August 8, 2023
Starting Aug. 3, the Alberta Utilities Commission (AUC) will pause approvals of new renewable electricity generation projects over one megawatt until Feb. 29, 2024, and review policies and procedures for the development of renewable electricity generation.
This approach is in direct response to a letter received from the AUC and concerns raised from municipalities and landowners related to responsible land use and the rapid pace of renewables development. At the end of this process, future renewable projects will be able to move forward at a pace that is conducive to business while maintaining responsible environmental stewardship and preserving Alberta’s reliable electricity supply.
Throughout the process, Albertans will still be able to install renewable energy products in their homes and communities.
“Participants in our public hearings have increasingly raised concerns about the impacts and pace of renewable generation development. We are pleased to support the government in canvassing relevant issues for its development of policy to ensure the economic, orderly and efficient development of electricity generation in Alberta.”Carolyn Dahl Rees, chair, Alberta Utilities Commission
“RMA is pleased by this decision to develop a provincewide plan for how the industry can grow strategically and responsibly. Rural municipalities cover roughly 85 per cent of Alberta’s land and their voices must be included in the approval process for all renewable energy projects. We look forward to working with the Government of Alberta to create an approval process that balances provincial and local perspectives and positions Alberta as a leader in responsible renewable energy development.”Paul McLauchlin, president, Rural Municipalities of Alberta
The AUC inquiry will include reviewing the use of agricultural land and public land for wind and solar projects, land reclamation and the role of municipal governments in land selection for project development and review.
The inquiry will inform government policy decisions around the ongoing economic, orderly and efficient development of electricity generation in Alberta and will look at issues, including:
- Development of power plants on specific types or classes of agricultural or environmental land.
- The impact of power plant development on Alberta’s pristine viewscapes.
- Mandatory reclamation security requirements for power plants.
- Development of power plants on lands held by the Crown.
- The impact of the increasing growth of renewables on Alberta’s generation supply mix and electricity system reliability.
- The AUC is an independent, quasi-judicial agency that is responsible for the approval of Alberta’s electricity generation projects.
- The Government of Alberta does not determine when or where electrical generation facilities are to be built.
- The AUC is currently reviewing 15 renewable, thermal and energy storage projects.
- All utility-scale renewable generation projects in Alberta are commercially developed on private land only and can only advance with the permission of private landowners.