TransAlta wind turbines are shown at a wind farm near Pincher Creek.
Jeff McIntosh / THE CANADIAN PRESS
In an effort to provide greater investment certainty, the Alberta government has released more details about its plan to have renewable power make up 30 per cent of electricity generation in Alberta by 2030.On Tuesday, the government released interim targets based on the long-term outlook for the electricity system, the feasibility of when new renewable projects can come online, and the timing of market events such as the phasing out of coal, coal-to-gas conversions and new infrastructure. While about 10 per cent of Alberta’s electricity generation currently comes from renewable sources, the new targets show that growing to 15 per cent by 2022, 20 per cent by 2025, and 26 per cent by 2028.The government has already completed three rounds of a competitive auction process that has secured 1,360 MW of renewable electricity, and Environment Minister Shannon Phillips said details of a fourth auction — which will add up to 400 MW of renewable power — will be made available in mid-2019.Establishing interim targets provides a “road map” for the province’s Renewable Electricity Program, said Phillips, and gives those involved in the electricity market greater certainty.“One of the things that investors tell us, one of the things that power producers tell us and communities tell us, is they want that investment certainty in the long-term,” she said.Phillips also took aim at UCP leader Jason Kenney, who said Sunday he would take subsidies for wind and solar off the table if he becomes premier. Phillips said wind and solar in Alberta is not subsidized (though the Renewable Electricity Program does reinvest revenue from the carbon tax) and has set records for the lowest prices in Canada for renewable power. She suggested that if a UCP government scraps the program, it would throw turmoil into the investment community.“He is proposing to bring in an era of uncertainty, of shutting down contracts, of ensuring Alberta is not a stable, predictable place to do business,” she said.Included in the interim targets released Tuesday is a commitment from the province for 1,500 MW of renewable power to be developed with Indigenous participation. Guy Lonechild, CEO of the First Nations Power Authority, said there are many long-term opportunities for Indigenous communities to benefit from the move to renewables — whether it’s through hosting a wind or solar farm on their land or through jobs and education opportunities for young people.“This is a business. It builds jobs in creating new energy infrastructure for tomorrow, it cleans the environment,” Lonechild said. “We’re having those strategic direction discussions with Indigenous communities right now.”Phillips made the renewable electricity announcement at the Forward Summit, an Indigenous-led, multi-day conference taking place in Calgary this week. The conference is dedicated to advancing economic partnerships between Canada’s industry leaders and Indigenous Communities.Charles Weaselhead, former Blood Tribe and Treaty 7 Grand Chief and co-chair of the summit, said there is a growing awareness among both industry and Indigenous communities of the mutual benefits of working together on projects. However, the process has not always been easy.“It’s always been a conflicting, challenging interaction with industry and First Nations,” Weaselhead said. “So we want to open up that discussion. How can we make it easier?”firstname.lastname@example.orgTwitter.com/AmandaMsteph