The Pulse: May 19, 2022

Here's what you need to know about Edmonton today.

Sponsored by:

Want this in your inbox? Sign up to get The Pulse by email. It's free!


  • 12°C: Rain ending near noon then cloudy with 60% of showers. Risk of a thunderstorm early in the afternoon. Wind north 20 km/h gusting to 40. High 12. UV index 2 or low. (forecast)
  • 61: Alberta reported 61 deaths related to COVID-19 over the past seven days, with the pandemic total reaching 4,462. (details)
  • 6-9: The Oilers (0-1) lost to the Calgary Flames (1-0) in Game 1 of their second-round playoff series. (details)

A portrait of Amit Kumar

Hydrogen: Where we're at and where we're going

By Emily Rendell-Watson

The opportunity and promise of hydrogen in the Edmonton region will be highlighted again when the f-Cell Canada conference comes to the Edmonton Convention Centre on May 25 and 26, a month after the Canadian Hydrogen Convention ignited interest and investment.

Edmonton Global has touted both events as opportunities to attract money to the region. April's convention saw announcements ranging from $50 million for a Hydrogen Centre of Excellence to a variety of commitments made by the Edmonton International Airport to pilot new technologies.

"As global markets and economies shift to reduce emissions, the Edmonton Metropolitan Region is poised to be a world leader in renewable energy in solar, geothermal, and particularly in hydrogen," Mayor Amarjeet Sohi declared during his inaugural state of the city speech on May 10.

While questions have been raised about whether hydrogen is as climate-friendly as proponents say, it is undeniable that every level of government in Canada is persuaded hydrogen is key to reaching the goal of net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050. Given that lofty goal, it's worth examining what the current situation is and what has to happen to execute on this momentum.

Where is Alberta at with hydrogen currently?

Alberta is producing around 2.4 million tonnes of hydrogen annually, said Amit Kumar, a professor of mechanical engineering at the University of Alberta and the NSERC/Cenovus/Alberta Innovates associate industrial research chair in energy and environmental systems. The oilsands industry uses hydrogen to upgrade bitumen, and the chemical industry uses it to produce fertilizer, for example.

"We're already producing hydrogen on a large scale, and this is a key advantage," Kumar said. "We have the resources, expertise in producing it at scale, and the trained workforce who can do it." In addition to those already working in this field, the energy workforce could be "easily" transitioned as more workers are needed, he added.

Kumar, whose team advised the provincial government on its hydrogen roadmap, said that Alberta's advantage is that it makes a lot of natural gas. "If we can convert that natural gas to a resource (hydrogen) which is accepted and which is wanted by different jurisdictions around the world, we can continue to grow our economy, and we can continue to prosper," he added.

Continue reading

Headlines: May 19, 2022

By Kevin Holowack and Mack Male

  • Jason Kenney resigned as leader of the United Conservative Party after receiving only 51.4% approval in the party's leadership review, in which 34,298 UCP members voted by mail on whether they approved of the current leader. "The result is not what I hoped for or frankly what I expected," Kenney said to a gathering after the results were announced. "While 51% of the vote passes the constitutional threshold of a majority, it clearly is not adequate support to continue on as leader." He had earlier indicated that the support of 50% + 1 would be enough. The UCP caucus is to meet in Calgary this morning and is expected to choose an interim leader.
  • City council's executive committee voted 3-2 in favour of a motion from Coun. Erin Rutherford to recommend setting base funding for the Edmonton Police Service at $385 million per year and to align the 2023-2026 budget process for police funding with other city departments and agencies. "It is unsustainable to have police funding go up year after year," she said. John McDougall, chair of the Edmonton Police Commission, said the proposal is out of line. "Arbitrarily assigning a number to the police budget cuts the legs out from underneath the commission and is usurping our role," he said. City council will vote on the recommendation next week.
  • Two years after an Indigenous student collected 7,000 signatures in favour of renaming Dan Knott School, the Edmonton Public School Board voted to call it kisêwâtisiwin School. Board chair Trisha Estabrooks said the Cree name, which was chosen in consultation with an Indigenous naming committee, can be translated as "the act of being kind," which aligns with the school's motto of "Do Nice, Be Kind." The southeast junior high school's former namesake was an Edmonton mayor with ties to the Ku Klux Klan.
  • Edmonton Public School Board trustees heard a report about substantial cost increases linked to the rising price of water, natural gas, electricity, and insurance. The details come as the division is expecting 1,700 students to be underfunded in the upcoming year due to enrolment outpacing the board's projections. The board is now "expected to do more with precipitously less," said trustee Nathan Ip. "This will have an impact on student learning over time."
  • NAIT is partnering with STEM Collegiate to build a STEM-focused charter school at the site of a vacant office building in southeast Edmonton. The UCP government promised $28 million to the project in its election platform in 2019 and reaffirmed its support this week. STEM Collegiate founder Lisa Davis called the school a "makerspace on steroids" that responds to demands for science and tech graduates in Alberta, while EPS board chair Trisha Estabrooks expressed disappointment over "dollars siphoned off and put into the charter school model" rather than public education.
  • Front Yards in Bloom has launched its next season, noting 2022 has been declared the Year of the Garden. Nominations for beautiful front yards, public spaces, balconies, and more can be submitted online from May 20 to July 5. This year, the city is highlighting the Edible Garden category, which includes fruit, berries, and mushrooms.
  • St. Albert city council voted unanimously to withdraw the city's notice of intent to annex 46 hectares of land from Edmonton, which was severed from the rest of the city by the construction of Anthony Henday Drive. During consultations, landowners expressed strong opposition to the annexation, arguing it would cause development delays and subject them to off-site levies. Mayor Cathy Heron suggested the landowners are being shortsighted. "We could have provided them access to South Riel, and we could have given them sewer and storm, which would drastically increase the value of their land," she said.
  • Sports columnist Terry Jones got Wayne Gretzky to suggest that he thinks Calgary will win the Battle of Alberta. "I don't want to tell you (who will win) because everyone in Edmonton will be mad at me," said the Oilers legend, who has a new role as a commentator for ESPN. "Just write that my heart's with Edmonton, but …"
Taproot Edmonton's Bloom podcast, brought to you by Innovate Edmonton

Bloom: Fuelling with endurance chocolate

By Emily Rendell-Watson

In Episode 16 of Bloom, Emily Rendell-Watson interviews Kristyn Carriere, co-founder of 7 Summits Snacks. The Edmonton-based company has developed chocolate bars that can replace energy gels and bars for endurance athletes.

"Chocolate, honey, coconut butter, sugar — your body knows what to do with these ingredients, which makes it a little easier to digest and doesn't stress out your system while you're trying to do activity," said Carriere, who is a marathon runner. "Comparatively, a carbohydrate gel with fractionated sugars or carbohydrates that are new, novel, very scientific, very effective at what they do — they can be overwhelming to your system."

7 Summits Snacks is a semifinalist in the 2022 Startup Global Pitch Competition. The company is hoping to grow its consumer base and become a sports nutrition option that is known around the world.

Rendell-Watson also talks about the four-week INDIGital program that was recently brought to Edmonton by the Indigenous Friends Association to help participants heal through technology. Plus, the province announced a program with $6 million in funding that will provide unsecured loans of up to $75,000 to women who are starting or growing a business, and a new mobile app called The Atlas is in the works to map barriers to getting around the city.

In our sponsor spot, Dawn Newton of Accelerate Edmonton continues her conversation with Taproot co-founder Mack Male about Alberta Catalyzer, a provincial pre-accelerator program for Alberta founders.

Bloom is available on Spotify, Apple Podcasts, Stitcher, and everywhere else you get your podcasts.