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Alberta and Saskatchewan give huge boost to renewables


The wind and solar energy industries are applauding decisions by the Government of Alberta and Saskatchewan’s crown utility to increase their renewable energy supplies by huge amounts.

The Alberta government’s Climate Leadership Plan, announced by Premier Rachel Notley on November 22, phases out all coal generation by 2030 and replaces it with renewable energy — primarily wind. By 2030 renewable energy will constitute 30 per cent of the province’s energy supply.

The following day Saskatchewan’s crown utility SaskPower said it plans to increase its renewable energy sources to become 50% of its total energy generation by 2030.

Today, about 25% of Saskatchewan’s generation capacity comes from renewable sources – 20% from hydro and 5%, or 220 MW, from wind. To help meet the target of 50% renewables, the corporation said it will procure another 100 MW of wind generation in 2016 and will develop up to 1,600 MW of new wind generation between 2019 and 2030.

In its Climate Leadership Plan. Alberta also puts a price on carbon emissions, implementing a tax in two stages: $20 per tonne in January 2017 and $30 per tonne one year later. There will be an overall limit on emissions from the oil sands of 100 megatonnes.

Methane emissions are also to be sharply reduced: by 45% from 2014 levels by 2025. To achieve this target the Alberta government said it will work in collaboration with industry, environmental organizations, and affected First Nations.

The Canadian Wind Energy Association (CanWEA) says, “While Alberta’s new renewable energy targets are ambitious, they are achievable and can be met while maintaining a reliable electricity grid.”

To read the Alberta Government announcement, click here.

To read the SaskPower announcement, click here.