Large companies are moving towards meeting the pollution-reduction target they have long promised for their investors and customers. More than 145,000 solar panels stretch across 210 acres in rural Alberta, providing roughly 80,000 megawatt-hours of renewable energy to Alberta’s grid each year.
Under a corporate renewable power purchase agreement (PPA), a company agrees to purchase electricity directly from a green energy generator that feeds back into the grid, offsetting the amount of electricity that is consumed by that company.
In recent years, PPA’s have been growing in popularity for two main reasons. First, there has been a surge in companies setting more ambitious goals to reduce emissions. Second, there has been a steady decline in the cost of solar power technology in recent years, falling by more than 80 percent in the past decade. Corporate renewable PPAs are not only welcomed in Canada, specifically Alberta, but other countries have also embraced this form of technology. Various companies in America and Europe such as Google and General Motors have embraced renewable energy technology.
Corporate renewables are expected to grow exponentially in 2021 with most of the growth confined to Alberta, having a unique deregulated power market that allows a direct connection between the buyer and seller. This is an attractive prospect in a province like Alberta especially since being damaged by the pandemic and oil price collapse in the last year.
Alberta is most recognized for its oil and gas resources but, the introduction of solar and wind energy could lead to a positive outcome for Alberta. Since the creation of the solar farm, more than 300 jobs have been created. There are an estimated 175 more jobs to be created with the new wind farm being built northeast of Drumheller.
Although the wind and the solar market is competitive, renewable energy is becoming the future of energy. In the next few years, it is expected much of the coal-based energy will be replaced by gas and other renewables. This, however, depends on whether more companies and corporations decide they want to invest in renewable power.
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