For those of us attending this week's Alberta Power
Symposium in Calgary, we listened closely to the keynote address
delivered by Alberta's Environment and Parks Minister, the Hon.
Shannon Phillips. The title of the Minister's address was
"Plans for Alberta Energy: Clarity and Direction in a Time of
Uncertainty". The clarity and direction takeaways from her
address that are noteworthy for market participants to know
The Province of Alberta states that
30 percent of electricity used in Alberta will come from renewable
sources by 2030. In fact, the Province appears to have put a tag
line of "30 by 30" on this policy;
To get there, the Province will
provide financial support for 5,000 MWs of new renewable power
projects to be constructed in the Province over the next 14 years.
The 5,000 MWs is the first concrete number provided to date, as
most of us have been assuming a number of 4,200 MWs. The Province
estimates that building these new renewable projects will result in
$10.5 billion of investment, and create 7,200 new jobs in
The support for renewables will come
from a fair, competitive and cost-effective procurement run by the
Alberta Electric System Operator (AESO). It will
be coordinated with the phase out of the coal plants so as to not
place undue pressure on Alberta's electricity market. The
Province remains committed to achieving its policy objectives while
still maintaining Alberta's merchant market. It is also not to
affect grid reliability;
To be eligible for support in the
procurement, a renewable project will have to be (i) based in
Alberta (ii) be new or be an expansion of an existing project;
(iii) be 5 MWs or greater; and (iv) as the AESO previously
announced meet the definition of renewable sources set out by
Natural Resources Canada.
Minister Phillips stated that the procurement would provide
certainty for developers and for consumers. However, she did not
provide any details about how that certainty would be achieved.
This will come later this year when the Province announces the
details of its first ever renewable power procurement – the
first of many more procurements if the 5,000 MW target is to be
achieved by 2030. It is only then that we will know how far the
Province is willing to go to provide developers and their
financiers with certainty, especially the extent to which new
renewable power developers will be expected to bear pricing risk in
Alberta's electricity market. An electricity market that we
note currently has more electricity supply than it needs and that
is experiencing record low prices - one with a lot of uncertainty
for the Minister to remove if she is to entice new renewable power
development in Alberta.
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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