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Pitched First Nations hydrogen pipeline has potential for Alberta, however particulars nonetheless skinny: consultants

‘When you concentrate on a number of the ancillary advantages of financial corridors, like we actually must be focusing these on small rural, distant communities and sometimes in Canada, these are First Nations communities’

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A proposed financial hall that features a hydrogen pipeline from northern Alberta to Manitoba is an thrilling prospect for the province, First Nations and northern growth, consultants say, although additionally they warning a lot work stays to be accomplished.

The undertaking was pitched by a brand new coalition of Treaty 5 First Nations and requires the creation of the Wáwátéwák Hall, a Cree time period translated to English as northern lights.

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Other than the pipeline, it will additionally embody development of first a high-voltage direct present electrical energy transmission line, adopted by a fibre-optic community and an all-weather street.

Professor Kent Fellows works with the Northern Hall Challenge, a analysis program run out of the Faculty of Public Coverage on the College of Calgary that research financial corridors.

He mentioned the deliberate undertaking might present advantages throughout the area, if accomplished as deliberate.

“When you concentrate on a number of the ancillary advantages of financial corridors, like we actually must be focusing these on small rural, distant communities and sometimes in Canada, these are First Nations communities.”

The idea of financial corridors stresses a single technique as a way of minimizing duplication of prices, and the ecological and environmental footprint.

“It makes much more sense to plan it out as an infrastructure technique, reasonably than to let advert hoc proposals go wherever they wish to go,” he mentioned, citing the Grays Bay Port Highway undertaking in Nunavut and the Northwest Territories as one other instance.

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The hall plans name for using Indigenous-designed approaches and shall be owned and operated by the coalition, with pipeline development scheduled to take between 5 and 6 years.

“This undertaking has potential to alter the current and the way forward for our nations in a great way, that may present abundance and prosperity,” mentioned Chemawawin Cree Nation Chief Clarence Easter within the undertaking’s Monday announcement.

‘All the things is there in Alberta’

Deputy director of the U of A’s Future Power Methods, Amit Kumar, shares Fellows’ enthusiasm for the undertaking, citing Alberta’s historical past and experience within the business.

“All the things is there in Alberta,” he mentioned. “It’s not new to us.”

The coalition didn’t specify a exact estimated price for the pipeline. Kumar expects it will not be low-cost, however notes business is already producing comparable pipelines by itself.

“It’s one thing that could possibly be accomplished, however it will be costly,” he mentioned.

A part of that price could be because of the size of the pipeline, which might be among the many world’s longest if accomplished at the moment.

“Technically it’s possible,” he mentioned.

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“It’s extra about willingness to do it and the economics will drive what could possibly be accomplished right here.”

‘Responding to decarbonization objectives’

That willingness is among the many uncertainty that lingers across the undertaking, together with funding, allow approval, market demand, and authorities help.

Fellows mentioned setting up the pipeline’s terminals would even be “a fairly important capital allocation” that might probably solely be funded if constant demand for hydrogen is assured.

“You want individuals to decide to longer-term contracts to make it work.”

Alberta authorities officers didn’t obtain a complicated discover of the plan, and are awaiting extra particulars however say the province typically helps the hall undertaking.

Leaders from Treaty 8 in northern Alberta couldn’t be reached for response.

Permits would additionally must be secured in an analogous course of to these wanted to construct fossil gasoline pipelines.

Whereas these oil and gasoline pipelines usually spark fierce resistance, Fellows expects the mix of First Nations possession of the pipeline, together with what it’s carrying, means comparable opposition is much less probably.

“You’re responding to decarbonization objectives as a result of it doesn’t carry the identical greenhouse gasoline emissions, depth impacts as pure gasoline or crude oil.”

Sensible questions stay over the undertaking’s future, however for Fellows, even a proposed Indigenous-led, renewable growth undertaking is important.

“It’s encouraging to see this undertaking and these sorts of tasks begin arising in public once more.”

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