Great News! Alberta’s recent auction for wind power has shown once again that renewables are the cheapest form of new power generation. Alberta is now an important step closer to meeting its target of 30 per cent renewable electricity generation by 2030.
The government just announced the winning projects from the second and third round of proposals to add renewable wind power to our grid. Similar to the first round, they are near record low prices for electricity generation at 3.9₵ per kilowatt hour for round 2 projects and 4₵ per kilowatt hour for round three projects. Round one projects came in at 3.7₵ per kilowatt hour, a Canadian record low.
These new projects will create 763 Mw of clean electricity, enough to power 300,000 homes and create 1000 jobs. The projects come through the private investment of $1.2 billion from companies based in Alberta, Ontario and France, and include partnerships with First Nations. The world is lining up to invest in Alberta’s growing wind market.
These projects will soon be dotting the country side around Medicine Hat, Lethbridge, Brooks and Pincher Creek. They are expected to contribute $175 million in rural community benefits through land lease payments and municipal taxes in these regions, a real boon for Alberta’s southern communities.
With some of the lowest prices anywhere in the world, Alberta is showing that it is one of the best places to generate wind electricity. This is great news for Albertans as our government has committed to creating 5000 Mw of renewable energy by 2030. Wind electricity generation is now the cheapest form of electricity generation, often cheaper than existing coal or gas fired power plants. In the last 12 months contracts have been secured for 1363 Mw of wind energy, and while we have a long way to go to achieve our target of 5000 Mw, it is in the best interest of Albertans to aggressively add more wind turbines to our electricity grid.
As coal plants are removed from our gird, Alberta should push for them to be replaced by wind, as it is cheaper and cleaner than natural gas plants. Alberta could reduce its emissions significantly if it was to pursue greater renewable electricity generation. Current coal and gas plants account for almost 20 per cent of Alberta’s total emissions. The numbers are clear, Alberta’s electricity could be generated by wind cheaply and cleanly.