August 25th, 2019

Renewables program seeks to aid rural projects

By Collin Gallant on January 18, 2019.

Alberta Environment Minister Shannon Phillips speaks with the media during a news conference in Ottawa in this undated photo. Final details of the province's Community Generation Capacity Building program will be laid out in Medicine Hat during an open house here on Feb. 5 hosted by Energy Efficiency Alberta. (Adrian Wyld/The Canadian Press)

Medicine Hat News

Non-profit groups or local governments interested in becoming equity owners in renewable energy projects could have their questions answered early next month.

In November the province’s environment minister announced that a scaled-down version of price supports on major wind farms would be made available to rural stakeholders to help move mid-sized solar and wind projects forward.

Final details of the province’s Community Generation Capacity Building program will be laid out in Medicine Hat during an open house here on Feb. 5 hosted by Energy Efficiency Alberta.

“Albertans want to be leaders in renewable energy, and community generation will ensure local participation and benefits,” Environment Minister Shannon Phillips stated on Nov. 22.

“This program opens doors to exciting new small-scale projects while supporting communities as they seek sustainable ways to meet their energy needs.”

The $200-million program is open to agricultural societies, grazing and other co-ops, school boards, Indigenous and MĂ©tis groups, or municipalities, which can put either cash, land or facilities toward private sector partnerships for mid-sized wind and solar generation projects. They must demonstrate how the profits from a venture would improve social or economic well-being of a community, provide development opportunities or community infrastructure.

Grant money would go to help stabilize contract prices that industry observers say is crucial to obtaining private sector financing. Rural Electrification Associations also expressed heavy interest when the program was announced in late 2018.

One-quarter of the program budget is reserved for projects related to communities affected by the phase-out of coal-powered generation.

A series of open houses in 14 towns and cities in Alberta begins next week to gauge interest and spell out details of the program to interested parties.

Officials will be at the Medicine Hat Lodge on Feb. 5, from 3-7 p.m.

The local meeting will be the only one in the southeast region.

A meeting in Lethbridge is set of Feb. 4 at the Southern Alberta Ethnic Association offices at 421 Fifth Ave. S. A similar meeting in Hanna is scheduled for Jan. 28.

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