The province of Alberta is Canada’s largest oil producer and has often been referred to as the economic engine responsible for driving Canadian growth, particularly during years of prosperity in the oil and gas industry.
However, as the pivot away from oil and gas continues to gain momentum across Canada and around the world, the opportunity for Alberta to become an industry leader in the renewable energy arena has presented itself.
Canada’s Renewable Power report, featuring data from the Canadian Energy Regulator’s (CER) EF2020 report, estimates Alberta will succeed in adding 1,990 MW of new net renewable capacity between 2017 and 2023. This projection will place Alberta’s electrical capacity from renewable sources at 26% by 2023, up from 16% in 2017. This total represents the combined efforts of wind, solar, hydro and geothermal in the province.
“When you think about the Prairies, many think about fossil fuels,” CER Chief Economist Darren Christie told the Financial Post, “Interestingly, our projections show they are actually leading the way in renewable energy growth.”
Alberta’s deep roots in the oil and gas industry have led to the creation of a strong, skilled workforce that is extremely well-positioned for the transition into renewable energy. Specifically, in a geothermal capacity, the crossover between drilling for oil and drilling for heat in terms of skills and infrastructure is significant.
This means Alberta has the capacity to remain a driving economic force as Canadian provinces continue to phase out coal-fired electricity in pursuit of the national target for net-zero emissions by 2050.