Alberta outlines plan for transitioning to renewable energy

CALGARY – Alberta’s NDP government says the province’s new climate leadership plan will create jobs and spur billions in new investment.

The government unveiled its climate-change strategy on Nov. 22, saying the province would phase out Alberta’s coal-fired power generation by 2030.

READ MORE: Alberta to implement carbon tax in climate change policy

On Monday, Environment and Parks Minister Shannon Phillips and Energy Minister Margaret McCuaig-Boyd joined together in Calgary to outline how the province plans to transition to renewable energy.

McCuaig-Boyd said she believes the transition will create a “tremendous opportunity for new investment in Alberta.”

“Throughout the course of this phase-out, our province will see billions of dollars in new investments,” said  McCuaig-Boyd. “While this transition takes place, our government is committed to working with the companies operating in our competitive market, as well as those looking to invest to ensure that everyone is treated fairly.”

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As part of the province’s climate leadership plan, the government said it is committed to:

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  • Phase out of emissions from coal generated electricity by 2030.
  • Diversify the province’s supply mix by replacing retired coal with at least two-thirds renewable energy sources.
  • Appoint an independent facilitator and negotiator to help the government develop and implement the plan. The work of this facilitator will be to transition Alberta away from coal generation without endangering the reliability of our electricity system.
  • Keep the costs of renewables as low as possible by using market mechanisms, such as auctioning.
  • Support workers employed in the coal electricity sector with opportunities to retrain for new jobs in a greener energy economy.
  • Reduce greenhouse gas emissions from coal-fired electricity to zero by 2030, from current emissions of 40 megatonnes annually.

“The plan we have put forward enables us to take real action on climate change, protect our electricity market and responsibly transition away from coal to up to 30 per cent renewable energy by 2030,” said Phillips. “This is good for our environment, good for our image in the world and good for the health of families.”

READ MORE: Alberta’s Notley says many avenues for success at Paris climate summit

The news conference at SAIT Polytechnic also included representatives from the province’s electricity sector, including Alberta Electric System Operator (AESO) president and chief executive officer David Erickson.

Erikson said he was “confident that by working closely with government and industry, we can reliably implement the transition away from coal.”

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