On March 16, 2016, the Government of Alberta
finally named the coal facilitator, and announced the next steps
for its plan to phase-out coal by 2030. The province appointed
Terry Boston to act as the province's independent coal
phase-out facilitator, and released details of Boston's mandate
and next steps.
Boston's Prior Experience
Boston is the recently retired CEO of PJM Interconnection (PJM), which is a
regional transmission organization in the United States. PJM
controls approximately 105,502 km of transmission lines and manages
186,000 MW of generation serving 61 million people.
Boston has been involved with energy initiatives around the
world, including consultation with White House staff and Congress,
and has testified before the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, and
served on a number of corporate boards within the electricity
industry. Boston is a recognized expert in grid reliability and
Purpose of the Facilitator
Boston is tasked with presenting options to government that will
strive to maintain the reliability of Alberta's electricity
grid, maintain stability of prices for consumers, and avoid
unnecessarily stranding capital.
Desired Outcomes of the Facilitation Process
The desired outcomes are those which have been iterated in the
Climate Leadership Plan, namely, that by 2030,
two-thirds of Alberta's coal generation capacity will be
replaced by renewable energy, and one-third will be replaced by
natural gas. The provincial government has repeatedly promised that "throughout this process,
government will ensure that workers, communities and affected
companies are treated fairly."
Facilitator's Approach and Deliverables
One key aspect of Boston's work is that he will engage with
the three coal-fired generators who are currently operating units
beyond 2030, with the support of Alberta Energy's Coal
Secretariat and the Alberta Electric System Operator.
Because twelve of Alberta's eighteen coal-fired generating
units are expected to shut down prior to 2030 under the current federal regulations, the facilitator's
mandate is focused on the six generating units remaining after
2030. As set out in the previously released Fact Sheet on the coal phase-out, this will
entail discussions with Capital Power, TransAlta, and ATCO Power
about the Keephills 3, Genesee 1, 2 & 3, and Sheerness 1 &
2 thermal generating units.
In addition to consultation with affected generators, the
government is also engaging in a parallel process of consultation
with the goal of ensuring ongoing support for coal communities and
workers. More announcements on the next stage of these
consultations are expected in the next month.
In another recent announcement, the March 8, 2016 Speech from the Throne touched on the
implementation of climate change initiatives, noting that one of
the elements of "investing in a clean energy future" will
be a Climate Leadership Implementation Act, designed to
put the Climate Change Plan into action. Further detail on this
legislation, and what it may mean for Albertans, is still up in the
Canada is a constitutional monarchy, a parliamentary democracy and a federation comprised of ten provinces and three territories. Canada's judiciary is independent of the legislative and executive branches of Government.
The Government of Alberta recently announced a number of policy changes that will impact the Alberta Electricity Market, composed of its generators, transmitters, distributors, retailers, electricity consumers and wholesale electricity market.
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