With oil and gas drilling intensifying in northern Alberta, the Alberta Power Corporation (APC) has been ramping up its operations in the country’s biggest province.
The government’s decision to close the Baldwin power station in 2015 will cost the province $12 billion.
But the utility will be able to turn the money into new coal and gas generation plants in the region.
APC has already announced plans to increase the number of coal-fired power plants it has on the books, to 4.7 million megawatts (MW) in 2019.
That’s up from 3.9 million MW in 2021, and up from 2.9 in 2019, according to a news release from the utility.
The announcement comes just as the provincial government is negotiating a $9.4-billion electricity package with the federal government to help the province with its climate change targets.
While some critics of the government’s climate policies have been critical of the province’s decision, there has been much praise for the company’s decisions.
“I’m pleased to see the province finally making a serious commitment to transitioning to a more sustainable energy system, and I’m proud of the leadership we have seen from APC to make this a reality,” Alberta Premier Rachel Notley said in a statement.
The decision to cut power to the Baldwins comes as the government has been considering ways to ease the burden of rising electricity prices and reduce reliance on imported energy.
Earlier this year, the province announced plans for a carbon tax, to be paid by businesses and individuals.
The province is also reviewing its energy efficiency measures and is planning to reduce the amount of energy it uses by 50 per cent by 2040, according the province.
According to a 2016 report by the federal auditor general, the government had spent $2.2 billion on coal and $2 billion in gas, with the latter two accounting for roughly 70 per cent of its power generation.
The provincial government has also invested $10.2 million in carbon capture and storage, and plans to spend another $8 million on a project to create a new coal plant.