Yesterday the Alberta government introduced Bill 20 – the Climate Leadership Implementation Act - for first reading as a next step in the implementation of the province’s ambitious climate change plan. The legislation will create a carbon levy on transportation and heating fuels set to take effect on January 1, 2017, pricing carbon at $20 per tonne in 2017 and $30 per tonne in 2018.
The Act stipulates that revenues generated through the carbon levy may only be used to support initiatives related to reducing emissions of greenhouse gases, supporting Alberta’s ability to adapt to climate change or providing rebates, tax incentives or tax rate adjustments to consumers, businesses and communities in response to the levy.
The carbon levy will be imposed on suppliers and distributors that supply fuel into a fuel system that produces heat or energy, including gasoline, diesel or natural gas. The Act includes special requirements for interjurisdictional carriers, diesel locomotives, aviation fuels, natural gas and other miscellaneous fuels. Exemptions are also proposed for certain sectors, such as farming operations as well as specific facilities subject to the Specified Gas Emitters Regulation (SGERS).
The legislation also establishes Energy Efficiency Alberta, a crown agency whose mandate will be to improve energy literacy amongst consumers and better raise awareness of the link between energy use and associated economic and environment impacts. It will work to design and implement programs to promote energy efficiency, conservation as well as small scale renewable energy programs and services.
While the Act is silent on the government’s commitment to phasing out coal-fired generation and spurring new renewable energy deployment, Minister Phillips reaffirmed the government’s commitment to these goals and acknowledged the work underway with the AESO and other agencies.
The Act and government’s press release and backgrounders can be viewed here.