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‘Enmax is the laggard’: Calgary climate advocates push for net-zero plan

ENMAX is putting the finishing touches on a project it bills as "Canada's largest rooftop solar array," which is expected to begin producing electricity in Leduc by July 31, 2016. COURTESY: ENMAX

A local environmental non-profit group is pushing to have Enmax commit to net-zero greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by 2050.

“Electricity is by far the easiest sector of the economy to decarbonize,” Dr. Joe Vipond, Calgary Climate Hub co-chair, told Global News. “We’re seeing multiple companies around the country and even within Alberta declare net-zero targets.”

Enmax says it has already started work on decarbonizing.

Read more: Alberta homeowner questions unexpected, shockingly high power bills after deferring payments

“We have achieved significant reductions in our generation fleet emissions, having reduced absolute GHG emissions by 65 per cent since 2015,” the company said in an emailed statement to Global News.

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“Today, we hold the lowest-emitting power generation fleet of any major energy supplier in Alberta, and have also led customer solar installations across the province while offering energy efficiency tools to customers.”

Read more: What do Canada’s net-zero targets mean for Albertans?

Enmax would not commit to any of the Climate Hub’s goals, including halving GHG levels by 2030, achieving a 90 per cent reduction by 2040 and becoming net-zero by 2050.

Edmonton-based Capital Power, TransAlta and Direct Energy all state they have paths to net-zero.

Enmax said it is in the process of updating its long-term goals.

Click to play video: 'How Canada’s net-zero emissions plan compares globally' How Canada’s net-zero emissions plan compares globally
How Canada’s net-zero emissions plan compares globally – Nov 19, 2020

The Calgary utility company said it is in the process of opening Canada’s first hybrid battery-natural gas turbine generating facility and improving Shepard Energy Centre’s efficiency.

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Calgary Climate Hub claims Enmax could be on the hook for hundreds of millions of dollars in carbon taxes when federal carbon pricing increases in 2030.

Read more: Is Canada’s carbon tax working? Experts, advocacy groups weigh in

Vipond also said Calgary needs more renewable energy resources and interconnectivity in the city’s power grid, to help the transition away from carbon-intensive electricity generation.

“We need to have really robust energy efficiency plans for the city,” he said. “We’ve lost Energy Efficiency Alberta at a provincial level, so it’s up to the city to take over some of that role and Enmax to play its part.”

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