Home » Products Sourcing » Renewable Energy » Alberta Makes Way for Large-Scale RE Projects After Short Moratorium, Brings in Agriculture First Approach

Alberta Makes Way for Large-Scale RE Projects After Short Moratorium, Brings in Agriculture First Approach

solar power panels near a wheat field and cloudly sky
  • Canada’s Alberta has lifted the moratorium on approvals to new renewable energy generation projects 
  • The AUC has listed new guidelines for future projects, keeping agriculture first approach 
  • The renewable energy industry is not happy with this lack of access to agricultural land for clean energy facilities 

With effect from February 29, 2024, the Canadian province of Alberta lifted its moratorium on final approvals for large-scale renewable energy projects, while introducing an ‘agriculture first’ approach for such projects on agricultural land. 

Notably, the Alberta Utilities Commission (AUC) had paused granting approvals for renewable energy projects since August 2023 citing concerns from municipalities and landowners about their rapid growth. 

After 7 months, the moratorium has been lifted with the AUC also providing policy guidance for the path forward. 

The 1st report (module A) that examined land issues, has been submitted to the government. Following are some of the measures in the report:  

  • Alberta will not permit renewable generation developments on class 1 and 2 lands, unless the proponent can demonstrate the ability for both crops and/or livestock to coexist with the renewable generation project 
  • The government will also establish requisite tools to ensure Alberta’s native grasslands, irrigable and productive lands continue to be available for agricultural production.
  • Buffer zones will be established for a minimum of 35 kms around protected areas and other pristine viewscapes. New wind projects will no longer be permitted within these zones. Other proposed developments will need to clear a visual impact assessment before approval 
  • Developers will be responsible for reclamation costs via bond or security 
  • Crown lands will be available for renewable energy projects on a case-by-case basis alone 

AUC plans to submit its 2nd report as module B to the government by the end of March 2024. Module B looks at the impact of renewables on the supply mix and system reliability. Greater clarity can be expected once the government evaluates both the modules. 

The President of the Rural Municipalities of Alberta, and reeve, Ponoka County, Paul McLaughlin said, “While many of the details are still to be determined, RMA is cautiously optimistic that this approach will reduce conflicts between renewable projects, local land use plans and agricultural land preservation, and ensure that project owners are responsible for decommissioning and reclamation costs.” 

However, the renewable energy industry is not thrilled with limited access to agricultural land. The Canadian Renewable Energy Association (CanREA) is concerned about the announcements on agricultural land bans and ‘pristine viewscape setbacks.’ 

“Wind energy and solar energy have a long record of co-location with productive agricultural land use,” explains the association. “This decision means that local communities and landowners in these regions will miss out on the benefit of renewable projects, specifically the tax revenues and lease payments associated with renewables.” 

The association adds that it plans to work with the government and the AUC to seek opportunities to continue these beneficial approaches.  

Alberta is the leading renewables market in Canada. It installed 700 MW, the largest chunk of 2.3 GW new wind, solar and energy storage capacity in 2023 (see Canada Installed Over 400 MW New Solar PV Capacity In 2023).

Source from Taiyang News

Disclaimer: The information set forth above is provided by Taiyang News independently of Alibaba.com. Alibaba.com makes no representation and warranties as to the quality and reliability of the seller and products.

Was this article helpful?

About The Author

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Scroll to Top