Cenovus Energy has entered into a power purchase agreement to buy solar-powered electricity and the associated emissions offsets from Cold Lake First Nations and Elemental Energy Inc.
The oil sands major says the agreement will help it advance two of its environmental, social & governance focus areas by supporting Indigenous reconciliation through this economic engagement and addressing climate and greenhouse gas emissions.
“Through this agreement we’re reinforcing our commitment to using multiple levers and innovative approaches to help us in our long-term ambition of achieving net zero emissions by 2050,” said Alex Pourbaix, Cenovus President & Chief Executive Officer. “This is also an excellent opportunity to further build on our long-standing relationship with Cold Lake First Nations in its partnership with Elemental.”
According to Cenovus, the project is expected to be completed by 2023 and will add 150 megawatts of renewable energy to the Alberta electricity grid.
Cenovus has signed a 15-year PPA for the full output of the facility, providing the offtake contract necessary for the construction of the project. The company says this will help Cenovus mitigate its scope 2 emissions which are those represented by purchased or acquired electricity, steam, heat and/or cooling. Cenovus says these emissions primarily result from purchased electricity.
CLFN is part of the Denesųłiné Nation. It has 3,000 members and reserve lands around Cold Lake and Primrose Lake near some of Cenovus’s oil sands projects in northern Alberta and has been a long-time supplier of services at Cenovus’s projects.
“As stewards of the land, our Nation fully supports sustainable renewable energy development respecting environmental, economic, cultural and social contexts, while realizing long-term economic benefits through an ownership stake in the project,” said Cold Lake First Nations Chief Roger Marten. “The project exemplifies the relationships we’ve built with our partners and creates an innovative path for economic reconciliation.”
Vancouver-based Elemental Energy is a privately held developer, investor and operator of renewable energy projects, including two existing solar facilities in Alberta.
“This project represents a milestone for Elemental by building on our track record of Indigenous partnerships and working with corporations to build large scale projects that advance Canada’s renewable energy economy,” said Jamie Houssian, Principal, Elemental Energy. “We are excited to demonstrate the power of collaboration with Cenovus, Cold Lake First Nations, and Elemental coming together to create a project that unites both purpose and profit.”
In addition to climate & GHG emissions and Indigenous reconciliation, Cenovus has also identified water stewardship, biodiversity and inclusion & diversity as its other significant ESG focus areas.
The company says it will release its 2020 ESG report in the fourth quarter of 2021, which will include new ESG targets for each focus area, as well as pro forma metrics for the combined company to reflect Cenovus’s acquisition of Husky Energy on January 1, 2021.