The sun is rising in the west. Well, not literally, but Alberta is becoming a major player in the solar industry in Canada. On September 14, 2016, the Alberta Government announced a firm target of 30% electricity used in Alberta will come from renewable sources such as wind, hydro and solar by 2030. On a brisk October day in Edmonton, Minister Shannon Phillips, Minister of Environment and Parks, doubled down on Alberta's commitment to renewables by announcing that the Alberta Government is setting a goal to power itself with more than 50% renewable energy.
This announcement was welcomed by a rousing audience on the opening day of CanSIA's Solar West Conference. According to John Gorman, CanSIA CEO, the attendance has more than doubled from last year, reaching a record 400 in 2016. The large number is no surprise - as I peered around, many of those in attendance were solar professionals, eager to get started with the transformation of Canada's Energy Capital.
I was fortunate to be in attendance at Solar West this year; representing the ELSE National Board. The conference was highlighted by the prominence of the speakers present. The day started with a speech from Gianna Manes, President & CEO of ENMAX Corporation who preached a comprehensive approach to transitioning away from carbon-intensive activities. It was followed by several panels that spoke about policy, system, and market dynamics, distribution-connected solar, and utility-scale solar. The panelists were insightful as they spoke with vigor about the rapid new trends and policies that have come in a flurry since the NDP took over power in the province from the 40-year reign of the Progressive Conservatives.