Alberta government makes strong commitment to use new clean, reliable, and cost-effective renewable energy
November 25, 2015
When the Alberta government unveiled its new climate strategy earlier this week, it set an ambitious goal. It pledged to replace two-thirds of the electricity currently produced by polluting coal-fired plants with clean and renewable energy by 2030, mostly by drawing on the province’s vast wind resources.
It was a wise choice.
Wind energy is one of the least expensive sources of new electricity in Alberta today. It provides greenhouse gas emission reductions that are sustainable over the long term, and will aid in the creation of a low-carbon electricity grid that can ultimately help reduce emissions in other sectors of the economy.
The Alberta plan will see the percentage of electricity produced by renewable energy sources rise from about nine per cent today to 30 per cent by 2030. It is a significant jump, but far from a leap into the unknown. It reflects a trend already underway in countries all over the world, where experience has shown that the shift away from coal toward renewables can be managed while maintaining a reliable grid. More than 10 countries and US states already get at least 15 per cent of their electricity generation from wind, and most of those jurisdictions are planning to bring on more in the future.
Experience has also shown that Alberta’s plan to use an auction process to procure new renewable energy is a cost-effective way to capitalize on the cost benefits of wind. Similar mechanisms used in other Canadian provinces have been intensely competitive, ensuring only the highest quality projects are built at the lowest possible cost to ratepayers.
There are, of course, still many important details to be worked out. The Canadian Wind Energy Association (CanWEA) looks forward to working with the government and key stakeholders to design and implement the policies that will not only allow Alberta to take its place as a climate change leader, but also diversify its energy economy to bring new jobs and investment to communities across the province.
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