- Medicine Hat has the expertise, facilities, and access to be a hub for renewable energy service companies
- Report confirms southeast Alberta’s potential to emerge as a leader in renewable energy
According to estimates from the Canadian Solar Industries Association (CanSIA) and Canadian Wind Energy Association (CanWEA), wind and solar energy projects in Alberta could result in $7.8 million in investment, 10, 875 temporary construction jobs, 397 permanent operations and maintenance jobs and $580 million in lease payments to landowners over the next two years.
With an average of 2,544 hours of sun per year, Southeast Alberta is ideally situated for solar development. Medicine Hat is also well positioned in southern Alberta for wind opportunities. There are $3.5 billion projects, representing 1,600 megawatts of power, to come to the grid by 2019 . With so much development potential within 100 kilometers, a labour force well-versed in the energy sector, and Medicine Hat College providing renewable energy training, Medicine Hat is an excellent location for renewable energy service companies.
Sandra Moore, Sandra Moore Consulting, presented her research of current and proposed wind and solar projects and stakeholder engagement in the Southeast Alberta Energy Diversification Report: Our Region Our Jobs, Our Communities to the SEEDS conference. Her findings show that the opportunity exists for Southeast Alberta to emerge as a leader in solar and wind energy because the region has the existing resources and workforce, and is already being trained for work in the renewables sector.
“A legacy opportunity exists for southeast Alberta to emerge as a provincial and national leader in renewable energy research, development, and innovation- specifically in solar and wind,” said Moore.
Of the 85 proposed solar and wind projects proposed for Alberta, 41% will potentially be located in Southeast Alberta, near Medicine Hat.
As a regional service hub, Medicine Hat is positioned to be part of wind and solar opportunities through providing a home base for companies tasked with servicing and maintaining wind and solar farms in the region. Students in Medicine Hat College trade programs are learning renewable energy technology and will be prepared to transition into the renewables sector as the industry develops.
Also, the city is working with the Medicine Hat College and Energy Solarwind Canada Inc. to establish the Community Renewable Energy Microgrid Demonstration Project, a renewable energy microgrid demonstration that will allow the company to test its technologies at full scale for the first time.
In addition to support from the city and Medicine Hat College, the Government of Alberta has announced $36 million available in solar rebates for residential and commercial buildings and will announce the details of requests for proposals in the next few months. This program can be combined with HatSmart funding.
Meanwhile, the Government of Alberta is preparing to release an RFP for 400 megawatts of renewable energy. With nearly 3,000 megawatts of renewable energy projects currently in the AESO queue in Southeast Alberta, companies basing their operations in Medicine Hat are well-positioned to thrive.
“Alberta’s energy needs are increasing,” said Moore. “Diversifying the province’s resources with solar and wind to supplement the energy we already receive from the fossil fuel industry will help ensure a stable energy economy in the future.”
As wind and solar developments come online in Southeast Alberta in the near future, Medicine Hat’s labour force, college training programs, low cost of business, and close access to utility-scale renewable energy projects make the city an excellent destination for service companies.