Over 70% of Alberta's electricity is sourced from coal. As a result, one-quarter of the province's greenhouse gas emissions come from electricity generation. This thought leaders' forum hosted by the Pembina Institute and the University of Calgary's Institute for Sustainable Energy, Environment and Economy (ISEEE) focused on wind power and cogeneration in Alberta. Our objective was to create a space for dialogue amongst key Albertans in order to help Alberta expand the development and deployment of cogeneration systems (small and large) and wind energy.
Forum Proceedings and Summary Report
This full-day forum on opportunities in wind power and cogeneration in Alberta hosted approximately 65 thought leaders from diverse backgrounds. Find out what happened during the day and what resulted from it. Download the comprehensive summary report.
The Forum in Photos: A slideshow of the day's events
Perspectives on a Greener Grid: We get a politician, a conservationist, a lawyer, industry and government to weigh in
Eight people, eight perspectives on the future of Alberta's electricity and what role wind power and cogeneration might play in the mix.
Andy Ridge, Alberta Environment, says that with a continued growth in electricity demand and a focus on climate change, the Alberta government is exploring options to grow greener electricity in the province.
"What is important to always keep front and centre is the electricity contribution of greenhouse gas emissions in particular to the provincial share is the most significant in Alberta."
"The question and the challenge in front of us is how can we do more?"
Dan Balaban, president and CEO of Greengate Power, advocates a clean electricity or performance-based standard to support the growth of wind energy in Alberta.
"We're going to see a fundamentally different way that we produce energy 10 years from now compared to today."
"A little bit of policy will go a very long way to create an explosion of renewable energy and wind energy in this province."
Danielle Smith, Leader of the Wildrose Alliance, is in the process of developing energy policies for her new political party. She supports increased use of cogeneration and removing regulatory barriers for wind power development.
"I think the greening of the electricity grid offers us the best opportunity to reduce our overall level of emissions."
Dave Rehn, ENMAX, says a level playing field and transparency are crucial to the growth of renewable energy in Alberta. He'd like to see the true costs of various sources of energy reflected as well as their associated externalities.
"Any time you tend to subsidize one fuel type or one form of generation versus another, you create an unlevel playing field."
David Huggill, Canadian Wind Energy Association, sees wind power as a way for Alberta to help repair its image and diversify its economy.
"Wind is certainly here to stay for the long run."
Speaking to the attributes of wind energy: "We don't use water, there's no residual or toxic waste associated with us, we're non-emitting, we have a very small footprint on the landscape and we're a very good partner with the agricultural and rural-based society in Alberta."
Dan Cloutier, president of Cummins Power Ecosystems, talks about what makes cogeneration a technology that's only going to expand in use - it's got a fast payback and gives clients greenhouse gas credits. He also gives his ideas on how to create a level playing field.
"Energy efficiency is by far the biggest energy find that Alberta can realize and cogen is one of those highly efficient technologies."
Nigel Douglas, conservation specialist with Alberta Wilderness Association, supports energy sources that have a low impact on wilderness.
" We cautiously support the wind industry but with the caveat that there needs to be more planning around where developments are located."
Fred Martin, retired lawyer who has worked with the Kikino Metis Settlement, speaks to his experience with a proposed cogeneration project and wind power project on the settlement - and what prevented one of the projects from moving forward.
"The more you diversity the system, the more robust a system you get."
"To be on a level playing field, you have to know first of all, what are your fossil fuel subsidies... and the cost of C02 emissions?"
Greening the Grid in Alberta
Alberta's growing demand for electricity can be entirely met by tapping into the province's vast renewable energy resources.
Pembina's analysis of green electricity scenarios clearly demonstrates Alberta has incredible potential to become a leader in green power production and energy efficiency and doesn't have to rely on dirty fuels.
Greening the Grid outlines two scenarios for meeting Alberta's electricity demand. The more aggressive "green scenario" shows how Alberta could move from 70 per cent coal to 70 per cent renewable energy in just 20 years.
Fact Sheet: Wind Power Realities
Putting Wind Power Myths into Perspective
This fact sheet addresses questions about the social, environmental and economic impacts of large-scale wind power production in Canada and around the world.
Comparing U.S. and Canadian investments in sustainable energy in 2010
In 2010, the U.S. is set to outspend Canada nearly 18:1 per capita on renewables, and more than 8:1 per capita overall on clean energy programs and projects, according to Pembina's analysis of Canadian and American budget documents. This backgrounder provides a detailed breakdown of the various committments the U.S. and Canada have made to spending on renewable energy, efficiency and low-carbon transportation.
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