On March 3, 2016, the Government of Alberta took its first step in implementing the Climate Leadership Plan by officially announcing that the Alberta Electric System Operator (AESO) has been chosen to develop and implement a renewable electricity incentive program for the procurement of renewable generation capacity by 2030 (Renewable Electricity Program). In delivering this mandate, the Province confirmed:
- The Renewable Electricity Program will be implemented through a competitive process to keep costs as low as possible;
- The process is to be carefully managed and will operate in concert with the retirement of coal generating units; and
- Its choice not to fundamentally alter Alberta’s current energy-only wholesale market structure.
The AESO was directed to prepare and provide a draft plan with its program design recommendations to the Government of Alberta no later than May 2016. Stakeholder engagement has commenced, and developers, investors and other interested parties are invited to visit www.aeso.ca/rep to provide input on the structure of the Renewable Electricity Program. The deadline for responses is March 24, 2015.
Following receipt of submissions, the AESO will provide its draft recommendations and plan to the Government of Alberta by its May deadline. It is expected that the first competition will launch in the fourth quarter of 2016, and the first projects will be in service by 2019.