AUC ruling on renewable electricity generation

Alberta Municipalities provided a written submission to the Alberta Utilities Commission (AUC) Proceeding 28501, which was responsible for producing a report regarding renewable electricity generation for the Minister of Affordability and Utilities.

Our submission asked that the AUC consider municipal land-use planning as part of the approvals process and that reclamation costs be covered via a security held in trust. 

The ministry has issued several policy directions to the AUC that will at affect municipalities. These include:

  • Developers will be responsible for reclamation costs to be paid to the Government of Alberta or private landowners via bond or security. The reclamation costs may be negotiated with landowners if sufficient evidence is provided to the AUC, such as money being set aside or held in trust. Reclamation costs are to be accounted for at the beginning of any development.
  • Municipalities will be automatically granted standing to participate in AUC hearings for wind, solar, and hydro projects.
  • Municipalities will be eligible to request cost recovery for participation in AUC hearings for wind, solar, and hydro projects.
  • The AUC is going to review its rules related to municipal requirements in AUC hearings and clarify consultation requirements with municipalities.

Other policy directions that will affect renewable energy developments in Alberta are:

  • Preservation of agricultural land. No development on Class 1 and 2 soil will be allowed unless the applicant can demonstrate that crops and livestock can also be accommodated.
  • Buffer zones of 35 kilometers around protected areas and pristine landscapes.

Alberta Municipalities is encouraged by the granting of intervenor status to municipalities for future proceedings, as well as the opening up of eligibility for cost recovery. We will continue to monitor the implementation of these policy changes and report back to members as more information becomes available.