Alberta’s Physicians for Social Responsibility is pushing the provincial government to phase out coal-fired electricity in the next 10 years and save millions of dollars per year in health costs.
The province has access to plentiful, cheap coal just west of Edmonton, “but it’s a false economy, burning what looks like a cheap source of energy,” said Dr. Alan Lockwood, a U.S. specialist who met with provincial Energy Minister Frank Oberle and Opposition parties late last month. “The health-care costs that you don’t pay for on the bill from the power company far outweigh the costs at the electric meter.”
Meanwhile, Business News Network reports that Alberta is wasting the opportunity to develop its substantial wind resources by putting long-term power purchase contracts in place. “We want to see a better market in Alberta because there is such a great opportunity here,” said Kent Brown, co-founder and CEO of Calgary-based BluEarth Renewables. “We need to replace coal.”
Alberta was an early wind pioneer in Canada, with the development of the country’s first commercial wind farm at Cowley Ridge in 1993. But “with absolutely zero incentives in place to encourage the multimillion-dollar investments needed for more turbines to bag the Alberta breeze, even home-grown wind power builders may soon start to lose interest,” BNN reports. (h/t to Clean Energy Review for pointing us to both stories)