Growth in Alberta’s renewable energy sector should continue its upward trend, experts say, with one forecast anticipating a surge of projects that could have the province poised to be the Canadian leader in utility-scale wind and solar capacity as soon as 2025.
Rystad Energy tracks utility-scale wind and solar assets with at least one MWac (megawatt alternating current) in capacity. It forecasts that 83 percent of the combined, utility-scale wind and solar capacity built in Canada over the next five years will be in Alberta. That wouldn’t include smaller renewable development, like residential rooftop solar.
With the forecast growth, Rystad analyst Felix Tan expects Alberta will have the largest combined total of utility-scale wind and solar capacity in the country by the middle of the decade, overtaking Ontario.
“Alberta is sort of playing catch up,” Tan said in an interview from New York.
“We have seen a lot of capacity build out over the past two, three, four years in places like Ontario, in B.C. and Quebec.”
According to the data Rystad tracks, Alberta’s current renewable capacity includes 0.1 gigawatt (GW) of solar and 1.8 GW of wind. By 2025, it expects that to grow to 1.8 GW of solar and 6.5 GW of wind.
Rystad forecasts Ontario will have about 1.8 GW solar, 5.8 GW wind in 2025.
Tan said Alberta’s commitment to stop burning coal to generate electricity by 2030 “opens the door” for wind and solar to play a larger role.
He also said the province’s deregulated electricity market creates a favourable environment for solar and wind development.
The market allows corporate buyers to enter into contracts with wind and solar generators directly — something a growing number of companies are expected to seek as they look to green their operations.
Blake Shaffer, an assistant professor in the department of economics and school of public policy at the University of Calgary, isn’t anticipating as much growth as Rystad projects, but he agrees with the forecast’s direction.
“We’re going to continue to add renewables in this province,” said Shaffer, whose work focuses on electricity markets, climate policy and energy transitions.
“Whether or not we surpass Ontario in that timeframe, I can’t say definitively right now. But certainly it’s going to grow. And it’s simply a function that the cost of building renewables has just gotten so cheap.”
Like Tan, he also sees the benefit of Alberta’s competitive market structure for electricity.
Shaffer said Texas, a place with a long history in oil and gas, has become a growth centre for renewables in the United States. He believes Alberta will also become a growth leader in renewable energy.
“That’s not because of an intrinsic love for renewables,” he said.
“It’s simply that we have the best resource in terms of what we call capacity factor — so the frequency with which the wind blows here is high, which makes the unit cost low.”
He said Alberta’s solar resources are second only to Saskatchewan.
A number of multimillion-dollar wind and solar projects are planned for Alberta in the next few years.
Edmonton International Airport and Alpin Sun announced this summer they are working on an agreement that will see the company develop Airport City Solar, a 254-hectare solar farm on the west side of the airport lands.
The massive Travers Solar project in Vulcan County is also in works.
The $750-million project, led by Calgary’s Greengate Power, will consist of 1.5 million solar panels and generate about 800 million kWh a year, enough to power more than 100,000 homes.
CEO Dan Balaban said if things go to plan, they hope to begin construction later this year.
“It’ll be by far the largest [solar project] in Canada,” he said. “And I think there’s certainly the potential for more mega renewable energy projects in this country and in this province as time goes on.”
Balaban said the discussion around energy shouldn’t be framed as oil and gas versus renewable energy.
“I think we should be developing our oil and gas resources and our renewable energy resources,” he said. “We have a phenomenal opportunity in this province if we can all work together.”
AHS to lay off 428 laundry workers as it looks to outsource service – CBC.ca
Alberta Health Services is looking for contractors to take over its laundry services as the government embarks on a plan to outsource thousands of healthcare-sector jobs to private companies.
AHS issued a request for proposal on Friday seeking a contractor to assume responsibility for its remaining in-house laundry services. The move is expected to result in the layoffs of 428 full-time, part-time and casual workers. AHS and the Alberta Union of Provincial Employees both cited the figure.
The proposal comes after Health Minister Tyler Shandro detailed a plan last week by AHS to lay off up to 11,000 employees — mostly in laboratory, cleaning and food services. Those jobs will be outsourced to private companies, a recommendation contained in the Ernst & Young cost-cutting review released in February.
In a news release, AHS said the laundry transition will save money and avoid the cost of replacing its aging infrastructure.
“By reinvesting savings from initiatives such as contracting out laundry services into the health system, we can improve patient care and ensure Albertans are provided with the best possible health care,” Shandro said in a statement Friday.
About two-thirds of laundry services are currently provided by a third party, including in Calgary and Edmonton. AHS said the move will eliminate the need to spend $38 million on upgrades to its laundry infrastructure that would otherwise be immediately necessary.
AHS said it “anticipates there will be some opportunities” for employees to work with a new contractor.
The AUPE, which represents the laundry workers, said the move will upend the lives of its members based at 54 sites across the province.
“Jason Kenney wants to corrode their working conditions, pay, benefits, hours and more,” AUPE vice-president Kevin Barry said. “Privatizing laundry also results in lower quality and sometimes unsafe services as staff are forced to cut corners to create profit for the private owners.”
The deadline for proposals is Dec. 1 and AHS is expected to pick a contractor by mid-March.
Laundry service accounts for $60 million of the health authority’s $15.4-billion budget, according to the Ernst & Young review.
The report said there had been frequent staff safety “near misses and injuries” due to workarounds from equipment breakdowns. Laundry workers’ disabling injury rates are about 60 per cent higher than other AHS staff, according to the review. It estimated AHS would have to spend about $200 million on equipment and infrastructure to maintain operations.
The request for proposal says the laundry contractors will be responsible for onsite pick-up and delivery, processing, replacement, quality control and inventory management.
“A contracted model will enable a sustainable service, while eliminating risk that our outdated laundry infrastructure poses,” said AHS president Dr. Verna Yiu.
In 2015, Sarah Hoffman, health minister in the NDP government, halted an AHS-proposed plan to privatize laundry services outside of Edmonton and Calgary.
U.S. government approves alliance between WestJet and Delta, with conditions – CP24 Toronto's Breaking News
WASHINGTON, Wash. – The U.S. Department of Transportation has granted tentative approval of an alliance agreement between WestJet Airlines and Delta Air Lines.
The airlines intend to co-ordinate services, including network planning, pricing, and sales activities.
Capacity is expected to be expanded on some existing routes while some services will be introduced on new routes that will increase travel options to and from Canada.
One condition of approval is the removal of WestJet discount carrier Swoop from the alliance and the selling of 16 slots at New York’s LaGuardia Airport.
Canada’s Competition Bureau approved the joint venture in the summer of 2019.
The airline industry has struggled amid a massive drop in traffic following the COVID-19 pandemic.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published Oct. 23, 2020
BlackburnNews.com – Canadian retailer to shutter operations – BlackburnNews.com
Canadian retailer to shutter operations
October 23, 2020 6:35pm
A popular women’s fashion chain is the latest Canadian retailer to fall victim to the slumping economy caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Le Château Inc., which is based in Montreal, announced Friday that it had filed a Companies’ Creditors Arrangement Act (CCHA) application to protect its assets, while it liquidates and winds down operations, according to a media release posted on the company’s corporate website.
The chain has 123 stores across Canada, including one at Devonshire Mall in Windsor and one at White Oaks mall in London. The company also maintains a website that serves customers in both Canada and the U.S.
In its release, the company said every effort was made to keep the company afloat.
“The retail industry faced numerous challenges due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and the second wave currently hitting our communities across Canada,” the company said. “Its already evident impact on consumer demand for Le Château’s holiday party and occasion wear, which represents the core of our offering, has diminished Le Château’s ability to pursue its activities.”
There were 900 people employed in the chain’s stores, plus 500 at the head office in Montreal.
“We regret the impact this will have on our people and can assure you that we explored all options available to us prior to taking this difficult decision,” the company said. “We also thank the fashion schools and the business partners that have been part of our legacy and wish them continued success in keeping Montréal the fashion centre of Canada. Most importantly, we thank the millions of Canadians whom we have had the privilege of serving over the past six decades.”
There is no word on when the stores will close.
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