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  • Winnipeg Tribune

Opportunities are abundant in Manitoba

Opportunities are abundant in Manitoba
Manitoba could be a world leader in the production of green hydrogen. Pictured is a 2024 Mirai with a range of up to 647 KM on a single tank of hydrogen.

By: Guest Columnist, Kevin Klein

Winnipeg, February 18, 2024 - Chambers of Commerce members recently heard Dawn Desjarlais, chief economist of Deloitte Canada, share sobering news about our provincial economy's projected "subpar growth" in 2024. This is not a forecast we can afford to ignore. It is a clear call for decisive action, for bold initiatives that will propel our province forward even in the face of economic headwinds.

We shouldn’t consider it bad news but rather a wake-up call. Manitoba has great potential and so much to be proud of, but we do a poor job promoting the benefits the province offers to industry, the minerals we have beneath us, and the quality of life we can offer. We need to start selling these benefits and opportunities within our province and around the world.

Why don’t we invest more in attracting new businesses to Manitoba? It's a simple equation: more businesses mean more revenue for our province, which translates into improved essential services for all Manitobans and, yes, less taxes.

Let’s start by promoting our clean electric power infrastructure, which uniquely positions us to lead the charge in the green economy. With our strategic location in North America and the potential to offer the only northern port serving global markets, the opportunities are boundless. On a recent trip to Toronto and Montreal, I saw billboards promoting Sustainable Saskatchewan. A province that doesn’t have the clean energy we provide and that is so desired in the new green economy.

Take, for example, the recent approval of the Canadian Premium Sand project. This initiative exemplifies the kind of green economic development that Manitoba should strive to attract. By harnessing local resources and focusing on renewable energy solutions like solar glass manufacturing, we not only create jobs but also contribute to a more sustainable future.

But we must not rest on our laurels. We must seize every opportunity to expand our green economy. Consider the potential of hydrogen production. With the rise of hydrogen-powered vehicles and the increasing demand for clean energy solutions, Manitoba stands poised to become a global leader in hydrogen production.

I toured the new Selkirk wastewater treatment facility with Mayor Larry Johannson. A few months back. The Selkirk facility and partnership are excellent examples of innovation and generating revenues in the green economy.

Selkirk’s new state-of-the-art facility will directly pipe water to its previous treatment plant, which will be sold to a Hydrogen Generation Company. They will use the treated wastewater to produce hydrogen and send the carbon back to the new treatment facility for operational needs. This is innovative, efficient, and effective, and it is the future.

I can list a number of jurisdictions in Manitoba that desperately need new water treatment facilities, the biggest being Winnipeg. Imagine working with a hydrogen producer, selling land and the wastewater to the company that is then used to pay off the investment into its new wastewater facility. It can be done if elected officials work to make it happen.

By leveraging our abundant resources and strategic location, we can position Manitoba as the Texas of hydrogen, fueling the vehicles of the future and driving economic growth in the process. Like the Toyota 2024 Mirai - With a range of up to 647 KM on a single tank of hydrogen, Mirai is ready to carry you into the future, while emitting only water.

And let's not forget the transformative potential of initiatives like the Nee Sta Nan Utility Corridor. By integrating Western Canada's electrical grid and tapping into Manitoba's clean hydroelectricity, we can pave the way for a sustainable energy future while opening up new trade routes and economic opportunities for all Manitobans.

But this vision requires bold leadership and decisive action. It requires us to prioritize sustainability and environmental stewardship in all aspects of governance. By embracing renewable energy sources, implementing eco-friendly policies, and incentivizing green initiatives, we can not only mitigate the impacts of climate change but also drive economic growth and job creation in our province.

My fellow Manitobans, the time for action is now. Let us come together, united in our commitment to building a brighter, greener future for generations to come. Together, we can make Manitoba a beacon of sustainability and innovation, a model for the world to follow.


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