Alberta is ripe with renewable energy resources. The province boasts some of the best solar and wind potential in the country and globally as well, although it utilizes less than 1% of it. Moving to renewables not only means less pollution and healthier communities but it would also help diversify Alberta’s economy, create thousands of jobs and, if structured correctly, could give every Albertan the ability to benefit and participate.
The Alberta Renewable Energy Alliance has modeled a scenario whereby in 2020 wind could power 7% of the grid, solar and geothermal would each contribute 1% and energy efficiency and storage would also make up a larger part of power capacity (AREA, 2015). According to its calculations, this scenario will create 46,780 jobs for Alberta by 2020: 14,700 in wind energy, 14,400 in solar, 7,080 in energy efficiency, 5,100 in bioenergy, 3,050 in energy storage, 1,300 in geothermal and 1,150 in small-scale hydro (AREA, 2015).
Alberta has the natural resources, the skilled workers and the incentives to make the move to renewables. With the ticking clock of the climate crisis the timing couldn’t be more urgent.
 These job estimates are from the Alberta Renewable Energy Alliance (AREA, 2015) report.
Alberta Green Economy Network (AGEN) therefore recommends that the Government of Alberta:
- Commit to having 100% of its electricity come from renewable sources (wind, solar, etc) by 2050. Further to this goal, we recommend setting the following interim targets:
- That 40% of Alberta’s electricity come from renewable sources by 2030.
- That 20% of Alberta’s electricity come from renewable sources by 2020 with at least 800 megawatts coming from solar – enough to power more than 133,000 homes.
- Provide dedicated support to First Nations, Metis, rural and community cooperatives to install and utilize renewable energy.
- Modify Alberta’s Microgeneration regulation to allow producers of renewable energy to install larger systems and sell more of the electricity that is generated. This would increase the portion of renewable energy on the grid from small producers.
- Enable First Nations to sell power into Alberta’s grid and repeal legislative barriers that presently prevent them from doing so.
- Create a smart grid with dynamic pricing allowing all Albertans to participate in the spot price market and to support the deployment of non-dispatchable renewables (“renewable friendly grid”).