Dec 10, 2018
In response to a growing demand for renewable energy, the Alberta government is investing $200 million in Climate Leadership Plan funds over 20 years to launch a new community generation program. The initiative will support the installation of locally generated electricity projects. It will also reduce greenhouse gas emissions, spur investment, diversify local economies and support local jobs.
Community generation supports Alberta’s target of 30% renewable electricity by 2030, and enables neighbours, community groups, municipalities, agricultural societies, rural and urban co-ops, universities, schools, Indigenous communities and other groups to partner on small-scale renewable energy projects such a wind, biomass, hydro or solar that provide community benefits.
“The future is not found, it’s made,” says Shannon Phillips, Minister of Environment and Parks and Minister responsible for the Climate Change Office. “Albertans want to be leaders in renewable energy and community generation will ensure local participation and benefits. This program opens doors to exciting new small-scale projects while supporting communities as they seek sustainable ways to meet their energy needs.”
Program applicants must demonstrate community benefits such as revenue from electricity production, local jobs, training opportunities, new social programs or new infrastructure. For example, a co-op could partner with a company to build a solar farm that generates revenue by selling electricity to the grid.
The program will support a “contract for difference” model that guarantees a rate of return for electricity production over the long term — locking in a rate for generators. The $200-million fund will facilitate investment in community-scale renewable energy projects by guaranteeing the price they receive for the power they produce. Up to $50 million from the fund will be dedicated to supporting community generation projects in areas affected by the phase-out of coal-fired electricity.
In partnership with Energy Efficiency Alberta and the Municipal Climate Change Action Centre, the province will undertake capacity-building efforts over the coming months to help communities prepare to participate in the program before it launches in fall 2019. This work will include:
• open houses in a dozen communities in early 2019
• an online resource hub featuring handbooks, community generation case studies, small-scale renewable energy fact sheets and more.