The New Energy Boom:
Renewables in the Prairies
The Prairies are in the midst of an unprecedented investment boom in wind and solar energy projects. Corporate emissions commitments have led to an explosion of private sector deals for low-cost renewable energy under long-term contract, enabled by Alberta’s open and competitive electricity market and catalyzed by Alberta’s stable and bankable industrial carbon pricing regime. Saskatchewan is feeling the pressure to enable renewable energy purchasing by its large corporate customers as well and is expected to advance new renewable energy program to whet those appetites, even as it moves forward on 700 MW of general rate-base wind and solar procurements this year. Meanwhile, both Alberta’s and Saskatchewan’s grids face growing corporate and government commitments to net zero electricity, including Ottawa’s forthcoming Clean Electricity Regulations, all amidst aggravated transmission constraints and a competitive provincial election in Alberta.
Our exclusive panelists include:
Vittoria Bellissimo, President and CEO, Canadian Renewable Energy Association
Vittoria joined CanREA after more than 10 years of working with electricity customers as the Executive Director of the Industrial Power Consumers Association of Alberta and almost 20 years in the electricity sector. Previously, she worked in renewable energy procurement at both the Ontario Ministry of Energy and the Ontario Power Authority.
Guy Lonechild, Chief Executive Officer, First Nations Power Authority
Guy Lonechild (White Bear First Nations- Treaty #4) is a well-known advocate in creating new economic opportunities and serves as President and CEO of First Nations Power Authority connecting both Indigenous and Industry leaders in renewable and alternative energy development. As a first of its kind organization, Mr. Lonechild heads the organization as our strategic leader and serves the FNPA Board and provides leadership direction to the FNPA Team.
Ben Thibault, Senior Strategy Advisor, Prairie Sky Strategy (Alberta)
Ben Thibault joined Prairie Sky Strategy in 2021 as Senior Strategy Advisor where he applies his expertise in renewable energy and environment, energy, climate and electricity policy to provide strategic policy analysis and insights, government relations, and market intelligence advice to renewable energy and cleantech clients across Canada, the US and overseas.
Emma Graney, Energy Reporter, Globe and Mail (Moderator)
Emma Graney covers energy from The Globe and Mail’s Calgary bureau. She landed in Alberta as provincial affairs reporter for the Edmonton Journal, where she hosted the weekly Press Gallery podcast about Alberta politics and was part of the team that won a National Newspaper Award for Fort McMurray wildfire coverage. She has also reported in Saskatchewan, Newfoundland, the U.K., Indonesia and her native Australia, and investigated artificial intelligence in China as an Asia Pacific Foundation media fellow. She holds a Bachelor of Journalism and a Bachelor of Business from the Queensland University of Technology in Brisbane.
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