Alberta seeks solar farm proposals
The Alberta government is aiming to support the province’s first solar farm to help meet its green power needs.
A Request for Information (RFI) to provide advice on the potential cost and best approach for procuring solar power for half of government operations will be posted today. This will explore the opportunity to use solar energy to replace two existing green energy contracts that expire by the end of 2017 with solar power, and could lead to the first solar farm in Western Canada. The total consumption for the two contracts is 135,000 megawatt hours a year.
“With this RFI, Alberta is leading by example and exploring how to create an opportunity for an emerging technology, drive new innovation and diversify our electricity sector.”
Alberta Infrastructure began using electricity from renewable sources in 2006 and its commitment to using renewable energy was instrumental in helping establish some of Alberta’s first wind farms. Since 2009, Alberta Infrastructure has supplied government-owned facilities with 100 per cent renewable electricity.
“The Prairies have the best solar resources in Canada and our government is committed to providing opportunities for the emerging solar industry to take advantage of this natural resource.”
“There is no doubt that solar electricity will become an important component of Alberta’s decarbonized and diversified electricity supply mix as the cost of our technology continues to significantly decline. A solar farm that would meet half of the Government of Alberta’s annual electricity needs would support the delivery of many firsts: Canada’s first 50 per cent solar-powered government; Western Canada’s first large-scale solar farm; Alberta’s first utility-scale solar jobs. The success of this initiative will secure the government and public confidence in a larger future role for solar energy in Alberta.”
- Currently, there are three electricity contracts that provide approximately 250,000 megawatt hours per year to provide 100 per cent of the power to more than 1,500 government-owned buildings and sites.
- One contract expires in December 2016, the second expires in December 2017 and the third will be in effect until December 2024.
- Replacing the two contracts set to expire this and next December will create the first opportunity for a solar farm in Western Canada.
- If these two contracts can be fulfilled by solar, this will result in 10 times the current solar energy production in Alberta.
- 135,000 megawatt hours is enough to power 18,750 Alberta homes for a year.
- The Request for Information will be open for three weeks starting Oct. 6, 2016.