A Greek company specializing in industrial and power operations has unveiled a substantial $1.7 billion initiative to construct five solar energy facilities dispersed across central and southern Alberta.
Mytilineos Energy and Metals made the announcement on Thursday, revealing their acquisition of this portfolio from Westbridge Renewable Energy.
The completion of these plants will result in an additional 1.4 GW of solar capacity being integrated into the province’s power grid, slightly surpassing Alberta’s current solar generation capacity.
This significant undertaking exemplifies the rapid growth of Alberta’s renewable energy market, according to industry insiders.
|280 MW (332 MWdc)
|Special Area No 2
|200 MW (246 MWdc)
|300 MW (274 MWdc)
|225 MW (280 MWdc)
|Stettler County No 6
Leif Sollid, the communications manager for the Alberta Electric System Operator, asserts that Alberta is leading the way in Canada when it comes to attracting renewable energy projects.
He cites a recent report by the Canadian Renewable Energy Association, which indicates that 98 percent of wind and solar growth in the past year occurred in Western Canada, with Alberta being the primary contributor.
Alberta’s transition away from coal power and towards renewable energy sources, coupled with its sunny climate and deregulated electricity market, makes it an enticing location for companies to establish operations. Sollid emphasizes that Alberta’s combination of these factors is unique within Canada.
In its press release, Mytilineos mentioned that this transaction marks its first venture in North America.
The company selected Canada due to the recently announced clean investment tax credits, and Alberta specifically due to its streamlined permitting process and commitment to achieving 30 percent of electricity production from renewable sources by 2030.
Mytilineos stated, “Moreover, the selection of Alberta has been the obvious choice for Mytilineos, as the area has some of the highest irradiation in Canada, making it an ideal location for the development of solar projects in the country.”
The planned Alberta solar power plants are named Georgetown (in Vulcan County), Sunnynook (in Special Area No. 2), Dolcy (in the Municipal District of Wainwright), Eastervale (in the Municipal District of Provost), and Red Willow (in Stettler County No. 6).
According to Mytilineos, the Georgetown and Sunnynook plants are the most advanced and are expected to reach the “ready to build” stage by the end of this year, while the others should reach that stage by mid-2024.
Mytilineos is not alone in its ambitious endeavors. There are currently 12.6 GW worth of solar projects in Alberta that are either under construction, approved by the Alberta Utilities Commission, or have been announced by project proponents.
However, Sollid clarifies that not all of these projects will necessarily be realized.
Sara Hastings-Simon, from the University of Calgary’s departments of geoscience and public policy, believes that the increase in solar capacity is beneficial for consumers. During the hot summer months when demand for power is high and ample sunlight is available, the additional solar capacity is likely to contribute to lowering prices.
She explains that it will essentially displace more expensive power generation sources during those periods.
Mytilineos anticipates that its plants will generate 2.1 terawatt-hours (TWh) of renewable energy annually, sufficient to power 200,000 Canadian homes for a year.
The company specifies that the deal is subject to certain conditions, including regulatory approval by the Alberta Utilities Commission.