Renewables and New ‘Distributed Energy’ Opportunities
Alberta is Canada’s energy province...and environmentally-responsible oil and gas production and value-added processing are – by far – the largest contributors to the Province’s GDP, capital investments and exports.
Alberta is also home to a rapidly-expanding and high-growth-potential renewable energy sector. These firms and emerging industry clusters are helping diversify Alberta’s economy, attract new investment, create new jobs and reduce emissions.
Driven by a supporting public policy and regulatory framework, fueled by Alberta’s Climate Leadership Plan, the Province is well-positioned to remain a global energy and innovation leader.
This transition to a more carbon-constrained operating environment and the shift to more sustainable and environmentally-responsible energy sources is creating significant business opportunities in Alberta’s renewable energy sector…in renewables such as wind energy, solar photovoltaic, geothermal, sustainable biomass, small hydro, micro-generation, energy efficiency, demand side management, and renewable fuels or ‘bio-fuels’ such as ethanol and biodiesel.
In the area of renewables, Alberta’s Climate Leadership Plan commits the Province to:
♦ phasing out all coal-fired electricity generation by 2030;
♦ generating 30% of its electricity from renewable sources by 2030;
♦ reinvesting revenues from Alberta’s carbon levy to further encourage the advancement of new technologies and provide important new program-driven incentives for renewable energy; and
♦ encouraging increased energy efficiency (i.e., residential, commercial, institutional and industrial users).
As part of the coal phase out strategy, Alberta will need to develop 5,000 megawatts (MW) of renewable energy capacity, representing about $10.5 billion in new private sector investment and another 7,000 new jobs, by 2030.
With coal-fired electricity generation currently accounting for about 51% of Alberta’s Electricity Generation Mix, these timelines are certainly bold and reflect of the range of new and emerging investment opportunities available in Alberta’s renewable energy sector…including opportunities across southeastern Alberta. Furthermore, the need to develop these resources is expected to continue to increase as population- and growth-driven demand for energy continues to rise in Alberta.
Since 1996, peak demand has increased by over 4,000 megawatts (MW), and the population has increased by 1.3 million. Both are expected to increase even further in the years ahead…only adding to the opportunities available for innovative, lower-carbon solutions in meeting Alberta’s future energy needs.