The Low-Carbon Playbook

Policies to foster Alberta’s competitiveness in a decarbonizing world
October 2023 (Version 2.0: January 2024)
Par Brendan Frank, Adam Sweet, Bentley Allan

Alberta is facing fierce competition in the global race for low-carbon investment. A low-cost, low-risk financial instrument called a carbon contract for difference could help Alberta incentivize new investment in low-carbon technologies, like sustainable aviation fuels, hydrogen production, and carbon capture and storage (CCUS).

The Low-Carbon Playbook builds on the Creating a Canadian Advantage report from the Transition Accelerator and Clean Prosperity by focusing on Alberta. The working paper compares policy-based incentives between Alberta and US states for investment in nine low-carbon technologies, and proposes options to close the incentive gaps that Alberta faces as a result of generous subsidies in the 2022 US Inflation Reduction Act.

Now is the time to maximize Alberta’s ability to attract low-carbon investment. By developing a comprehensive low-carbon industrial strategy based on the principles outlined in Alberta’s Emissions Reduction and Energy Development Plan (ERED), and implementing CCfDs as a low-cost, low-risk tool for providing investment certainty, Alberta can help secure its place in the emerging clean-energy economy.

About the Authors

Brendan Frank

Director of Policy and Strategy

Brendan Frank leads Clean Prosperity’s policy development and analysis. Prior to joining Clean Prosperity, he worked for several organizations that specialize in decarbonization policy, including Canada’s Ecofiscal Commission, the University of Ottawa’s Positive Energy program, and Innovative Research Group. His experience spans the private and public sectors, academia, and civil society.

With roots in Alberta and Ontario, Brendan strongly believes that addressing environmental challenges can be a unifying issue across regional and political lines. He holds a Master of Public Policy from the University of Calgary and a B.Sc. in Environmental Science from Queen’s University. Outside of work he is a musician, runner, and occasionally successful cook. Brendan lives in Ottawa with his wife and sons.

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Adam Sweet

Director for Western Canada

Adam Sweet joined Clean Prosperity from the Government of Alberta, where he helped establish Canada’s first ESG Secretariat as its Executive Director, ESG Coordination and Integration. Prior to this, Adam led the Government Relations team at the University of Alberta and held various roles with local economic development, consulting, and business organizations, and also led a local strategic advisory firm focused on helping private and non-profit organizations develop and implement new growth strategies rooted in the concepts of shared value creation.

Adam returned home to Alberta in 2013 following many years in Ottawa working on Parliament Hill, including in Canada’s Environment Minister’s Office in 2011-13. Prior to that, Adam spent time in Canada’s Embassy in Washington, D.C., and served nearly two years on the ground in Afghanistan deployed with the Canadian Government.

A fervent believer in the power of people to create positive change in their communities, Adam is a very active national, provincial, and local volunteer, currently serving on the Glenrose Rehabilitation Hospital Foundation’s Board of Trustees, as a Reservist in the Canadian Army, and as a local minor soccer coach.

Born and raised in rural Alberta, Adam and his unstoppable wife Katherine spend all their free time outdoors exploring Edmonton and hiking the Rocky Mountains with their young son and their two Nova Scotia Duck Tollers.

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Bentley Allan, PhD

Conseiller principal – trajectoires de transition

Bentley Allan, PhD, est conseiller principal – trajectoires de transition à l’Accélérateur de Transition et professeur associé de sciences politiques à l’université Johns Hopkins. Le professeur Allan est un chercheur qui a obtenu de nombreux prix et qui a écrit sur les dynamiques de l’ordre international, le rapport entre la science et la politique, la politique climatique et l’économie politique de la décarbonation. Il conseille régulièrement le gouvernement et l’industrie en matière de géopolitique, de stratégie industrielle et de politique.

Il a codirigé l’élaboration de trois stratégies sectorielles et de feuilles de route en collaboration avec des partenaires industriels. Il est le co-coordinateur du Centre de Politique Industrielle pour la Carboneutralité qui fait avancer la recherche et l’action pour renforcer et mobiliser l’expertise du Canada en matière de politique industrielle moderne, permettant une collaboration stratégique entre le gouvernement, l’industrie, les communautés indigènes, les syndicats et les institutions financières dans la recherche d’emplois et d’une économie compétitive.

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Cite as: Frank B., Sweet A., and Allan B. (2023). The Low-Carbon Playbook: Policies to foster Alberta’s competitiveness in a decarbonizing world. Transition Accelerator and Clean Prosperity. Version 2.0.