AESO releases new net-zero report  

The Canadian Renewable Energy Association commends the Alberta Electricity System Operator for its ‘Net-Zero Emissions Pathways’ report, underscoring the importance of expanding the province’s wind, solar and energy-storage capacity.  

Calgary, June 27, 2022—The Canadian Renewable Energy Association (CanREA) commends the Alberta Electricity System Operator (AESO) for today’s release of the “AESO Net-Zero Emissions Pathways Report.”

“We look forward to working with partners within the Government of Alberta, the AESO and the Federal government to ensure an effective, affordable and reliable path to net-zero in Alberta,” said Evan Wilson, CanREA’s Western Canada Director.  

This AESO report examines three possible scenarios for the evolution of the Alberta electricity grid between today and 2035, the date by which the Federal government has committed Canada to a net-zero electricity grid.  

Two of the AESO’s three scenarios, the “First-Mover Advantage” and the “Renewables and Storage Rush,” illustrate the critical role that wind energy, solar energy and energy storage will play in Alberta’s path to a net-zero grid. In these scenarios, the AESO projects that wind and solar will provide between 35 and 45% of Alberta’s total generation by 2035, and between 32 and 47% by 2041.  

“The energy-only market has sparked such growth in the renewables sector that this province accounted for 60% of all new Canadian wind and solar capacity installed in 2021,” said Wilson.  “Alberta is already leading the country in renewables investments, and the AESO report highlights just how much opportunity exists in the province. The Alberta grid can support significant emissions reductions, with solar, wind and energy storage leading the path to net-zero by 2035.”  

In addition to outlining the opportunities arising from a net-zero electricity grid, the report also provides some insight into the challenges Alberta will face as we approach 2035—many of which can be addressed, and successfully mitigated, via policy and regulatory changes. CanREA’s 2050 Vision outlines the key changes required.

  • Task 1: Decarbonize Canada’s electricity production by 2035.
  • Task 2: Modernize Canada’s electricity markets and regulatory structure to enable the lowest cost pathway to grid decarbonization and expansion.
  • Task 3: Build new wind, solar and energy storage in Canada, ensuring cost-effective outcomes from procurement process for new decarbonized electricity generation
  • Task 4: Rethink Canada’s electricity infrastructure investments and seek to minimize the cost of new transmission and distribution infrastructure needed to expand electricity production.
  • Task 5. Use decarbonized electricity to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in Canada’s transportation, buildings and industry sectors.

“To get to a decarbonized grid by 2035, Canada must double its electricity capacity. All avenues will require investment; wind and solar energy offer the lowest-cost forms of new electricity generation available today,” said Brandy Giannetta, CanREA’s Vice-President of Policy, Regulatory and Government Affairs.   

With Alberta’s positive track record, Canada needs this province to lead the charge toward decarbonization. Alberta entrepreneurs never shy away from a challenge. With expertise from renewable energy leaders, it is possible to decarbonize provincial electricity supply by 2035. And, as CanREA stressed in its 2050 Vision: We have no time to waste; we must start now. 

Background

  • Alberta is home to Canada’s fastest-growing wind and solar energy sectors, with the province accounting for 60% of all new installed capacity across the country in 2021.  
  • In 2021 alone, 250 MW of solar energy capacity and 358 MW of wind energy capacity were added to Alberta’s electricity grid.  
  • The deregulated market in Alberta has fueled extraordinary renewable energy growth. Between 2019 and 2021, the market-based approach to renewables led to over 1,600 MW of contracted capacity and more than $3 billion in overall investments.  
  • Canada’s largest solar project is the 465 MW Travers Solar project, situated in Vulcan County, Alberta.  
  • The nation’s largest battery storage facility is the 20 MW Buffalo Creek Storage project, located near the town of Vermilion in Central Alberta. 

Quotes

“We look forward to working with partners within the Government of Alberta, the AESO and the Federal government to ensure an effective, affordable and reliable path to net-zero in Alberta.”  

“The energy-only market has sparked such growth in the renewables sector that this province accounted for 60% of all new Canadian wind and solar capacity installed in 2021.”  

“Alberta is already leading the country, and the AESO report highlights just how much opportunity exists in the province.”  

“The Alberta grid can support significant emissions reductions, with solar, wind and energy storage leading the path to net-zero by 2035.” 

 —Evan Wilson, Western Canada Director, CanREA 

“To get to a decarbonized grid by 2035, Canada must double its electricity capacity. All avenues will require investment; wind and solar energy offer the lowest-cost forms of new electricity generation available today.”   

—Brandy Giannetta, Vice-President of Policy, Government and Regulatory Affairs, CanREA 

About the Canadian Renewable Energy Association  

The Canadian Renewable Energy Association (CanREA) is the voice for wind energy, solar energy and energy storage solutions that will power Canada’s energy future. We work to create the conditions for a modern energy system through stakeholder advocacy and public engagement. Our diverse members are uniquely positioned to deliver clean, low-cost, reliable, flexible and scalable solutions for Canada’s energy needs. For more information on how Canada can use wind energy, solar energy and energy storage to help achieve its net-zero commitments, consult “Powering Canada’s Journey to Net-Zero: CanREA’s 2050 Vison.” Follow us on Twitter and LinkedIn. Subscribe to our newsletter here. Become a member here. Learn more at renewablesassociation.ca  

For more information or for interview opportunities, please contact: 

Communications 
Canadian Renewable Energy Association 
647-268-3382 
[email protected]