Alberta’s New Emphasis on Renewable Energy

alberta transitions to renewable energy

Petroleum remains an Albertan mainstay, but as that industry is subject to major shifts, the Alberta government is looking to ensure a robust economy by branching out. For the past five years, renewable energy production has doubled annually. It’s still less than 10% of Alberta’s power, but the shift has been more dramatic on the jobs side of the register.
Alberta has seen 40,000 jobs lost in petroleum since 2014. Solar energy employment increased by 25% over the same span.  At a time when Alberta’s unemployment rate has soared above 8%, alternatives are welcomed.  Especially if they can also have environmental impact.
Alberta government spokesperson John Archer says “The Alberta government has committed to increasing the amount of green energy produced,” by offering incentives to both companies and individuals using green technology. The aim is to attract $10.5 billion of new renewable energy business over the coming decade, creating 7,200 jobs.
That doesn’t match the downswing in petroleum employment, and critics are quick to point out that wages are not comparable. But neither is workplace volatility, or economic swings.  The government has added programs to help identify transferable skills, for workers shifting from petroleum to renewable energy. They also offer training to enable a switch.
The Alberta government has always been reticent to comment on environmental impact of the petroleum industry, but they are embracing alternatives, and acknowledging that in addition to jobs, there could be “environmental benefits”.

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