Alberta’s new rules for renewables: Protecting Alberta skies, farmlands and power grid

MLA Chantelle de Jonge joined Rebel News to discuss the province's new renewable energy regulations.

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Last year, the Government of Alberta put a six-month moratorium on all new large renewable energy projects to enable the Alberta Utilities Commission to put together a clarifying framework of rules and responsibilities. This was so developers had a clear picture of what establishing a renewable energy project will mean from conception to reclamation.

That half-year pause came to an end on February 29, and a series of new, more fixed regulations were announced. If you’d like to learn more about the moratorium, please watch our exclusive interview with Alberta’s Minister of Environment and Protected Areas Rebecca Schulz.

While the technicalities of the Alberta Utilities Commission's framework likely only matter to industry insiders, their outcomes have meaningful implications for all Albertans. Rebel News was joined by Member of the Legislative Assembly for Chestermere-Strathmore & Parliamentary Secretary for Affordability and Utilities Chantelle de Jonge to break down just what the new rules mean for the province.

De Jonge broke down how prior to these new regulations, Alberta was essentially a wild west when it came to renewable projects, with solar farms popping up on prime agricultural land, turbines blocking pristine views, and no plans in place to reclaim or clean up the projects when they were no longer in use.

There was also concern over how renewable projects were being implemented and whether they could meaningfully support grid demands, or if they were just producing excess power at peak production times that was ultimately unneeded.

We asked her about the government's affirmation that renewables will indeed be part of the mix in terms of powering a reliable, affordable, and sustainable grid, and whether these new regulations, as NDP critics would suggest, will deter renewable investments and job creation in the province.

With recent cold-snaps causing power grid strains and threatening to leave Albertans in the dark (and in the cold), de Jonge weighed-in on how glaringly evident it is that coal and natural gas will be needed for the foreseeable future. She noted just how dangerous it is for Albertans, especially considering our winters, that some NDP leadership hopefuls plan to forego them altogether as soon as possible.

The MLA also explained how the agriculture-first approach described in the rules will ensure prime agricultural land will be prioritized for agricultural purposes and protected from massive renewable projects. She further detailed how restrictions protecting “pristine viewscapes” can ensure Alberta’s epic vistas aren’t overrun with eco-eyesores.

Finally, we asked how the Government of Alberta plans to ensure that renewable developers clean up after themselves when their projects reach end-of-life, ensuring Albertans aren’t left footing the bill for costly reclamations.

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