Alberta presses ‘pause’ on renewable energy projects

Solar panels

Early last month, the Government of Alberta announced that the Alberta Utilities Commission (AUC) would pause approvals on new renewable energy projects over one megawatt in the province until February 29, 2024.

The Government also instructed the AUC to undertake an inquiry into policies and procedures for the development of electricity generation. The AUC will consider factors such as development on specific types or classes of agricultural or environmental land, mandatory reclamation security requirements for power plants, the impact of such developments on Alberta’s viewscapes and how renewable energy sources affect the province’s generation supply mix and the reliability of its electricity system. The AUC will undertake a modular approach to the inquiry as announced in Bulletin 2023-06 released on September 11, 2023.

On August 22, the AUC stated that it would continue to process applications for new power generation projects up until the approvals stage, under Rule 007: Applications for Power Plants, Substations, Transmission Lines, Industrial System Designations, Hydro Developments and Gas Utility Pipelines. New interim information requirements [PDF] in respect of such applications — pertaining to agricultural land, municipal land use, viewscapes and reclamation security — were released on September 6.

For more details and insight into what these requirements and processes could mean for your business or project, read our full Updates recapping the pause on new renewable energy project approvals, the Alberta Utilities Commission’s subsequent announcement and interim information requirements and further details regarding its inquiry into the development of renewable electricity generation.

Osler’s Regulatory and Power and Utilities groups are following these developments closely and will continue to update readers on this process and its potential implications.