Skip to main content
The Globe and Mail
Support Quality Journalism
The Globe and Mail
First Access to Latest
Investment News
Collection of curated
e-books and guides
Inform your decisions via
Globe Investor Tools
Just$1.99
per week
for first 24 weeks

Enjoy unlimited digital access
Enjoy Unlimited Digital Access
Get full access to globeandmail.com
Just $1.99 per week for the first 24 weeks
Just $1.99 per week for the first 24 weeks
var select={root:".js-sub-pencil",control:".js-sub-pencil-control",open:"o-sub-pencil--open",closed:"o-sub-pencil--closed"},dom={},allowExpand=!0;function pencilInit(o){var e=arguments.length>1&&void 0!==arguments[1]&&arguments[1];select.root=o,dom.root=document.querySelector(select.root),dom.root&&(dom.control=document.querySelector(select.control),dom.control.addEventListener("click",onToggleClicked),setPanelState(e),window.addEventListener("scroll",onWindowScroll),dom.root.removeAttribute("hidden"))}function isPanelOpen(){return dom.root.classList.contains(select.open)}function setPanelState(o){dom.root.classList[o?"add":"remove"](select.open),dom.root.classList[o?"remove":"add"](select.closed),dom.control.setAttribute("aria-expanded",o)}function onToggleClicked(){var l=!isPanelOpen();setPanelState(l)}function onWindowScroll(){window.requestAnimationFrame(function() {var l=isPanelOpen(),n=0===(document.body.scrollTop||document.documentElement.scrollTop);n||l||!allowExpand?n&&l&&(allowExpand=!0,setPanelState(!1)):(allowExpand=!1,setPanelState(!0))});}pencilInit(".js-sub-pencil",!1); // via darwin-bg var slideIndex = 0; carousel(); function carousel() { var i; var x = document.getElementsByClassName("subs_valueprop"); for (i = 0; i < x.length; i++) { x[i].style.display = "none"; } slideIndex++; if (slideIndex> x.length) { slideIndex = 1; } x[slideIndex - 1].style.display = "block"; setTimeout(carousel, 2500); }

Grant Hunter, Associate Minister of Red Tape Reduction is sworn into office, in Edmonton on Tuesday, April 30, 2019. Alberta is officially turning out the lights on Energy Efficiency Alberta, an agency created by the former NDP government to promote green initiatives and home rebates.

JASON FRANSON/The Canadian Press

Alberta is closing the door on an agency that championed eco-initiatives but was ridiculed by Premier Jason Kenney as a costly conduit for “shower heads and light bulbs.”

Grant Hunter, associate minister in charge of red tape reduction, says the remaining duties and responsibilities of Energy Efficiency Alberta – and its $8-million budget – will be folded into other departments or the current Emissions Reduction Alberta.

“None of the programs that are currently there will be taken away,” Hunter said in an interview Thursday.

Story continues below advertisement

“(But) we don’t need to have two agencies doing the same thing.”

Emissions Reduction Alberta, established in 2007, is an arm’s-length agency that uses greenhouse gas levies paid by large emitters to invest in projects to reduce greenhouse gases.

“Our government has always maintained that we must leverage our industry partners and small- and medium-sized businesses in order to tackle emissions,” Environment Minister Jason Nixon said in a statement.

“We have also committed to streamlining government delivery of services and cutting red tape. By rolling (the two agencies together), we are accomplishing all of the above.”

Energy Efficiency Alberta was launched in 2017 by the former NDP government. It was the centrepiece of a broader commitment to move Alberta toward a greener economy.

The agency used money from a carbon tax brought in by the NDP on gasoline and heating fuels to fund initiatives and rebates on everything from solar panels to energy-efficient appliances, windows, insulation, LED light bulbs and low-flow shower heads.

Kenney, in the 2019 election campaign won by the United Conservatives, promised to end the provincial carbon tax. He followed through, but it was replaced with a federal one.

Story continues below advertisement

He also promised to end Energy Efficiency Alberta, which he suggested epitomized an NDP government committed to raising taxes in the service of a bloated bureaucracy administering projects best left to the free market.

“We don’t need bureaucrats changing our shower heads and our light bulbs,” Kenney said in March 2019.

Kenney’s government cancelled Energy Efficiency Alberta’s rebate programs last fall while continuing with lesser-known programs such as the Green Loan Guarantee, which supports lenders offering cash to support renewable energy projects.

The agency has estimated its programs were not a drain on the economy but rather a propellant, delivering $850 million in economic growth and returning $3.20 for every $1 invested.

The agency shutdown is part of an omnibus bill introduced in the house by Hunter. Among other changes, it proposes an end to cabinet approval of oil sands projects.

Those projects are currently accepted or rejected by the Alberta Energy Regulator, then go to cabinet for confirmation.

Story continues below advertisement

Officials said the double approval isn’t needed, because cabinet does not interfere in the regulator’s decisions. Hunter said it also needlessly delayed the approvals, sometimes by up to 10 months.

The bill also eliminates Canadian residency requirements for boards of directors and devolves other powers from cabinet to individual ministers.

NDP red tape reduction critic Chris Nielsen said the bill is 175 pages with hundreds of proposed legal changes, and it’s being pushed through the legislature in the middle of a pandemic.

“This bill gives enormous amounts of power to individual ministers, removes transparency and accountability measures (and) weakens legal protections across the board,” said Nielsen.

NDP environment critic Marlin Schmidt said cabinet must have a role in oil sands approvals, as it is responsible for broader public concerns beyond what is considered by the Alberta Energy Regulator.

“No one elected the AER,” said Schmidt.

Story continues below advertisement

“The AER is not part of a system of government representing multiple perspectives held accountable to the public.”

Our Morning Update and Evening Update newsletters are written by Globe editors, giving you a concise summary of the day’s most important headlines. Sign up today.

Report an error
Due to technical reasons, we have temporarily removed commenting from our articles. We hope to have this fixed soon. Thank you for your patience. If you are looking to give feedback on our new site, please send it along to feedback@globeandmail.com. If you want to write a letter to the editor, please forward to letters@globeandmail.com.

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff.

We aim to create a safe and valuable space for discussion and debate. That means:

  • Treat others as you wish to be treated
  • Criticize ideas, not people
  • Stay on topic
  • Avoid the use of toxic and offensive language
  • Flag bad behaviour

Comments that violate our community guidelines will be removed.

Read our community guidelines here

Discussion loading ...

To view this site properly, enable cookies in your browser. Read our privacy policy to learn more.
How to enable cookies