Alberta — Pembina Institute, a Canadian-based non-partisan clean energy think tank says there has been a continuous surge of investments in renewable energy projects in Alberta.
This surge has led to 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.
Pembina says the province’s rich wind and solar resources and 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.