Alberta is Canada's fourth largest province, with a
population of over 4 million people, and a land mass of 660,000 sq
kms – about twice the size of Germany.
The market, composed of its generators, transmitters,
distributors, retailers, electricity consumers, and wholesale
electricity market, (the "Alberta Electricity Market")
has had a peak load of 11,200 MW, but daily peak load now averages
about 9,000 MW. It is predominantly (>60%) an industrial load
due to Alberta's large oil and gas industry. The load is
currently 90% serviced by thermal generation that is mainly coal
based, with renewables generating only about 10% of the required
electricity in Alberta. This is about to change.
The Government of Alberta recently announced a number of policy
changes that will impact the Alberta Electricity Market. Generators
in Alberta will be forced to utilize lower-carbon natural gas and
zero-carbon renewable forms of generation. Alberta is one of the
last provinces in Canada to mandate a change in its fuel mix for
generating power. The Alberta policy changes require that:
There will be no pollution from
coal-fired power generation in Alberta by 2030, as all coal-fired
plants (approx. 6,300 MW) will either be phased out or be pollution
free by then.
Two-thirds of the current
coal-generating capacity (approx. 4,200 MW) will be replaced by
renewable energy, and one-third (approx. 2,100 MW) by natural
Beginning in 2018, all coal
generators will pay $30 per tonne of CO2 on emissions above what
Alberta's cleanest gas plant would emit to generate the same
quantity of electricity.
Renewable power will account for 30%
of Alberta's total operating generating capacity by 2030.
These changes have created exciting business opportunities in
Alberta for local, national and international power project
Not surprisingly, Borden Ladner Gervais LLP ("BLG")
and our Electricity Markets Group have seen a rise in the number of
new project developers from outside Alberta who are seeking legal
and business advice in this area. In this regard, we are
periodically asked by potential entrants into the Alberta
Electricity Market to provide an overview of the Alberta
Electricity Market to assist them to better understand (i) the
structure of the Alberta Electricity Market, (ii) the applicable
legislation, regulations and governing agencies, (iii) the existing
characteristics of Alberta's load and its generation mix, (iv)
the way in which electricity prices are determined in Alberta, and,
most importantly, (v) the recent developments that have occurred to
create business opportunities for them in the Alberta Electricity
We concluded that this general advice is something that would be
of benefit to every new entrant into the Alberta Electricity
Market, whether they are a prospective power project developer,
investor, lender, constructor, operator or other participant in the
In 2017, Canada's energy sector faces continued uncertainty and inertia. From taxes to transportation, Canada's natural resource industries – and their benefits to the national economy – are under threat...
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