Cost-competitive renewable energy part of the solution to Alberta’s climate change challenge
October 28, 2015
When the new Alberta government talks about accelerating the phase-out of coal-fired electricity generation and adding more renewable energy to the province’s electricity supply portfolio, it is not alone. Bloomberg New Energy Finance forecasts that by 2040, the world will shift from a generation mix dominated by fossil-fuel plants to one with 60 per cent zero-emissions energy sources.
What’s driving this transformation?
For governments around the globe, including Alberta, climate change is a strong motivator. Alberta is responsible for more than 50 per cent of Canada’s total greenhouse gas emissions from the electricity sector, mostly because of its coal-fired fleet. Maximizing the use of renewable sources of energy like wind in replacing the power generated by coal produces greenhouse gas reductions that are not only immediate, but sustainable over the long term. It also enables deeper reductions across the broader economy through the use of non-emitting electricity to electrify transportation, space heating and some industrial processes.
Like other jurisdictions, Alberta also wants wind energy because it is cost-competitive. Our costs have fallen 58 per cent in the last five years, and we know projects that tap into Alberta’s high-quality wind resources can produce electricity more affordably today than any other generating technology aside from combined-cycle natural gas plants and gas co-generation facilities. But those gas-fired plants face commodity and carbon price risks that will expose Albertans to higher electricity bills over the long term, something wind energy, with no fuel costs and no carbon emissions, can protect against.
It has been estimated that US$8 trillion in investment will flow into the renewable energy sector globally over the next 25 years. As the Alberta government crafts a new climate change action plan, it has the opportunity to put in place the policies that will allow the province to compete for this investment, and demonstrate that it knows what it really means to be a clean energy leader.
You can help reinforce this message by sending a prepared action letter to your Alberta MLA today. Together we can ensure that Alberta, and Canada, carve out a place in the growing clean energy economy and play a leading role in the development of affordable, emissions-free wind energy.
Featured Photo ©TransAlta
President of the Canadian Wind Energy Association