Industry plans herald a coal-free grid in Alberta by 2023

Pembina Institute reacts to Capital Power's accelerated path to complete coal-fired electricity phase-out

December 3, 2020
Media Release
Genesee coal-fired power plant

Genesee coal-fired power plant. Photo David Dodge, The Pembina Institute.

CALGARY — Binnu Jeyakumar, director of clean energy at the Pembina Institute, made the following statement today in response to Capital Power’s Investor Day announcement:

“The Pembina Institute welcomes Capital Power’s announcement today, accelerating its shift away from coal by 2023. This, along with the plans announced previously by TransAlta and ATCO (whose assets are now owned by Heartland Generation), now means the province of Alberta’s electricity grid will be coal-free years ahead of its original schedule for coal phase-out. 

“An early coal phase-out means cost savings, significant emissions reductions and better health for Albertans. The economics of coal are challenging, particularly with the availability of cost-competitive renewables, so this makes coal retirement a very cost-effective way to lower greenhouse gas emissions. As Capital Power’s plans indicate, this also increases the likelihood of investment in diversification and innovative clean technologies.

“Alberta’s early coal phase-out is also a great lesson in good policy-making done in collaboration with industry and civil society. The Pembina Institute is proud of the role it played in advancing coal phase-out and in supporting policy design, including establishment of a carbon-pricing system.

“As we continue with this transformation of our electricity sector, it is paramount that efforts to support impacted workers and communities are undertaken. They were the backbone for a century of reliable electricity in Alberta and opportunities must be provided for them to take part in the emerging economy.”


Quick facts

  • In 2019, ownership of ATCO’s coal and gas-fired generation assets were transferred to Heartland Generation, which has accelerated the coal-to-gas conversions beyond ATCO’s original commitments. This includes the retirement of Battle River 3 on Jan. 1, 2020, the conversion of Battle River 5 in Summer 2020, and the upcoming conversion of Battle River 4 in early 2021.


Binnu Jeyakumar
Director, Clean Energy, Pembina Institute

Vincent Morales (français)
Analyst, Pembina Institute

Michelle Bartleman (English / français)
Communications Lead - Alberta, Pembina Institute


About the Pembina Institute

The Pembina Institute is a non-profit think-tank that advocates for strong, effective policies to support Canada’s clean energy transition. We have offices in Vancouver, Calgary, Edmonton, Ottawa and Toronto. Learn more:


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