April 17th, 2024

City accepting bids for carbon capture design

By COLLIN GALLANT on February 8, 2022.

The city's Unit 16 power plant is shown in this May 2021 file photo. The City of Medicine Hat is now accepting proposals to study and design its carbon capture system.--NEWS FILE PHOTO


The City of Medicine Hat is now accepting proposals to study and design a carbon capture system and subsequent storage plant that was first proposed late last year.

Such a contract would provide a review of design work and potential cost estimates, as well evaluate future proposals to build the facility that city economic developers and utility administrators say could deflect rising carbon levies from the city and local industrial players.

“Without bold action, escalating carbon taxes will have a negative impact on southeast Alberta’s economy and standard of living,” said Eric Van Enk, managing director of Invest Medicine Hat in a release. “The city is actively investigating the possibility of constructing a carbon capture plant that uses proven technologies to capture C02 emissions.”

The bidding process opened Jan. 31, and will close March 1.

On Monday seven major infrastructure or engineering firms had downloaded bid documents among other interested parties.

Last summer, the city’s economic development office announced plans to explore the creation of a regional carbon sequestration hub, though council members elected last fall said they are still evaluating the idea.

The city has already been submitted for federal grants to pay for feasibility, engineering, and market-scope studies.

Utility officials said a top priority of long-term planning was to help the city avoid carbon levies which are set to mount in the short to medium term.

Currently, carbon dioxide is priced at $50 per tonne, though the federal charge is set to escalate to $170 by 2030. Rebates for ratepayers at income tax time will also increase in kind.

In Alberta, major emitters like power producers and chemical plants, are not charged the carbon tax on their feedstock like consumers would be.

Instead they are charged on their emissions through the provincial TIER system.

Such a system has been in place since the mid-2000s and was most recently revamped by the United Conservative government in 2019. That system is considered and equivalent to the federal charge and can stand in its place, but would need to keep pace with rate increases.

According to the latest reports submitted to the federal government, the city’s power electrical generating stations produced 571,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent in 2019.

That’s up from 380,000 tonnes in 2017, the year before the Unit 16 north-end power plant expansion was completed. An ongoing, similarly sized expansion, known as Unit 17, is scheduled to be complete in March.

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