On March 3, 2016, the Alberta Electric System Operator (AESO) requested input from the developer and investor community on the proposed Alberta Renewable Electricity Program.

As part of the Climate Leadership Plan (released on November 22, 2015), Alberta Energy instructed the AESO to design, manage and operate the Renewable Electricity Program to add new renewable generation capacity to the grid in a low cost, safe and reliable manner. Although not stated in the AESO’s media release, the Climate Leadership Plan suggested that a fixed number of renewable energy credits would be purchased by the provincial government on an annual basis to incentivize renewable generation in Alberta by providing the incremental revenue necessary to support such development.

The AESO intends to develop the Program throughout the year and launch its first Renewable Electricity Program competition in Q4 2016 with project in-service dates in Q2 2019. The AESO has posted an online questionnaire as a first step in seeking input from stakeholders. Requested information includes:

  • The nature and location of a proposed renewable project.
  • Previous experience with renewable projects.
  • Anticipated barriers and risks to investing in renewables.
  • Information required for making an investment decision.
  • Timelines for development and construction.

In designing the Program, the AESO and Alberta Energy will need to work through a number of key challenges associated with renewable projects, including, among many others, system access, reliability and grid integration; renewable financing; land use conflicts and regulatory process coordination.

If you have any questions about the specific components of the Program or need to better understand the underlying competitive process, requirements and timelines, please contact David Macaulay, Brad Gilmour or Nick Bryanskiy.

The deadline for responses to the AESO online questionnaire is March 24, 2016. Based on the feedback, the AESO will provide draft recommendations on Program design to Alberta Energy in May 2016.