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Calgarys renewable energy sector gains international attention

An initiative focused on turning Calgary into Canada’s renewable energy trading hub continues to gain momentum after a successful start.

The Business Renewables Centre (BRC) Canada is a member-based platform that streamlines and accelerates corporate purchasing of off-site, large-scale wind and solar energy. It was first launched in August 2019 and has reached some significant milestones since.

The Centre set out with a goal of getting 30 companies on board. In one year, the combined total of buyers, sellers and intermediary companies reached 45, with international companies such as Starbucks, IBM and Marriott International on the list. Other companies taking part include EY, RBC, Greengate Power, Nutrien and ATCO.

Some of BRC’s founding members, RBC, Bullfrog Power and BluEarth Renewables, signed on for a new solar project that will generate 39 megawatts of solar power (enough to power 6,400 homes) and is expected to create 300 construction jobs and add $70 million to Alberta’s economy.

“Our partnership with Bullfrog Power and BluEarth Renewables would not have come to be without the support of BRC-Canada,” says Scott Foster, senior vice president, global head of corporate real estate, RBC. “This agreement will help support our clients and communities in the areas where we live and work with low-carbon transition, while accelerating clean economic growth.”

There is an international desire to move towards renewable energy. Some of the world’s most influential companies have committed to 100 per cent renewable power through the RE100, and Alberta has the opportunity to be a major player.

Alberta has a deregulated power market, meaning it’s the only Canadian jurisdiction where renewable power can be purchased directly from developers. This, along with Alberta’s globally competitive cost of procuring large-scale solar and wind energy, makes the province an attractive market. Alberta can provide multi-national corporations with renewable power, helping them achieve their sustainability goals, while also creating new energy investment for the province.

BRC Canada has some ambitious goals, including achieving a target of having two gigawatts of renewable electricity procured in Canada by 2025. The Centre says reaching this goal would bring $4 billion of corporate investment, 2,000 construction jobs, and 100 long-term operational jobs to the province.

“What excites me about the BRC is how we simplify and accelerate market-driven renewable investment in Canada, specifically in Alberta,” says Julia-Maria Becker, director, Clean Energy, Pembina Institute. “Large-scale renewables are already competitive with natural gas, and these types of deals are another mechanism to drive investments in clean energy without the need for subsidies. This highlights the leadership of corporations and institutions wanting to decarbonize the electricity grid while supporting communities with job creation and additional municipal revenue. Expect this kind of investment to grow exponentially in Canada, as it has in the U.S. over the last five years.”

The momentum hasn’t slowed since the Centre first opened – even throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. The BRC team has hosted a high-quality webinar series where participants gain insight from experienced buyers and seasoned electricity market experts. Over 210 organizations were represented by attendees throughout the five-part series.

For more information, visit the BRC Canada website

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