At today’s CanSIA Solar West conference in Edmonton, Alberta, Minister of Environment & Parks Shannon Phillips announced that the Government of Alberta is intent on powering 50% of Government operations with solar power. A Request for Information will be posted today to seek out the best approach to procuring solar power.
According to a Government media release, the total consumption could amount to 135,000 megawatt hours annually and could lead to Western Canada’s first large-scale solar farm.
Medicine Hat, Alberta is an ideal location for Western Canada’s first solar farm thanks to a number of assets, including Canada’s best solar resource, a high proportion of energy-related engineers and a city-owned utility.
Medicine Hat Mayor Ted Clugston points to local assets as reasons for renewable energy companies or a provincial solar farm to look to the city as a renewable energy hub. “The City of Medicine Hat has demonstrated great leadership and made significant investment in renewable energy. Our land assets, local energy expertise, and abundance of sunshine throughout the year position Medicine Hat as a renewable energy hub and an ideal location for a solar farm. We welcome those in the solar energy industry to come to our city and see what we have to offer.”
Invest Medicine Hat General Manager Ryan Jackson echoed Mayor Clugston’s comments. “As the Government of Alberta continues its move into renewable energy, new technology will be required to meet demand. Medicine Hat is well-positioned to help companies commercialize their technology, thanks to its experience in the energy sector, a well-suited labour force, solar assets and a city-owned utility. We look forward to meeting more companies and showing them all that Medicine Hat has to offer.”
Indeed, Medicine Hat enjoys over 2,500 sunshine hours annually and has already invested in solar and wind pilot projects, in addition to its well-respected Hat Smart rebate program which was designed to encourage energy efficiency in the home. Hat Smart even offers a residential solar incentive program.
Solar installation is already big business in Medicine Hat, with local company Terralta offering a decade of service in the area. A collective renewable energy focus among Medicine Hat College, City of Medicine Hat and regional economic development agencies mean that Medicine Hat is already well-positioned to help the Government of Alberta move quickly into this new space.
We will update as more information comes available.