Renewable Energy Plan officially dead, but AB wind companies still see a bright future
July 3, 2019
The UCP government has made good on its campaign promise to kill Alberta’s Renewable Electricity Plan, but local companies remain optimistic the province will remain an attractive place for wind and solar development.
The government informed the Alberta Electric System Operator — which manages and operates the provincial power grid — on June 10 that it will not continue with the Renewable Electricity Plan, implemented by the previous NDP government to help meet its goal of achieving 30 per cent renewable electricity by 2030. The province held three competitive auctions through the REP program, securing 1,360 MW of renewable capacity at record low prices.
Details of a fourth auction were originally expected to be released in mid-2019. But under Premier Jason Kenney, who campaigned against “subsidies” for renewable power, that auction will no longer happen. (The REP program as designed by the NDP included a guarantee that if electricity prices fall below the company’s contracted price, the government would backstop the difference.)
Samantha Peck, spokeswoman for Energy Minister Sonya Savage, said the UCP will respect the existing contracts reached as a result of the first three rounds of the REP program. But she said that in the future, Alberta will welcome “market-driven” renewables that can compete with other forms of power production.
The REP program was responsible for “really quick, unprecedented growth” in Alberta’s renewable energy sector, said Evan Wilson, regional director for the Canadian Wind Energy Association. He said while it’s unlikely that pace will continue without the program, growth is definitely not about to grind to a halt.
“Alberta remains the jurisdiction where we continue to see the most interest from our membership,” Wilson said. “We remain pretty confident we will continue to see interest and development moving forward.”