10.2 Alberta


Figure 10.2 – Alberta’s energy profile #

GHG emissions across scenarios
Emission reductions by sector in NZ50
Electricity generation by source
Biomass production by source

Key developments for Alberta:

  • With measures in place (REF), emissions are largely stable until 2060, peaking at +10 % in 2040. This is possible by compensating the growth associated with oil and gas production with significant reductions in emissions from electricity production and industrial processes.
  • The impact of the carbon tax (CP30) leads at first to a 12% reduction in GHG by 2030, which slowly reaches 20% by 2060, on par with the national average. 
  • NZ scenarios see a rapid and significant decrease in oil and gas production, which provides a more rapid reduction in emissions (reductions of 48%, 55% and 58% for NZ60, NZ50 and NZ45, in 2030) than the Canadian average, although they do not quite reach zero by 2060, leaving 4% of 2016 emissions. Most other sectors all decarbonize slowly and at the national pace (see Chapter 7 for a discussion of the evolution of oil and gas production).
  • Industry (outside of fossil fuels production) is decarbonized by 2040, while transport and agriculture also decrease by 2040, very significantly in the case of NZ45.
  • Residential and commercial buildings have mainly eliminated emissions by 2040.
  • The possibilities of using BECCS for negative emissions are much more limited in Alberta than in British Columbia: negative emissions appear in 2040 in NZ45 only, and then later for NZ50 and NZ60. 
  • Most of these come from BECCS used in industry, together with a small part from BECCS energy production; no DAC is used, and the province is net positive in terms of remaining emissions in 2050 and 2060.
  • While electricity drops on the short term, in NZ scenarios, due to demand reduction from the oil and gas sector, its growth after 2030 follows the national average. By 2060, electricity production is 2.4 times greater than 2016 for the three NZ scenarios.
  • Since Alberta has the most emission-intensive electricity production, the challenge of decarbonizing electricity is quite different from that in most other provinces: it is not sufficient to add low-carbon production, it is also necessary to transform the one in place. While decarbonizing this sector takes time, a good portion is achieved by 2030 and even more by 2040, chiefly through a significant expansion of wind, which represents up to 56% of all generation by 2050, and to a lesser extent solar and geothermal.
  • After 2040, nuclear begins to replace a small fraction of baseload generation from natural gas powerplants (5% in 2050 and 2060), while wind continues to expand.
  • Electricity receipts from other provinces, here virtually all from British Columbia, increase five-fold in net-zero scenarios, contributing the equivalent of around 6% of total generation.
  • Biomass production expands significantly—more than six-fold in net-zero scenarios on the long term. The tighter the net-zero schedule, the faster the pace of this expansion, tripling in NZ45 by 2030. While forest residues increase, most of the expansion comes from agricultural residues (which overtake forest residues as the main source slightly after 2030) and organic waste adds to this production later on (chiefly from the 2040s), as is the case in British Columbia: this helps generate some BECCS hydrogen and electricity (more than half of the total), biofuels and biogas from the 2040s.

Section’s figures and tables