Notley net-zero grid promise the most expensive in Alberta history
(May 3, 2023) — Today, Fort McMurray-Lac La Biche UCP candidate Brian Jean and Calgary-Shaw UCP candidate Rebecca Schulz presented two independent reports showing that NDP Leader Rachel Notley’s plan to mandate a net-zero electricity grid by 2035 is not only unrealistic, but the most expensive promise in Alberta political history. The plan effectively means Alberta will need to shut down or retrofit most of its natural gas power plants that generate the vast majority of electricity for the province.
The reports from respected independent econometrics firm Navius Research and from the independent Alberta Electric System Operator (AESO) show that even if Notley could meet her 2035 target, it would cost Alberta’s economy and ratepayers at least $87 billion to implement and see power bills for families and businesses go up by 40 per cent more than they otherwise would.
“Never has a politician committed to a policy that would cost this much to implement,” Jean said. “This is not only unrealistic, but it is dangerous to the long-term health and viability of our economy. Everyone from moms and dads to business owners to farmers would bear the brunt of this reckless policy commitment that comes straight from the desk of Justin Trudeau. Albertans everywhere should be very concerned about Rachel Notley’s decision to sign on to Justin Trudeau’s 2035 target.”
AESO has costed out meeting the pure power generation part of this unreasonable Notley-Trudeau promise at $52 billion dollars. And the opportunity cost to our economy, according to the Navius Research report, would add a further $35 billion between now and 2035. That’s a total cost of $87 billion to Albertans. Also, because of this drastic shift, the reliability of Alberta’s electricity grid would be compromised, leading to potential “brownouts” caused by inconsistent power supply.
Schulz said Notley has put signing on to Trudeau’s unreasonable policies ahead of looking after Alberta families and businesses.
“This unrealistic plan to rush to a net zero grid over the next 12 years will raise power prices for families and businesses by at least 40 per cent more than they might otherwise be,” Schulz said. “Last week, Rachel Notley stood by a plan to cap oil sands production and hurt energy sector jobs. Now, she has signed on to an unreasonable policy that will hurt not only the energy sector but every single Alberta family and business. Rachel Notley says economy and affordability is an issue that matters, but just like the last time, her plan will threaten Alberta’s prosperity and will put additional costs on Albertans.”
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- In 2022, Trudeau stated he will mandate Canada’s electricity grid be net zero by 2035.
- Over the past decade, Alberta has replaced almost all its coal power generation with natural gas fired electricity. Now, Trudeau has declared war on these new natural gas power plants and Notley has signed on to this reckless policy.
- Since the timeline for meeting this net zero grid commitment is less than 12 years, it is impossible for Alberta to build new hydro dams or SMR power plants by the deadline. The experts at AESO warn that adding too much wind or solar power will destabilize Alberta’s electricity grid and put Albertans at risk of “brownouts” during hot spells and cold spells.
- Last June, AESO estimated that changes needed to achieve a net-zero grid would cost $52 billion between now and 2035.
- Neither AESO nor Navius Research were able to estimate the cost of meeting this promise to Alberta’s cogeneration electricity sector which provides 40% of Alberta’s electricity needs as a by-product of industrial operations.
- The UCP has committed to reasonable measures like getting to a net zero energy sector by 2050. Over a thirty-year period, Alberta businesses can use innovation and long-term investments to make a real difference on reducing emissions without harming the economy.