WHAT’S NEW—Former Red Deer MP Bob Mills discusses what he’s been up to on the environmental front with the Downtown Rotary Club this week.

Mills stays busy on the international environment scene

Former Red Deer MP Bob Mills hasn’t slowed down too much since leaving public life.

Mills, who retired in 2008, shared what he’s been up to at the Downtown Rotary Club’s weekly luncheon meeting earlier this week.

He spoke to members about the Plasco Waste Conversion Plant which is set to be developed near Red Deer. Mills has long been a strong proponent of the project.

Several local communities including Red Deer are on track to get rid of a huge chunk of their garbage via cutting edge technology designed by the Ottawa-based Plasco Energy Group.

It will mark the first fully commercial plant of its kind in the world – test plants are already up and running in Ottawa and Spain.

Through the process, known as gasification, garbage is broken down through heat into its molecular parts – a synthetic gas, water and a rock-hard substance usable in several ways from commercial construction to insulation to gravel.

The synthetic gas then drives turbines and produces electricity – likely a key energy source in the future, said Mills.

Eighty per cent of that electricity can be sold into the local grid.

“The end result is that 98 per cent (of the garbage) is totally recycled into usable materials,” said Mills, adding that several countries are currently outlawing incinerators for garbage disposal.

Mills said the Red Deer plant would cost $110 million and plans are pretty much in place. It’s currently at the federal government level for review.

“The day the decision is made, the sod gets turned and the plant gets built. We’ll have the world coming to look at it.”

Mills has also been a regular visitor to China for a stream of environmental projects for his input. Interest in ‘green’ technology has increased substantially over the years in that nation, he said.

“They have one-quarter of the world’s population. So if we help to fix their environment, think of what we do for the world. So that’s pretty exciting,” he said. “They are spending a huge amount of money on research and development, and they hope to turn it into a commercially beneficial program.”

‘Plasco China’ is currently in the works, with the first plant set for Beijing which produces 22,000 tonnes of garbage each day, said Mills. Five plants are also being planned for Poland.

Mills is also on the International Commission on Land Use Change and Ecosystems. “We listen to scientists, academics, business leaders and then do a report once a month that goes to the G-20. It’s extremely interesting work to do,” he said.

Mills is also on the federal government’s National Round Table on the Environment and the Economy.

The group tackles issues such as ‘what will be the cost to Canada of climate change’ and ‘what happens if we move with the Americans and ‘what happens if we move ahead of the Americans.’

The group has also been looking at the impact of climate change right up to 2050. But it’s not all bad news.

“We and Russia probably will have some of the greatest benefits from climate change that any two countries could have. Any place with deserts could have the most significant problems.”

Meanwhile, Canada needs to do better in terms of becoming a low-carbon producing economy, he said.

“It tends to be that municipalities and the provinces are quite a bit ahead of the feds on this,” he said. “We need to shake that cage and get them up to date on this. And that’s what the national round table is attempting to do.”


Just Posted

Highland Games brings Scotland to Red Deer

71st annual event celebrates Scottish culture and heritage

Red Deer RCMP arrest man with imitation firearm

Man pointed firearm at several staff members before fleeing to a nearby restaurant

WATCH: Red Deer commemorates National Indigenous Peoples Day

Citizens take part in activities throughout the week

Red Deer RCMP investigate armed robbery at pharmacy

Suspect wielded a handgun, demanding staff member to open the safe

WATCH: Loads of summer events await Central Albertans

From CentreFest to Westerner Days, there will much to explore this season

In a matter of hours, women in Saudi Arabia will be allowed to drive

Change was announced as a royal decree in 2017 by Crown Prince Mohammen bin Salman

COC session vote approves Calgary as potential host for 2026 Olympics

Scott Hutcheson, chair of Calgary’s Olympic bid corporation — called vote a positive step forward

Breaking: SuperNet provider Axia cannot guarantee continued service

Alberta’s health, schools, libraries, municipal governments at risk from delayed bidding

Ponoka County optimistic though cautious about tire recycling situation

New heavy-duty shredder on site, county hopeful this is a final solution

Research paper states low income earners hit hardest by dairy supply management

Canada’s poorest spend more of annual income on food staples than higher income earners

Sylvan Lake Legion honours the memory of past president

A new podium at the Legion was dedicated to Steve Dills at a recent meeting

After World Cup lineup photographed, England urges media to help team

Now the England camp is actually asking media: Are you with us or against us?

MISSING: Police hoping to locate man reported missing

Ponoka RCMP looking to public to help find Joseph Desjarlais

Most Read