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Renewable Energy Pause Could Cost $33 Billion in Investment, Says Pembina Institute

Report says 118 projects affected and 24,000 jobs at risk.

David Climenhaga 24 Aug 2023Alberta Politics

David J. Climenhaga is an award-winning journalist, author, post-secondary teacher, poet and trade union communicator. He blogs at AlbertaPolitics.ca. Follow him on Twitter at @djclimenhaga.

An estimated 24,000 full-time jobs and $33 billion in investments are at risk because of the Alberta government’s seven-month moratorium on renewable energy development, the Pembina Institute said this morning.

Courtney Smith, spokesperson for the Calgary-based clean energy think tank, said Pembina researchers reviewed the Alberta Electric System Operator’s list of electricity generation projects in development in relation to their approval status from the Alberta Utility Commission to determine how many projects are impacted by Danielle Smith government’s freeze on renewable energy development.

“Public data shows that 118 projects are currently in development and are either waiting for permitting approval or could submit an approval application within the next few months,” the fact sheet by Jason Wang and Will Noel released this morning said. “These projects represent at least $33 billion of investment and more than 24,000 job-years,” it continued.

When the government unexpectedly declared the moratorium on approvals for renewable projects over one megawatt on Aug. 3, the 118 impacted projects were comprised of 12.7 gigawatts of solar, 5.3 gigawatts of wind and 1.5 gigawatts of battery storage proposed by 64 different development companies or partnerships, the paper says.

In addition to the 24,000 jobs and $33 billion in investments put at risk, the projects would have contributed $263 million a year in tax and land-lease revenue to 27 different municipalities, the report says.

“On average, a 100 megawatt renewable energy project generates between $125 and $175 million in project development and construction investments, $1.5 million in long-term, annual municipal revenues and up to 300 full-time jobs during construction,” the report says, noting that the impacts would have benefited southern Alberta with its frequently windy conditions and many hours of sunshine in particular.

The fact sheet includes a list of the impacted projects, the companies making the proposal, the planning area where they would take place, and estimates of the investment size, expected number of jobs and tax revenue from each.  [Tyee]

Read more: Energy, Politics, Alberta

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