The cost of evicting coal from Alberta

The speed with which the NDP government is introducing change less than one year after being elected is a little dizzying.

The speed with which the NDP government is introducing change less than one year after being elected is a little dizzying. Some of the changes seem to reflect NDP dogma, and some don’t seem to have the best interests of Albertans at heart.

What’s more alarming is the number of warning bells going off from other quarters, alarm bells that are apparently going unheard by NDP leader Rachel Notley’s government. Earlier in January Moody’s Investor Services issued a report with rather alarming comments, stating the Province of Alberta’s treasured AAA credit rating was staying unchanged for the moment, but the province’s economic forecast was being downgraded to “negative.” In a statement along with the report Moody’s added, “The negative outlook for the province of Alberta reflects the rising risk that the province’s fiscal position will deteriorate further than previously expected in an environment of protracted low oil prices and deterioration of economic activity.”

Three days later another credit rating organization, DBRS, changed Alberta’s long-term debt rating from stable to negative. DBRS, apparently concerned about the NDP government’s plan to spend $34 billion over the next few years while oil continues to plummet, continued to voice worry by stating, “Without a material improvement in the fiscal and debt outlook supported by a credible multi-year fiscal plan, a one-notch downgrade to the rating is likely.” Debt downgrading can result in a  number of problems, but usually means interest rates will go up. Less taxpayer money spent on projects, more taxpayer money wasted on loan servicing.

But one of the truly worrying decisions made after only a few months in office is the NDP’s eviction of coal power from Alberta. Recently announced rules to phase out coal-generated power are being touted as a way to fight climate change which, despite the recession and plunging oil prices, seems to be the most vital issue according to Notley and her government. According to the provincial government, “Under (Notley’s) plan, up to 30 per cent of Alberta’s electric power will come from renewable sources by 2030, and pollution from coal-fired electricity generation will be phased out… Coal-fired plants will be phased out and replaced by renewable energy and natural gas-fired electricity, or by using technology to produce zero pollution.”

This week, a report noted that kicking coal out of the province would cut some emissions the NDP are concerned about, but would leave Albertans vulnerable to powerful inflationary factors as a cheaper alternative was no longer on the table.

Global News reported that “The report, prepared by utilities consultant EDC Associates Ltd., looked at the impact of the NDP government’s plan to phase out coal power by 2030 and source 30 per cent of energy from renewable sources.

“It found that the boost in renewables and the end of coal would mean a 45 per cent reduction in emissions, or 18.5 million fewer tonnes of carbon released into the atmosphere a year.

“However, under the province’s privatized utility system, prices would have to be between $60 to $85 per megawatt hour to justify wind power construction.

“And if solar power were to make up 50 per cent of the renewables mix “it would cost between $200 and $300 per megawatt hour.”

There are so many pitfalls in this short-sighted scenario, it’s difficult to pick just one to focus on, such as increasing reliance on power sources like natural gas. A few years ago south of the border, President Barack Obama couldn’t stop talking about how corn-based ethanol was going to change the face of his country, until his eggheads finally sat down and calculated that, in essence, it would take 1.1 tons of fossil fuel to produce 1 ton of ethanol. Dummies.

There’s also the issue of the aging population. The Baby Boomer generation is entering their autumn years. With many retired and many entering their 70’s and beyond, retired Boomers, one of the largest social demographic groups in Canada, have been hearing for years about how the government should do everything they can to keep Boomers independent, keep them in their homes and reduce the stress on long-term care facilities.

Those Boomers get to face escalating power costs on a fixed income now.

Albertans haven’t even reached the NDP’s first anniversary in power.

 

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

COVID-19. (Image courtesy CDC)
City of Wetaskiwin COVID-19 deaths increase to five

New COVID-19 death in the City of Wetaskiwin despite decrease in active cases.

City of Red Deer has nearly doubled its active COVID-19 case count since Feb. 10 and has 75.6 per cent of the Central zone’s active cases. (File photo)
Another new high: Red Deer hits 574 active COVID-19 cases

Province reports 13 new COVID-19 deaths, 430 new cases

Maskwacis RCMP regular members, Community Tripartite Agreement (CTA) members and support staff proudly wore pink in support of Pink Shirt Day on Feb. 24, 2021. Supplied/ Maskwacis RCMP.
Maskwacis RCMP embraces Pink Shirt Day

Maskwacis RCMP engage in virtual presentations with schools on anti-bullying for Pink Shirt Day.

Minister Rick Wilson poses with Katie at the Boys and Girls Club of Wetaskiwin, both wearing her Pink Shirt Day design. Facebook/ Boys and Girls Club of Wetaskiwin.
Be kind and wear pink for Pink Shirt Day

Katie with the Boys and Girls Club of Wetaskiwin created this year’s Pink Shirt Day design.

Black Press File Photo
Valentine’s Day shooting in Maskwacis leaves one male in hospital, one male in custody

19-year-old Francis Edward Nepoose from Maskwacis has been charged with attempted murder.

Bookings for COVID-19 vaccines for people age 75 or older start Wednesday. (File photo by THE CANADIAN PRESS)
Updated: Delays for seniors booking for vaccine appointments

By 9:20 a.m. Wednesday, 4,500 seniors had booked their appointments

NDP leader Jagmeet Singh holds a press conference on Parliament Hill in Ottawa on Wednesday, Feb. 24, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
NDP will not trigger election as long as pandemic continues: Singh

‘“We will vote to keep the government going’

Mike Ammeter (Photo by Rebecca Hadfield)
Sylvan Lake man elected chair of Canadian Canola Growers Association

Mike Ammeter is a local farmer located near the Town of Sylvan Lake

Students and staff at Gateway Christian School wore pink Wednesday in support of Pink Shirt Day, a worldwide anti-bullying initiative that was started in 2007. (Photo courtesy of Red Deer Public Schools)
Students, central Alberta community celebrate Pink Shirt Day

Mayor of Sylvan Lake Sean McIntyre supports anti-bullying cause

Red Deer Court of Queen’s Bench Justice Anne Kirker is expected to sentence Satnam Singh Sandhu on Friday. Red Deer Advocate file photo
Updated: Sylvan Lake man pleads guilty to manslaughter for strangling wife in 2019

Kulvinder Sandhu was strangled and died in hospital several days later

Sentencing delayed in the stabbing death of Samantha Sharpe, of Sunchild First Nation. (Red Deer Advocate file photo)
Central Alberta man not criminally responsible for killing his father in 2020: judge

Psychiatrist testified Nicholas Johnson was psychotic when he killed his father

The cover of “Hometown Asylum: A History and Memoir of Institutional Care.” (Submitted)
Ponoka-born author writes history of old mental hospital

“Hometown Asylum: A History and Memoir of Institutional Care” covers 1911 to 1971

Todd Hirsch. (Image: screenshot)
ATB vice president gives financial forecast to Ponoka chamber

Predictions for reopening of the economy and recovery outlined

Most Read