Alberta’s Emissions Reduction and Energy Development Plan

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On April 19, 2023, the Alberta government released its Emissions Reduction and Energy Development Plan [PDF] (the Alberta Plan), which aligns with the federal target of achieving net-zero carbon emissions by 2050 but does not accept certain federal emissions reduction targets for 2030. In this blog post, we highlight some aspects of the Alberta Plan, including where it conflicts with federal plans to achieve a national greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions reduction of 40–45% (below 2005 levels) by 2030.

Overview of the Alberta Plan

At a high level, the Alberta Plan seeks to maintain energy security and position Alberta as a leader in emissions reductions, while attracting investment, working with Indigenous communities and supporting jobs. It highlights achievements to date and gives broad plans for GHG emission reductions. Key measures include continued financial support for carbon capture, utilization and storage (CCUS) adoption, carbon price increases to $170 per tonne by 2030 under the Technology Innovation and Emissions Reduction Regulation (consistent with the Greenhouse Gas Pollution Pricing Act) and further tightening of methane regulations.

Notably, the Alberta Plan rejects the goal of requiring a net-zero electricity grid by 2035 as stated in the federal government’s 2030 Emissions Reduction Plan. The Alberta Plan states that this federal goal is not technologically feasible and threatens electricity affordability and reliability. While it notes that the Alberta government sees opportunities for emissions reductions through CCUS, hydrogen and renewables, the Alberta Plan positions natural gas as the primary feedstock for electricity generation in Alberta beyond 2035.

The Alberta Plan also does not accept the federal government’s target to reduce oil and gas sector methane emissions by at least 75% (below 2012 levels) by 2030. While not an outright rejection, the Alberta Plan frames this federal target as a challenge due to its “prescriptive and costly approach”, and its potential to disproportionately impact Alberta and result in carbon leakage. The plan notes that the Alberta government intends to assess the target’s feasibility, while maintaining its own goal to achieve a 45% reduction in methane emissions from the oil and gas sector (below 2014 levels) by 2025.

Other specific aspects of the Alberta Plan

Key sector-specific activities and next steps in the Alberta Plan include

Oil and gas

  • achieving a 45% reduction in methane emissions (below 2014 levels) by 2025
  • assessing the feasibility of a 75–80% reduction in methane emissions (below 2014 levels) by 2030
  • implementing the Alberta government’s Natural Gas Vision and Strategy [PDF], which envisions growth in petrochemical manufacturing, hydrogen, industrial demand, LNG, and plastics
  • taking advantage of the natural gas sector to advance CCUS technology, recycling systems, Alberta’s Hydrogen Roadmap (which we previously posted about), displacement of high-emission energy sources with LNG and evaluation of the ammonia supply chain

Oil sands

  • exploring reducing the 100-megatonne oil sands GHG emissions limit under the Oil Sands Emissions Limit Act and implementing regulations to align with the reductions targets of the Pathways Alliance (a collaboration of Canada’s largest oil sands producers targeting net-zero GHG emissions from operations by 2050)
  • relying on the use of carbon capture and small modular nuclear reactors to reduce emissions from oil sands production


  • retiring Alberta’s last coal-fired electricity generation plant in 2023
  • requiring 30% of electricity in Alberta to be produced using renewable resources by 2030
  • using the existing electricity grid infrastructure and maintaining use of natural gas for electricity generation
  • enabling consumers to generate their own electricity, as well as managing demand and energy efficiency to reduce overall energy use
  • working with consumers, industry and regulators to support new technology, including energy storage and demand side management
  • diversifying the electricity system with low-emitting technologies such as CCUS, hydrogen and small modular reactors
  • advocating for financial support from the federal government given the cost of decarbonizing Alberta’s grid under the federal policies like the proposed Clean Electricity Regulation


  • investing in petrochemical facilities for hydrogen projects under the Alberta Petrochemicals Incentive Program
  • determining the conditions that need to be in place for development of hydrogen refueling stations
  • continuing to implement Alberta’s Hydrogen Roadmap, including exporting 2 megatonnes per year of hydrogen and hydrogen carriers by 2030, blending hydrogen with natural gas for residential and commercial heating, enabling the transition to fuel cell electric vehicles and adding CCUS to production facilities to reduce emissions by 12 Mt per year
  • investing $25 million in Emissions Reduction Alberta to support investment in hydrogen development and the hydrogen value chain
  • addressing challenges with transportation of hydrogen and ammonia to access global markets


  • exploring establishing a minimum bioenergy blend rate for natural gas in Alberta
  • creating a 12% non-refundable tax credit for corporations investing $10 million or more to build or expand agri-processing facilities in Alberta


  • reviewing Alberta’s Renewable Fuel Standards Regulation to consider increasing minimum renewable fuels blending requirements and expanding the regulation to other fuels
  • working with industry and others to assess and plan infrastructure that supports the use of alternative-fueled vehicles, such as hydrogen and electrification
  • investing in the Municipal Climate Change Action Centre to provide funding, technical assistance and education to municipalities and community organizations, including programs for electric vehicle charging stations on municipally owned property


With the United Conservative Party’s recent re-election as a majority government, the Alberta Plan is unlikely to change in the near future. In the immediate aftermath of the election, Premier Danielle Smith stated in a “warning to Ottawa” that she will not allow the “contemplated federal policies to be inflicted upon Albertans”, in reference to goals in the federal government’s 2030 Emissions Reduction Plan.[1] While there is alignment on some aspects of the federal and provincial emissions reduction plans — such as increased adoption of CCUS and hydrogen — conflicts between other aspects of the plans and political rhetoric may present challenges to collaboration between the federal and Alberta governments. They may also result in constitutional challenges to federal emissions reduction initiatives by the Alberta government, similar to its previous challenges of the federal Greenhouse Gas Pollution Pricing Act[2] and Impact Assessment Act.[3]

[1] See CBC, “Hear Danielle Smith’s victory speech” (May 30, 2023), online:

[2] The Alberta government’s challenge to the constitutionality of the federal Greenhouse Gas Pollution Pricing Act was unsuccessful before the Supreme Court of Canada, as discussed in our previous post in 2021.

[3] The Alberta government’s challenge to the constitutionality of the federal Impact Assessment Act was successful before the Alberta Court of Appeal , as discussed in our previous post in 2022. That decision has since been appealed to the Supreme Court of Canada, which had not issued its decision as of the date of this post.