US$122 Million For Nine Alberta Solar Projects

    The Nine Projects Will Deploy 163 MW Of New Solar Generation And 48 MW Of Battery Storage Capacity

    In 2020, the Fisher River Cree Nation launched the biggest solar project in Manitoba. The 1-MW facility has almost 3000 solar panels, was built entirely by Indigenous employees, and is a source of Bullfrog Power’s green energy. (Image Courtesy Of CNW Group/Bullfrog Power Inc.)

    Canada’s Minister of Natural Resources announced more than US$122 million in federal investments for nine Alberta-based solar power projects that will create hundreds of jobs, generate significant clean solar power, and deploy 163 MW of new solar generation and 48 MW of battery storage capacity. Taken together, these projects will not only enable local economic growth and deliver clean, affordable energy to communities, but also reduce emissions equivalent to taking nearly 47,000 gas cars off the road every year.

    Funded Projects

    Capstone Infrastructure Corporation, Sawridge First Nation’s Michichi Solar LP, and Kneehill Solar LP projects will each deploy a 25-MW solar farm with smart-grid-enabled solar inverters. These projects are supported by a combined US$49 million federal investment and are expected to create up to 240 jobs. “The funding received for the Michichi and Kneehill Solar farms from NRCan’s SREPs Program was instrumental in accelerating these projects to construction. We’re proud to be delivering emissions-free energy to more than 12,000 Albertan homes, creating jobs in Alberta, and generating income for local municipalities and our Indigenous partner for decades to come,” said David Eva, chief executive officer (CEO) of Capstone Infrastructure Corporation for Michichi and Kneehill Solar LP.

    Concord Green Energy (a Concord Pacific Group Company) and the Athabasca Chipewyan First Nation (ACFN) partnered to create the Concord Monarch Partnership, Concord Vulcan Partnership, and Concord Coaldale Partnership, each of which will deploy 15 MW/34 MWh battery energy storage systems on the sites of existing solar arrays in Alberta, supported by a combined federal investment of more than US$35 million, and are expected to create more than 100 jobs. “The ACFN is excited about the bright future ahead,” said Jason Schulz, director of strategic advisory services for Athabasca Chipewyan First Nation. “Through partnering with Terry Hui and Concord Green Energy on the Coaldale, Monarch, and Vulcan solar farms and the recent addition of BESS, future generations of ACFN membership will benefit from revenue streams outside of their traditional territory while further diversifying their investments and leading by example on environmental stewardship. We are very proud that Indigenous labor represented more than 50% of the workforce to construct these solar farms.”

    Métis Nation Power Authority (MNPA) Inc. will deploy a 4.9-MW solar project in Métis Nation Region 3 in southeastern Alberta, supported by a federal investment of approximately US$10 million. This is expected to create 24 jobs, together with training for Indigenous youth.

    Chappice Lake Limited Partnership, alongside Cold Lake First Nations, will deploy 14 MW of solar electricity generation equipment paired with 2.9 MW/8.3 MWh of battery energy storage and artificial intelligence (AI) battery dispatch software, supported by a federal investment of approximately US$16 million. This is expected to create more than 80 jobs. “As an Indigenous-controlled solar power company, MNPA is excited to work alongside the government to provide renewable energy in a way that is meaningful and empowering to stewards of the land,” said Kurt Vouri, CEO of MNPA. “We are encouraged that this partnership will promote harmony, legacy, and collaboration between Indigenous communities, farming families, and Alberta’s ever-evolving energy industry.”

    “Elemental Energy, in partnership with Cold Lake First Nations, is proud to have successfully completed the Chappice Lake Solar and Storage Project with the support of Natural Resources Canada and Emissions Reductions Alberta,” said Jamie Houssian, principal of Elemental Energy. “This innovative project, combining solar generation and vanadium flow batteries from Invinity Energy Systems, contributes to the goal of decarbonizing and modernizing  Alberta’s electricity grid now and for decades to come.”‘

    Enterprise Solar LP will deploy a 65-MW solar energy generation project in Vulcan County, Alberta, supported by a federal investment of approximately US$9 million. This is expected to create up to 935 total jobs.

    Cardston Spring Coulee Solar Limited Partnership will deploy a 29.5-MW bi-facial solar plant, using single axis trackers, in Cardston County, Alberta, supported by a federal investment of approximately US$4 million. This is expected to create up to 145 jobs.

    Background Information

    These job-creating projects are funded through the Smart Renewables and Electrification Pathways Program (SREPs). Budget 2023’s additional US$21 billion of clean electricity investments, which includes US$2.3 billion of additional investments in the SREPs program, will help support even more projects. Collectively, these efforts will help create hundreds of thousands of middle-class jobs and provide more Canadians with clean, reliable, and affordable electricity while supporting a cleaner and healthier environment.

    The Government of Canada is committed to developing a net-zero electricity system by 2035 and will continue to work with partners to advance economic reconciliation and climate action while creating good jobs and delivering reliable clean power on the road to a sustainable and prosperous net-zero future. Canada’s 2030 Emissions Reductions Plan is centered around clean air and a strong economy.

    The Canada’s Energy Future 2023 Energy Supply and Demand Projections To 2050 report found that in a world where Canada and the world achieve net-zero by 2050, renewable energy would make up two-thirds of power generation in Alberta by that time — up from about 15% in 2022. It also found that solar would provide up to 20% of all generation in Alberta, while wind would reach 46%.

    Budget 2023 includes US$30 billion of investments in the grid, which will be delivered in three ways:

    1. A 15% refundable tax credit for non-emitting electricity generation, electricity generation from abated natural gas, stationary electricity storage systems including batteries, and equipment for the transmission of electricity between provinces and territories.
    2. US$15 billion in low-cost financing from the Canada Infrastructure Bank; and
    3. Targeted electricity programs, where needed, to ensure critical clean electricity projects continue to get built.