Alberta Premier Danielle Smith gives a keynote address at the the LNG2023 conference in Vancouver, on Thursday, July 13, 2023. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck

Danielle Smith offers up contradictory versions for imposed wind and solar pause

Alberta Premier Danielle Smith has offered conflicting explanations for why her government put a temporary ban on large wind and solar energy projects.

Smith told reporters in Calgary today the Alberta Utilities Commission and the Alberta Electric System Operator wrote to the government on July 21 asking for a pause.

But neither letter asks for such a moratorium.

When reporters pressed Smith on the contradiction, the premier said the Utilities Commission did ask for the pause, but her office has declined to clarify when or how it did so, and the commission could not be immediately reached for comment.

Smith’s government has faced criticism for announcing the moratorium on Aug. 3 with no advance notice and without consulting stakeholders, jeopardizing billions of dollars in potential investment in renewables.

Smith says it should have been obvious drastic action was coming given she spoke publicly in the spring about whether renewable energy was sufficiently backstopped by natural gas and expressed concern over projects taking up too much farmland.