A Canadian trade mission to learn more about the business similarities of the western province of Alberta and Nevada begins today for three days with stops in Reno and Las Vegas.
Jennifer Taylor, former executive director of the Clean Energy Project, gave an insight into the Alberta Enterprise Group and its series of trade missions called Canada Connects to this month’s Churchill Economic Development Authority’s Business Council breakfast. She said the program promotes trade ties to learn about opportunities in other countries. Delegates have previously travelled to Washington, D.C., Switzerland and other Canadian provinces.
The delegation will spend a day and a half in Reno capped by visits to the Tahoe Reno Industrial Center and a tour of the Tesla Gigafactory and then the last leg of the trip in Southern Nevada.
Taylor said 70 delegates representing scores of businesses will attend the trade mission. Among the businesses are oil and gas, energy, consulting firms such as public relations, Edmonton International Airport, real estate development, insurance, telecommunications and disaster recovery.
“We have a mix of folks looking at investment partnerships,” she said.
Both Alberta and Nevada appear to be a near perfect fit for each other.
“There’s a lot of similarities between Alberta and Nevada,” Taylor said. “Like Nevada, Alberta has two major urban centers, Edmonton in the north and Calgary in the south.”
In between the two cities, she said people will find many small towns and open space. Additionally, she said one industry has historically dominated the two lands. While Nevada has been recognized as a gaming, tourism and hospitality state, Alberta has been known for its energy and oil exports. Coincidentally, the Great Depression that began in 2008 took a toll for both because of their reliance on one industry.
“We look at Nevada that goes from a dominating section to diversifying,” she said.
Since then, however, Nevada has created more than 140,000 new jobs and attracted nearly 7,000 private firms from out of state. The Silver State has also established itself as a hub for innovation and investment in everything from renewable energy and advanced manufacturing to unmanned autonomous vehicles, smart cities and data ecosystems.
Because of recently passed government laws and regulations, both Alberta and Nevada, she said, must begin to eliminate of coal assets and like Nevada today, switch and evolve into using renewable resources. By 2030, she said Alberta must divest all coal use, which will be a challenge as Alberta looks for 5 megawatts of possible capacity energy replacement.
Taylor said Alberta has been forming relationships with both public and private sectors, and one of three companies selected as a partner is Enel Green Energy North America, which has two alternative energy plants in Churchill County. Enel’s Stillwater Hybrid Power Plant east of Fallon combines the generating capacity of medium enthalpy, binary cycle geothermal power with solar photovoltaic and solar thermal.
“They (Alberta) will learn how to move off imported fossil fuels into renewables,” she said.
During the trade mission, Taylor said the Alberta delegates will hear from many of Nevada’s leaders and learn how the state is slowly changing its image from gaming to technology. Taylor said Canadian businesses have a big presence in Nevada including operations along the Las Vegas Strip.
“West Jet, which is based out of Alberta, is the largest international carrier that goes into McCarran (International Airport)” she said. “Canada has a lot of presence in Northern Nevada with the mining industry into Elko.”
Both Alberta and Nevada trade billions of dollars of goods to each other, and according to Taylor, 82,800 jobs in Nevada depend on trade and investment with Canada.
“They are a key piece of our economy in the state,” Taylor said.