The province has struck a deal to pay TransAlta, Capital Power and Atco a total of $97 million a year over the next 14 years to formally end coal-fired electricity by 2030.
It’s to compensate them for the shut down and to help them transition to cleaner forms of energy, with the money coming out of the carbon levy on heavy industrial emitters.
“It’s a made in Alberta plan for Alberta’s electricity market,” remarked Environment Minister Shannon Phillips. “What these agreements today provide for communities is that first step in clarity and certainty. We’ve certainly got good partners in the companies that are heavily invested in these communities and have indicated their willingness to continue to be so and to work with us.”
The power producers will provide support to communities affected by the transition as part of the deal, along with continuing to invest in the province and keeping their headquarters in Alberta.
Phillips says the well-being of communities and workers has been at the forefront of their minds as they move forward with this process.
“We have 14-years to work with many of the communities that are affected by the early phase out of those plants that were to run into the 2050’s and 2060’s. This is one way that we can demonstrate good leadership. We can reduce our greenhouse gas emissions. We can reduce our healthcare costs. And we can open the door to a cleaner electricity system that will create jobs and diversify the economy.”
All but six of the 18 coal-fired electricity plants in our province are already scheduled to shut down before 2030.
A lawsuit launched by the province against power providers over money-losing electricity contracts is also a few steps closer to being resolved.
Capital Power will be allowed to hand one back to the province, after Deputy Premier Sarah Hoffman says the company agreed to pay Alberta $39 million in return.
The province has also reached tentative deals with TransCanada Energy and AltaGas, but it’s still trying to work one out with Enmax.
The power companies have been trying to dump the contracts back on ratepayers after the announcement of an incoming provincial carbon tax, but the current NDP government accuses the former Progressive Conservative government of illegally inserting secret loopholes into the contracts allowing the companies to do it. (sj/td)