Alberta hires Boston to help phase-out coal
March 18, 2016 - Terry Boston, the retired head of North America's largest power grid, will lead discussions with coal-fired electricity generation owners as the province transitions from coal to cleaner sources of power.
“Pollution from coal-burning power plants is harmful to our health and it’s costing Albertans hundreds of millions in additional health care costs and lost productivity,” Deron Bilous, Minister of Economic Development and Trade. “We are taking action to protect our health, economy and environment for future generations. Our plan will ensure Alberta consumers and taxpayers are protected, communities and workers are supported, and companies and investors are treated fairly throughout this transition.”
Boston will work with coal-fired electricity generators, the Alberta Electric System Operator, and the Government of Alberta to develop options to phase out emissions from coal-fired generation by 2030, as outlined in the Climate Leadership Plan. Under the plan, Alberta will diversify the electricity supply mix by replacing up to two thirds of retiring coal capacity with renewable energy.
“Alberta has an opportunity to demonstrate its leadership and provide an example to other jurisdictions as coal-fired electricity emissions are phased-out around North America,” Terry Boston, coal phase-out facilitator. “I look forward to working with Alberta on this complex initiative.”
Minister Bilous also provided an update on a parallel process underway to ensure ongoing support for coal communities and workers. The first stage of the process included an initial meeting with affected community leaders. Meetings were also held with labour organizations representing workers in the coal sector. The next stage of community and worker adjustment consultations will be announced in the coming weeks.
Boston is tasked with presenting options to government that will strive to maintain the reliability of Alberta’s electricity grid, maintain stability of prices for consumers, and avoid unnecessarily stranding capital. Twelve of Alberta’s 18 coal-fired generating units are expected to shutdown before 2030 under the federal coal regulations. The primary focus of his work will be with the six coal generation units that would otherwise be expected to operate past 2030.