More early coal retirements in Alberta a positive signalPembina reacts to Atco Energy’s early retirement of coal facilities

May 11, 2017

CALGARY — Binnu Jeyakumar, Program Director, Electricity at the Pembina Institute, made the following statement in response to Atco’s announcement it will retire coal facilities ahead of schedule:

“This is more potential good news for Alberta’s electricity and health sectors. According to Atco’s plan, almost 1,500 MW of coal power will be retired between one and 10 years ahead of schedule. Atco says this decision is driven by the expiry of power-purchase agreements, confirming coal is not competitive in the open market.

“Combined with almost 3,000MW of coal power TransAlta will be retiring by 2023, this means over 70 per cent of Alberta’s coal is coming offline by the mid-2020s.

“The ultimate outcome for GHG emissions, Albertans’ health and electricity bills will depend on what mix of energy efficiency, renewables, new gas plants and coal-converted-to-gas plants replaces this coal capacity. If done well, converting some of the coal plants to burn natural gas can provide short-term transitional capacity that enables non-emitting technologies to play a larger role in the electricity grid.

“To ensure the coal phase out delivers the promised health benefits and efficiently transitions the province to a lower emission electricity system, converted plants must pay for the carbon emissions in the same way as all other generators, and have their emissions regulated appropriately.”




Suzy Thompson
Communications Lead, Alberta, Pembina Institute


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