The Alberta government says it will require Indigenous equity investment from proponents to build renewable energy projects in the province, sources revealed.
Power-generating companies are being invited to partner with aboriginal communities in the next round of competition for would-be power producers.
Environment Minister Shannon Phillips says the province is targeting projects producing 300 megawatts of electricity in its second round which is being designed to boost the economy and training of Indigenous people.
She says a third round will follow the same rules as the first in targeting 400 MW of output from any proponent, with details of both to be established by the Alberta Electric System Operator.
“Today’s announcement recognizes the valuable work of indigenous communities in advancing our province’s transition to renewable energy,” Phillips said.
The “auction style” bidding process will open this spring, officials said. Each bid must include a certain level of indigenous equity, they said, but that could include a land-use agreement with the company or an ownership stake in the enterprise.
“Indigenous communities have had a leading role in developing green energy on a smaller scale,” pointed out Margaret McCuaig-Boyd, Alberta’s energy minister.
This new initiative “will support larger, utility-scale projects while creating good jobs and economic benefits for indigenous Albertans.”
Rupert Meneen, a Treaty 8 grand chief, was on hand to offer his support.
“Every day, indigenous people see the effects of climate change first-hand,” he said. “We need to stand up, be heard and take action on this issue because it impacts everybody.”
This new round will support those communities while creating a better life for all, he said.
Officials said the third round, also opening this spring, will follow the same open-competition approach as the initial round last fall, which delivered a record-low price for renewable energy in Canada. It will add 600 megawatts of renewable energy to the grid by the end of 2019.
In December, the province announced it had chosen three companies who are to spend about $1 billion to build four wind power projects in southern Alberta capable of generating 600 MW of new generation, 50 per cent higher than its goal.
Under its agreement with the companies, the province will subsidize the plants using funds from its levy on heavy industrial emitters if the power price falls below the average bid price of $37 per MW-hour — if it’s higher, the companies are to pay the difference to the province.
The province wants to add up to 5,000 MW of renewable energy through private sector investment of about $10 billion by 2030.
Support for the program comes from the province’s Climate Leadership Plan, officials say, not from charges added to consumers’ utility bills.
Image Source: CanWEA