Canadian province of Alberta on track to phase out coal plants by 2030

Ilario D'Amato
Reading time: 2 minutes
26 November 2016

LONDON: Alberta, the Canadian province with most coal-generated electricity plants in the country, has just signed a deal with three major power producers to accelerate its phasing out of coal-fired electricity by 2030, as the government outlined last November in its Climate Leadership Plan.

The news follows the national government’s decision to accelerate the nation-wide phasing out of coal plants by 2030, which will reduce the country’s greenhouse gas emissions by more than 5 megatons by that date – equivalent to taking 1.3 million cars off the road.

Alberta, Canada’s biggest oil-producing province, joined The Climate Group’s States & Regions Alliance before the historic Paris Agreement last December. The move marked a drive toward a cleaner, healthier society and provided the province with the opportunity to join a global network of forward-thinking political leaders at the forefront of the shift to a net-zero economy.

“Many state and regional governments around the world are moving forwards with ambitious climate plans to help keep global temperature rises to well below 2 degrees Celsius,” says Libby Ferguson, States & Regions Director, The Climate Group. “Phasing out coal power is a key element of this and we are proud that Alberta, a member of the States & Regions Alliance, is taking this important move for a just transition to clean energy.”

The Alberta government will compensate the companies a total of C$97 million a year over the next 14 years, so to take into account the early shut down of the plants and to help them transition toward cleaner forms of energy. The government plans to replace two-thirds of coal-generated electricity by renewables – primarily wind power – with the rest covered by natural gas.

Crucially, these funds will be generated by the levy imposed only on heavy industrial emitters, and will be invested in supporting the local communities – families, small businesses, First Nations and people working in the coal industry – to transition toward a cleaner economy.

Alberta’s Climate Leadership Plan

Video courtesy of YourAlberta

“Alberta is taking deliberate, thoughtful action to successfully move toward a low-carbon economy,” said the Honourable Shannon Phillips, Alberta’s Minister Responsible for the Climate Change Office. “This includes working with The Climate Group’s States & Regions Alliance and its international network to accelerate this transition.”

Alberta’s government has decided to cap electricity costs at C$6.8 cents a kilowatt hour, in order to protect homeowners from spikes in the electricity costs from 2017 until 2021. 

“The government is committed to working with existing Alberta businesses as we transition away from coal, and we are making good on that commitment today,” Alberta’s Energy Minister Marg McCuaig-Boyd underlined.

The province is also phasing in a carbon price of C$20 per ton next year – and C$30 by 2018 – while reducing methane emissions by 45% from 2014 levels by 2025 and setting a limit on oil-sands emissions at 100 megatonnes a year. By 2030, 30% of Alberta’s electricity will be generated by renewable energy sources.

Shannon Phillips, Minister of Environment and Parks of Alberta

Canada’s biggest oil-producing province is moving toward clean energy “because we know that Alberta can lead again,” said Shannon Phillips, Minister of Environment and Parks, Alberta, in an exclusive Climate TV interview during COP21 last December.
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