By Lethbridge Herald on January 13, 2024.
AT THE LEGISLATURE
Nathan Neudorf – UCP MLA for Lethbridge East
Happy New Year!
As we step into 2024, I am thrilled to share updates on several initiatives, particularly focusing on our electricity system.
Since August 2023, our government has engaged in numerous inquiries and studies to develop a more comprehensive plan for the future of our electricity grid and management.
Our efforts began by requesting the Alberta Utilities Commission to study the impacts of renewable electricity generation, addressing aspects such as land use, viewscapes, reclamation costs, and intermittency.
The findings are expected by Feb. 29.
In addition, we have tasked the Alberta Electric Systems Operator (AESO) and the Market Surveillance Administrator (MSA) with evaluating our energy-only market structure, pricing, and market behaviours. This analysis aims to stabilize prices and ensure Albertans receive reliable and affordable electricity.
Our comprehensive approach extends to finalizing recommendations for transmission regulations, a critical part of our grid.
This collaborative effort, involving industry and stakeholders, covers everything from the “overbuild” of our transmission system a decade ago to technical aspects like congestion and line loss calculations.
The review explores the significant impacts on generators, especially those engaged in renewable energy, and considers the optimal integration of these sources into our grid and energy mix.
It also recognizes the challenges posed by the growth of renewable generation, with numerous new sites compared to the relatively few coal and natural gas generation sites.
This expansion has resulted in a roughly 500 per cent increase in transmission costs to accommodate the growing number of these new sites. We have also completed a major review of the Regulated Rate Option (RRO), responding to its record-high price in August of last year at nearly 32 cents/kWh.
These factors, alongside the rapid transition to greener electricity, contribute to the complexity of monthly electricity bills.
The urgency of our work is underscored by the magnitude of new renewable projects expected to come online and the associated increase in transmission costs.
Alberta surpassed the AESO’s 2021 prediction, reaching 1,000 MW of renewables on the grid in 2022, 19 years ahead of expectations.
Ensuring a reliable, sustainable, and affordable electricity system is paramount for all Albertans’ cost of living.
It affects everything from food and clothing to retail merchandise, manufactured goods, and industrial products.
In 2024, we will present a comprehensive plan that combines responsibility with innovation, reliability with affordability, and lower emissions with a practical and attainable strategy.
Key elements of our plan include integrated planning for an efficient system, utilizing smart technology, and empowering consumers.
We will focus on Demand Side Management (DSM), working with distributors on incorporating microgeneration into the grid, and leveraging microgrids to optimize our system efficiently.
Our goal is to maximize electricity generation within our borders and collaborate with our trading partners for a sustainable future.The possibilities are vast, and the future is exciting!
Planning, integrating new technologies, optimizing efficiencies, and ensuring a stable grid — all within the framework of affordability and reliability — are the responsible steps we have taken, and they will undoubtedly benefit all Albertans.