party announcements on energy in recent weeks. The parties included are those that have previously elected an MLA or had 44 registered candidates by nomination day on May 11.

— Party announcements compiled by Kelsea Arnett, CBC News

Alberta Party

  • Ensure that Alberta is a recognized leader in the energy transition and that the province is appropriately compensated for its achievements in the Canadian federation.

  • Stands for the incorporation of life-cycle waste reductions by considering the impacts on Alberta's land, water and biodiversity to meet the federal 2050 net-zero emissions targets.

  • Encourage the transition to a decarbonized energy system, where generation is shifted from centralized fossil fuel based sources to localized renewable energy sources.

  • Employ a revenue-neutral carbon levy to incentivize the expansion of energy generation from renewable sources.

  • Ensure all future transmission projects are approved based on demonstration of need, expert consultation and a robust regulatory review.

  • Work with the province's electrical power distributors to establish a deadline for installing bi-directional smart meters for all connections to the power grid.

  • Improve interconnectedness of Alberta's power grid.

  • Support and encourage the development of micro-generation in the province (production of heat or electric power from a "low carbon source").

  • Undertake a review of existing micro-generation legislation with the goal of simplifying the application and permitting process.

  • Promote a Smart Grid by creating a fiscal environment that encourages grid modernization, security and reliability.

  • Conduct full and detailed stakeholder engagements to ensure Smart Grid policy is acceptable to Albertans and meets residential and industrial requirements.

  • Collaborate with all levels of government to secure market access for oil and gas resources through pipelines.

  • Renew the Water for Life Strategy with a focus on the impacts of climate change on Alberta's water supply.

  • Assess the risks posed by climate change on areas that are a risk of drought or flooding.

  • Create a needs-based plan for expanding, improving, and maintaining irrigation infrastructure.

  • Support the complete implementation of the Land Use Framework.

  • Emphasize completing all proposed regional plans within five years of the Alberta Party forming government.

  • Focus fiscal support for immediate development of zero emission vehicle (ZEV) technologies and encourage the development of the appropriate infrastructure to achieve meaningful and appropriate conversion to ZEVs by 2035.

Alberta Liberal Party

  • Support for the oil and gas industry.

  • Expand Alberta's market access not just to grow the economy but to displace the demand for conflict oil.

  • Partner with Indigenous peoples in the development of oil and gas resources.

  • Support expanding market access through pipeline development.

  • Support robust environmental reviews and Indigenous consultation on all pipeline projects.

  • Invest in research that helps make energy source projects, like solar, geothermal and wind, more efficient and economical.

  • Support targeted subsidies and regulatory reform for renewable energy industries like geothermal, solar, and wind power.

  • Make amendments to Bill C-69, which was given royal assent in 2019 and allows the federal government to consider the impacts of new resource projects on issues such as climate change.

Alberta New Democratic Party

  • Protect parks and public lands, and the livelihoods of all the people who depend on them.

  • Create thousands of new jobs by expanding petrochemical programs.

  • Produce more energy from new sources – like hydrogen, geothermal, wind and solar – by building on our energy expertise, capital, technology, manufacturing base and our globally competitive skilled workers and energy companies.

United Conservative Party of Alberta

  • Transferred the crude-by-rail program to the private sector.

  • Introduced the Alberta Petrochemical Program (APIP), attracting investment dollars to the province's petrochemical industry, diversifying the economy and getting Albertans back to work.

  • APIP has provided funding for three programs:

    • $408 million for Inter Pipeline's $4 billion petrochemical complex in Alberta's industrial heartland.

    • $161 million for Air Products' net-zero natural gas to hydrogen facility in Edmonton.

    • $32 million for Dow Chemical's ethylene production facility in Fort Saskatchewan.

  • Launched the Alberta Hydrogen Roadmap, laying out a clear path to build a provincial hydrogen economy and get Alberta's hydrogen products to international markets, making Alberta a world leader in clean, low-cost hydrogen.

  • Launched an expression of interest process for businesses interested in designing, building, operating and owning hydrogen refuelling stations (primarily for the heavy-duty transportation sector).