Alberta Suspends Approvals for Green Energy Projects, such as Wind or Solar Power

The recent suspension of all approvals for large renewable energy projects in Alberta, Canada, speaks to a reality that many are unwilling to acknowledge – that the headlong rush towards ‘green’ energy isn’t always as beneficial as it is claimed to be. As outlined in Bob Weber’s article for The Canadian Press, Alberta’s United Conservative government has responded to mounting concerns over these projects, which touch on land use, environmental impact, and the stability of the energy system itself. And rightfully so, given the disruptions and potential hazards they pose to established communities, landscapes, and industries.

In his article, Weber states,

“In a statement Thursday, the government said the Alberta Utilities Commission is to institute a six-month moratorium on approving all wind and solar power projects greater than one megawatt over issues of development on agricultural land, effect on scenery, reclamation security, and system reliability.”

Here we see a responsible, pragmatic move by the Alberta government, acknowledging the concerns of the people they serve.

Contrary to what advocates of the green revolution may believe, the transition to renewable energy is not an unblemished panacea. Energy policy requires a considered, balanced approach that takes into account not just the end goal, but the means of reaching that goal. As Paul McLaughlin of Rural Municipalities Alberta points out,

“Rural municipalities cover roughly 85 per cent of Alberta’s land and their voices must be included in the approval process for all renewable energy projects.”

Even the push for cleaner, renewable energy had value, it should not override the rights of communities and the importance of preserving landscapes. To bulldoze ahead with large-scale solar and wind farms without consideration for local environments and agricultural lands is not progress, it’s recklessness. And it’s this kind of reckless disregard for consequences that has led to the situation we’re seeing in Alberta today.

Even more critical to this discussion is the argument raised by University of Alberta energy economist Andrew Leach about the government’s inconsistent approach to the renewable energy industry compared to the oil and gas industry. He pointed out the disparity, saying,

“No one can imagine in the middle of an oilsands boom everyone saying what we need is a six-month moratorium on new approvals until we figure out how we’re going to manage cumulative effects.”

This is a sound point. It’s curious how the same caution and regulatory oversight applied to renewable energy are not seen with the same degree of urgency and stringency in the oil and gas industry, which arguably has a more significant environmental impact. Leach further highlights the ironic twist, noting that

“while the government has stopped renewable energy partly over concerns about how such sites can be cleaned up, it faces billions of dollars in environmental liabilities from the oil and gas industry for which it has little security and no real cleanup plan.”

Alberta’s decision, although controversial, may serve as a much-needed reality check on the green rush.

H/T pat-from-kerbob

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Tom Halla
August 5, 2023 2:08 pm

It should take as long to get approval for a wind project as a nuclear plant.

Edward Katz
August 5, 2023 2:22 pm

This is because the province has been taking a hard look at the efficacy of wind and solar globally, and when it sees that after two decades and trillions invested in them, they still can provide only 6.5% of the world’s energy vs. 82% from fossil fuels, it realizes it would be backing the wrong horse by supporting them further. In addition it, like most of the rest of Canada’s population, except in brain-washed Quebec, resents the country’s ever-increasing carbon pricing which has done little more than contribute to higher living costs, while doing nothing to reduce emissions. In fact, Canada has had eight climate plans during the past 35 years and has failed to meet its targets on any one of them. So there’s little logic in investing in energy projects of the type that are neither reliable nor emissions-reducing when the country has plenty of fossil fuel resources.

Reply to  Edward Katz
August 6, 2023 11:32 am

Spot on Edward, here in Australia the headlong blinkered approach to a fossil fuel free renewable’s future is causing economic chaos, a rural community backlash and growing resentment towards the Green utopia demanded by ‘progressives’. Because of the supposed moral imperative of the climate cause, normal cost /benefit analysis is thrown out the window, we are behaving like lemmings rushing over the energy cliff without considering the consequences for modern society. This can equate to a definition of stupidity or economic euthanasia.

J Boles
August 5, 2023 2:25 pm

Nothing ‘green’ ever works as advertised, and it always takes more FF at the end of the day. Green energy is just not worth the money. I knew that society would have to go thru a period of pain, expense, blood, sweat and tears before it is widely accepted.

Rud Istvan
August 5, 2023 2:38 pm

Let’s see what happens in six months. Renewable money has in the past bought a lot of politicians in a lot of places.

Pat from Kerbob
Reply to  Rud Istvan
August 5, 2023 10:25 pm

I don’t think Danielle can be bought
She’s been thru the wringer and she has lots of money to play with at least for now.
I’ve been pushing on this and taken a lot of industry flack for it, I’d like to think my squeaks have helped.

Eric Vieira
Reply to  Pat from Kerbob
August 6, 2023 1:48 am

I recommend viewing the Film “Global Warning (2019)” which discusses the Oil Sands issue. Danielle Smith was employed at a radio station at the time. She was very emotional about the hardships that these green measures imposed on Alberta’s people, and I think that is what drives her to this day, to protect their livelihood as much as possible. See (

Andy Pattullo
Reply to  Eric Vieira
August 6, 2023 8:06 am

I agree. Danielle Smith is one of the rare politicians who shows all the signs of being in it for the people and land she serves, rather than for her own political career. This move to restrain ill considered wind and solar development is long overdue and should be part of policy everywhere the push for misnamed “green renewable” energy projects are being pushed.

Mike McMillan
August 5, 2023 3:13 pm

“the government … faces billions of dollars in environmental liabilities from the oil and gas industry for which it has little security and no real cleanup plan.”

I’ve heard the oil sands referred to as ‘tar sands,’ an effort to disparage the industry. But isn’t removing the polluting hydrocarbons from the sands a cleanup process in itself?

Rud Istvan
Reply to  Mike McMillan
August 5, 2023 3:37 pm

Technically they are bitumen sands. The remains of the worlds by far largest oil spill caused by the emergence of the Canadian Rockies. All the good stuff left long ago, leaving the difficult bad stuff. But with steam reformed hydrogen from methane, refineries can convert the bad stuff back into good stuff.

Pat from Kerbob
Reply to  Rud Istvan
August 5, 2023 10:27 pm

There is no exploration risk with the oilsands, it’s right there, you can’t miss. We’ll be mining it for centuries

Dennis Gerald Sandberg
Reply to  Mike McMillan
August 5, 2023 11:09 pm

Yes, the oil sands are a gigantic oil spill from mountain building when the formation got tipped over. Was it a gift from Mother Nature or a rare error on her part? Bottom line is it’s there for beneficial use and it’s either a gift or curse depending on one’s political persuasion.

Eric Vieira
Reply to  Mike McMillan
August 6, 2023 1:59 am

See my comment about the film “Global Warming (2019)” above. The film talks precisely about that topic. The lands where the bitumen is extracted are renatured and thus much cleaner than before. Even the water that is used is recycled. Of course, the timescale is very long, but in the end it’s also an environmental clean-up project that is profitable. A win-win situation. Unfortunately, PM Trudeau and the green blob don’t see it that way.

Len Werner
August 5, 2023 3:44 pm

I often evaluate government initiatives as to whether they move toward, or away from, some ultimate end point–like so many of the Covid mandates, were they a step toward more government control of the individual or away from it. This move is a step toward bringing ‘green’ projects more in line with mine permitting, where as I mentioned following another article we have to submit, and post bond for, the reclamation of a site before a mining permit is granted.

My personal wish is that any energy project such as wind or solar, as a condition of connecting to the grid, must guarantee that as consumption becomes reliant on that energy, the burden is on them to provide that rate of energy 24/7, not just when the wind blows or sun shines.

When no ‘whenever we feel like it’ connections can be made to the grid–when such producers have to provide their own backup generation capacity for the times when there is no wind or no sun–will green projects meet the same cost burden of those it displaces.

August 5, 2023 3:58 pm

They (windmills and solar panels) are neither clean energy nor are they renewable. Only shysters and politicians claim that with a straight face (and of course the indoctrinated).

Rafe Champion
August 5, 2023 4:11 pm

It’s all about wind droughts, which were little recognized until recently. The Dunkelflautes only come to notice in Europe since Britain and Germany started to suffer severely from over-dependence on wind power. The Dunkelflaute entry in Wikipedia only appeared in 2021.

Story tip! There is a massive story to be told about the complicity of the world’s meteorologist in promoting climate alarm in the UN and then hiding wind droughts, thereby enabling the nations of the West to embark on the net zero crusade, arguably the most significant public policy mistake in peacetime history.

Lets hope nobody ever has to write a book called How wind droughts destroyed Western civilization!

It doesnot add up
Reply to  Rafe Champion
August 5, 2023 6:43 pm

Here’s a heck of a wind drought – El Hierro last December

comment image

It was originally going to be the poster boy for a 100% renewables island, based on wind and pumped hydro. But the éolica (wind) can go missing for more or less a whole month out in the Atlantic in the Canaries, while the hídraulica turned out to be far too small to provide useful storage, so instead gets used to stabilise the wind production, with water being pumped uphill and recirculated in the twin penstock when it’s windy. The Motores díesel got a real workout and kept the lights on.

August 5, 2023 4:55 pm

All together now! Renewables are cheaper …renewables are….
Genex Power Kidston: a valuable lesson (

Brian Pratt
August 5, 2023 6:03 pm

I have had dealings with Weber, and he is a climate believer. In any case, I was doing field work in Pincher Creek proper the other day. Every one of the dozens of turbines near the town was idle. The next day, yes, they were turning slowly. The town has removed their sign that proclaimed their proud wind credentials, likely because of how ugly the turbines look and that the town council finally came to their senses.

August 5, 2023 6:36 pm

I don’t respect Leach, stating that we need to take a look at doing to fossil fuels what is recommended for wind and solar. Leading us to believe there is little to no oversight of fossil fuel production.

“while the government has stopped renewable energy partly over concerns about how such sites can be cleaned up, it faces billions of dollars in environmental liabilities from the oil and gas industry for which it has little security and no real cleanup plan.”

I call him a liar and a cheat.

Pat from Kerbob
Reply to  Bob
August 5, 2023 10:31 pm

The problem for Leach is that the oil and gas industry provides a valuable output unlike renewables which are only cost from birth to grave, that is the entire problem.

August 5, 2023 7:01 pm

75% of the renewable energy projects in CANADA are in ALBERTA….yet Alberta already has hundreds of windmills and large PV installations and is not short of electricity. Obviously something is wrong with the subsidy/tax incentive program that depletes government’s coffers. “Renewables” are essentially “unreliables” that need real generators for when the “wind don’t blow and the sun don’t shine”. Those real generators get paid for by the consumer…while the windmills get paid for by investors, then charged at exorbitant rates to consumers who are mostly the same taxpayers….so 6 months to have real utility system engineers decide if all this taxpayer funded equipment is really needed is a reasonable idea.

Pat from Kerbob
Reply to  DMacKenzie
August 5, 2023 10:34 pm

We have gone from ~15 to ~20gw of installed generation and have become less reliable.
Technically, good for my business but I oppose it anyway.
Because I have kids.
And I can think.

Old Mike
August 5, 2023 7:35 pm

This is why I choose to live in Alberta, common sense is alive and thriving here. My career in helping to clean up natures oil spill has been rewarding

Tom Abbott
August 6, 2023 4:33 am

From the article: “The recent suspension of all approvals for large renewable energy projects in Alberta, Canada, speaks to a reality that many are unwilling to acknowledge – that the headlong rush towards ‘green’ energy isn’t always as beneficial as it is claimed to be.”

As far as I can see, the rush towards green energy isn’t beneficial at all. Rather, it is harmful and counterproductive. I see no benefit from windmills and industrial solar. We shouldn’t throw the alarmists a crumb of support, by presenting windmills and industrial solar as acceptable or viable. They are not.

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