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Feds announce $4.5M in grants for coal transition in Alberta, Saskatchewan

Alberta’s coal-reliant communities getting help as resource is phased out
WATCH ABOVE: Coal-reliant communities in Alberta getting some much needed assistance as the resource is being phased out. Sarah Komadina reports.

The federal government is announcing projects to help western workers and communities dependent on coal mining to become less reliant on the industry.

Speaking in the Nisku industrial area south of Edmonton Friday morning, Natural Resources Minister Amarjeet Sohi said nine grants for organizations in Alberta and Saskatchewan will support skills training and diversification.

READ MORE: Coal power starting to go offline in Alberta as shift to cleaner energy picks up

The grants, totalling nearly $4.5 million, are part of a five-year, $35-million Coal Transition Initiative announced in the 2018 budget.

Natural Resources Minister Amarjeet Sohi in Nisku, Alta. announcing grants for Alberta and Saskatchewan organizations dependent on coal mining to become less reliant on the industry. Friday, June 28, 2019.
Natural Resources Minister Amarjeet Sohi in Nisku, Alta. announcing grants for Alberta and Saskatchewan organizations dependent on coal mining to become less reliant on the industry. Friday, June 28, 2019. Julien Fournier, Global News

The money will fund four planning, training and research programs in Alberta and five in Saskatchewan.

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Nine of Alberta’s 18 coal-fired plants are in Parkland County west of Edmonton and many people in the community have been laid off because of the coal- phase-out plan.

Last year Mayor Rod Shaigec said last year coal-fired plants in the county contributed to about a quarter of the county’s tax revenue as well as about 4,000 direct and indirect jobs.

READ MORE: Parkland County cuts operating budget by $4M, blames Alberta coal phase-out plan for fiscal pressures

Federal and provincial regulations will see coal-fired power generation phased out by 2030.

Coal-fired power plants are some of the largest emitters of greenhouse gases in Canada.

READ MORE: Estevan, Sask. preparing for coal phase-out putting hundreds of jobs at risk

WATCH: Parkland County near Edmonton fears communities will becoming ghost towns due to plan to shut down coal power plants. Heather Yourex-West filed this report in March 2019. 

Alberta coal communities fear becoming ghost towns with plan to shut plants down
Alberta coal communities fear becoming ghost towns with plan to shut plants down

— More to come…

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With files from Phil Heidenreich, Global News