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Alberta procured the cheapest renewable energy in Canada
Calgary is the undisputed centre of all things energy in Canada. Conventional energy accounts for nearly one-third of Calgary’s GDP, yet renewables are fast growing contributors, diversifying our energy sector. Nearly 241 renewable energy companies and 108 energy storage companies call Calgary home.
A drive toward more sustainable and environmentally responsible energy sources, fueled by Alberta’s Climate Leadership Plan, is creating significant business opportunities in Alberta’s renewable energy market. The Climate Leadership Plan commits the province to phase out all coal-fired power plants and generate 30 per cent of its electricity from renewable sources by 2030. The province is developing 5,000 megawatts of renewable energy capacity that is expected to generate at least $10.5 billion in new investment by 2030 and at least 7,000 new jobs. The Alberta government’s carbon levy has generated funds to support the advancement of new technologies.
As part of the Climate Leadership Plan, the Government of Alberta appointed the Alberta Electric System Operator (AESO) to develop and implement a renewable electricity program (REP) to add additional renewable generation capacity to Alberta’s electricity system.
The Alberta government established Energy Efficiency Alberta (EEA) to administer the Province’s energy efficiency programs. EEA offers multiple rebate and incentive programs for home owners, businesses, non-profits, institutions and industrial clients. Year one results are impressive, with more than $300 million in savings on energy costs and almost three million tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions avoided.
The Government of Alberta has extended its Bioenergy Producer Program to 2020, providing funding for the production of electricity and liquid biofuels.
The province has proven potential for large scale investments in renewable energy thanks to its abundance of renewable resources.
Alberta’s solar resource is 25% greater than Ontario’s and 30% greater than Germany’s. The yearly photovoltaic potential in Calgary is 1292 kWh/kW. A one-kilowatt solar system in Calgary will produce 52 per cent more electricity than one in Berlin, for example.
Alberta is Canada’s third largest producer of wind energy, using only 1% of the estimated total wind energy potential in the province. More than 35 per cent of Alberta’s land base has a wind resource considered viable for energy production, representing approximately 150 GW of potential wind power capacity. The majority of the province’s wind energy companies are headquartered in downtown Calgary.
Calgary is home to a number of research organizations supporting innovation and growth in renewable energy.
With its energy roots, Calgary is home to talent and companies with extensive project development experience. Calgary also has the largest number of engineers and geoscientists per capita of any major Canadian city.
Calgary’s post-secondary institutions are feeding this workforce with specialized programming that is creating the next generation of energy innovators. Several other Alberta institutions are providing renewable energy workforce training.
Alberta is Canada’s only fully deregulated electricity market, with more than 200 market participants. Deregulation offers buyers the flexibility to enter into contracts directly with generators. This presents extensive opportunities for renewable power generation and smart grid technology. Alberta’s competitive electricity market has resulted in over 9000 megawatts (MW) of new electricity generating capacity since 1998. There is currently 16,390 MW of installed generating capacity in Alberta.
Calgary is an in ideal scenario for the success of non-utility procurement. Thousands of megawatts of renewable energy projects are planned and in development. This will increase thanks to Alberta’s target of 30 per cent renewable energy by 2030. Carbon compliance requirements could also enhance the market’s ability to provide an alternative motivation for renewable energy procurement.
The Pembina Institute, along with the Rocky Mountain Institute and Calgary Economic Development, with support from Bullfrog Power, EDF EN Canada and Greengate Power have explored the opportunity for Alberta to be a non-utility power procurement hub in Canada.
The Alberta Electric System Operator (AESO) is Canada’s first customer-focused exchange for electricity. As an independent system operator, the AESO leads the safe, reliable and economic operation and planning of Alberta’s interconnected power system.
Alberta has abundant wind energy resources. More than 35% of Alberta’s land base has a wind resource considered viable for electricity production and this represents approximately 150 GW of potential wind power capacity.
Wind energy provides significant economic development opportunities for Alberta. Every 150 MW of installed wind energy capacity represents $316 million in investment, 140 direct full-time equivalent construction jobs and 10 permanent direct jobs in operations. It also provides approximately $17 million in lease payments to rural landowners and $31 million in property tax payments to rural municipalities over a 20-year period.
Wind by the numbers in Alberta (December 2017):
Calgary is the sunniest of Canada's large cities, enjoying an average of 2396 hours of bright sun each year, spread over 333 days.
Solar energy provides significant economic development opportunities for Alberta. Every 150 MW of installed solar energy capacity represents $310 million in investment, 1,875 direct full-time equivalent construction jobs and 45 permanent direct jobs in operations. It also provides approximately $54 million in lease payments to site-hosts and $30 million in property tax payments to municipalities over a 20-year period. Alberta’s first utility scale solar plant came online in Brooks, Alberta in December 2017.
Bioenergy is produced from renewable, biological sources such as biomass, that comes from plants and animals, or other organic material including municipal waste. The Province is investing in converting 20 million tonnes of annual waste in potential biomass feedstock into higher value products. These new products increase economic returns from Alberta's natural resources.
Alberta is home to the world’s first waste-to-biofuels facility. The facility is owned and operated by Enerkem and is projected to convert 100,000 tonnes of solid municipal waste into biofuels and biochemicals each year.
Lethbridge Biogas opened the largest anaerobic digester/co-generation facility in Canada. The $30 million facility currently has a generating capacity of 2.8 MW – enough to power 2,800 homes. It has the capacity to produce as much as 4.2 MW in the future with the addition of new generating units.
The Canadian Geothermal Energy Association (CanGEA) has determined that, based on the geothermal resources available and the current political and regulatory environment in Alberta, that co-produced fluids from Hot Sedimentary Aquifers (HSA) are the most realistic and near-term opportunity for the utilization of geothermal energy in the province.
Geothermal energy from co-produced fluids offers the following advantages:
|Environmental Services Association of Alberta|
|Alberta Innovators Ecosystem||Grant & Contribution Programs - Technology Companies|
|Alberta Renewable Energy Alliance|
|Canadian Geothermal Energy Association (CanGEA)|
|Canadian Renewable Energy Alliance|
|Canadian Wind Energy Association (CANWEA)||Sustainable Development Technology Canada|