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Pembina Institute: Unprecedented growth in Alberta’s renewables market smashes business community targets

Press Release

Corporate purchases of renewable energy projected to support $3.75 billion in investments and 4,500 jobs

June 8, 2022

CALGARY — A surge of investment in renewable energy projects in Alberta has resulted in 2 gigawatts of clean energy feeding into the grid — more than enough electricity to power all the homes in Calgary, Lethbridge, Medicine Hat, and Red Deer combined.

The rapid market growth signifies an important shift in Alberta’s energy economy. Companies are purchasing renewable energy in response to a demand for decarbonization from shareholders, governments, investors, and customers. The province’s rich wind and solar resources, combined with a unique-in-Canada deregulated electricity market that allows companies to purchase energy directly from sellers, have provided the enabling conditions for a renewables boom.

Energy deals struck between corporations and renewable energy suppliers are the main driving force behind the rapid expansion of Alberta’s renewables sector. A group of businesses under the banner of the Business Renewables Centre-Canada (BRC-Canada) set the ambitious goal to purchase 2 gigawatts of renewable electricity by 2025. With this surge in investment, BRC-Canada – an initiative of the Pembina Institute – has now hit its goal three years early.

Over 90% of new renewable energy deals made in the province have involved companies that are part of BRC-Canada’s community. It is clear that this initiative, focused on education and generating awareness among companies interested in purchasing renewables through power purchase agreements, has made an impact.

Federal funding through PrairiesCan enabled the launch of BRC-Canada in 2019. With a new federal investment of $600,000 through PrairiesCan’s Regional Innovation Ecosystem funding, the Pembina Institute will further scale up BRC-Canada as an educational platform where corporations and institutions can learn, connect and receive guidance to purchase renewable energy directly from Alberta-based producers. The new funding through PrairiesCan will enable BRC-Canada to engage more sectors with the potential to pivot their energy supply to renewables, while also increasing participation of underrepresented groups in Alberta’s growing renewable energy sector.

Quotes

“Alberta’s renewables industry continues to grow. Five deals have already been struck this year, adding up to 333 megawatts of new wind and solar power. With Canada committed to achieving a net-zero electricity grid by 2035, corporate investment in renewables is an impactful way to reduce emissions and help businesses achieve their environmental, social, and governance commitments while also decarbonizing Canada’s grid.”

— Nagwan Al-Guneid, Director, Business Renewables Centre-Canada

“Alberta has all the necessary natural resources to take hold of this great opportunity to grow its renewable energy sector, position itself as a hub for renewable energy projects, and create high quality jobs in communities across the province. Our government’s collaboration with the Pembina Institute will help scale up the Business Renewables Centre-Canada and help create new opportunities for business, including women and Indigenous-led firms, so they can purchase and sell renewable energy, while contributing to Canada’s drive to net-zero by 2050.”

— The Honourable Daniel Vandal, Minister for PrairiesCan

“Since its inception, the Business Renewables Centre-Canada has served as an innovative platform where renewable energy project developers and buyers can connect and work together on collaborative opportunities. With today’s funding, our government is helping take this initiative to the next level and ensuring even more businesses can benefit from Alberta’s talent and growing renewable energy sector, and contribute to the health of both our economy and our environment.”

— The Honourable Randy Boissonault, Minister of Tourism and Associate Minister of Finance

Quick facts

  • Companies driving the demand for renewables in Alberta include TELUS, Starbucks, Amazon, and municipalities including the City of Edmonton.
  • Another important factor driving the renewables boom in Alberta is the competitive pricing of the technology. According to a recent report from the Pembina Institute, the cost of wind and solar has fallen by over 70% and 89% respectively since 2009.
  • 2021 was a banner year for renewables investment in Alberta, nearly quadrupling the total volume of renewable electricity on the grid.

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Contact

Sarah Nason
Communications Lead, Pembina Institute
587-588-5744

Background

Report: BRC-Canada Annual Report (2021)
Blog: Read more of the story on BRC-Canada’s website
Resource: BRC-Canada Deal Tracker

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