The Green Medium is an Emerald Award-winning, youth-run blog that seeks to innovate how we discuss and inform ourselves on environmental concerns.

Myth: “Alberta doesn’t have any good sources of renewable energy”

Myth: “Alberta doesn’t have any good sources of renewable energy”

Myth: “Alberta doesn’t have any good sources of renewable energy”

A common myth holding back the energy transition in Alberta is the notion that the province has no strong source of renewable energy. Proponents of this idea typically point to the obvious sources of renewable energy in other provinces, such as hydroelectric power in Eastern Canada, but then fail to see any good province-wide sources of renewable energy for Alberta. However, this idea is flawed for a number of reasons.

First of all, solar power is one source of renewable energy that Alberta has in abundance. According to Jared Donald, Vice President of Originating and Structuring at Amp Solar, Alberta “has the best solar resource in Canada”. In fact, the city of Okotoks in southern Alberta is considered to have a better solar resource between the months of July and October than Miami does. While solar energy is unlikely to become the sole source of renewable energy in the province, it will likely become a more common way for Albertans to get their power in the coming years.

Second of all, geothermal power is another potentially strong source of reliable renewable energy for the province. Alberta is uniquely positioned to take advantage of geothermal energy for one unlikely reason: the oil and gas industry. Many of the workers and pieces of drilling equipment currently sitting idle due to the crash in oil prices could be put back to work in the geothermal industry. The process of drilling for oil and drilling for geothermal energy, which is often in the form of hot water, are in fact quite similar. There are still issues that both the geothermal industry and the Albertan government need to address before geothermal energy can be employed in any significant way across the province (for example, there are currently no geothermal plants anywhere in Canada, let alone in Alberta) but there are signs that things are changing for geothermal energy. Saskpower, Saskatchewan’s provincial power supplier, recently signed a power purchase agreement with Deep Earth Energy Production (DEEP) to develop a plan for Canada’s first geothermal plant. As the technology behind geothermal energy matures further, it seems likely that Alberta will follow suit in the coming years.

Finally, the idea that Alberta’s need for reliable renewable energy can be satisfied by one resource is misguided. In reality, the province’s renewable energy needs will need to be satisfied by a diversity of resources, including fossil fuels while the energy transition is still on-going. Regardless, Alberta does in fact have two strong sources of renewable energy that can be accessed almost anywhere in the province; solar and geothermal energy.

Ultimately, the idea that Alberta has no strong source of reliable renewable power is false. Not only does Alberta have the best solar resource in Canada and an exciting opportunity with geothermal energy but the idea that a province can rely on one source of renewable power is wrong. In reality, a number of forms of renewable energy generation will need to be used in order to guarantee that Alberta’s electricity grid of tomorrow is reliable.

[Cover image taken from Pexels, a free photo stock website]

Misconception: “Without Oil and Gas, Alberta will have mass unemployment”

Misconception: “Without Oil and Gas, Alberta will have mass unemployment”

Misconception: "Renewable energy is unreliable"

Misconception: "Renewable energy is unreliable"