Indigenous investors required in second round of Alberta renewable power auction

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The Alberta government said it will require indigenous equity investment from proponents in its second round of bids to build renewable energy projects in the province.

Environment Minister Shannon Phillips said the province is targeting projects producing 300 megawatts of electricity in its second round, which is being designed to boost the economy and training of indigenous people.

READ MORE: Central Alberta First Nation goes solar

The province said the Indigenous equity component can include an ownership stake in the project or land use agreement between the company and the community.

“Alberta isn’t just a leader in oil and gas, we’re a leader in renewable energy, too,” Phillips said in a statement. “Today’s announcement recognizes the valuable work of Indigenous communities in advancing our province’s transition to renewable electricity.”

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Phillips said a third round will follow the same rules as the first in targeting 400 MW of output from any proponent, with details of both to be established by the Alberta Electric System Operator (AESO).

The AESO is expected to open both auction-style competitions this spring, with successful bidders announced by the end of 2018.

READ MORE: Alberta government fleshes out plan to meet its renewable power targets

“Indigenous communities have had a leading role in developing green energy on a smaller scale,” Energy Minister Margaret McCuaig-Boyd said.

“I’m pleased this next round of the Renewable Electricity Program will help support larger, utility-scale projects while creating good jobs and economic benefits for Indigenous Albertans.”

In December, the province announced it had chosen three companies who are to spend about $1 billion to build four wind power projects in southern Alberta, capable of generating 600 MW of new generation — 50 per cent higher than its goal.

READ MORE: Edmonton-based company among 3 chosen to build 4 Alberta wind power projects

Under its agreement with the companies, the province will subsidize the plants using funds from its levy on heavy industrial emitters if the power price falls below the average bid price of $37 per MW-hour – if it’s higher, the companies are to pay the difference to the province.

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The province wants to add up to 5,000 MW of renewable energy through private sector investment of about $10 billion by 2030.

WATCH: The Alberta government announced details of a significant expansion of its ability to generate renewable energy on Wednesday. Tom Vernon breaks down the numbers involved.

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