Calgary·Video

Alberta carbon tax-funded grants aim to make non-profits more energy efficient

Tens of thousands of non-profit organizations will be eligible for grants funded by Alberta's new carbon tax to help retrofit their buildings and boost energy efficiency, the province's environment minister said Friday.

Funds aimed at helping organizations retrofit their buildings and boost energy efficiency

Environment Minister Shannon Phillips said non-profit organizations will be eligible for practical and financial assistance in improving the energy efficiency of their facilities. (CBC)

Tens of thousands of non-profit organizations will be eligible for grants funded by Alberta's new carbon tax to help retrofit their buildings and boost energy efficiency, the province's environment minister said Friday.

Environment Minister Shannon Phillips outlined the basics of the initiative, which has been dubbed the Non-profit Energy Efficiency Transition (NEET) program, at Meals on Wheels in Calgary.

In essence, Phillips said organizations will receive assistance to complete "energy efficiency audits" and create "energy management plans" for the next three to five years to "really prioritize what is the best bang for the buck."

Tens of thousands of non-profit organizations will be eligible for grants funded by Alberta's new carbon tax to help retrofit their buildings and boost energy efficiency, the province's environment minister said Friday. 0:24

"This program is designed to be as simple as possible," she said. "You phone up, you ask for an audit, you get an audit, and then there is help along the way from the energy efficiency office."

With that information in place, Phillips said organizations will then be able to take advantage of rebate programs and incentives for the purchase of high-efficiency lighting, heating, cooling and hot water systems.

Phillips said more specific information about those rebates and incentives won't be available until March.

For now, the province said $1 million would be made available to assist organizations complete the efficiency audits.

The program will be administered by Energy Efficiency Alberta, a new provincial agency created with revenue from the carbon tax.

Help to keep energy costs low

Jim Brown with Calgary Meals on Wheels said the provincial program will go a long way in helping his organization and others like it in "addressing some of these needs to keep energy costs as low as possible going forward."

"We simply don't have the funds to afford the in-house expertise that allows you to work on some of these energy-efficiency projects like you would like to," he said.

The carbon tax will also increase costs for non-profit organizations that use any type of fossil fuel.

When asked what those costs will be for Meals on Wheels, Brown said it remains unclear.

"The reality is we don't have enough information at this point," he said. "What the costs will be on the other side of the ledger, we don't yet know."

Carbon tax now in effect

Alberta's new carbon tax on fossil fuels kicked in Jan. 1 at a rate of $20 per tonne of carbon dioxide emitted by fuels.

That means an increase of 4.49 cents per litre on gasoline, 5.35 cents per litre on diesel and $1.011 per gigajoule of natural gas for heating.

Electricity prices are not expected to change as a result of the carbon tax, in part because generation plants are already covered by the Specified Gas Emitters Regulation, the carbon price Alberta adopted for large emitters in 2007.