By David F. SchmitzPublished Aug. 23, 2018 9:08:00A new report by the Alberta Energy Commission has found that Alberta’s renewable energy sector is growing rapidly and that Alberta is now the largest market in the world for new natural gas-fired power plants.
The report, titled “A Renewable Energy Boom in Alberta,” was released Monday by the commission.
It is the second such report released in two years.
Last year’s report said Alberta’s oil and gas sector grew by more than 20 percent during the past decade, driven largely by the expansion of natural gas production and production of wind and solar power.
The growth in renewable energy was largely driven by large-scale wind and PV projects in Alberta, the report said.
The commission also noted that Alberta has made “significant progress” in transitioning to renewable energy, as well as the expansion and deployment of energy efficiency and zero-emission vehicles, as the province is committed to a “zero carbon future.”
The report says the growth of renewables and energy efficiency was also driven by the emergence of wind, solar and biomass as an alternative energy source, as more companies started producing energy with lower emissions.
The new report, however, found that while Alberta’s solar and wind sectors are growing faster than the rest of the province, they are still below the level of the rest.
The renewable energy market is expected to grow by a total of 3.1 percent this year, and by 3.9 percent next year, the commission said.
Wind energy grew by 1.7 percent last year, while solar increased by 1 percent.
In total, Alberta is expected at least to double its solar capacity by 2020, according to the commission report.
The Renewable Resources Development Canada (RDRC) has said that renewables accounted for nearly 40 percent of the energy sector’s output in Alberta last year.
The company said it expects that sector will grow by 30 percent this fiscal year, to reach 35 percent by 2019.
The energy sector in Alberta was once considered one of the world’s most important, if not the most important energy markets.
But it is slowly becoming one of its less important, with the province’s economy being hit hard by low oil prices.