Alberta municipalities see aggregation as a route to renewable energy Pembina Institute available to comment

March 29, 2023

Municipal Aggregation

Graphic: Municipal Climate Change Action Centre

EDMONTON, AB — In today’s world of mega-sized solar and wind development, smaller municipalities need to band together to access renewable energy, according to new collaborative research by the Pembina Institute, the Business Renewables Centre-Canada and the Municipal Climate Change Action Centre. 

The majority of municipalities surveyed said they are interested in renewable energy as a way to achieve their climate goals. Buying renewable energy through long-term contracts would also protect municipal budgets from rising electricity costs. But often these communities are too small to attract a developer or to attract a buyer if they build their own solar or wind projects.  

The solution is aggregation: pooling the energy demand or supply of several municipalities can address the barriers brought on by scale. Stacking the power demand of several smaller municipalities could make them an attractive partner for renewable energy developers.  

Half of the 36 survey respondents indicated interest in pursuing aggregation to achieve scale, with another 13 looking for further information before taking a stance. 

“Municipal aggregation is a great way to leverage the strengths of different communities, too,” said Tristan Walker, energy project lead for the Town and Municipal District of Pincher Creek. “Some communities have strengths in expertise, others have access to capital or location and sites, while others have lots of internal capacity.” 

Municipalities need help to make it work, though. Municipal staff pointed out ways to make it easier for them to participate in aggregation, including: 

  • educate community leaders and decision-makers to challenge some of the outdated thinking about renewable energy,
  • host community-oriented webinars and information-sharing hubs to link communities with knowledge and experts,
  • create or promote a dedicated aggregator to streamline the aggregation process for smaller communities, and 
  • pair several smaller municipalities with a larger “anchor” community to open access to deals with greater economies of scale.

Enabling eager municipalities to participate in renewable energy allows them to benefit from the local economic development opportunities these projects generate, the protection they provide from volatile energy costs, and the jobs that they create. This also allows communities to participate in Canada’s goal of a net-zero grid by 2035, just as our neighbours to the south are doing.

The Pembina Institute’s electricity director is available for interviews on the importance of aggregation to smaller municipalities.    


Binnu Jeyakumar, electricity director with the Pembina Institute, said:    

“It is great to see the interest from Alberta municipalities in renewable energy, driven by its opportunities for economic development, as well as their own environmental goals. Aggregation can provide a pathway for these municipalities to buy or supply renewable energy in a cost-effective manner and one that is feasible for them.”    

Jorden Dye, program manager with the Business Renewables Centre-Canada, said: 

"If you’re small, you need to be smart, and municipal aggregation is a clever way for smaller communities to come together to access the economic and environmental benefits of renewable energy."

Trina Innes, executive director of Sustainability Services with Alberta Municipalities, said: 

"Energy procurement options like aggregation create opportunities for participants to secure competitive energy prices and invest savings in other sustainability solutions."



To request a version of the graphic at the top of this release without logos, please contact Hanneke Brooymans

Additional Insight

A webinar detailing the report findings will take place on March 30. The discussion will be led by renewable energy and electricity policy expert, Ben Thibault, and will include guest speakers Clayton Stafford (Senior Partner, Greenplanet Energy Analytics) and Jan Pepper (CEO, Peninsula Clean Energy). Please click here to learn more and register: Power of Aggregation: Enabling community renewable energy in Alberta.


Hanneke Brooymans 
Senior Communications Lead, Business Renewables Centre-Canada  

Ronak Patel 
Program Manager, Sustainability Services, Alberta Municipalities 


Web page, Primer and Report: Enabling Community Renewable Energy Development Through Aggregation 
Report: Achieving a Net-Zero Canadian Electricity Grid by 2035 
Report: FAQ: Renewable Energy – What You Need to Know


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