Councillor diane ward 13 electricity lab activities


In my 18 years on Council, the electricity market has never been as highly regulated with government intervention as it has been in the past three years in Alberta. I service on the City’s Gas, Power and Telecommunications (GPT) Committee for many years, took an 8 year break and have been reappointed back by Council. I have a lot of concerns about what has been going on these past few years and how destabilizing this is in particular on our City-owned utility company ENMAX. All my concerns came home to roost today at the ENMAX AGM. We also need to look at the future roll of the GPT Committee.

Alberta’s electricity market has and continues to undergo major redesign, which was brought on by the Government of Alberta’s (GOA) “Climate Leadership Plan (CLP).” The plethora of policy measures being simultaneously implemented have led to a variety of ripple effects, instability and unintended consequences within the industry and in particular ENMAX – Calgary residents largest capital investment. The stability and cost of Alberta’s power markets is important to our City for several reasons: these changes have and continue to impact City costs, franchise fee revenues, annual dividends from ENMAX, the cost of living for Calgarians, and potentially putting the health of our local economy in jeopardy.

The GoA has established a Renewable Energy Program (REP) to procure 5,000 MW of renewable power generation, which will cost taxpayers hundreds of millions of dollars per year in subsidies. The implementation of the REP has sparked very legitimate concerns regarding the stability and sustainability of Alberta’s current power market design, infrastructure and transmission. Intermittent renewable power sources like wind for example, need to be backed up by quick start-up natural gas generation facilities. But, there is insufficient incentive for investment by the private sector in fossil fuel-fired generation because of the climate policies that have concurrently been introduced.

In order to incent sufficient investment in generation capacity, the Alberta Electric Systems Operator (AESO) has recommended the implementation of a capacity market by 2021. The addition of a capacity market to the existing energy and ancillary services markets will give generators an additional revenue stream, providing sufficient revenue certainty to spur investment is there. It isn’t there. The cost of the capacity payments will be passed onto you – the consumer.

In June 2015, the GoA amended the Specific Gas Emitters Regulation (SGER) to increase the amount of carbon emissions subject to carbon pricing for large emitters, and called for a doubling of the carbon cost for those emissions by 2017. This as we all know triggered lawsuits over the Power Purchase Agreements (PPAs), and left consumers once again on the hook for over $1B in money losing contracts. Unacceptable. Destabilizing. Lack of confidence from the private sector to invest. On January 1, 2018, the SGER was replaced by the GoA’s output based allocation carbon pricing ‘scheme’, which has been based on a “good-as-best-gas” standard. All power plant emissions will be benchmarked against the most efficient natural gas-fired facility in the province. Who knows what that could mean?

In light of all these rule changes and regulations, most coal generators have announced plans to convert their facilities to natural gas generation because the “best gas” standard will be extremely costly for them. The result of all these announcements is that Alberta is expected to eliminate coal fired generation well before the GoA’s deadline of 2030. All this is deeply concerning, because the Province has made many spending commitments that are to be paid for with the expected carbon levy revenues, including the City’s Green Line and the 20 year renewable energy credit contracts. There is a genuine risk that the Province will not have the funds to meet these commitments.

First and foremost I would like to thank you all for your continued patience as the Southwest BRT construction continues. I know that summertime construction always brings its share of inconvenience and frustration, and I truly appreciate the patience and understanding with which you all are dealing with this.

The sidewalk on the northeast corner of Southland Drive and 14 Street S.W. is closed for pedestrians. Signage is in place to direct pedestrians to the south side of Southland Drive. The sidewalk is expected to be closed until the end of July while crews work on intersection improvements. Work includes curb removals, roadwork and concrete work. You can see the pedestrian detour here.

• Traffic lanes on 14 Street S.W. between 90 Avenue S.W. and Southland Drive S.W. will be shifted over in July. Northbound traffic lanes are scheduled to shift during the week of July 9, 2018, and the southbound traffic is scheduled to switch the week of July 16, 2018.

• Construction at the southeast corner of Glenmore Trail and Crowchild Trail interchange will continue this month. Road work on eastbound Glenmore Trail includes concrete and asphalt work, and the travel lanes will be shifted to accommodate an eastbound bus only shoulder lane. The Glenmore Trail Widening and Interchange Upgrade project will also be starting construction in the Crowchild Trail area this summer

The Community Drainage Improvements program was launched in 2010 to mitigate flooding in areas throughout the city. Drainage studies were undertaken to identify solutions for communities frequently hit by flooding due to extreme rainfall. Such solutions can include adding additional storm drainage pipes, increasing the size of pipes, and adding wet or dry storm ponds to help manage stormwater.

In recent years, the communities of Woodlands, Woodbine, Cedarbrae and Braeside have experienced an unusually high number of high volume rainfall events. These communities currently have a storm level service of a 1-in-5 year rainfall event or less. That means that there is a 20 percent chance (or greater) that the storm system will not handle rainfall events causing local flooding in any given year.

Construction of Phase 1 is anticipated to begin in mid-June 2018, and run until the late fall. Work is scheduled to start at either 24th Street and Woodpark Blvd SW and progress northwards along 24 Street, or at 24th Street and Woodview Drive SW and progress southwards.

Portions of 24th Street SW will be closed in stages, but access to 127th Avenue SW will be maintained from either the south or the north, and bus routes will be maintained. Access and parking restrictions may affect certain residents, and the project team will coordinate with those affected.

Equipment and materials will be stored at the proposed pond site in Fish Creek Provincial Park, and will be transported via the park access road. Access to the Park from 24th Street SW, as well as access to the affected areas within the park may be limited for portions of the construction period.