Electrical Business

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Electrical players are ready for Alberta’s Renewable Electricity Act


November 4, 2016
By Anthony Capkun


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November 4, 2016 – “The members of the Electrical Contractors Association of Alberta [ECAA] welcome the premier’s initiatives to move our province in an environmentally responsible direction,” said Darrell Castor, ECAA president. “Our children’s future will be healthier, and their prospects for employment will be enhanced as a result this kind of forward thinking.”

Castor was referring to Alberta’s announcement during the Canadian Wind Energy Association’s annual conference this week that it will soon introduce the Renewable Electricity Act, which will “provide the legislative framework for the Renewable Electricity Program”, the goal of which is to add 5000MW of capacity by 2030, administered by Alberta Electric System Operator (AESO).

“The Alberta government will set clear timelines for developing renewable electricity like wind and solar, and a competitive bidding process structured to limit costs,” said minister Shannon Phillips at CanWEA’s conference.

“Reaching 5000MW of new renewable generation is a complex task, but we are confident we can reliably integrate this much renewable energy into the electricity system in a cost-effective manner by accessing the benefits of robust competition,” said David Erickson, AESO president & CEO.

The successful projects will be privately funded and result in new investment of at least $10.5 billion into the provincial economy by 2030, says the government.

“Alberta is now Canada’s largest market for new wind energy investment, and the clarity provided by [this] announcement on the future process and timing of renewable energy procurement will attract significant interest from the wind energy industry,” said Robert Hornung, CanWEA president.

“We have over 1200 members that are trained and ready to work in the renewable energy industry,” said John White with IBEW Local 424, adding the province’s plan is an “excellent way to create jobs […] while diversifying the economy of Alberta”.

The first competition will see investors bidding to provide up to 400MW of renewables. AESO will gather feedback from industry on draft commercial terms starting on November 10, 2016, before the first competition takes place in 2017.

Successful projects will be financially supported by reinvesting a portion of carbon revenues from large industrial emitters, says the province, adding safeguards will be in place “to ensure that the process is fair and transparent”.

“Together with a healthy and eco-friendly oil & gas industry, our future will be bright,” Castor added. “The ECAA congratulates the Alberta government on this bold step forward.”

“The program will also complement the coal phase-out to ensure system reliability is maintained at all times,” insisted energy minister Margaret McCuaig-Boyd.