Canadian government announces renewable energy procurement opportunities

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The Canadian government is pushing ahead with plans to use 100% renewable electricity by 2022.

The Canadian government seeks to be a green energy leader with its Clean Energy Initiative, which commits Ottawa to use 100% green energy in federal buildings and operations by 2022. To help achieve this goal, the federal government announced two Alberta-specific and two Canada-wide procurement processes.

The government is soliciting proposals for both procurement processes until February 16, 2021. While the Canada-wide procurement deal looks to secure renewable energy from either wind or solar, the Alberta-specific process looks only at solar.

Alberta developers can bid in both procurement processes, and 5% of each procurement target has been set aside for Indigenous businesses as part of the government’s Procurement Strategy for Aboriginal Business. In Alberta, Ottawa is looking to purchase 255,625MWh worth of solar energy annually for at least 10 years.

By way of comparison, 200,000MWh is equivalent to 60-70MW of wind power, or between 90-140MW of solar capacity, depending on local conditions and other generation variables. Similarly, the federal government is entertaining proposals for 128,000MWh worth of Renewable Energy Certificates (REC) for a 20 year period.

Alberta-specific initiatives

Across Canada, government energy use includes 532,000MWh from greenhouse gas (GHG) emitting sources. The Alberta contracts will allow the federal government to reduce GHG emissions by 133,000 tonnes in Alberta alone.

Ottawa is also specifically targeting the 23% of its electricity-related emissions that are in areas where local clean energy initiatives will not be available in the near term. Consequently, Canada-wide green energy procurement is set to cut an additional 41,000 tonnes.

The focus on Alberta by the federal government is thus two-fold; firstly, the province accounts for 31% of Ottawa’s greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from electricity; and secondly, the government is seeking to promote cleaner energy sources in Alberta, especially since the termination of the remaining phases of the province’s Renewable Electricity Program (REP) in 2019.

As Alberta is one of Canada’s two deregulated energy markets, solar developers have significant flexibility in how they structure their proposals and offerings. Moreover, given the currently limited solar capacity installed in Alberta (under 100MW) a procurement tender equivalent to 90-140MW worth of solar power effectively represents a doubling of demand.

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