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Charles Kennedy

Charles Kennedy

Charles is a writer for Oilprice.com

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$8 Billion in Alberta Renewable Projects in Jeopardy

  • Over $8 billion in investments in renewable energy are now at risk in the wake of a ban on some renewable projects in Alberta.
  • Pembina Institute: the ban puts 6.3 gigawatts of solar and wind power capacity at risk.
  • The new rules are intended to guide future wind and solar developments and establish a 35-kilometer buffer zone between such projects and protected areas or “pristine landscapes”. 
Calgary

Over $8 billion in investments in renewable energy are now at risk in the wake of a ban on some renewable projects by Canada’s Alberta province, according to a new study by an Alberta-based clean energy think tank, Reuters reports. 

The study, by the Pembina Institute, also said the ban puts 6.3 gigawatts of solar and wind power capacity at risk, noting that a total of 36 out of 111 solar and six out of 34 wind projects could be negatively impacted. 

Alberta initially announced the moratorium on renewable energy projects in August, with expiration set for February 29. Upon expiration, the government of Alberta implemented a new ban on renewable power projects planned for agricultural land and created buffer zones. 

The new rules are intended to guide future wind and solar developments and establish a 35-kilometer buffer zone between such projects and protected areas or “pristine landscapes”. 

Alberta Premier Danielle Smith told Canadian media that the new rules were in response to the view of some residents who “don’t want large scale developments to interfere with our province’s most beautiful natural features”. Related: Two Countries That Could Break Putin's Gas Grip On Europe

"You cannot build wind turbines the size of the Calgary Tower in front of a UNESCO World Heritage site," Smith was quoted as saying.

The province will follow an “agriculture first” approach with all new renewable project considerations, with Smith noting the view that renewables are “not the silver bullet for Alberta’s electricity needs “because each new development risks driving up the transmission costs and makes Alberta's utility bills even more expensive."

In terms of investment risk, Toronto-based commercial lawyer Thomas Timmins told Canada’s CBC that “Alberta hit pause in the midst of a growth curve,” adding that it was “hard to say” whether investors would return to the province. 

By Charles Kennedy for Oilprice.com

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