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Alberta, Canada’s oil heartland, this month instituted a moratorium on new wind and solar power projects for a period of seven months.
The moratorium only concerns installations of over 1 MW in capacity and its purpose is to give Alberta’s government time to study the impact of such installations on the grid, on the environment, and “Alberta’s pristine viewscapes”, according to the Wall Street Journal.
Alberta, however, is not the only one pushing back against wind and solar projects. Reports from earlier in the year suggest that there is growing opposition in rural America against windmills and solar farms.
At the time, the WSJ suggested that this opposition could jeopardize the goals of the Inflation Reduction Act which represents the bulk of subsidies allocated for transition-related projects, with a heavy focus on wind and solar power.
Representatives of the wind and solar industries in Alberta are now expressing similar concerns. The CEO of the Canadian Renewable Energy Association said that the moratorium will put at risk some 80 projects worth a combined $15 billion. The WSJ notes in its report that most of the wind and solar installations in Canada are located in Alberta.
The oil province’s share of Canada’s total is 75% as of 2022, Vittoria Belissimo told the WSJ, with the total new additions last year in Alberta reaching 1.39 GW.
This fast buildout may be part of the problem. In its earlier report from May, the WSJ noted that opposition to wind and solar installations is coming from areas that have seen massive buildouts already. The report cited Kansas as an example, with wind power capacity expanding fast over the past 20 years, coming to account for 45% of the state’s electricity output.
What followed was a moratorium on new wind and solar projects in more than a dozen counties in Kansas amid concern for the environment and the effect these installations are having on local ecosystems.
By Irina Slav for Oilprice.com
Irina is a writer for Oilprice.com with over a decade of experience writing on the oil and gas industry.