Both new and expansion projects in Alberta are subject to regulatory review and scrutiny. In addition to municipal acceptance, one or several of the following organizations or agencies may be involved in a project’s regulatory process depending on the type and location of the project.
Alberta Energy is the provincial ministry responsible for managing the development of provincially owned energy and mineral resources by industry and the assessment and collection of non-renewable resource revenues in the form of royalties, freehold mineral taxes, rentals and bonuses. Their mission is to optimize the sustained contribution from Alberta’s energy and mineral resources in the interests of Albertans. Alberta Energy promotes the development of the province’s energy and mineral resources, recommends and implements energy and mineral related policy, grants rights for exploration and development to industry, and establishes and administers fiscal regimes and royalty systems. The resource portfolio includes natural gas, conventional oil, oil sands, petrochemicals, electricity, coal and minerals, renewable energy (wind, bio-energy, solar, hydro, geothermal, etc.) and energy efficiency and conservation.
The Ministry is also responsible for the regulation of energy development by the Energy Resources Conservation Board (see below for description) and regulation of utility development by the Alberta Utilities Commission (see below for description).
Alberta Environment and Parks
Alberta Environment and Parks is the provincial ministry responsible for protecting and enhancing Alberta’s natural environment to ensure the continued enjoyment of a clean and healthy environment by all. Their mission is to assure the effective stewardship of Alberta’s environmental systems to sustain a high quality of life.
The Minister is also responsible for the arms length Environmental Appeals Board, which is an independant administrative agency with legislative authority to hear appeals from decisions made under the various acts administered by Alberta Environment.
Alberta Utilities Commission
The Alberta Utilities Commission (AUC) is a quasi-judicial agency of the Government of Alberta, like the ERCB. However, the AUC’s responsibility is with Alberta’s utility service, ensuring that it is delivered in a way that is fair, responsible, and in the public’s interest. This is done by regulating investor-owned natural gas, electric, and water utilities as well as certain municipally owned electric utilities to make certain that customers receive safe and reliable service at reasonable rates.
The AUC also provides regulatory oversight in the development and operation of the wholesale electricity market, as well as the retail gas and electricity markets in Alberta. Like the ERCB, the AUC provides opportunities for Albertans to become involved in the application process, via public hearings, becoming an intervener, open houses, consulation with the applicant, and more.
Alberta Energy Regulator
The Alberta Energy Regulator (AER) is an independant, quasi-judicial agency of the Government of Alberta made up of various divisions and branches. The AER makes decisions on applications for energy development, monitoring for compliance assurance, decommissioning of developments, and all other aspects of energy resource activities.
Natural Resources Conservation Board
The Natural Resources Conservation Board (NRCB) is an agency of the Government of Alberta and reports to the Minister of Sustainable Resource Development. The NRCB is guided by two acts – Natural Resources Conservation Board Act and Agricultural Operation Practices Act. Under these acts, the NRCB regulates non-energy natural resource developments and confined feeding operations.
The Board works to ensure that Alberta’s natural resources are developed in a socially, economically, and environmentally sustainable manner. A Board of four members, including the chairman, is appointed by the Lieutenant Governor-in-Council.
Major Projects Management Office
The Major Projects Management Office (MPMO) is a Government of Canada organization whose role is to provide overarching project management and accountability for major resource projects in the federal regulatory review process. The MPMO works collaboratively with federal departments and agencies, and provides a single window into the federal regulatory process.
The MPMO was established in 2007 and reports to the Minister of Natural Resources.