Minister Oliver Highlights the Federal Government’s Contribution to Alberta’s Economy

Natural Resources Canada – May 25, 2012

SHERWOOD PARK, ALBERTA – The Honorable Joe Oliver, Minster of Natural Resources, addressed the Alberta Chambers of Commerce to discuss the impact of Responsible Resource Development in Alberta and communities across the country.

“Our government is focused on opportunities – opportunities for jobs, growth and long-term prosperity,” says Minister Oliver. “The plan for Responsible Resources Development will make our project review process more effective, efficient, timely and predictable, while ensuring rigorous, world-class environmental protection.”

Minister Oliver added that the economic impacts of the energy industry are felt in every region across Canada. “Everywhere I go, I talk about the difference our resource industries make in the lives of Canadians every day, in every town and city and rural community in the country. It’s essential that we all understand just how important these industries are to maintaining the tremendous quality of life we enjoy in this country,” says the Minister.

As part of Economic Action Plan 2012, the Government introduced Responsible Resource Development (RRD) to modernize Canada’s federal regulatory regime to attract investment, create jobs, build long-term prosperity and encourage national competitiveness. In doing so, the Government of Canada will continue to focus on the environment and clean energy initiatives across the country.

“In February this year, Premier Redford and I signed a MOU that will bring our cooperation on oil sands research to a whole new level,” says Minister Oliver. “We are working with the province to bring government, industry, academia and other research organizations together in a cluster of expertise to support excellence in innovation and the responsible development of the oil sands.”

The Minister also took the opportunity to meet with Premier Redford to discuss responsible resources development and its benefits for Alberta and to announce more than $1.2 million in funding for the Edmonton-based Christenson Developments Ltd. From the Market Development Incentive Payments Fund and the Clean Energy Fund.

“We and our energy partners look forward to teaming with NRCan to improve the sustainability of our 19-acre townhouse community in the established neighborhood of Hazeldean,” says Greg Christenson, President, Christenson Developments Ltd. “This will fun a natural gas-fuelled, co-generation and geothermal system designed to reduce utility costs for seniors and working families.”

The company will demonstrate the use of natural gas to provide both heat and power to half of an existing 236-unit townhouse community.

Edmonton company receives $1.2M to build groundbreaking project

Patricia Kozicka, Global News: Friday, May 25, 2012

EDMONTON – The federal government is helping fund a ‘green’ project in Edmonton which will be the first of its kind in Canada. It’s a natural gas plant that will be used not only to create electricity, but also to heat a housing complex being redeveloped in the Hazeldean neighborhood near 96 St. and 67 Ave.

The way the plant will work is by burning natural gas to creative electricity. Excess heat created from the process will then be pumped into the ground, and, eventually, drawn back out to keep the homes warm in the wintertime.

“So effectively, you replace bringing power through overhead power lines and you replace coal-burning power plants, and you actually reduce both the power and heating bills… the real challenge is the up-front cost,” explains Greg Christenson of Christenson Developments – the company behind the project.

Thankfully for Christiensen, that’s where the federal government has come in. On Friday, Natural Resources Minister Joe Oliver announced half the project’s $2.4 million dollar cost will be covered through the federal clean energy fund.

It’s a contribution Christenson says is very important to making the project a reality.

“It’s difficult to put $2.4 million into your budget (upfront) and explain that your utility cost may be lower,” Christenson says.

He believes the “natural gas-fuelled, co-generation and geothermal system” will be able to cut monthly utility bills by about 40 percent – making living more affordable for residents.

And the timing couldn’t be better.

“Power rates have historically been very high in Alberta. Natural gas rates are very low so it’s sort of a perfect storm for this type of technology,” Christenson says.

Mike Roppelt of GSS Geothermal is the one designing the heating plant, for which he has high hopes.

“There’s going to be a lot of study looking at the ability to replicate this be it a single family home or in the higher density homes,” he says.

Construction on the housing redevelopment project is supposed to be finished by early 2015.

With files from Fletcher Kent, Global News