Statement by Stephen Legault, Senior Manager, Alberta Energy Transition, Environmental Defence, Calling on the Alberta Government to Address the Real Threat to Alberta’s Landscapes and Climate: Oil, Gas and Coal

Canmore | Traditional territories of the Treaty 7 Nations – We’re disappointed, but not surprised by Premier Danielle Smith’s decision to single out clean, renewable energy for additional restrictions not applied to oil, gas, and tar sands energy projects. The Premier had made it very clear in past statements that she is biased against renewable energy, and instead favours projects that cause pollution, limit Alberta’s future economic growth, and contribute to global climate change.

Today’s announcement demonstrates a profound lack of foresight by the Premier, failing to recognize that global market forces have already shifted to favour clean, inexpensive renewable energy. Placing restrictions on solar, wind, and geothermal power that don’t apply to climate change causing oil and gas development will put Alberta’s burgeoning renewable energy industry at risk, and cost Albertans more for their energy. Solar and wind power are the least expensive sources of power in the province’s energy mix, and restricting their growth will cost Albertans money when they can least afford it.

Environmental Defence is calling on the province to address the real blight on Alberta’s landscape, the tens of thousands of oil and gas wells, new proposed coal mines and tar sands operations, along with the liabilities they present to the Alberta taxpayer, and the lost opportunities for Alberta renewable energy businesses to thrive in a post-carbon global economy.

Background Information 

  • Premier Smith’s decision to place a moratorium on Alberta’s renewable energy sector, while allowing industry players in the oil and gas business to continue to develop greenhouse gas (GHG) producing projects, demonstrates a government bias against wind, solar and geothermal energy production in Alberta. The outcome of the Alberta Utility Commissions (AUC) review, expected Feb 29th, must demonstrate fairness across the energy industry to be credible.

  • Wind and solar energy are the least expensive sources of energy in Canada. The cost of solar power has been reduced by 90 per cent over the past 10 years. Wind related costs have fallen 70 per cent over the same time. Because the “feedstock” for both wind and solar are free, the cost of these energy sources decreases the more that are built.

  • Alberta, and Canada cannot meet our global commitments to the Paris Accord and Alberta’s own net-zero pledge unless we make a massive shift from fossil fuels to renewable power. Doing that in a way that protects other interests, such as agriculture, wildlife, jobs, and community well-being is key to our success.

  • In 2023, Alberta led the country in renewable energy investment. Those projects had been in the regulatory process long before the August 14, 2023 decision to freeze renewable energy projects. Projects that would have been submitted for review will now be delayed, meaning investments, jobs, and much needed renewable energy sources will be pushed further into 2024, 2005 and beyond.

ABOUT ENVIRONMENTAL DEFENCE ( Environmental Defence is a leading Canadian environmental advocacy organization that works with government, industry and individuals to defend clean water, a safe climate and healthy communities.

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For more information or to request an interview, please contact: Allen Braude, Environmental Defence,