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Alberta NDP sets 5,000-megawatt renewable power target

Alberta Minister of Environment and Parks Shannon Phillips .
Alberta Minister of Environment and Parks Shannon Phillips . THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld

Environment Minister Shannon Phillips says Alberta is prepared to financially support renewable power projects worth $10.5 billion to achieve its goal of having 30 per cent of the province’s power come from renewable sources by 2030.

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She says the province must add 5,000 megawatts of electricity generating capacity from wind, solar and hydro projects.

Its current capacity is 16,300 MW but about 50 per cent comes from coal-fired plants that the government intends to shut down by 2030. Alberta expects about 70 per cent of power in 2030 will be from natural gas.

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Phillips says the government expects to release in November details of an auction to screen proposals from developers for new projects. She says the government won’t guarantee prices but support could come in the form of its purchase of renewable energy credits or through contracts which would top up developer revenues when prices fall.

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She added the government has no estimate as yet of how much those programs would cost. But funds to pay for it could come from the province’s carbon levy, which takes effect Jan. 1 and is expected to bring in $3 billion in fiscal 2017-18.

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Pat Bateman, a researcher with the Canadian Solar Industries Association, says nearly 7,000 MW of wind power and almost 600 MW of solar power projects have been proposed to the Alberta Electric System Operator in anticipation of the government program.

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