Sturgeon County is capitalizing on its strategic advantages and a bold vision to support the world’s transition to a low-carbon future. We’re taking innovative action to build socially, economically and environmentally sustainable communities.
The Energy Ecosystem Approach
We are leveraging our partnerships and leadership on initiatives like the Edmonton Region Hydrogen HUB to create better outcomes for our people.
We are navigating the intersection of technology, municipal and industrial systems, economic investment, social responsibility, and environmental responsibility as we pursue more sustainable energy sources.
Through an integrated “ecosystem” of energy solutions, industrial investments, and public/private partnerships, we are building new capacity, coordinating project development, piloting new market solutions, and driving sustainability at a local level.
With our population expected to hit 34,000 by 2044, and with thousands of new jobs coming to the region, we’re focused on attracting diverse and responsible investment.
We have the experience, the people and the infrastructure to navigate the road ahead.
As our efforts evolve, we’ll continue demonstrating our regional and national leadership.
In Sturgeon County, we foster collaboration and innovation, and we are a national implementation centre for Canada’s clean energy economy. The County has identified several projects that provide pathways to decarbonization/net zero/emission reduction goals. These are proven at a community-based scale while having the breadth and depth to be nationally significant.
We’re actively prioritizing hydrogen and other clean energy prioritizing hydrogen and other clean energy solutions to support a low-carbon economy.
Sturgeon County led the development of the Edmonton Region Hydrogen HUB, in 2021. The HUB is an alliance of government, Indigenous, academic and economic development leaders formed to kickstart the Edmonton region’s low-carbon hydrogen economy and position the region, Alberta and Canada for success as the world shifts towards a low-carbon future.
The HUB’s launch came as countries around the world set net-zero targets and identified hydrogen as a vital low-carbon fuel. A final report released by Alberta’s Industrial Heartland Hydrogen Task Force outlined that Canadian hydrogen has a wholesale market potential of up to $100 billion per year and identified the Edmonton Region as the best launch point for a pan-Canadian hydrogen economy.
The region is well-positioned for success because it has one of the lowest hydrogen production costs in the world, existing experience in hydrogen production, a vast network of pipeline infrastructure, and suitable and existing sites for carbon capture, utilization and storage which are necessary to upgrade natural gas into hydrogen for use as a low-carbon fuel.
The HUB serves as a blueprint of how to accelerate a strong regional hydrogen economy that can be replicated in other regions across Canada with low-cost, low-carbon hydrogen.
We are working to infuse hydrogen solutions into a new residential community in south Sturgeon Valley in Sturgeon County.
Embracing hydrogen as an energy source for home heating and vehicle fuelling supports a more sustainable future. Hydrogen can fuel vehicles much like gasoline, or heat homes much like natural gas. This means consumers don’t need to make significant changes to drive their cars or heat their homes other than choosing appropriate engines and appliances. Hydrogen is a reliable and safe energy option that reduces emissions and minimizes environmental impact. It does not generate carbon emissions, and only results in heat and water vapour.
Pending provincial government regulatory approvals, Sturgeon County will continue to advance discussions with potential partners to identify required infrastructure, development policies, and best practices for creating hydrogen networks. Updates will be shared as this moves forward, with initial developments expected in 2025.
In fall 2022, the Government of Alberta published the Industrial Heartland Designated Industrial Zone (IH-DIZ) framework. This regulatory framework will stimulate new investment and job creation while achieving environmental outcomes.
Facilities in the IH-DIZ will benefit from:
- Consistent, coordinated regulatory approvals.
- Shared access to infrastructure and resources.
- Minimized cumulative environmental impacts through participative governance of the zone.
Sturgeon County has complemented this work with a tax incentive program that prioritizes major investments that include defined ‘environmental, social, and governance’ (ESG) benefits. This incentive helps the County attract meaningful investment that supports the world’s energy needs and low-carbon ambitions.
The County has applied for funding and is working with local and provincial partners to transition agricultural and municipal vehicles to hydrogen.
Clean transportation – such as hydrogen-powered vehicles – has a smaller carbon footprint. Transitioning to hydrogen-powered vehicles will help us improve municipal operations and contribute to a more sustainable environment. There are grants and other incentives available to support this transition (ex. Zero Emissions Transit Fund, Green Freight Program, etc.).
A fully integrated ecosystem ensures no one is left behind in areas that have considerable geographical distances, lack density and experience economic challenges. Alberta’s rural and Indigenous communities are particularly challenged to fully participate in modern economic and social systems and to engage in health services, employment, education, recreation, food production and delivery.
Sturgeon County is committed to working with its communities and partners to support rural and Indigenous success.
We are leveraging accelerator and micro-credential programs to enhance our competitiveness and create a thriving ecosystem for innovation and growth. Accelerator and micro-credential programs can stimulate entrepreneurship, promote economic diversification, attract investment and talent, foster collaboration, facilitate workforce development, and engage the local community.
- Hydrogen Innovation Accelerator for Entrepreneurs
Edmonton Global, in partnership with Mount Royal University Institute for Innovation and Entrepreneurship, has initiated the Hydrogen Innovation Accelerator (HIA) to focus on driving growth of the hydrogen economy. After the 90-day accelerator, each company will have developed and tested a new product or service concept. The accelerator provides opportunities for local businesses to explore new ventures and develop apprenticeship programs to support them.
- Micro-credentials for Hydrogen for Employers and Job Seekers
A local post-secondary institution is developing hydrogen-related micro-credentials to keep pace with the evolving job market. We will promote these programs to companies in our region to help foster a more dynamic and skilled workforce.Those taking the courses benefit from targeted learning, flexibility, quick skill acquisition and demonstratable expertise. For employers, this training enhances skill relevance, contributes to a learning culture, provides talent development and supports recruitment efforts.
Let’s Work Together
Reach out if you have any questions relating to our energy ecosystem approach; the team is happy to assist!