Wind energy has significant upside

Kenneth Green’s thinking (Prentice’s green power risk) on renewable energy costs is outdated.

Kenneth Green’s thinking (Prentice’s green power risk) on renewable energy costs is outdated. Environmentally and economically, there are too many upsides to renewables like wind energy for Alberta to ignore.

A report this week from the independent financial advisory firm Lazard shows how wind energy costs are falling. Wind energy is now Alberta’s second cheapest way to generate new electricity. While natural gas is slightly more cost-effective today, wind energy doesn’t face the commodity and carbon price risks that will nudge natural gas costs higher in the future. Simply put, wind energy is already cost-competitive and provides Albertans with long-term stability in electricity prices and a hedge against price volatility.

And wind energy will provide long-term, sustained reductions in greenhouse gas emissions. While replacement of coal-fired electricity generation with natural gas will produce a short-term drop in emissions, Alberta’s growth will require burning more natural gas that leads to GHG emissions rising again within 15 years.

If Premier Jim Prentice is committed to achieving cost-effective, long-term GHG emission reductions in the electricity sector as part of addressing climate change, wind energy will need to play a primary and growing role in Alberta’s electricity system.

Tim Weis

Alberta Regional Director

Canadian Wind Energy Association

Edmonton

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