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Alberta May Accelerate the Phase Out of Coal

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Earlier this year, Rachel Notley was elected Alberta’s premier in a sweeping victory for the New Democratic Party.   

Since the historic election, there has been considerable anticipation as the province’s consumers, businesses, and energy providers prepare for the new government’s energy policy agenda. 

If there are any early indications, it could be in the government’s plan to increase Alberta’s carbon tax. In June, Alberta Environment Minister Shannon Phillips announced that the new government will double the carbon tax on large emitters from the current rate ($15/tonne today) to $30/tonne by January 1, 2017. The announcement also coincided with the doubling of efficiency targets for large emitters.

More recently, there has been speculation that the new government may also accelerate the phase-out of coal by 2020, which is a significant development given that coal served about 54 percent of the province’s power demand in 2014. As part of an overarching plan to reduce emissions, Alberta would seek the early closure of its coal-fired electricity plants, which are currently granted a 50-year lifespan under federal rules.

What would an accelerated phase out of coal mean for the province’s consumers and businesses?

While the plan isn’t finalized and may also have legal challenges, it could represent a significant opportunity for Albertan consumers and businesses to use cleaner sources of energy — and less of it. This is especially true with solar power and natural gas as well as innovative energy efficiency and demand response programs.

Regardless of the policy outcome, Direct Energy Business has been active across Canada to ensure customers have clean and affordable energy options available to them. Earlier this month, our Innovation to Inspiration mobile exhibit made its debut at the Alberta Legislature Building in Edmonton, drawing a number of visitors, including the Minister of Energy Margaret McCuaig-Boyd, representatives from the Department of Energy, the Alberta Utilities Commission, and numerous government staffers. It’s just one of the many ways that Direct Energy Business is engaging the province’s energy leaders and highlighting how technology can better serve Alberta’s consumers and businesses. 

Stay connected with Direct Energy Business for more market and regulatory developments in Canada. For regular updates, please be sure to subscribe to our weekly market updates.

Posted: September 22, 2015