By Reeve Guyon, Councillor, Brazeau County
Brazeau County, situated 90 minutes west of Edmonton, has significantly contributed to Alberta’s economic growth over recent years, thanks to its thriving natural resource sectors and, specifically, the oil and gas industry – before oilsands commercialization, Brazeau County held Alberta’s largest known petroleum reserves. With a plethora of fossil fuel supply situated in the county, upstream and midstream companies played an integral role in establishing a robust industrial network, providing regional prosperity and employment opportunities for local residents and those of the greater Edmonton region. Ensuring the continuation and expansion of Brazeau’s current industrial base remains paramount, in addition to robust economic diversification measures. This is especially the case as a shift in the global economy takes place, catalyzed by climate change and the ever-increasing importance of Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) on capital investment, potentially impacting the local economy.
To ensure a vibrant, thriving community for current residents and future generations, Brazeau County has refocused its attention on establishing and marketing a macro-level environment conducive to positive economic activity through the Western Economic Corridor (WEC) strategy.
Approved by Brazeau County Council in January 2022, the WEC represents an emerging industrial cluster within Alberta focused on cleantech investment attraction and commercialization. The notion of industrial ecosystems is not new to Alberta and is best exhibited by the Alberta Industrial Heartland and the Greenview Industrial Gateway, both of which focus, instead, on petroleum processing. Through the WEC, prospective cleantech investors have access to a robust industrial foundation that can enable significant partnership and scale-up opportunities, creating mutually beneficial outcomes. This is best exemplified by the Recover Lodgepole Waste Management project engineered by Scovan. Recover is WEC’s landmark investor, who works with local oil companies to extract lost hydrocarbons from oil base drilling waste, mitigating the use of class-2 landfills.
In addition to partnership opportunities with the industrial base, prospective cleantech investors can also take advantage of pre-existing industrial infrastructure to support their operations, this includes:
- Access to the provincially designated high-wide-load corridor route that runs along Highways 22, 621, and 753;
- Close proximity to major national and international transportation routes, the Yellowhead and CANAMEX Highways
- Roughly 1-hour from the Edmonton International Airport;
- Readily available utility network:
- Power supply;
- 240 & 138 KV lines
- Rail networks that run parallel with the Yellowhead Highway
Augmenting advantages presented by market access and utility infrastructure is a robust low-tax-low-regulatory regime that benefits residents.
WEC and the Brazeau County are committed to supporting new start-up companies, by:
- Engage with the national cleantech sector to identify investment incentives that position the county as the national hub for cleantech investment, supporting start-up growth and development; and
- Compose a large-scale marketing plan to raise awareness of the initiative.
Originally published in Scovan’s IGNITE Vol. 6