October 12, 2016
The Alberta government has posted a request for information (RFI) to provide advice on the potential cost and best approach for procuring solar power for half of government operations.
The RFI, open for three weeks starting October 6, 2016, will explore the opportunity to use solar energy to replace two existing green energy contracts that expire by the end of 2017 with solar power, and could lead to the first solar farm in Western Canada. The total consumption for the two contracts is 135,000 megawatt hours a year.
Currently, there are three electricity contracts that provide approximately 250,000 megawatt hours per year to provide 100% of the power to more than 1,500 government-owned buildings and sites. One contract expires in December 2016, the second in December 2017, and the third in December 2024.
“With this RFI, Alberta is leading by example and exploring how to create an opportunity for an emerging technology, drive new innovation and diversify our electricity sector,” says Brian Mason, Minister of Infrastructure.
Alberta Infrastructure began using electricity from renewable sources in 2006 and its commitment to using renewable energy was instrumental in helping establish some of Alberta’s first wind farms. Since 2009, Alberta Infrastructure has supplied government-owned facilities with 100% renewable electricity.
“The Prairies have the best solar resources in Canada and our government is committed to providing opportunities for the emerging solar industry to take advantage of this natural resource,” says Shannon Phillips, Minister of Environment and Parks and Minister Responsible for the Climate Change Office.
“There is no doubt that solar electricity will become an important component of Alberta’s decarbonized and diversified electricity supply mix as the cost of our technology continues to significantly decline,” says John Gorman, President and CEO, Canadian Solar Industries Association (CanSIA). “A solar farm that would meet half of the Government of Alberta’s annual electricity needs would support the delivery of many firsts: Canada’s first 50% solar-powered government, Western Canada’s first large-scale solar farm, and Alberta’s first utility-scale solar jobs. The success of this initiative will secure the government and public confidence in a larger future role for solar energy in Alberta.”
Image courtesy of khunaspix at FreeDigitalPhotos.net.