Renewable Energy in Alberta: 16 Facts

renewable energy alberta facts and statistics

Did you know that Alberta – Canada's oil and gas powerhouse province –  is a global leader in renewable energy?! Located on the brim of the Rocky Mountains, the Western Canadian province utilizes strong winds from the Pacific Ocean that rush across the mountain tops down onto the prairies to produce substantial volumes of renewable energy. Meanwhile, its municipalities are some of the sunniest places in the country. Calgary, for example, has an average of 2405 hours of bright sun each year spread over 333 days [14].

Alberta was home to Canada's first commercial wind farm in 1993, the Cowley Ridge wind plant near Pincher Creek. Today, the province's renewable energy capacity has expanded substantially; with the new Travers Solar Project in Vulcan County, it will be home to the largest solar project in the country.

Alberta's renewable energy leadership doesn't stop there. The oil and gas rich province plans to continue developing its renewable energy capacity with a goal of having 26 per cent of provincial power generated by renewable sources by 2023. With rapidly expanding renewable energy infrastructure (wind and solar), the province may very well be home to nearly half of Canada’s total capacity by 2025 [15].

Alberta's commitment to continued investment and innovation within Canada's energy sphere is something every Canadian can champion.

Are you now convinced that Canada's oil and gas province is also a renewable powerhouse? If not, here are several amazing facts on renewable energy in Alberta that should help broaden your understanding! Also see:

Alberta Renewable Energy Facts


Alberta Renewable Energy Facts - By 2025, Alberta is expected to be home to nearly half of Canada's total wind and solar energy capacity 2


#1 - By 2023, 26% of Alberta's electricity is expected to come from renewable sources [1]

#2 - Solar energy is anticipated to meet 6.1% of Alberta's electricity capacity in 2023 [1]

#3 - Located in the County of Forty Mile, Whitla Wind Farm is the largest wind facility in Alberta [2]

#4 - The Travers project in Vulcan County is the largest solar project in Canada. The development spans roughly 1,600 football fields in size – or ~3,330 acres [3]

#5 - 1.3 million solar panels will be installed on the Travers Solar Project [3]

#6 - The Cowley Ridge wind plant was built near Pincher Creek, Alberta, was the first commercial wind farm in Canada [4]

#7 - Between 2017 and 2023, Alberta is projected to add 1,990 Megawatts (MW) of new net renewable capacity [5]

#8 - As of 2020, Alberta produced the third most wind energy across Canada [6]

Alberta Renewable Energy Facts - Canada's largest solar project in Vulcan County Alberta is the size of 1,600 football fields 2

#9 - In Alberta, the first major electric generating plant was powered by biofuel [7]

#10 - There are more than 14 major recent and upcoming renewable projects in the province of Alberta [1]

#11 – 10% of Alberta's electricity is produced from renewables, such as wind, hydro, and biomass [8]

#12 - As of 2020, microgeneration of renewable or alternative energy totaled 95 MW across more than 6,000 sites across Alberta [8]

#13 - The proposed Greenview Geothermal power plant, also known as Alberta No. 1, will be the first conventional geothermal energy facility in the province [9]

#14 - In the early 1950s, about half of Alberta's electrical capacity came from hydroelectric stations [10]

#15 - The Brooks 1 Solar Power Plant was the first utility solar project in Western Canada [11]

#16 – 8,100 people in Alberta work as solar installers, while 3,200 are employed as wind turbine technicians [13]


Alberta Renewable Energy Facts - Alberta expects 26% of its electricity generation to be accounted for by renewables in 2023 2


Alberta’s Renewable Energy Goals

Alberta has set ambitious goals to continue Canada's world-leading renewable energy development track record. A great example of the province's aspirations is its goal of having 30% renewable electricity generation by 2030 [12] via adding 1,000 MW of renewable capacity to the provincial grid.

Other examples of Alberta's renewable energy leadership include 14 major recent and upcoming renewable projects across the province [1]. This large-scale investment shows clear faith in Alberta as a prime jurisdiction for the development and deployment of renewables.

Like the rest of Canada, Alberta plans to continue growing its renewable capacity in the coming years and decades. With growing global demand for clean energy amid the fight against climate change, Albertans must continue to support wind, solar, geothermal and other renewable energy projects in addition to their sustainable oil and gas sectors.

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SOURCES:

1- Canadian Energy Regulator - Canada's Renewable Power – Alberta. Date accessed: October 2022. (https://www.cer-rec.gc.ca/en/data-analysis/energy-commodities/electricity/report/canadas-renewable-power/provinces/renewable-power-canada-alberta.html)

2- Capital Power - Operations / Whitla. Date accessed: October 2022. (Windhttps://www.capitalpower.com/operations/whitla-wind/)

3- CTV News - Canada's largest solar project under construction in Vulcan County. Date accessed: October. 2022. (https://calgary.ctvnews.ca/canada-s-largest-solar-project-under-construction-in-vulcan-county-1.5483480)

4- Government of Alberta - Alberta and Modern Wind Power. Date accessed: October 2022. (http://www.history.alberta.ca/energyheritage/energy/wind-power/alberta-and-modern-wind-power.aspx)

5- Canadian Energy Regulator - Canada's Renewable Power – Alberta. Date accessed: October 2022. (https://www.cer-rec.gc.ca/en/data-analysis/energy-commodities/electricity/report/canadas-renewable-power/provinces/renewable-power-canada-alberta.html)

6- Canadian Renewable Energy Association - By the Numbers. Date accessed: October. 2022. (https://renewablesassociation.ca/by-the-numbers/)

7- Government of Alberta - Biomass in Modern Alberta History. Date accessed: October 2022. (http://www.history.alberta.ca/energyheritage/energy/alternative-energy/biomass/biomass-in-modern-alberta-history.aspx)

8- Canadian Energy Regulator - Provincial and Territorial Energy Profiles – Alberta– Alberta. Date accessed: October 2022. (https://www.cer-rec.gc.ca/en/data-analysis/energy-markets/provincial-territorial-energy-profiles/provincial-territorial-energy-profiles-alberta.html)

9- Government of Alberta - Greenview Geothermal Power Plant (Alberta No. 1). Date accessed: October 2022. (https://majorprojects.alberta.ca/details/Greenview-Geothermal-Power-Plant-Alberta-No-1/3916)

10- Government of Alberta - Hydroelectricity in Alberta Today. Date accessed: October 2022. (http://www.history.alberta.ca/energyheritage/energy/hydro-power/hydroelectricity-in-alberta-today.aspx)

11- Government of Alberta - Brooks 1 Solar Power Plant. Date accessed: October 2022. (https://majorprojects.alberta.ca/details/Brooks-1-Solar-Power-Plant/652)

12- Government of Alberta - Renewable energy legislation and reporting. Date accessed: October 2022. (https://www.alberta.ca/renewable-energy-legislation-and-reporting.aspx)

13- Yale Environment 360 – As Oil Industry Swoons, Tar Sands Workers Look to Renewables for Jobs, Date Accessed: October 2022 (https://e360.yale.edu/features/as-oil-industry-swoons-tar-sands-workers-look-to-renewables-for-jobs)

14- Top Universities – Sunniest Places in the US and Canada, Date Accessed: October 2022 (https://www.topuniversities.com/blog/sunniest-places-us-canada) 

15- Rystad Energy – Going green: Canada’s fossil fuel heartland, Alberta, on track to become renewables leader, Date Accessed: October 2022 (https://www.rystadenergy.com/news/going-green-canada-s-fossil-fuel-heartland-alberta-on-track-to-become-renewables)

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