“The federal government recently announced a target of achieving a national net-zero electricity grid by 2035. Despite this being an area of exclusive provincial jurisdiction and Ottawa being notably short on critical details, the AESO looked at the potential impacts on Alberta’s electricity system.

“I want to thank the AESO for this timely report, which supports what we have been stating for months: Ottawa’s unrealistic plan for net zero by 2035 would cost Albertans tens of billions of dollars and hurt energy reliability and affordability.

“Among other findings, the report estimates that reaching the 2035 target could cost up to $52 billion in extra investments – and that’s in Alberta alone. The distribution system would also require further investment, not included in the $52-billion estimate, that will ultimately be borne by consumers. Any plan that means families and businesses cannot afford to heat their homes or keep their lights on is not realistic. Keeping energy reliable and affordable is critical for all Canadians.

“As the AESO report states, reducing all electric system physical emissions to zero under the federal time frame ‘is operationally unrealistic.’ The report’s findings suggest that the 2035 timeline is especially unlikely given the uncertainties regarding maturation of low-carbon technologies, supply chain readiness and development timelines for energy-related infrastructure. More than ever, our country needs a practical and responsible plan that’s thoughtful and provides flexibility for regions like Alberta, while respecting that the electricity grid is exclusively provincial jurisdiction. Electricity markets, power sources and grids vary widely across Canada. A one-size-fits-all approach simply will not work.

“We urge Ottawa to work with all the provinces to fully assess the socio-economic impacts of any potential targets and find solutions to minimize the financial burden placed on consumers. Let’s come to the table together and create a plan that gets us to a low-carbon future while keeping energy affordable and reliable for the entire country.”