MLA Mark Smith. File photo.

MLA Mark Smith. File photo.

MLA Mark Smith: Alberta’s geothermal energy sector

Albertans know that 2020 has been a uniquely challenging year for families and job creators and that now, perhaps more than ever before, we must boldly pursue new ways to diversify our economy.

I am excited to share with you that Alberta’s government is introducing legislation this fall to attract new investment in Geothermal energy as part of Alberta’s Recovery Plan.

Using emerging made-in-Alberta technology and our decades of drilling experience in oil and gas, we are setting our province up to harness earth’s natural energy and diversify our innovative energy sector.

A strong Albertan geothermal sector has the potential to create jobs and economic opportunity for Indigenous and rural remote communities, while contributing to the global effort to lower greenhouse gas emissions.

Our government is also launching a new plan for diversifying and growing Alberta’s natural gas industry that will position the province as a post-pandemic powerhouse for responsible energy development. The Natural Gas Vision and Strategy is a key part of Alberta’s Recovery Plan and shares the actions Alberta’s government will take to grow the sector and seize emerging opportunities for clean hydrogen, petrochemical manufacturing, liquefied natural gas (LNG) and plastics recycling. In addition to fueling countries around the world, natural gas – expected to pass coal as the world’s second largest energy source by 2040 – has many other uses, including being the foundation for creating hydrogen. Alberta’s 300-year supply of affordable natural gas provides significant opportunity to attract investment and job creators back to the province, building back our economy stronger than ever.

Despite the COVID-19 crisis initially reducing demand for pulp and paper products this year, Alberta is now seeing record-breaking solid wood prices at $1,288 per thousand board feet for western spruce-pine-fir.

While competing jurisdictions reduced production levels in reaction to the pandemic, these have proven difficult to reverse as demand for wood products increased. In contrast, Alberta saw limited production curtailments, allowing us to maintain a competitive advantage.

Alberta’s forestry and lumber producers are among the best in the world and through our partnerships they are in a position to keep our forests and communities safe from fires and infestation while supporting jobs and growth.

For the latest information on COVID-19, visit alberta.ca/covid19.

As always, it is my honour to serve as your MLA.

Sincerely,

Mark Smith, MLA