Alberta, officially the Province of Alberta, is a Canadian province bordering on the U.S. state of Montana, and is currently the 4th largest province overall. Known for its abundance of oil and natural gas reserves, the province is home to some of the most impressive fossil fuel industries in the world, producing over a quarter of a million barrels of oil every day.
Alongside this, the province has a large solar power facility, the Fort Saskatchewan Power Plant, and has been a leader in the production and use of solar energy for years, recently establishing a 30% target for renewable energy sources, such as solar power, by 2030.
First Solar Power Plant in North America
The Province of Alberta has a long history of investing in and developing the energy industry and has recently become a global leader in renewable energy, setting its sights on powering the world with solar energy. Indeed, it is home to the first solar power plant in North America and, in 2014, Alberta was the world’s 2nd largest producer of solar energy after California.
Located in the heart of Alberta, the 102 megawatt (MW) First Solar Power Plant began commercial operations in 2013 and now supplies electricity to more than 150,000 homes, as well as large companies and government agencies. The project is jointly owned by several parties, including the Chinese company, CNPC, who own 75% of the project, while the province’s Power Corporation owns the remaining 25%.
The First Solar plant is an excellent example of the progress the Province of Alberta has made in becoming a global leader in renewable energy and fossil fuel reduction, and offers hope for the future of energy production in Canada.
In 2010, the Province of Alberta surpassed expectations, producing over 230 million kWh of renewable power (more than 95% of the total energy demand), compared to its previous annual output of 106 million kWh. The development of this power was helped along by an 80% reduction in fuel imports, which were previously used to generate the electricity consumed in the province.
This was made possible by the introduction of new rules and tariffs, which forced electricity distributors to purchase power generated from renewable sources, such as solar power, instead of continuing to rely on coal and other fossil fuels (which are still allowed under the new system).
Additionally, the rules and tariffs implemented in 2010 enabled smaller projects, such as backyard greenhouses, to generate and consume electricity.
Alberta: The Global Energy Leader
Not only is the Province of Alberta a global leader in renewable energy production, but it has also taken a more general lead in terms of encouraging the production and consumption of green energy across Canada and the world. In 2008, Premier Ed Stelmach established the ‘Alberta Climate Change Strategy’, which aims to reduce the province’s dependence on fossil fuels, decrease its greenhouse gas emissions, and promote renewable energy use.
The plan calls for a complete transformation of the way energy is generated and used in the province, which has resulted in numerous large-scale projects, such as the ones mentioned above, being developed and implemented.
Not only are the Province of Alberta and its people leading the way in terms of establishing new energy sources and reducing fuel imports, but they have also taken a keen interest in and begun supporting green, eco-friendly living, exploring alternative forms of transportation and promoting energy-saving products and technologies.
The province’s energy policies and new power plant developments have been supported by large international corporations looking to make a positive impact in the world and help reduce their own fuel imports, as well as by smaller companies seeking to create a better world for themselves. Together, these companies and individuals are driving the green energy revolution in Alberta, helping to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, conserve natural resources, and cut expenses, all while maintaining a high quality of life.