Emissions Reduction Alberta’s new $150 million Shovel-Ready Challenge is now accepting applications. This funding opportunity provides vital financial support to companies ready to implement leading-edge technologies in applications for both greenfield and brownfield operations. This will result in operational efficiencies, cost and emissions reductions, new investment, job creation and retention, and address longer-term environmental sustainability priorities. Successful applicants are eligible for up to $15 million with a minimum request of $2 million.

ERA is seeking field pilots, commercial demonstration and deployment projects in applications that have the highest potential to rapidly create economic stimulus and environmental resiliency. Projects must begin within 60 days of funding approval and outcomes must include demonstration or deployment of technologies in operational environments. New projects and projects at early stages of execution that have been initiated but stalled due to the current economic situation are eligible to apply.

The Government of Alberta is funding up to $100 million for the Shovel-Ready Challenge through the Technology Innovation and Emissions Reduction (TIER) fund. Up to $50 million in additional funds will also be available from the the Government of Canada’s Low Carbon Economy Leadership Fund. This support will be leveraged with private funding, leading to projects valued at approximately $500 million.

Applications are open for all categories of applicants with shovel-ready projects, including industry associations, industry operators, entrepreneurs, technology providers, municipalities, and others. Partnerships between technology developers and industry operators are encouraged to apply. Projects may involve components outside of Alberta, but all demonstration and deployment activities must occur in the province.

The application deadline is Tuesday, December 22 at 5 p.m. Mountain Time.

Steve MacDonald, ERA’s CEO, and Mark Summers, ERA’s Executive Director of Technology and Innovation, hosted an informational webinar on Thursday, November 12 at 1 p.m. (MT). They provided an overview of the funding opportunity, including scope and eligibility of the call, the submission process, and timelines for decisions. Participants will have the chance to ask specific questions to help prepare an application.



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Areas of interest for the Shovel-Ready Challenge include, but are not limited to:

  • Low-carbon products (e.g. materials, chemicals, fuels, secondary products)
  • Novel processes for energy production, processing, petrochemical manufacturing, etc.
  • Waste-to-value and waste energy utilization
  • Novel low-emitting electricity generation
  • Low-carbon industrial heat
  • Digital optimization and automation
  • Carbon capture, utilization, and sequestration (CCUS)
  • Methane emissions management (from fossil and biological sources)
  • Optimization of agriculture and forestry operations
  • Enhancement of natural GHG sinks
  • Novel fuel-switching opportunities (e.g. electrification, hydrogen, renewable fuels, etc.)
  • Mobility and transportation solutions (e.g. industrial, freight, rail, aviation).

Expressions of interest are invited for projects that advance innovation to the stages of field piloting, commercial demonstration, or first-of-kind commercial implementation, as described below:

  • Field Pilot: At this stage the technology or innovation is ready to be field tested in an operational environment. Projects in this category include scale up of prototypes to representative pilot scale and subsequent in-field testing of pilot units.
  • Commercial Demonstration: At this stage of development, the technology or innovation is approaching the final commercial product and representative systems have been built. Projects in this category include demonstration of near- or fully-commercial scale systems in an operational environment.
  • First-of-Kind Commercial Implementation: At this stage, the technology is ready for first-of-kind commercial deployment. Projects in this category will involve design, construction, and operation of the technology in its final commercial form, with the intent to operate the technology for its full commercial life.

Submissions will be selected through ERA’s competitive review process. A team of experts in science, engineering, business development, commercialization, financing, and GHG quantification will conduct an independent, rigorous, and transparent review overseen by a Fairness Monitor. Once approved by ERA’s Board of Directors, funding will be distributed on a milestone basis, and the progress of each project is reported on until completion. All recipients are required to produce a final outcomes report that will be shared publicly for the broader benefit of Alberta.

The Low Carbon Economy Leadership Fund provides $1.4 billion to provinces and territories to reduce carbon pollution and help Canada meet its 2030 climate target. The funding recognizes the key role provinces and territories play in addressing climate change, and it supports their efforts to reduce emissions, encourage innovation, save money, and create jobs and healthier communities.