In this Wednesday, Dec. 9, 2015 file photo, cattle graze in a pasture against a backdrop of wind turbines which are part of the 155 turbine Smoky Hill Wind Farm near Vesper, Kan. The president of the Canadian Wind Energy Association says the industry has proven it can compete on price with other sources of electrical power but now it must prove it can compete on reliability. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP/Charlie Riedel

Wind power developers upbeat about Alberta despite end of power project auctions

The open market in Alberta allows such deals to be struck between generator and customer

Panellists at a wind energy conference in Calgary say Alberta is still the best place in Canada to build renewable power projects despite the United Conservative government’s decision to unplug the previous NDP regime’s project auctions.

Grant Arnold, CEO of developer BluEarth Renewables, says his Calgary-based company is still fielding calls from corporations interested in buying green power because of its low cost, as well as its low emissions.

On the sidelines of the Canadian Wind Energy Association conference, he said the NDP’s renewable electricity program, which offered guaranteed minimum power prices, attracted bids that were lower than competing power sources and therefore served their purpose in demonstrating that renewable energy could be cost competitive.

Demonstrating the trend, last week Calgary-based Perimeter Solar Inc. said it would move ahead with a $200-million, 130-megawatt solar power project in southern Alberta after signing a contract to sell just over half of the output to TC Energy Corp.

Arnold says the open market in Alberta allows such deals to be struck between generator and customer, but they are prevented by regulation in most of the rest of Canada.

Evan Wilson, Prairies director for Canadian Wind Energy Association, says Alberta has the third-largest wind power sector in Canada and it supplies about seven per cent of provincial demand thanks to about 1,500 megawatts of capacity from 900 turbines at 37 projects.

He says the sector is set to add about 1,300 megawatts over the next two years as projects approved under the NDP renewable electricity program or REP come on line.

“The REP program let everyone know what we already knew, which is Alberta has a great wind resource and the price for wind power is now the cheapest form of new energy in the province,” Arnold said.

“What that does with the current government is it opens up the chance for pure market deals, which is generators generating wind power that can be sold to corporations that want to buy it.”

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Oct. 9, 2019.

The Canadian Press

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Several players from Rimbey are on the West Central Tigers hockey team.

West Central Tigers tie Airdrie 3-3 in Rimbey, Saturday. Treena Mielke Photo

Junior curling bonspiel held in Rimbey

Seven municipalities participated in junior curling bonspiel

VIDEO: Ottawa wants quick, peaceful resolution to pipeline protests, Trudeau says

The protests have manifested themselves as blockades on different rail lines across the country

Trudeau says Wet’suwet’en crisis, rail blockades a critical moment for country

First Nations leaders suggest it may be time to peacefully end the blockades

AFN national chief calls for calm on Wet’suwet’en crisis, rail blockades

Hereditary chiefs in the Wet’suwet’en First Nation oppose the natural-gas pipeline

Federal, B.C. ministers seek meeting with Wet’suwet’en in hope of blockade solution

Coastal GasLink signed agreements with all 20 elected band councils along the pipeline route

Flight to evacuate Canadians from cruise ship ‘expected’ to depart Japan on Thursday

Canadians seeking to return to home by commercial means will be subject to the Quarantine Act

Trudeau tightlipped on plan to end protests ‘quickly and peacefully’

The prime minister, who cancelled a two-day trip to Barbados this week to deal with the crisis at home

Canadian standards for coronavirus protection to be reviewed, health agency says

The protocols set out how health workers should protect themselves and their patients

Wetaskiwin RCMP Investigate Shooting incident in Poplar Grove

VW sedan may be linked to Wetaskiwin gun incident

Wetaskiwin RCMP seeking witnesses to car-jacking

Armed theft resulted in two subjects facing multiple charges

Most Read