The Pulse: Sept. 15, 2023

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  • 24°C: Sunny. Wind becoming south 20 km/h gusting to 40 near noon. High 24. UV index 4 or moderate. (forecast)
  • White/Blue: The High Level Bridge will be lit white and blue for Rosh Hashanah. (details)
  • 57%/62%: Separate polls by Leger and Research Co. found that 57% and 62% of Albertans are in favour of some kind of federal cap on oil and gas emissions. (details)
  • 7:30pm: The Edmonton Elks play the Saskatchewan Roughriders at Mosaic Stadium. (details)

Justin Riemer, Sean Collins, Ian MacGregor, and Andrew Gillis sit on a conference stage beneath a screen showing their names

Cleantech startups see opportunity in Alberta's Industrial Heartland

By Colin Gallant

Two Edmonton cleantech companies are getting closer to opening facilities in Alberta's Industrial Heartland, where they plan to leverage the area's unique assets.

The CEOs of Varme Energy and Aurora Hydrogen addressed the opportunities they see in energy diversification during a panel discussion at the Alberta's Industrial Heartland Association conference at the Edmonton Convention Centre on Sept. 14.

Starting in 2024, Varme is planning to build a $250-million to $300-million facility to generate electricity from burning trash while capturing its carbon emissions.

"Garbage is almost like coal," CEO Sean Collins told Taproot following the panel. "What I find crazy is that we pay money for coal, to burn it, and we pay money to get rid of garbage. So for us, it's sort of the inversion of that."

The Heartland is an ideal location for Varme because of its proximity to the Alberta Carbon Trunk Line, Collins said.

"We can get lease options that are 1,300 metres away from the largest CO2 pipeline on Earth," he said. "If you're adding 20, 30 kilometres of CO2 pipeline, you're obliterating your economics … We sort of say the Industrial Heartland is the belle of the ball."

Co-panellist Andrew Gillis of Aurora Hydrogen is bringing a pilot plant to the Heartland thanks to a partnership with Sherritt International.

"We're basically borrowing some land from them right now to do the development and leverage some of their professional expertise," Gillis said in an interview. "Once the technology is operational, then we expect to be able to deploy it commercially wherever anyone needs."

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Headlines: Sept. 15, 2023

By Kevin Holowack

  • The city announced it is using $5 million in provincial funding it received through the Alberta Transit System Cleanup Grant to make "system-wide improvements" to transit safety and cleanliness. The improvements include increased cleaning, upgrading more than 700 doors and windows to make them harder to damage, and 25 new security cameras. The city also converted the former Three Bananas Café into a hub for peace officers and a space for transit peace officers to work with police transit teams. In 2024, a former café at Central LRT Station will become a space for the Community Outreach Transit Team, which is a partnership between the city and the Bent Arrow Traditional Healing Society.
  • The Edmonton Humane Society ran its first trap-neuter-return clinic on Sept. 14, which involved trapping 50 feral cats from across the city to be spayed and neutered and receive preventative care. CEO Liza Sunley said large-scale clinics have been shown to help address feral cat overpopulation and that the society will consider more in the future if a review finds the first clinic successful.
  • Mayor Amarjeet Sohi said the UCP government's pause on approving renewable energy projects, which was first announced in early August and ends Feb. 29, is unlikely to affect Edmonton. "The preliminary analysis that I have heard back from administration is that there is no immediate impact on the contracts that the City of Edmonton has purchased with renewable companies," he said, adding the moratorium is also unlikely to hinder the city's goal of being carbon-neutral by 2050.
  • Many in the Edmonton Moroccan community are supporting friends and family affected by the 6.8-magnitude earthquake that struck the country on Sept. 8, causing large-scale destruction and killing nearly 3,000 people. Imam Sadique Pathan said mosques across Edmonton, including Al Rashid Mosque, are collecting money and working together to determine the best way to respond. Lahsen El Falsi, a founding member of the Moroccan Society In Alberta, appeared on CBC's Edmonton AM on Sept. 11 to discuss the Edmonton Coffee House, an Edmonton-inspired coffee shop he opened in Rabat, and its efforts to connect with victims and families.
  • Recent data indicates that Edmonton's multifamily housing market, which includes new apartment condos, town homes, and purpose-built rentals, is more favourable for renters and buyers than other Canadian markets. Real estate data company Zonda Urban reported that Edmonton saw year-over-year price growth of 23% for apartment condos and 10% for town homes in the first three months of 2023; however, the average price for a wood-frame condo is around $317 per square foot, compared to $412 in Calgary, and $1,200 in the Greater Toronto Area.
  • The Edmonton Police Service disclosed that the regimental funeral for two officers who were killed in a shooting on March 16 cost a total of $404,318. The Oilers Entertainment Group donated $70,750 and the rental cost of Rogers Place. The investigation into the murder of Const. Travis Jordan and Const. Brett Ryan remains ongoing.
Women with bikes stand in front of the stores at Edmonton's Manchester Square

Weekend agenda: Sept. 15-17, 2023

By Debbi Serafinchon

Opportunities this weekend include the ultimate fandom event, a radically open arts festival, a peek under the ETS hood, a celebration of community, a bike ride with a message, and a look at a berry with historical significance.

Find even more things to do in the Arts Roundup and the Food Roundup.

Photo: Last year's Fancy Women Bike Ride attracted more than 120 riders, and organizers are hoping to double that number this year. (Fancy Women Bike Ride/Twitter(X))