Action Alert: Tell Alberta you want green electricity!

February 5, 2009 (All day)

This week, Canada failed to join the International Renewable Energy Agency. Next, the federal budget effectively ended all major support for new renewable energy development in Canada. Wouldn't it be great if Alberta could turn from being the owners of the biggest global warming crime ever to leaders in sustainable green electricity?

This action alert contains two actions:

On Feb 4, the Energy Day of Action,

  1. Demand green electricity by phone or through your MLA.
  2. Tell your MLA you want no new approvals in the Tar Sands.
  3. demand legislation for a Feed-in-tariff system for small scale renewables producers.

Contact information for MLAs
Contact information for MPs

1. A Greener Shade of Pale

With an electric grid that draws up to 75% of its power from Conventional Coal and the international environmental embarrassment of the Tar Sands, Alberta's Energy Policies can be aptly described as "beyond the pale". In early January, the Pembina Institute released a report that proposes a greener shade of pale for Alberta, by suggesting changes that would phase out electricity sources like conventional coal within 20 years, and replace them with an abundant supply of renewable energy sources. Their report, "Greening the Grid: Powering Alberta's Future with Renewable Energy" , analyses the advantages, constraints, and generation potential of nine different renewable technologies and outlines two scenarios for building a greener grid.

Because the Alberta government does not produce electricity or operate its own system, the Utilities Consumer Advocate Service through Service Alberta is a way for citizen voices to direct or affect the electric system. In the words of the office representative: "We can't really do anything unless we get hundreds of phone calls all on the same topic - if that happens, we can take it to our minister." Hundreds of phone calls to this office 310-4-UCA (310-4822) will give Service Alberta minister Heather Klimchuk the mandate to lobby for greener energy and an end to conventional coal.

Let's use Energy Action Week to send a strong, unified message on renewable energy in Alberta:

Phone: 310 - 4822 (toll free anywhere in Alberta)
Ask: for your concern to be recorded
Speak: to your concerns about renewable electricity; keeping a common message is important — try starting with one of these statements:

  • I want Alberta to stop buying electricity from conventional coal.
  • Alberta needs to invest in renewable energy infrastructure now. for more information and a fact sheet on Pembina's green vision, see:

2. Phone or write your MLA and tell them you want no new approvals in the tar sands.

Here's why:, and

here's an online petition for no new approvals:

Contact information for MLAs
Contact information for MPs

3. Feed In Tariffs Petition

The University of Lethbridge Student Action Committee has built an online petition:

Canada: Use Feed-in Tariffs to Stimulate Green Power

A Feed-in Tariff is an incentive program that stimulates the renewable energy sector through government legislation. It requires electricity utilities to buy renewable energy at above market rates (set by the government) from anyone who wishes to produce renewable electricity. This has been shown to be one of the most effective ways to jump-start renewable energy production and adoption by rewarding small and medium scale producers as well as industrial scale producers of green power.

Although overall electricity prices rise slightly in the short-term, in the longer term they stabilize as prices become increasingly independent of conventional fuel costs. For anyone who generates power under a feed-in tariff program, the income more than offsets any electricity price increases.

Germany has been extremely successful at rapidly transitioning toward renewable energy systems through feed-in tariffs. Using feed-in tariffs, Germany currently generates 12.5% of its electricity from renewable sources, while employing more than 215,000 people in the renewable energy sector, according to the German Federal Ministry of Economics and Technology.

Feed-in tariffs exist in more than 20 other countries as well. They are the most common policy for encouraging renewable energy systems, in part because feed-in mechanisms achieve larger deployment at lower costs than other policy mechanisms such as quotas, direct incentives or voluntary goals.