Alberta’s Renewable Electricity Program
We had a few BRITT team members in attendance at the Energy Disruptors Unite 2018 Event on May 15-16 in Calgary and heard several clear messages. First, the future energy mix in Alberta will be “broad and eclectic” – it will include renewables as well as oil and gas, in an approach that is both “pragmatic and profitable”. And second, technology and innovation will play key roles in navigating energy challenges. Energy Disruptors speakers addressed challenges across the entire spectrum of energy production, taking a wholistic approach to creating innovative solutions.
It was refreshing to take part in an event that avoided championing or deriding any one sector, and focused on moving forward together. And yet the excitement and stir around renewables was still very much at the forefront of many discussions. It’s worth a recap of recent activity in Alberta.
The Alberta Electric System Operator (AESO) is running three rounds of competitive bids for companies to build renewable projects in AB, with the intention of contributing to a total 5,000 megawatts (MW) of renewable energy capacity. The results of the first round, announced at the end of 2017, demonstrated tremendous success, with developers pitching bids that set a record for the lowest renewable electricity pricing in Canada. This allowed for a commitment of 600MW of renewable electricity (200MW more than originally planned) – enough to power 255,000 homes. As a result, four major wind farm projects from three developers will be operational in Alberta by the end of 2019.
As of March 2018, we are now in the second round of the program, which calls for 300MW of renewable electricity production, with a requirement that each bid includes at least 25% Indigenous equity ownership. Added to the third-round commitment of 400MW, the remaining rounds will see enough renewable energy generated to power close to another 300,000 homes.
REP Round 2 Timeline: Request for Expressions of Interest, Request for Quotation, Request for Proposal, Award.
Successful projects of Alberta’s Renewable Electricity Program will be privately funded and partially backed by reinvesting carbon revenues from large industrial emitters. The competitive process was designed in the interest of delivering the lowest possible costs for renewable electricity, and to maintain the reliability of Alberta’s power grid. By 2030, this project is expected to attract over $10 billion of Alberta-based and international investment, and create more than 7,200 Albertan jobs throughout the development process.
It’s clear that Alberta is diversifying its energy mix, and that by embracing new innovation, technologies and energy sources, we will create a more resilient economy. As these shifts continue to shape Alberta’s energy landscape, we look forward to helping our clients navigate the complexities of a growing renewable energy market, and the distinct set of processes that surround these projects.