October 22nd, 2020

City considering plan to reduce greenhouse gas


By Kalinowski, Tim on March 6, 2020.

A co-generation system online at the wastewater treatment plant could turn methane produced through sewage treatment into electricity, council heard at Monday’s Community Issues Committee meeting. Herald photo by Ian Martens @IMartensHerald

Tim Kalinowski

Lethbridge Herald

tkalinowski@lethbridgeherald.com

City council is contemplating setting a greenhouse gas emissions reduction target at 35 per cent below 2018 levels by the year 2030 within its own corporate operations.

Council heard from city staff during Monday’s Community Issues Committee meeting that most of this target could be reached once the City brings its landfill gas capture project to completion in 2021, and by bringing a co-generation system online at the City’s wastewater treatment plant which would turn methane produced through sewage treatment into electricity. The co-generation system would come online by 2030.

More greenhouse gas reductions could come from converting some portion of the City’s working and transit fleet into electric or compressed gas-driven vehicles. Additional suggestions were also presented to council during Monday’s CIC meeting.

Council was told 15 per cent of the reductions of that 35 per cent reduction target would come from federal government-led initiatives and 20 per cent would come from City-led initiatives.

“We did some analysis on potential projects that are already planned for the City,” explained Evan Comeau, environmental sustainability analyst with the City of Lethbridge, “but haven’t necessarily occurred to date. We asked for projects in the next 10 to 15 years from all our business units, and we took the analysis from those projects, and the reductions that are going to come from those projects, and that gave us about a 20-per-cent reduction below our 2018 levels. From there we added on the 15-per-cent reduction which is going to be coming from the federal action to phase out coal-fired electricity in the province of Alberta.”

Comeau said by setting an emissions reduction target it would help the City of Lethbridge focus on its own greenhouse gas footprint.

“It holds us accountable,” he stated. “It’s going to show the community we are taking actions … So we know at the end of the day that 20 per cent is going to be coming from us, and it’s going to be our achievement.”

There may be opportunities in the future to go even further on reduction targets, said Comeau, but these first steps and targets were achievable within the next 10 years.

“Twenty per cent is still a good reduction for a municipality,” he confirmed. “Partners for Climate Protection suggest a 20-per-cent reduction, and we are achieving that. But there is still more work for us to do. I think we could accomplish more. But that is going to have to come from council.”

Partners for Climate Protection is a program administered by the International Council for Local Environmental Initiatives Canada and the Federation of Canadian Municipalities.

Council will decide whether or not to set greenhouse gas emissions reduction targets for the City of Lethbridge’s corporate operations at a future public meeting.

Follow @TimKalHerald on Twitter

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