Closeup of electric bus of public transport at the charging station.
Nine transit authorities in Alberta are participating in a new project to study the procurement and deployment of zero-emission buses.

The project, with funding from the federal government and FortisAlberta, will help the agencies plan for and adopt zero-emission buses

Nine transit authorities in Alberta are participating in a new project to study the procurement and deployment of zero-emission buses.

The Alberta Municipality Constellation project is spearheaded by the Canadian Urban Transit Research & Innovation Consortium (CUTRIC) and FortisAlberta. It will focus on assessing the economic, technical, and environmental factors associated with the transition to zero-emission buses.

“Through this endeavour, we aim to not only address the evolving energy needs of these regions but also serve as a catalyst for positive change in the realm of sustainable transportation,” says Josipa Petrunić, president and CEO of CUTRIC in a press release.

“We are confident that the outcomes of this study will guide our partner agencies in strategic planning and decision-making, fostering a cleaner, greener future for communities in Alberta.”

The participating agencies come from Airdrie, Banff/Bow Valley, Fort Saskatchewan, Hinton, Leduc, Rocky View, Spruce Grove, Strathcona County and Whitecourt.

The project findings will help the participating transit agencies plan and integrate zero-emission buses into their fleets. But the scope of the project goes beyond bus deployments. It also involves a modelling study of regional energy requirements to predict future electricity needs.

Utility provider FortisAlberta will assess and address challenges related to grid capacity and voltage constraints associated with municipal fleet decarbonization.

“We are committed to assisting municipalities within our service area in their efforts to decarbonize their transit fleets,” says Curtis Eck, vice-president, engineering, FortisAlberta.

“Our collaboration is designed to offer a comprehensive analytical framework that evaluates economic impacts and devises energy management strategies for seamless integration into Alberta’s electrical grid.”

Funding for the project

A combined investment of $550,092 is going towards conducting the Alberta Municipality Constellation project.

FortisAlberta is providing $110,018. Meanwhile, the Canadian government is contributing $440,074 through the Zero Emission Transit Fund (ZETF).

The ZETF supports communities in transitioning to zero-emission transit and school buses. It aims to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and contribute to Canada’s net-zero emissions target.

“When we invest in Alberta, we must consider both the current and the future generations of our province. Our government remains committed to achieving net zero by 2050, and we will achieve this by funding clean public transit projects,” says Randy Boissonnault, minister of employment, workforce development and official languages.

The Government of Canada, through an agreement with CUTRIC, is investing $10 million over five years into the ZETF. This investment will help transit bus operators with planning work, enhancing their readiness to shift to zero-emission bus fleets.

The ZEFT also works closely with the Canada Infrastructure Bank’s Zero-Emission Bus Initiative. Through the initiative, the CIB is pledging over $1.5 billion to help deployment of zero-emission buses in Canada.

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