Calgary

Alberta issues $70M challenge to companies to develop cleaner tech

The Government of Alberta has funded a $70-million challenge with the goal of encouraging companies in the biotechnology, electricity and sustainable transportation industries to come up with cleaner technology.

Biotech, electricity and sustainable transportation companies are eligible

Environment Minister Shannon Phillips announces funding for a new clean-tech challenge in Calgary Wednesday. (Audrey Neveu/Radio-Canada)

The Government of Alberta has funded a $70-million challenge with the goal of encouraging companies in the biotechnology, electricity and sustainable transportation industries to come up with cleaner technology.

Funds for the BEST challenge — which stands for Biotechnology, Electricity and Sustainable Transportation — are being provided by the province through Emissions Reduction Alberta.

"As an energy economy we can really chose to lead or to follow as the world moves forward with reducing greenhouse gas emissions," said Environment Minister Shannon Phillips at a press conference Wednesday. 

The three industries account for 40 per cent of the province's greenhouse gas emissions each year. 

The challenge — which is open to international projects as long as they are piloted, demonstrated or implemented in Alberta — will accept project proposals from:

  • Technology developers.
  • Industrial associations. 
  • Small and medium-sized businesses. 
  • Research and development organizations. 
  • Post-secondary institutions. 
  • Municipalities.
  • Not-for-profit organizations.
  • Government research labs. 
  • Individuals.

"What we're really looking for in these proposals are projects that reduce costs for the private sector and for municipal infrastructure ... across Alberta that make us more competitive, support local employment and that demonstrate our continuing commitment to greenhouse gas reduction," said Phillips.

She says the announcement was part of the province's $1.4-billion investment to reduce greenhouse gases. 

Airlines see potential with jet fuel

Both WestJet and Air Canada voiced support for the initiative, which was announced at a WestJet Encore hangar in northeast Calgary. 

"As we continue our growth plan using our young, modern fleet of fuel-efficient aircraft, we see affordable, sustainable jet fuel as the best opportunity to further reduce CO2 emissions from aviation," Mike McNaney, vice-president of industry affairs at WestJet, said in a statement. 

Fuel costs are the greatest expense for airlines, so the companies see a potential for economic and environmental gain. 

Up to $10 million is available for each project, and up to half of each project's expenses will be funded. 

Submissions for the challenge, due by Sept. 13, can be made on the Emissions Reduction Alberta website