Over the last few months, Alberta Solar Cooperative (ASC) has been working hard to develop the model for cooperatively owned solar projects in Alberta.
In order for us to launch our first project, we need to ensure that the environment and landscape (electricity system and government policies) are favourable for large-scale community owned projects. Therefore, we have been closely monitoring the renewable energy landscape being painted by Alberta's government, electricity system operator, and the vast number of stakeholders that will inform Alberta’s renewable energy future and define its opportunity.
ASC aims to help define community energy in Alberta — where Albertans own, participate and benefit in the development of Alberta’s renewable resources. We have been working in the background to build the capacity and relationships necessary to provide Albertans with such opportunities and benefits.
Since our crowdfunding campaign and incorporation in February of this year, we've made progress on a number of initiatives. It’s through the dedication of our volunteer board and working teams, and the support of people inspired by our leadership, that we’ve been able to:
Collaborate with a rural Alberta municipality to host of our first solar farm and initiate negotiations with them on buying our green power on a long term basis
Improve our governance, strengthen our board, and attract expertise and energy
Engage a variety of future partners in community energy projects and initiatives
Engage government entities recently tasked with Alberta’s renewable energy planning, including:
The Alberta Electric System Operator (AESO), in charge of Alberta’s Renewable Energy Plan (REP)
Alberta’s Energy Efficiency and Community Energy panel, tasked with engaging with Albertans to promote, design and deliver programs that include development of small scale energy systems in Alberta.
In addition to that, while the province has been working on implementing its climate leadership plan, ASC has been building its capacity and formalizing the co-op’s strategy.
Where are we at now?
The government has recently formed Energy Efficiency Alberta (EEA) to design programs that will provide the most impact in reducing Alberta’s GHG while stimulating renewable energy and community economic development.
While provincial-wide plans for a lower carbon future are developed and rolled out by our government, we will continue to develop our capacity and roll out plans that will be a driver of renewable energy through RRSP and TFSA eligible investments for its members.
We have made inroads with evaluating the feasibility of developing a co-operatively owned solar farm in partnership with Starland County.
Our formal submission to the Energy Efficiency and Community Energy panel later this month will outline the challenges we have been working to overcome as we truth tests the viability of community scale renewable energy.
The ASC will continue to engage decision makers and strategic partners to position itself to be a solution for Alberta and Albertans. In cooperation, we are redefining Alberta’s energy leadership.