Climate Energy

Alberta’s sustainable energy future looks bright, thanks to wind and solar power

The downfall of Alberta’s coal-fired power facilities has been extensively covered in recent times, but it’s occurring much faster than some predicted. The Alberta government’s goal of eliminating coal-fired electricity by 2030 is projected to be met seven years ahead of schedule. The shift from coal to the renewable energy sources, and the rate at which it is occurring, is taking place quietly.

According to the Alberta Electric System Operator, renewable energy sources such as wind, hydro, and solar-generated 14% of all electricity produced in the province in 2020. The number for 2021 will be released in the coming months. Renewable energy sources account for 23% of the province’s total capacity.

According to the Canada Energy Regulator (CER), that number is expected to rise in the coming years, owing to increased investment in the renewable energy projects. According to the CER, renewable energy sources will account for 26% of Alberta’s total capacity by 2023. By the same year, it expects the province to install a “substantial” solar capacity of 1,200 megawatts.

By 2030, the Renewable Electricity Act of the province government mandates that 30% of electricity generated originate from renewable energy sources. For the coming year, a 15% interim goal has been set. RBC expects Alberta’s renewable energy industry to continue to grow in investment. It refers to the Travers Solar Project in Vulcan County, the southeast part of Calgary, which is currently under construction. Upwards of one million solar panels will be installed as part of the project, which will provide enough electricity to serve 150,000 households.

According to the RBC research, 61 solar projects are now under construction in the province and are scheduled to be finished by the midpoint of this decade. The view stated, “We feel Alberta is well placed to draw more investments of this size and type in the years ahead.”

Since 2019, upwards of $2 billion in “utility-scale renewable power projects” have been revealed “without letting Alberta taxpayers bear the price,” according to Alberta’s associate minister in charge of the natural gas and electricity in a statement to the CBC. The RBC prognosis, according to an assistant professor in the University of Calgary’s economics department, marks a turning point for Alberta.

“I believe the RBC research really emphasizes that renewables have progressed from being a sort of a newness in the province to stuff which is economically significant,” Blake Shaffer said. “Right now, in the province, there’s a lot of investment in solar and wind power, and I don’t think it’s widely understood how much is going on.”

The change is being accelerated, according to Shaffer, by the phase-out of the coal-fired electricity and decreased costs for renewable energy initiatives. “If you had been paying attention to the news 5 years earlier, you would have associated renewables with massive costs and large subsidies. That isn’t the case any longer “he stated “Building renewables is now profitable.”

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