By Medicine Hat News on September 28, 2016.
The promise of a $9.6 billion provincial carbon rebate program has prompted renewable energy companies to consider setting up shop in Alberta. Medicine Hat is in a unique position to serve renewable energy companies as they bring their technology to market.
Before a new technology can be adopted on a commercial and industrial scale, companies first need toprove that it works in the real world. These “proving grounds” are notoriously difficult to find, and the onus for finding a test site falls back on the company developing the technology.
Thanks to six key considerations, Medicine Hat is in a unique position to help renewable energy companies bring their technology to market, becoming Alberta’s epicentre for renewable energy.
1. A city-owned utility with smart-metering technology
Medicine Hat’s city-owned utility provides expertise and a possible testing location, while smart meters report valuable data on generation and use.
2. Excellent solar and wind resources
With 2,500 hours of annual sunshine and a stable wind resource, southeast Alberta is already home to 2,000 megawatts of proposed wind and solar projects. Should these projects move forward, it could represent up to 1,500 construction jobs and more than 100 permanent positions.
3. A skilled labour force
Medicine Hat is an engineering and business center, with those two fields of study representing 48 per cent of our population’s educational attainment.
4. A collaborative community
Medicine Hat College, APEX, Regional Innovation Network, the City of Medicine Hat and others are working together to achieve a common vision.
5. A stable municipal government
Even in a recession, Medicine Hat’s government is remarkably stable. In 2015 they were only the third Alberta city to be included in the Major Cities Investment Regulation, allowing greater control over investing and opportunity for greater dividends.
6. Federal and provincial innovation grants
Alberta-based companies are able to access innovation grants, providing the necessary early-stage funding for new technology. From Medicine Hat, companies have the opportunity to move their technology from prototype to commercial application.
The Government of Alberta has sent a clear signal regarding renewable energy, with significant investment being committed to the sector. Medicine Hat is one of the few jurisdictions that has the tools in place to bridge the gap from pre-commercial to commercial technology. It’s a unique position that provides value to companies and will have a positive impact on our local economy.
Ryan Jackson is the General Manager for Invest Medicine Hat, which helps new, expanding and relocating businesses access markets and business resources in Medicine Hat. For more information on investment opportunities, visit http://www.investmedicinehat.ca