The province of Alberta can generate 5 GW of wind power by 2025, says the Canadian Wind Energy Association (CanWEA) in WindVision 2025: A Strategy For Alberta.
According to CanWEA, the WindVision 2025 policy document makes the case that Alberta is well positioned to take advantage of its significant wind resource, access to skilled trades and interest by independent power producers. Further, the additional deployment of wind energy in Alberta is a direct response to a challenge by Alberta Energy Minister Ken Hughes for the renewable industry to put forth policy solutions to help ‘green the grid.’
Since the country's first wind farm was constructed in southern Alberta in 1993, the province has installed 1.1 GW of wind energy. But Alberta can do more.
‘Wind energy can provide substantial amounts of new clean electricity to Albertans while, at the same time, contributing to rural economic development and addressing concerns about increases in greenhouse gas emissions from the province's broader energy sector. Without immediate action by policymakers, however, the prospects for additional wind energy development in Alberta are limited,’ says Robert Hornung, president of CanWEA. ‘WindVision 2025 proposes measures that will address barriers to wind energy development and help the province meet its goals of reduced greenhouse gas emissions while returning to a leadership role in clean renewable energy production.’
However, CanWEA acknowledges the structure of Alberta's current competitive electricity market makes it difficult for new wind farms to be financeable and secure the revenues needed to be economically viable.
To overcome these barriers, CanWEA is advocating for a clean energy standard that would impose a maximum greenhouse gas emissions intensity level on electricity sold by retailers in the province. The Alberta government would set this technology-neutral standard, and retailers would seek contracts with developers of different sources of electricity generation in the marketplace to ensure their supply portfolios meet the target.
CanWEA is also advocating for an increase to the current $15/ton carbon price imposed on large carbon emitters under Alberta's existing Specified Gas Emitters Regulation. According to CanWEA, Alberta has acknowledged it needs to do more to encourage the investment choices and technology advances that will allow it to meet its climate change targets.
The Alberta policy document is similar to positioning papers that CanWEA has previously authored for wind energy in Ontario and Quebec.