Report: A Vision for Alberta’s Electricity Future

March 8, 2024

The Energy Futures Lab, a social innovation lab based in Alberta, has recently released Leading the Charge: A Vision for Alberta’s Electricity Future.

Incorporating the collective wisdom of electricity system leaders and engaged community members, the vision paints an inspiring long-term picture of the Alberta electricity landscape as we approach 2050, outlining the possibilities that shifts to the electricity system have unlocked. It sets forth foundational principles for guiding forthcoming changes to policies, regulations and market solutions as part of a journey that will enhance Alberta’s future competitiveness in global markets, minimize the costs of decarbonization for electricity customers, and promote a more equitable system.

As the Government of Alberta commits to realizing a net-zero economy by 2050, the electricity system has emerged as the linchpin for achieving this ambitious goal. It is the first domino in a sequence of systemic transformations poised to drive decarbonization across all sectors. Against this backdrop, the release of the vision underscores the belief in decarbonization shared by system stakeholders as well as Indigenous and non-Indigenous communities across the province. It signals the widespread commitment to being part of the solutions needed to make it a reality. Importantly, it also outlines critical areas where policy is needed to create the conditions that free the system to make the shifts required.

“Navigating the complexities of modernizing Alberta’s electricity grid demands collaborative dialogue and innovative thinking. Through inclusive engagement, The Energy Futures Lab has harnessed diverse perspectives to envision an electricity system that empowers customer choice, ensures reliability, and accelerates decarbonization affordably,” says Alison Cretney, Managing Director of the Energy Futures Lab.

Collective insights for the report were gathered through The Energy Futures Lab’s ongoing Alberta’s Electricity Future (AEF) initiative, which has brought together industry leaders from across the electricity system as well as diverse voices from historically underrepresented groups such as Indigenous Rights and Title holders, rural constituents, people experiencing energy poverty, youth and next generation leaders.

“As a representative from Canada’s commercial real estate sector, I am impressed with EFL’s thoughtful and methodical approach towards vision setting,” comments Graham Halsall,  Director of Sustainability & Risk Management for ONE Properties and AEF participant. “Assembling such a diverse group of stakeholders – and getting alignment on grid modernization priorities – is a critical step towards a low-carbon, resilient and equitable electricity future for all Albertans.”

The vision is a living framework, designed to evolve in tandem with emerging insights and community input. It will act as a guiding ‘North Star’ for changes to the system and set the guardrails as key barriers are identified and electricity system players embark on forging solutions that propel Alberta toward the unified vision for the electricity future. With over 40 organizations, individuals, and agencies already lending their expertise, the momentum is palpable.

“Energy investment constitutes a major economic opportunity for rural Albertans, particularly here in Southern Alberta where our range of opportunities extends across the entire portfolio, from traditional to alternative generation sources,” says Jim Willett, Chair of SouthGrow. “But policy has struggled to keep up with the pace of change and rural Albertans are bearing the brunt of the unintended consequences. This vision is what Alberta needs, to align the priorities of the diverse stakeholders and guide individual policies towards an outcome that works for everyone, including our rural communities.”

“The release of this vision is the first step toward setting a new course for Alberta’s electricity system,” continues Cretney. “We’re committed to fostering ongoing dialogue and integrating broader perspectives to further refine the vision over the coming months to make this a vision that all people in Alberta can proudly support.”

As The Energy Futures Lab further continues to engage communities around this vision, they are encouraging the public to download a copy and share their reactions and insights through a survey. The Lab has also committed to releasing updated iterations of the vision regularly, incorporating deepened perspectives from diverse voices.

To explore the vision, visit Leading the Charge – A Vision for Alberta’s Electricity Future


Related Articles