Alberta: Clean electricity snapshot

Overview of electricity in Alberta

Not long ago, Alberta relied largely on coal for electricity. Today, Alberta is home to more than three quarters of the wind and solar built in Canada in 2022. Growing wind and solar energy that has the province on track to meet or exceed the target it set in 2016—to generate 30 per cent of its total electricity from renewable sources by 2030. More clean energy also means Alberta will complete its phase-out of unabated, coal-fired electricity by mid-2024. That is six and a half years ahead of the original 2030 target. This accomplishment was highlighted by the Powering Past Coal Alliance (PPCA) in late 2022 at the United Nations Climate Change Conference.

Key Facts

Solar and wind are abundant and limitless energy sources and have become less expensive over time. Fossil fuels will continue to be vulnerable to unpredictable price spikes.

The draft Clean Electricity Regulations (CER) factor in regional differences: in Alberta, some natural gas generation will maintain reliability and affordability of electricity systems transitioning to net-zero. Post 2035, based on the proposed flexibilities in the draft regulations, the modelling shows that all natural gas units can continue to operate in some capacity.  With this much capacity to draw from, the CER will not lead to blackouts.  ECCC also continues to collaborate with provincial officials to receive their perspectives on how the regulatory parameters could be further improved prior to finalization.

The draft CER will begin to limit CO2 emissions from fossil fuel-fired electricity generation in 2035.

Taking strong actions to address the climate crisis now can help reduce the burden for our future generations. While these actions come at a price, the cost of cleaning our grid will incrementally be very small. Overall, average energy costs for Canadians are predicted to decline 12% by 2050 thanks to a reduction in fossil fuel use in homes and vehicles.

The CER is technology neutral. This allows provinces to determine which type of low-emissions electricity generating units will best suit their needs.

Electricity rates in Alberta in Summer 2023 were some of the highest in Canada – more than doubling from last year. Meanwhile, many provinces with clean electricity systems are experiencing some of the lowest and most stable electricity rates across Canada.

Interprovincial interties are one of the least-costly pathways to net zero electricity while maintaining reliability. They can allow provinces to sell their surplus variable renewable generation and balance their systems with sources of baseload power like hydroelectricity or nuclear.

All G7 countries have a commitment to move towards a net-zero electricity grid by 2035.

A clean electricity grid can have several benefits

In addition to cleaner air and reduced greenhouse gas emissions, a clean electricity grid can provide several benefits:

Electricity generated

As of 2022, Alberta had 2,848 MW of wind and 949 MW of solar installed on its grid.

Long description

Natural Gas: 43.82 %

Coal: 40.40 %

Wind, tidal, and solar: 10.75 %

Hydro: 3.88%

Other: 1.15%

Total Generation: 55.5 Terawatt hours

Economic opportunities and key projects

Supported by over $40 billion in new tax-credits from Budget 2023 and other major federal investment programs, the Clean Electricity Regulations will help drive significant economic opportunities in the province through the construction of new power sources and retrofitting of existing plants.

Alberta’s experience with carbon capture and storage projects in the oil and gas sector puts the province in an excellent position to deploy this technology with natural gas-fired electricity. The Genesee Generating Station west of Edmonton is expected to be the province’s first natural gas-fired plant to use carbon capture and storage. A second natural gas-fired electricity plant with carbon capture and storage (Moraine Power Generation Project) is undergoing regulatory approval.

There are eight post-secondary training programs in Alberta for sustainable and renewable energy, including wind turbine technician and solar panel installation for electricians, and a total of 25,000 clean energy jobs in 2021.

In 2021, Amazon Inc. announced investments in an 80-megawatt solar project in Newell County in southern Alberta that will produce enough energy to power more than 18,000 Canadian homes for a year (195,000 megawatt-hours). Amazon Inc. has also announced it will purchase 400 megawatts of electricity from the Travers Solar Project as part of its commitment to being fully powered by renewables by 2030.

In 2022, Microsoft agreed to purchase 543 gigawatt hours of power a year for 15 years from the Paintearth Wind Project outside Stettler, Alberta.

The 20 megawatt East Strathmore Solar Project in Wheatland County, Alberta, is expected to generate $5.87 million in tax revenues for the local community while boosting local supply chains and construction operations.

Keeping electricity affordable

The Government of Canada is supporting households with their energy switching, through home retrofit programs, zero-emission vehicles purchase incentives and more, to help Canadians save on their energy bills.

$40 billion in new Government of Canada measures to meet the growing demand for electricity can minimize future cost impacts being passed down to Albertans.

Albertans who make the switch to a heat pump or an electric/hybrid vehicle come out even further ahead since they will pay less in pollution pricing but still receive the full Climate Action Incentive Payment to help with their energy bills.

Recent announcements

In September 2023, the Government of Canada announced over $175 million in federal investments for 12 Alberta-based clean energy projects involving indigenous communities that will create thousands of jobs and enable local economic growth while delivering clean and affordable energy.

In June 2023, the Government of Canada announced $230,000 in funding to The Pembina Institute in Calgary, Alberta, in collaboration with Energy Innovation, to update the Energy Policy Simulator.

In February 2023, the Government of Canada announced the selection of seven Indigenous leaders who will make up the Indigenous Council that will help guide the transition to clean energy in Indigenous, rural and remote communities.

In April 2022, $300 million of federal clean energy funding was directed to the Wah-ila-toos partnership for clean energy projects in Indigenous, rural and remote communities in Canada.

In 2022, the Government of Canada announced:


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