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Alberta renewables announcement paves uncertain future for province’s once-booming renewables industry

Photo by: Green Energy Futures via Flickr (License: CC BY-NC-SA 2.0 DEED)

VICTORIA — Evan Pivnick, clean energy program manager at Clean Energy Canada, made the following statement in response to the Alberta government’s announcement of new rules for renewable project development:

“Today’s announcement has dropped an uncertainty bomb on renewable project investors and developers in Alberta. Until last year, the province was the undisputed renewable capital of Canada, securing over $4.7 billion in new investment and bringing thousands of new jobs to the province since 2019. Now Alberta is undermining its own success, making it one of the only jurisdictions in the world trying to frustrate the deployment of cheap, clean, renewable electricity.

“This new announcement follows a seven-month moratorium on new development that has already affected 118 projects worth $33 billion of investment, impacting 24,000 job-years and hundreds of millions in local taxes and leases. 

“Now the costly pause has ended, the new path forward leaves even more unanswered questions for the industry. Indeed, there are major concerns that rules, like those concerning “viewscapes,” will be arbitrarily applied. Meanwhile, initial analysis suggests that a requirement for the proposed 35 kilometre buffer around protected areas may prohibit wind development in 76% of southern Alberta.

“Damage to Alberta’s economy aside, residents should also be concerned about the impacts this may have on their electricity bills. Research has suggested that the decarbonization of Alberta’s electricity grid could save more than $600 per household in overall electricity costs, in no small part because of the cheaper costs to generate electricity from wind and solar. Albertans have paid the highest electricity costs of any province in the country over the past two years.

“At the end of the day, it is Albertans that stand to lose the most from the new rules, with a less competitive energy market, and the potential loss of jobs and investment in its once-booming renewables industry.”

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