Alberta Premier Danielle Smith and Minister of Environment Rebecca Schulz wrote a joint press release on Thursday, calling for Canadians to reject the federal government’s plan to have a net-zero electrical grid in the next 12 years.
“Alberta will incur the highest costs of any province in Canada as a result of the federal electricity regulations. Alberta’s government believes these additional dollars should be coming from the federal government, not the pockets of Alberta’s ratepayers,” reads the statement.
The provincial government will launch a national advertising campaign to inform Canadians about the negative consequences of adopting the federal net-zero emissions goal through the means of print, radio, television and social media.
“Canadians need to know the risks they face if Ottawa’s proposed electricity regulations move forward without any amendments. The federal government is choosing to ignore the facts about their transition, but we are not. All Canadians need to be able to rely on reliable and affordable electricity and we will continue to fight for that,” wrote Smith in the release.
In August, Smith vowed to disobey the new federal regulations. “We will never allow these regulations to be implemented here, full stop,” said Smith. “If it comes down to it, we are going to do our own thing. We have to.”
The federal government’s proposed plan would raise the cost of power bills for Canadians and Smith’s government suggests it will likely drive investment out of Alberta.
Additionally, a new-zero power grid would be less stable without any sources of baseload power coming from natural gas, leading to increased blackouts during the months where there’s more extreme weather conditions.
“In 2022, Alberta’s grid had seven alerts during colder months and had three alerts in summer 2023, underscoring the importance of having sufficient stable baseload power sources like gas, hydro and nuclear available year-round. Alberta will continue to rely on a diverse mix of intermittent and baseload options to prevent future blackouts and maintain a reliable grid,” states the release.
Provinces in both eastern and western Canada have opposed these federal regulations, citing that the target is simply not achievable.
“The federal government has claimed that these regulations prioritize ‘reliability, affordability and sustainability.’ This is a falsehood. In fact, the opposite is true. These regulations compromise the reliability of Alberta’s grid, drive up costs for families and businesses, and will be impossible to implement in the next twelve years,” wrote Schulz.
“The federal government is on a path that will lead to failure and Canadians that are already struggling will be the victims.”
Albertans have seen an enormous spike in their electricity costs, which have already doubled since 2022. While costs to the consumer have risen, the province itself has managed to reduce their electricity emissions by 53% from 2005-2021.
The province also plans to have fully transitioned away from coal-powered electricity by 2024.
On Sept. 12, the Alberta provincial government met with the federal government to launch the Alberta-Ottawa working group, which hopes to align the efforts of both levels of government to meet targets.
If the two cannot come to an agreement on an affordable and sustainable electricity plan, Alberta said that it’s prepared to “chart its own course” going forward.
Smith’s government said that this can be achieved through investments in “clean technology within a timeframe that makes sense to investors while also safeguarding affordability and reliability.”
The press release makes note of the fact that legislation and regulation of electricity development is a matter of provincial jurisdiction, under the Constitution of Canada.