As we’ve mentioned here before, the Renewable Energy Program (REP) has positioned Alberta to be Canada’s largest market for new wind energy investment for the next decade. The REP ensures this by providing contracts for 5,000 MW of new renewable energy capacity, in order to reach the Alberta government’s goal of 30 per cent of electricity coming from renewable sources by 2030.
As the most cost-competitive source of renewable energy in Alberta today, wind energy is well positioned to provide the majority of new renewable energy required to meet the government’s commitment. According to a new report by The Delphi Group that we released today, growing the wind energy sector will also create jobs and a more prosperous Alberta.
The report, “Alberta Wind Energy Supply Chain Study”, finds that, if wind energy were to be awarded with contracts for 4,500 MW, it would result in $8.27 billion in investments by wind energy developers. These investments would provide approximately 15,000 job years of employment and $3.6 billion in local spending in project development and construction by 2030.
Alberta’s strengths: supply and skills
Alberta’s wind energy capacity currently produces enough electricity to meet six per cent of the province’s electricity demand, enough to power about 625,000 average sized homes for a year. With some of the best onshore wind resources in Canada, Alberta has huge untapped potential to produce more of this cost-effective renewable energy.
The province is also home to a tremendously skilled workforce that could fill the jobs in a growing wind energy sector. Many of the skills and occupations required to develop wind projects – such as engineering, construction, operations and maintenance – are transferable from the oil and gas sector.
Wind energy can power prosperity in Alberta in the 21st century
Albertans know a thing or two about taking the bull by the horns, and about reinventing themselves. The REP sets the stage for a new kind of made-in-Alberta opportunity. The entrepreneurs and innovators in the province are poised to capitalize. The decisions we make in the next few years relating to procurement, workforce development, and research and innovation, have the potential to deliver on the promise of wind energy and contribute to future prosperity in Alberta.