David Hickey, of Siemens Canada wind and renewables division came up with the estimate while speaking to a panel at a Calgary, Alberta, meeting.
There were more than 400 business leaders and bankers in the renewable energy field. They are all hoping to find ways to access some of billions that governments will be spending.
Alberta Environment Minister Shannon Phillips said that the New Democratic Party (NDP) provincial government will unveil its program in the fall and begin accepting bids by the end of 2016.
The goal of the government is to rely on renewable energy for 30 per cent of its electricity consumption by 2030. She said: "Continuing to do nothing is a dead end for our economy. Inaction on climate change will only result in more boom-bust, fewer opportunities for access to markets, and more risk to our resiliency as a province."
Saskatchewan has an even more ambitious goal in its renewable energy program. It expects to double the percentage of electrical renewable energy used from the present 25 percent to 50 percent by 2030. At present 20 percent is generated by hydro and 5 percent by wind. Three new wind power projects are expected to double the amount of wind power by 2020. Mike Marsh, President of provincially owned Sask. Power said that the province's greenhouse gas emissions will be cut by 40 percent based on 2005 levels.
The NDP government is introducing a price on production of carbon. It is set to take effect on the first of January next year. It is expected to raise $9.6 billion over five years and will be used to help finance renewables. The price will rise from $20 dollars per ton above target in 2017 to $3o dollars the following year. Phillips said: "This is a complicated file and we will take the time to get it right.
That might be a bit of an unsatisfactory answer for many of you here today, but I would submit to you that a methodical and deliberate approach to this matter will yield the right results." Developers and lenders had concerns about the complexity of regulatory approvals, and the lack of clarity about the renewable development targets. Phillips said she was not surprised at the concerns of developers noting that there were always challenges when doing something new.
The new policies will make power from coal-fired power plants more expensive. As a result companies buying power from the plants may cancel contracts. TransCanada Corp. is the latest to back out of a deal to buy power from coal-fired plants in Alberta. The NDP government is intending to phase out coal-fired plants in order to reduce carbon dioxide emissions.
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Ken is a retired philosophy professor living in the boondocks of Manitoba, Canada, with his Filipina wife. He enjoys reading the news and writing articles. Politically Ken is on the far left of the political spectrum on many issues.