The election of Jason Kenney’s United Conservative Party
(UCP) means the end of the line for the most climate friendly government Albertans have ever known. On April 16th Rachel Notley’s NDP was defeated by Kenney’s UCP. The end of Notley’s tenure as premiere spells certain death for the province’s Climate Leadership Plan. This includes a carbon tax and a commitment to get 30 percent (5,000 MWs) of the province’s energy from renewables by 2030. Kenney has vowed to repeal the carbon tax and do everything he can to bring as much fossil fuels to market as possible.
Notley’s defeat comes after she spearheaded some record setting achievements in the clean energy space. Now Alberta’s green energy industry, which had grown 500 percent in the last few years, is on the chopping block. Under Notley the NDP proved that renewable energy is not only competitive it can actually be cheaper than fossil fuels. The province’s first wind auction saw prices of 3.7 cents per Kilowatt hour, that is half the price of gas.
Alberta’s wind projects would have generated 1,363 MWs of emissions-free electricity. That is enough energy to power more than half a million homes. As Alberta Program Manager Joshua Buck wrote a 2018 Environmental Defence article titled The Future is Wind, “the numbers are clear, Alberta’s electricity could be generated by wind cheaply and cleanly”.
Wind is not the only up-and-comer in Alberta’s energy mix. Solar was also getting government support and four months before the election Notley announced that she was increasing solar rebates. The UCP will ax the province’s carbon tax program, caps on oil sand emissions and regulations designed to reduce methane emissions by 45 percent by 2025.
Albertans punished Rachel Notley for having pragmatic foresight. However, they also punished themselves by electing an energy Luddite who is in the pocket of the most corrupt industry on Earth.