Alberta restricts renewable energy projects amidst fight with Trudeau

Robert Tuttle, Bloomberg February 29, 2024

(Bloomberg) – Alberta is barring renewable-energy projects on certain types of agricultural lands and scenic areas as the oil-producing province’s conservative government pushes back against Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s clean-energy goals.

Alberta Premier Danielle Smith (Photographer: Gavin John/Bloomberg)

Renewable developments won’t be allowed on the two highest-quality classes of agricultural land unless the developer can prove that crops and livestock can coexist with the projects, Alberta’s government said Wednesday. Wind projects also won’t be allowed within 35-kilometer (22-mile) “buffer zones” around “pristine viewscapes” designated by the province.

Alberta Premier Danielle Smith has opposed Trudeau’s push to eliminate carbon emissions from power generation by 2035 and reduce emissions from the oil and gas industry. Smith’s government paused approvals of new wind and solar developments in August to review the province’s regulations regarding land use and other issues, and she has said Alberta needs natural gas-fired generation to back up such projects.

Renewables “are not the silver bullet for Alberta’s electricity needs,” Smith said at a news conference.

The regulations released Wednesday also require developers to post bonds for reclamation of the projects.

Alberta is Canada’s biggest oil- and gas-producing province and holds the world’s third-largest crude reserves in its oil-sands region.

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