A new report says that despite recent gains, Alberta’s energy sector still faces serious problems.
The report, which comes out Wednesday, was commissioned by the Alberta Federation of Labour.
It is the first of a series of reports commissioned by Alberta that will help the province address its long-term energy challenges.
It’s part of a wider plan to help Alberta address its future.
As the oil patch, which accounts for about 40 per cent of Alberta’s gross domestic product, becomes more and more reliant on oil sands resources, it is increasingly becoming a source of conflict.
Alberta is among the provinces that are already facing growing economic uncertainty, with oil prices and its impact on the Canadian economy expected to worsen as the global oil market is expected to decline.
Alberta’s oil sands industry is the second largest in Canada behind Saskatchewan, which relies heavily on oil and gas extraction.
It’s a sector that has been under attack from both sides of the political spectrum.
The Conservatives have repeatedly attacked the industry, saying it contributes to climate change and has caused job losses.
Opposition NDP Leader Brian Jean has accused the province of using its energy reserves to prop up the oilpatch.
The energy sector has also been a cause of controversy in recent years.
In February, a judge ordered a federal court to rule whether the Alberta government violated environmental law by allowing the controversial Enbridge Line 3 pipeline to cross into British Columbia.
The decision followed a similar ruling from a court in Quebec.
Environmental groups and First Nations groups have also been critical of the industry.
They have opposed Enbridge’s proposed Line 3 expansion in the province, arguing it would exacerbate climate change.
A report commissioned by BCLN, a Canadian union representing construction workers, said that while the province has made some improvements to its energy sector, the province remains committed to maintaining a competitive position in the oil and natural gas market.
“There are still challenges,” said David MacNaughton, president of the BCLNs’ Alberta Regional Branch.
“The industry is still very vulnerable to price increases, because of all the factors that are affecting supply.
It remains very much reliant on cheap and plentiful natural gas.”
While the report says the sector has benefited from a number of measures to improve its competitiveness, it cautions that there is still a long way to go.
The province has introduced a number and measures to support the energy sector over the past decade, but the report notes that much work remains to be done.
It recommends that the province consider expanding the province’s renewable energy mandate, a move that the BLEF is urging the province to do.
“We need to be looking at the cost of renewable energy and not the cost to the public purse,” said John Hahn, the president of Calgary-based energy consulting firm MacNeely Associates.
“If we were going to have an opportunity to build a competitive energy market, it would be to get the public into the game.”
As Alberta continues to grow, the government is also exploring ways to reduce the environmental impacts of the oil industry.
A proposal to set a cap on the amount of greenhouse gases produced in the country’s oilpatch has been in the works for years.
The new report also says that the energy transition is being influenced by a variety of factors.
It cites the rise of China, a global market for oil and other fossil fuels, and a slowdown in the growth of renewable technologies.
It also warns of rising global emissions from oil and coal and climate change as a result of the use of those fuels.
But while some of these concerns may sound familiar, they are largely new to Alberta.
For instance, the report points to the province in particular, which has a long history of developing its own oil sands resource and is still struggling with a reliance on oil.
The Alberta Energy Regulator has not yet issued a ruling on the carbon tax, which will be imposed in the spring.
But it has suggested that it may adopt a carbon tax as a matter of policy in the coming years.
It has said that the provincial government would be responsible for paying for a carbon levy on all energy consumers.