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Alberta commission finds renewables pose little threat to agriculture, environment

EDMONTON — Alberta’s utilities regulator has released a report saying the renewables industry poses little threat to agriculture or the environment. 

The Alberta Utilities Commission also says there’s no consensus on what landscapes should be protected for their scenic value.

The provincial government called for the report as part of its moratorium on approvals for the renewables industry in Alberta.

Premier Danielle Smith’s government expressed concern that wind and solar generators could eat up prime farmland, leave a legacy of environmental liabilities and despoil some of Alberta’s best-loved landscape views.

But the commission’s report says even if renewables grew quickly, they would take up less than one per cent of the province’s prime land by 2041. 

It adds the reclamation and contamination risks for renewable power plants are lower than those of other industries.

It concludes that there is no consensus about what constitutes a pristine viewscape, but adds some sort of consideration of scenic values could be included in the application process.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 13, 2024.

The Canadian Press

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