Recommendations for advancing Alberta’s hydrogen strategySubmission to the Government of Alberta

Publication - Feb. 24, 2021 - By Chris Severson-Baker, Nina Lothian, Jan Gorski

On behalf of the Pembina Institute, Chris Severson-Baker, Nina Lothian and Jan Gorski submitted comments in February, 2021, to the Government of Alberta following a request for feedback that will inform the province’s Natural Gas Vision and Strategy, and hydrogen strategy.

Alberta is well-positioned to build out a low- and zero-carbon hydrogen economy, given plentiful wind and solar resources to generate electricity, low-cost natural gas production, and experience with carbon capture and storage. Hydrogen is not a one-size-fits-all solution for reducing carbon emissions. For Alberta to achieve the full decarbonization potential of hydrogen, the strategy shouldn’t be limited by its relation to the natural gas sector, but should be part of a broader climate plan that is aligned with Canada’s 2030 and 2050 emissions reduction goals. An integral part of this is a commitment to achieving net-zero emissions by 2050.

The Pembina Institute sees low- and zero-carbon hydrogen as being able to play a role in decarbonizing Canada’s energy systems. For Alberta’s hydrogen to be competitive on a global scale, it will have to achieve the lowest carbon intensity possible. While hydrogen has potential applications in many sectors, its greatest value may lie in its potential to reduce carbon pollution from hard-to-decarbonize sectors and end uses, such as long-haul heavy-duty freight transportation, and high-heat industrial processes.

A robust low-carbon hydrogen strategy should, at a minimum, include comprehensive analysis that identifies the sectors that will most benefit from hydrogen deployment, introduce policies to encourage hydrogen production and use, and include an investment component that identifies funding of research and commercialization of new and cost-effective technologies and infrastructure.

As the federal government has recently released the Hydrogen strategy for Canada, and other provinces are in the midst of developing their own strategies, we encourage Alberta to work with its federal and provincial counterparts when developing and implementing the strategy.


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