POWERING ALBERTA’S ECONOMY: The Alberta NDP’s submission on the draft Clean Electricity Regulations

The Government of Alberta has stated it intends to achieve a carbon-neutral (or netzero) economy by 2050. The International Energy Agency points out that an important milestone for advanced economies to achieve this goal is that their electricity systems largely decarbonize by 2035 as it lays the cornerstone for further electrification and emissions-reductions in other sectors.

Alberta has made great strides in lowering the greenhouse gas footprint of Alberta’s electricity system with the phase out of coal, and has been tracking towards a net-zero electricity system in the coming decades before the most recent halt on renewables introduced by the Government of Alberta. A stable, workable framework for the sector is in everyone’s best interest to attract the low emissions investment needed in Alberta to keep the system affordable, reliable and low emitting.

This submission constitutes the Alberta NDP’s input to Environment and Climate Change Canada’s proposed Canada Electricity Regulations (CER), recognizing Alberta’s decarbonization journey will look different than other provinces, and the federal regulations need to reflect that. For example, nationally, over 80 percent of Canada’s electricity comes from non-emitting sources, but in Alberta, over 80 percent of our supply comes from emitting sources like natural gas. As a result, this submission focuses on four areas where, if implemented, the CER can help to create stability in Alberta’s electricity sector rather than exacerbating the turbulence introduced by Alberta’s government. These changes include:

  • Increase the cap on low-use peaking plants
  • Enable compliance flexibility for CCUS
  • Allow cogen units an extended end of life to enable time for CCUS
  • Extend equal treatment of net exports cogen units as peaking units

While the CER aims to set national standards, Alberta must still develop its own ambitious policies in order to attract the investment needed to achieve a reliable, net-zero grid that allows for low-cost technologies to flourish without prescribing winners and losers. Alberta is ready and able to meet this challenge — and it is critical to our economic future that we do so.


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