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Since the 1950s, world renowned corporations have chosen to locate in Alberta’s Industrial Heartland region. Growing in size and scale since that time, the Heartland is now home to more than 40 companies employing a work force of more than 6,700 people. The geographic region of Alberta’s Industrial Heartland is 582 square kilometres (225 square miles) of industrial land. This includes 533 square kilometres (205 square miles) within the City of Fort Saskatchewan and the Counties of Lamont, Strathcona and Sturgeon, in addition to 49 square kilometres (20 square miles) in the City of Edmonton (known as the Edmonton Energy and Technology Park).
Industrial development in the region is done so using “eco-industrial principles”. This means that future development is designed to share, and thus make the most efficient use of information, raw materials, energy, infrastructure, and natural habitats. The intent is to preserve both environmental and human resources for the local community while generating appropriate financial returns for the business.
Past and Future Industrial Development
To date, Alberta’s Industrial Heartland has attracted over $30 billion of investment and developed into Canada’s largest hydrocarbon processing region. Industrial activity includes fertilizer production, resource upgrading and refining, petrochemical development, mineral processing, and more.
Within the past decade, the Heartland has seen significant shifts in the type of development prospects for the region. In the mid 2000s, the region was the chosen centre for bitumen upgrading from Alberta’s oil sands. Due to shifting energy and economic dynamics, plans for building several large upgrader projects in the Heartland were halted. The most recent trend centres around the discovery of major shale gas deposits in Alberta and north eastern British Columbia, resulting in abundant and cost advantaged supplies of key petrochemical feedstocks derived from natural gas.
Overall the Heartland is seeing a dramatic increase in inquiries from companies interested in tapping into the Heartland as the centre of energy and logistics for western Canada. Future development is slated to further increase the region’s bitumen upgrading and refining capacity (North West Redwater Partnership’s Sturgeon Refinery), pipeline network, and petrochemical processing capabilities. Additionally, new technologies, such as an alternative form of upgrading, are also being explored to enhance the resource-based and other sectors.
Initiatives and Progress for 2016
To obtain the most up-to-date information on current construction and future development, visit the Project Status page. For additional information on industrial development, contact:
The most significant and comprehensive initiative is the creation of a Regional Noise Management Plan (RNMP) developed jointly by the Northeast Capital Industrial Association (NCIA) and the Alberta Energy Regulator. Effective on June 1, 2013, this first-of-its-kind in North America, RNMP provides an approved regulatory tool to manage noise impacts from industrial operations in our community. This plan was also endorsed by the Alberta Utilities Commission in 2013.
While industry is not the only source of noise, NCIA collaborated with the Alberta Energy Regulator to design a regional approach and solution for NCIA member companies that complies with the Alberta Energy Regulator’s Noise Control Directive 038 and the Alberta Utilities Commission Rule 012.
The RNMP is designed to help minimize the impact of noise levels from NCIA member companies’ industrial facilities. Through the plan, member companies adopt best practice principles for noise management. They will implement the plan on the basis of what is achievable and practical to address normal operating conditions, routine planned event strategies and new facility standards.
“Alberta Energy Regulator (AER) recognizes the significant work that has been put forward on the RNMP. This initiative is a good example of collaboration and aligning efforts for the purpose of dealing with complex challenges to ensure regulatory requirements are met or exceeded,” wrote Robin King in his approval letter. King is Executive Manager of the Field Surveillance and Operations Branch of the AER.
“Managing noise on a regional basis fits in very well with what we do with respect to managing air quality, groundwater quality and surface water quality,” commented Laurie Danielson, NCIA’s Executive Director. He went on to say that “Our collaboration with the Energy Resources Conservation Board on this file has been a positive experience that has resulted in a good process and model for managing noise in the region. We are pleased with this milestone on the RNMP.”
Initiatives and Progress for 2016
- Annual field validation monitoring will occur again this fall. The 2015 annual report will be posted on the NCIA website by the end of March 2016. Previous RNMP Annual Reports are available at www.ncia.ab.ca. The Regional Noise Model (used as a regulatory tool – one of two that we know of in the world) was updated in 2015 and a Google Earth version of it is available on the NCIA website – Noise Management.
To obtain further information on a variety of topics relating to noise, please contact:
Light issues are not handled by a regional organization. Rather, residents are encouraged to contact the effecting industrial company directly.
Minimizing Environmental Impacts
In recent years, many industrial facilities have focused on reducing the impacts of their lights. This includes impacts on nature and wildlife through unwanted skyglow and light spill. Excess light can affect wildlife relationships, migration and natural behavioral patterns.
With a shift toward LED lights, companies are decreasing light spill. LED lights also last longer than traditional lighting and are more efficient, thus reducing energy consumption.
Light initiatives currently underway in the Heartland include:
North West Redwater Partnership
The lighting design for their Sturgeon Refinery, which is currently under construction, mitigates the effect on wildlife, ensures optimal placement to reduce the number of required fixtures, and uses products that are free of mercury and hazardous materials. Additionally, the use of photocell lighting control allows for lights to automatically adjust to changing seasons and daily conditions.
For more information about NWRP’s light initiative, please contact:
Their Quest project uses only LED lights. Additionally, Shell’s new administration building for 500 employees is designed to LEED Silver standard, which includes a focus on reducing light pollution. Work area lighting automatically turns off if no one is in the room. The building also uses the sun’s natural light as much as possible.
For more information about Shell’s light initiative, please contact:
Communications Manager, Shell Scotford
Phone: (780) 992.8553