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Canada unveils hydrogen strategy to kick-start clean fuel industry




CALGARY, Alberta, Dec 16 (Reuters) – Canada unveiled a long-discussed hydrogen strategy on Wednesday, calling on investors to spur growth in a clean fuels sector the government says could be worth C$50 billion ($39.2 billion), create 350,000 jobs and help the country achieve net zero emissions by 2050.

Natural Resources Minister Seamus O’Regan said Canada will need C$5-7 billion in short-term investment to develop its hydrogen industry, but he promised no new money. federal.

However, the government last week announced a C$1.5 billion investment fund for low-carbon fuels, including hydrogen. Read more

Canada is the world’s fourth-largest oil producer and its energy sector has been hammered by falling demand in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Energy is our family business in Canada, and this strategy shows us how to grow that business,” O’Regan told a news conference. “Our first job is to let the industry know we mean business.”

So-called “blue” hydrogen derived from natural gas, with the resulting carbon emissions captured and stored, is a potentially useful backbone for struggling oil companies.

The western province of Alberta, home to most of Canada’s energy industry, welcomed the national strategy. However, critics say “blue” hydrogen amounts to a fossil fuel subsidy.

“While hydrogen is touted as a key climate solution, that won’t be the case as long as its production continues to be powered by fossil fuels rather than renewables,” said Julie Levin of Environmental. Defense.

Environmental groups want “green” hydrogen, which uses renewable sources of electricity, to be prioritized.

The province of Quebec, which has abundant hydroelectric resources and potential to become a major producer of “green” hydrogen, has not been consulted federally and is working on its own hydrogen strategy, a spokesperson said. word of the Quebec Minister of Energy and Natural Resources. Reuters.

However, a spokesperson for Minister O’Regan said National Resources Canada officials had spoken directly with Quebec officials on the hydrogen strategy.

Federal Environment and Climate Change Minister Jonathan Wilkinson said even “blue” hydrogen would reduce emissions and was not a fossil fuel subsidy.

($1 = 1.2752 Canadian dollars)

Reporting by Nia Williams; edited by Jonathan Oatis

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