Coal-fired plants currently generate most of Alberta’s electrical power. Most of the remainder is supplied by natural gas. Hydro, wind and other power sources supply the rest.
Most electrical generating plants are in central Alberta, close to the coal mines that supply them.
Others are part of hydroelectric systems feeding the main power network. They are along the following rivers:
- North Saskatchewan
Large transmission lines carry power from these plants to the province’s urban and rural centres.
Renewable energy projects
Sometimes, industry or landowners want to undertake renewable energy developments on private land. They must follow all regulations and use best practices. This helps reduce land disturbances and invasive species and manage at-risk landscapes.
Alberta Environment and Parks (AEP) provides helpful information about current regulations. These focus mainly on wind and solar and the importance of conserving native grasslands during development.
Find the fact sheet at: Renewable energy development on private land regulatory framework.
Future trends in generation
Coal is currently Alberta’s primary energy source for power generation. At current consumption rates, deposits are estimated to last 300 years.
However, we continue to develop renewable energy sources such as wind power. This is especially being developed in southwestern Alberta. We will also continue to use hydropower.
Meanwhile, we are researching more efficient ways to generate electricity from coal. Some possible methods include:
- coal gasification
- coalbed methane extraction
- direct carbon fuel cells
Co-generation results in increased efficiency. In this process, industrial operations that require steam can simultaneously generate electricity. This usually comes from natural gas.
Some operations can use co-generation to meet all their electrical needs.