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Calgary Economic Development, The Pembina Institute and Rocky Mountain Institute are conducting research as part of a study on Alberta’s electricity market to assess the potential for companies and public institutions outside the utility sector to buy electricity directly from renewable energy developers.

The number of leading corporations, universities and other institutions worldwide using these types of commercial arrangements to purchase renewable energy to meet electricity needs and environmental commitments is growing. (click to see graphic of corporate renewable deals)

“Non-utility procurement is coming to Canada. Leading-edge companies in the U.S. are now focusing on their international locations and supply chain partners,” said Mark Porter, Manager of the Business Renewables Center at Rocky Mountain Institute. ““With renewable energy costs increasingly competitive with conventional alternatives and increasing sustainability goals from corporates, our announced-deal tracker shows it is no longer just a big-player game.”

Potential buyers include companies with large electricity demand, renewable energy procurement targets, and a head office or significant operations in Alberta. Those companies are in sectors such as agriculture, petrochemicals, information technology, energy, as well as universities and other public institutions.

“Alberta’s target of 30 per cent renewable generation by 2030 has made the province a hotbed of activity for investment in renewable energy,” said Sara Hastings-Simon, Director of The Pembina Institute Clean Economy program. “With thousands of megawatts of renewable energy projects in planning and development, there is a clear opportunity for companies and institutions looking to lock-in competitive electricity prices while meeting sustainability goals.”

The intention of the work is to help position Alberta as the Canadian hub for accelerating non-utility procurement with offsite renewable energy projects. It will potentially be the first step in launching a business renewables centre in Canada that would be located in Calgary.

A key element of the research is a survey that has been developed to quantify market size and identify interested parties including potential buyers, sellers and intermediaries. Deadline for survey responses is Thursday December 7. 

The research is being funded through the Government of Alberta’s Community and Regional Economic Support (CARES) program, Bullfrog Power, EDF EN Canada, and Greengate Power.

“Alberta is fortunate to have world class energy assets from oil and gas to wind, solar and bioenergy,” said Mary Moran, President & CEO of Calgary Economic Development. “We must continue to grow and diversify our energy mix and supporting the acceleration of non-utility renewable energy procurement will be a key differentiator for Canada and support the long term growth of Alberta’s energy sector.”

The study is expected to the completed by May 2018.


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