April 19th, 2024

Providing clarity for renewable electricity development


By Lethbridge Herald on March 9, 2024.

AT THE LEGISLATURE
Nathan Neudorf – UCP MLA for Lethbridge East

Alberta’s government is setting a clear and responsible path forward for renewable project development to ensure our electricity grid is reliable, affordable, and sustainable for generations to come. 

I am proud that Alberta continues to be a leader in responsible energy development, not only in Canada but around the world. With our competitive tax system, unique deregulated electricity market, and our government’s commitment to reducing economic barriers, Alberta is a destination of choice for investment. 

Today, Alberta is almost fully transitioned from coal electricity generation. Natural gas continues to play an essential role in Alberta’s reliable electricity generation supply mix. However, we are seeing major growth in the energy sector, including increased energy storage capacity as well as new fuels and technologies in generation facilities such as hydrogen, biomass, geothermal, and carbon capture. This growth will underpin Alberta’s plan to get to a reliable and affordable carbon-neutral power grid by 2050.

The rapid pace of development in the renewables sector, however, created issues on a number of fronts. 

We heard Albertans concerns surrounding reclamation requirements, land use and siting of the projects, the role of municipalities in the approvals process, and the long-term reliability of Alberta’s electricity supply mix. Just this past January, we witnessed a province-wide grid alert that highlighted these concerns, particularly on the reliability of renewable power generation and the need for dispatchable electricity.

Our government’s top priority is to listen to Albertans concerns and provide clarity to investors. That’s why we directed the Alberta Utilities Commission (AUC) to implement a brief pause on approvals for new renewable power last summer so they could conduct a proper inquiry into these concerns. 

That pause has now been lifted, and the AUC has provided the first of two reports on their findings, specifically with respect to land issues. I thank everyone who provided their input during the inquiry’s rigorous consultation process. We are committed to continue listening to Albertans on this issue. 

 Based on the AUC’s finding, our government is working on five policy and regulatory changes to clarify the rules for renewable energy development. These include taking an agriculture first approach, making developers responsible for reclamation costs via bond or security, and establishing buffer zones around protected areas and pristine viewscapes.

 They also include continuing meaningful engagement on the use of Crown Lands and developing changes to Alberta’s Transmission Regulation, including how transmission costs are allocated. 

Additionally, municipalities will be granted the automatic right to participate in AUC hearings involving renewable power projects – and our government strongly supports this change.

These changes will provide clarity around renewable project developments to ensure Alberta’s electricity grid is reliable and affordable while also protecting the environment, property rights and improving investor confidence.

To ensure affordable, reliable, and sustainable electricity for future generations, it’s critical that we adopt a more integrated and cohesive planning approach to renewables development going forward. 

This is the rationale behind the changes we are making.

We will continue listening to and updating Albertans over the weeks and months ahead.

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John P Nightingale

If you actually did “continue listening” , you would , or should know that most Albertans are against coal extraction understanding that the environmental consequences are simply too much for multiple reasons. Yet Brian Jean, ex Wild Rose “leader”, is suggesting that the future of Grassy Mountain is still open for discussion. Despite his (Neudorf’s) assumption that renewables are important , this source is under a restraining order for development on land deemed important. Perhaps that is a reasonable approach , except that oil sands tailings and other negative spinoffs are not deemed significant. The thousands of orphan wells are still there, Smith even suggesting we (Alberta) contribute to the clean up.
Taking an “agriculture first” approach at first also seems reasonable, except that if that were the case, perhaps listening to ranchers and First Nations who worry about excess runoff contaminants and places downstream who rely on that runoff for drinking and irrigation would be in order.
The hypocrisy is all too apparent.
Big oil wins every time!

Last edited 1 month ago by John P Nightingale
SophieR

We all remember the incoherent justifications for the costly renewable energy pause. I am disappointed that, after seven months, this is the best story the UCP could come up with. But I’m sure Premier Parker and the Petroleum Posse will be satisfied with cutting renewables at the knees with rando buffer zones.

If ‘agriculture-first’ was even remotely true, then urban and peri-urban sprawl should be addressed.

https://www.westerninvestor.com/british-columbia/alberta-solar-projects-wouldnt-eat-into-food-producing-land-7859790

ReallyReally

More astute remarks from Sophie. Cheers from this household.
“If ‘agriculture-first’ was even remotely true, then urban and peri-urban sprawl should be addressed.” — the hypocrisy of governments everywhere !! Thank you for raising this ceaseless and virtually fundamental problem of land management.

ReallyReally

Some excellent remarks John.
The hypocrisy of the UCP stance, the blatant double standards, and Neudorf’s defence of same is classic tunnel-visioned response to whatever past and continued listening these UCP ministers actually do. Brian Jean’s lack of understanding regarding the Grassy Mountain farce is a perfect example of the effort these fools put in to their roles. Neudorf obviously was handed the same blinders when he assumed his role. Propaganda is their forte… PERIOD.

buckwheat

There isn’t another industry, corporation in this province that can go hell bent on construction of anything at will. These “intermittent” projects should not go by without the same scrutiny. Hec, you need a building permit and consent of your neighbourhood, and maybe a public hearing to build a garage on your property or applying for a home occupation. Intermittent power needs the same scrutiny as mining. Need an environmental impact assessment on all of them.

I see the naysayers of coal, which is mostly on the way out have shown up to show their love for intermittent power and their distaste for the UCP. They miss the point, the point, environmental impact for one (mining) environmental impact for all (intermittent). Don’t let common sense and fair play get in the way.

Is there any concern of about this. :

solar cells mix crystalline silicon, gallium or boron to creat a silicon ingot. Add phosphorus and the cells conduct electricity. Lots of good googling gets you to the bottom of the “save the planet” gang, just different chemicals.

Last edited 1 month ago by buckwheat
SophieR

So says buckwheat as he taps away on his mineral-rich computer discovering that things are made of stuff from the earth. Following the logic, consuming less leaves more to future generations. Lowering ghg emissions provides a more stable climate that is required to sustain the hydrologic cycle, pollinators, and food supply. Anything we do towards these goals is positive. Anything we do that accelerates consumption and emissions forecloses on the health and well-being of human and non-human life. Sneering at ‘saving the planet’ speaks volumes about one’s character.

ReallyReally

Buckwheat your comments above are as scattered as Donald Trump’s stand-up comedy shows.

ReallyReally

Today we can read the report released by the Alberta Utilities Commission. “Assuming all renewable development locates on (some of Alberta’s best) land, the percentage of (such) agricultural land loss is estimated to be less than one per cent by 2041,” says the Alberta Utilities Commission report, released Wednesday.” Also, “Compared to some other forms of industrial development, renewable power plant projects have well-understood and relatively contained reclamation risks,” it says. “The risks associated with groundwater and off-site contamination are generally low.” (Source: Bob Weber, The Canadian Press)
So, once again the UCP chose to turn their skills of muck-racking melodrama and soap opera theatre to gain a few partisan votes into destroying a flourishing industry that threatened to diversify Alberta’s economy. That industry that has noticeably set its sights on other provinces and nations for investment.
Heh, all is good though, our junior high hallway diva got her fifteen minutes of attention.

Southern Albertan

…just more, out of touch, tone deaf drivel from the Smith/Parker UCP/TBA.
Where’s the cap that we had on electricity rates that the UCP discontinued?
What of the ‘economic withholding’ that the power companies are doing, and causing our electricity rates to be the highest in the country? So much for making life more affordable for Albertans……UCP took the cap off insurance rates, cutting funding now to the municipalities so our property taxes will increase….on and on. Well, some of us knew it would get bad and did our part by not voting for the UCP. How much worse does it have to get?

SophieR

Throwing up barriers against $8 billion in investment, while gyrating for a few millions in coal. Ideology over ‘market fundamentalism’. Opinion over science. What a mess.

https://oilprice.com/Alternative-Energy/Renewable-Energy/8-Billion-in-Alberta-Renewable-Projects-in-Jeopardy.html

Last edited 1 month ago by SophieR
Lethson

The de facto ban on renewable energy will penalize Albertans with higher energy bills for decades to come. Mr. Neudorf has already succeeded in creating the highest electricity costs of any province in Canada. Now he’s placed a moratorium on the cheapest forms of energy generation. It’s a bad plan.

buckwheat

Please explain with the plethora of intermittents installed my kWh price has doubled in 3 years. Same all over the world electricity prices increased. It is a myth that more will make electricity cheaper. Name a place!!!

ReallyReally

Buckwheat I am certain that the KEY RATIONALE for renewable energy installations has been to reduce pollutants released into our atmosphere by fossil fuel burning energy systems.
Rising energy costs have much more to do with complex/compound economic issues including energy system management, global supply intricacies, fossil fuel costs, climate pressures on supply and demand, and more.
… Not quite clear about this “myth” you mention actually ever having been a key factor behind the renewable energy developments. There has been discussions how the industry costs have fallen with improvements in the technology, efficiencies realized as the industry has grown, and the volume of manufacturers involved in the industry.

buckwheat

The myth. Intermittents magically appear without natural resources and mining. Their dirtyness just doesn’t have steam from a stack or a tailing pond and mining. Hence the
myth of “clean” power.

ReallyReally

Gaslighting your arguments once again Buckwheat. You clearly were referencing the idea that renewable energy installations were supposed to make energy pricing cheaper. Again, NO, the purpose is chiefly to reduce our primary reliance on fossil fuels and reduce pollution where possible.
I have long read that renewable energy installations were actually resulting in more expensive generation, but that was because of the R&R and development costs, which are coming down, with resulting lower costs… pretty much the story behind many new technology developments historically.
100% agreed that fossil fuels are required to mine, process, and manufacture the materials and components associated with renewable infrastructure. I doubt any one would be obtuse enough to not recognize that fact. There will be a need for fossil fuels, petrochemicals for a very long time yet, to maintain a myriad of society’s infrastructure and the ongoing transition to less polluting energy sources. It takes a drama queen to focus on the idea that our extractive resource industries are threatened to the point of immediate collapse.



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