Indigenous partnerships to power next phase of Alberta's renewable energy program

Albertans will see new jobs, more private-sector investment and increased green power generation as the next phase of the Renewable Electricity Program focuses on partnerships with Indigenous communities.

Indigenous leaders join Marg McCuaig-Boyd (Minister of Energy), Shannon Phillips (Minister of Environment and Parks and Minister responsible for the Climate Change Office) and Richard Feehan (Minister of Indigenous Relations) to announce details on the next two rounds of the Alberta Renewable Energy Program. Image: Government of Alberta

The second round of competition in Alberta’s Renewable Electricity Program will see companies partner with Indigenous communities to provide 300 megawatts of renewable power, the province announced Monday.

Each bid will have a minimum Indigenous equity component, which can include an ownership stake in the project or land use agreement between the company and the community. This will help create jobs and economic benefits in Indigenous communities and across Alberta.

Guy Lonechild, Chief Executive Officer, First Nations Power Authority, said: “Alberta’s approach is unique in Canada. Their Renewable Electricity Program is a great opportunity for Indigenous organizations to develop renewable energy projects that will not only benefit their communities but also help the province green its electrical grid.”

The highly competitive opening round of the program attracted about $1 billion of private-sector investment in green power generation in Alberta.

Building off that momentum, the Alberta Electric System Operator (AESO) is preparing to open the second and third series of competitions, which will add approximately 700 megawatts of renewable energy, or enough to power nearly 300,000 homes.

“Alberta isn’t just a leader in oil and gas, we’re a leader in renewable energy, too,” said Shannon Phillips, Minister of Environment and Parks and Minister responsible for the Climate Change Office. “Today’s announcement recognizes the valuable work of Indigenous communities in advancing our province’s transition to renewable electricity. Our made-in-Alberta plan is getting results, as we see more investment in renewables generate low-cost green power, create good jobs and diversify the economy.”

The third round of the program will add about 400 megawatts of renewable electricity and follow the same open competition format as round one, which saw strong investor confidence and achieved a record-low price for renewable energy in Canada.

AESO, which administers the program, is expected to open both auction-style competitions this spring with successful bidders announced by the end of 2018.

As Alberta’s electricity sector evolves, the Alberta government will continue a collaborative dialogue with Indigenous leaders on how best to support long-term Indigenous participation in the electricity sector and the Renewable Electricity Program.

“This is part of securing Alberta’s energy future. Indigenous communities have had a leading role in developing green energy on a smaller scale and I’m pleased this next round of the Renewable Electricity Program will help support larger, utility-scale projects while creating good jobs and economic benefits for Indigenous Albertans,” said Margaret McCuaig-Boyd, Minister of Energy.