Renewables marketplace looking to take off in Alberta

From energy firms to tech giants and food and beverage chains, a growing number of North American companies are signing deals for green electricity and spurring excitement within Alberta’s wind and solar industries.

At a first-of-its-kind event in Calgary on Thursday, the members of Business Renewables Centre Canada gathered to discuss opportunities related to corporate renewable energy procurement. A non-profit initiative founded by The Pembina Institute and modelled on a successful U.S. program, BRC-Canada aims to spur the growth of the renewables sector by serving as a modern marketplace where businesses can learn how to source green electricity directly from developers.

Non-utility procurement of green electricity is not a new concept in Alberta. For several years now, a consortium of Alberta school boards have been purchasing power directly from a southern Alberta wind farm to offset the electricity needs of up to 500 schools, and the City of Calgary also sources green power for its CTrain system in this way.

But the concept has not taken off here as quickly as it has south of the border, where companies such as Facebook, Amazon, Nike, Starbucks and ExxonMobil have all signed power-purchase deals with wind and solar companies to enhance their own environmental performance or meet mandated emissions-reductions targets. In 2018, U.S. companies secured a total of six gigawatts of green electricity through private procurement.

“2018 was a real turning point in the U.S., doubling the amount of deals from the year before,” said Sara Hastings-Simon, BRC-Canada’s founding director and a senior fellow at The Pembina Institute. “The marketplace started off small with just a few companies dipping their toes in the water, and then it became a situation where businesses saw their peers doing it and said, ‘I should do this, too.’”

To view the full original article by Amanda Stephenson, click here: