The Canadian province is making it easier for communities to develop their own renewable energy projects.
November 26, 2018 — In response to the growing demand for renewable energy, the Government of Alberta, Canada 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 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. Albertans want to be leaders in renewable energy and community generation will ensure local participation and benefits,’ says Shannon Phillips, Minister of Environment and Parks and Minister responsible for the Climate Change Office. ‘This program opens doors to exciting new small-scale projects while supporting communities as they seek sustainable ways to meet their energy needs.”
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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.
“Rural Albertans are known for being self-sufficient, and we believe that more opportunities that enable Alberta’s rural areas to invest in community only strengthen our local communities,’ says Al Kemmere, president, Rural Municipalities of Alberta. ‘Community generation in renewable energy provides local investment and increases opportunities to build local partnerships. We look forward to working collaboratively with the Government of Alberta and other organizations in the development of this innovative program.”
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
Community generation supports Alberta’s target of 30 per cent renewable electricity by 2030 by helping Alberta transition to an electricity system that is cleaner, reliable and more sustainable. The Community Generation Program is made possible by Alberta’s Small-scale Generation Regulation, which outlines new rules to enable small-scale and community projects, including definitions, setup and operation. These rules also help reduce regulatory and financial barriers for generators.
Also of Interest from SGO: 3rd Smart Cities International Symposium, January 22-24, 2019, Chicago >> visit website