EDMONTON –The newly appointed head of Alberta’s first energy efficiency agency says it has enough resources to make a big difference.
“We can have real impact in terms of both job creation and energy efficiency, ensuring savings for businesses and households,” Monica Curtis said Tuesday.
Energy Efficiency Alberta is funded by the province’s carbon tax and is aimed at getting Albertans to use energy more wisely. Alberta joins all other provinces in having a government agency to promote and assist with wise energy consumption.
Curtis comes to the province from the Wisconsin Energy Conservation Corporation, a non-profit organization that specializes in energy efficiency and renewable energy programs.
Originally from Manitoba, Curtis has also worked for SaskPower as well as Alberta Agriculture and Edmonton-based utility Epcor back when it was called Edmonton Power.
She suggested that Alberta being the last province to inaugurate an energy efficiency program is an opportunity.
“There are great examples that the province of Alberta can borrow from and learn from all across North America,” said Curtis, who pointed to programs in Nova Scotia, Manitoba and British Columbia as examples.
“Being able to draw on the experience those programs have to offer creates a really good foundation for Alberta to grow quickly from.”
Her first job will be to oversee the implementation of three government programs already announced.
One involves handing out samples of energy-efficient products such as LED lights for homeowners to try.
A second program will allow consumers to apply for rebates when they buy energy-efficient fridges. A third one is to provide businesses and non-profit organizations rebates on larger energy-efficient products such as boilers and heating and cooling systems.
Smaller-scale solar power programs are to follow later.
The province plans to spend $648 million in the next five years on energy-efficiency products and programs.
Curtis said it was the provincial government’s climate-change policies that drew her back to Canada.
“It creates an environment where energy efficiency can really work together with other aspects of energy policy, whether it’s oil and gas, solar, water, wind or saved energy.”