Earlier this week, the Alberta government announced that they were temporarily pausing all approvals of new renewable electricity generation projects over one megawatt.
The pausing will be in effect until 29 February 2024.
During the 7-month hiatus, the government intends to “review policies and procedures for the development of renewable electricity generation”.
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They claim the pause in new projects is necessary to “create certainty” for renewable energy projects after the Alberta Utilities Commission received a letter from “municipalities and landowners” related to responsible land use and the rapid pace of renewables development.
The government hasn’t made that letter public.
At least one private-sector union, which represents over 300 workers employed in the renewable energy sector, is criticizing the government’s decision.
Chris Flett, the business manager for Local 955 of the International Union of Operating Engineers, said in a statement published to the Twitter account of the private-sector untion that the government had failed to consult “several industry stakeholders, including labour partners” before deciding to pause approvals on these energy projects.
They went on to says that the decision “threatens thousands of well-paying, community supporting jobs”.
In addition to the more than 300 IUOE 955 workers already employed in the sector, Flett claims that proposed future projects had “hundreds more lined up”.
He went on to say that the decision is bad for workers, the economy, and “Alberta’s global reputation as a leader in clean energy production”.
Finally, he pointed out the hypocrisy of the decision in that “we would never see the government pause approval on future oil and gas projects” and that singling out renewable energy “reeks of politics over sound policy”.
Declan Regan, IUOE 955 president, in reposting the local’s official statement to his own Twitter account, called the province’s decision “concerning”.
He added that member of their union “work in every sector, building pipelines, coal mine, roads, oilsands and refineries. We would be as confused by a decision to harm those industries like we are this one.”
He refers to these paused projects as “career defining projects for our crane operators”. He ended his short Twitter thread with an admonition for the government: “We cannot screw this up”.