A new report, to be released Friday by Greenpeace, and the Alberta Green Economy Network at the Gridworks Energy group, claims that over 100-thousand jobs will be created in the green economy, as Alberta weens itself off oil and gas. Yet there’s also a warning the Alberta government should tread very carefully before jumping in on the plan.
“I think Edmonton is among all of the jurisdictions in Alberta probably one of the best positioned to deal with a situation where we might see hydrocarbons erode in terms of their role in the global energy mix,” said city economist John Rose after a forum hosted by the Economics Society of Northern Alberta.
“Nonetheless we have to think about this, we have to think about it now in order to move our economy in the direction where we can absorb lower energy prices on a longer term basis.”
“When it comes to green industries and particularly renewable energy resources Alberta has to be very prudent,” Rose said. “We’re coming to this late in the game, and there are a lot of other jurisdictions out there who’ve been at this and had some very serious problems.”
“Yes, it’s an area of interest. Yes, it’s a potential area of opportunity but be careful.”
“Ontario’s had some really serious problems in terms of their initiatives in this area. We saw some real problems in Spain and other jurisdictions. So yes it’s an area of opportunity but it’s one area of opportunity but it’s one where Alberta has to be very realistic about its relative competitive position and not assume, oh yes if Germany can do it, we can do it too. Well I’m not so sure about that.”
“Make sure you understand the competitive advantages of a particular technology in Alberta, vis-a-vis what’s going on in other jurisdictions. Simply don’t say there’s going to be more windmills so let’s develop a firm that constructs windmills. I’m not sure we can do that in a competitive way with out a very careful analysis.”
Rose also said when Alberta moves away from oil and gas, there will be collateral damage to industries like logistics and construction.
In a news release promoting Friday’s report launch to coincide with Earth Day, it said it’s expected Prime Minister Justin Trudeau will sign an agreement, at the U.N. in New York, which will commit Canada to do its part to stabilize global temperature increases as close to 1.5 degrees Celsius as possible.
“The Alberta government can put people to work – not by subsidizing fossil fuels, but by capitalizing on the incredible potential the province has to create jobs in the green economy,” said report co-author Dave Thompson.