Finally, a province is taking a step back from the wind and solar Gold Rush, and working to get it right
August 11, 2023
You can hear the screaming from here—not from Alberta, where the provincial government just announced a pause on approvals of large wind and solar power projects, but from BAY STREET where investors in (unreliable, intermittent, expensive, environmentally damaging) renewable energy projects are now worrying.
They should be.
Finally, a government is listening to the people and their concerns about land use conflicts, and whether large-scale wind and solar are really worth it.
What is the “pause” exactly?
Law firm Stikeman Elliott (up to their bank books in wind power clients) sums it up for us here:
“The Approval Pause was implemented under the new Generation Approvals Pause Regulation (“Regulation”). This legislation removed the ability of the AUC to approve any projects referred to in sections 9 or 11 of the Hydro and Electricity Energy Act which produce renewable energy. The Regulation applies to projects that have a planned project capacity of over one megawatt, but does not apply to small power plants, isolated generating units or micro-generation generating units.
During the Approval Pause, the AUC will conduct a review of the Policies for renewable electricity development. Upon completion of the review, and by no later than March 29, 2024, the AUC is to submit a report to the Minister. The review will focus on the use of agricultural and public land for wind and solar projects, land reclamation of renewable sites and the role of municipal governments in choosing the land for project development. Specifically, the AUC is to inquire into the following issues:
- Development of power plants on specific types or classes of agricultural or environmental land;
- The impact of power plant development on Alberta’s pristine viewscapes;
- Mandatory reclamation security requirements for power plants;
- Development of power plants on lands held by the Crown; and
- The impact of the increasing growth of renewables on Alberta’s generation supply mix and electricity system reliability.“
So, Alberta is looking at what land can and cannot be used for power generation projects, which serve to industrialize the areas they inhabit, and what the impacts will be. Also important is the fact Alberta is taking a good look at what the impact of renewables (also known in some circles as “the unreliables”) will have on the supply mix and—get this, it’s important–system reliability.
The “renewables” power developers don’t want to hear that. Why? It sounds suspiciously like a cost-benefit analysis, which wind power cannot withstand.
We wish Ontario had done such analysis. Two Auditors General do too: both Jim McCarter and Bonnie Lysyk recommended to the former Liberal governments that cost-benefit analysis be done … it never was, for obvious reasons.
And in more recent news, Alberta has told the federal government it’s not interested in its “unconstitutional” demand that provinces follow its net-zero plan. The environment minister for the province told the media in a news conference that the federal government plans are “unrealistic” and “not flexible.”
Schultz went on:
“We will be doing a detailed analysis in the months ahead, however, one thing is clear: the draft regulations are unconstitutional, irresponsible, unrealistic, and would make life less affordable for Albertans and Canadians. They will not be implemented in our province period! They can’t.”
Bravo to Alberta!
We look forward to the conclusions of their analysis and wish them strong backbones in the face of the industry lobbying efforts. Within hours, renewables lobbyist CanREA was screaming that it was all a big mistake!
Note: the very active citizens group in Alberta is called Wind Concerns but they are not affiliated with Wind Concerns/Wind Concerns Ontario. Great work!
#Alberta #windconcernsontario #windenergy #Ontario