Original Published on Nov 16, 2022 at 08:55
New investment could be ‘off the charts’ with ‘no upper limit to amount’
By Ian Croft, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter
With the desire for new technologies to be built within the energy sector, it is economic development organizations like SouthGrow who help push this development forward.
Peter Casurella, executive director of SouthGrow, discussed why his organization is so interested in investing in energy development within southern Alberta.
“Fundamentally, electricity is one of the core driving blocks of the entire economy and this is a massive economic opportunity for the entire world, at the same time it’s a liability,” said Casurella. “If we here in Alberta can be leaders on the electrical transition, it will give our businesses extra teeth in the industry in the future and allow them to compete. It will make a region more resilient so that we’re able to provide the electrical demand of new industries as we exist here in southern Alberta as a rapidly growing industrial environment with more demand than ever to build new facilities here in from Alberta, and they require a lot of input. They require on-site electrical generation, they require a resilient electricity system in order to meet their demand, and with the electrification of everything happening around us, and more and more electrical technology options available to drive efficiency, and to drive business opportunities making sure that we have a strong and resilient electrical grid all around us is extremely important.”
There has been $20 billion in capital expenditures in the application queue for projects that want to be built in Alberta just involving wind, solar, and battery projects in the last year.
This increased by another $10 billion for a total of $30 billion now in the queue just a month ago. With this, Casurella outlined how unique this amount of investment is for the economy.
“There’s no other place in the economy with this much investment that wants to build here in Alberta that we can take advantage of and the barriers to us integrating that is not set in stone,” said Casurella. “There are things that we can do to help plant more of those investments. Every year, a few of those projects get built, more of them get through the application queue, they get plugged into the system, and Alberta gets a hold of much more investment — how much more taxation, how much more wealth generation coming off these projects. If we could double the amount that we’re getting through the queue each year, we would double the economic impact — it would be off the charts. It’s already billions of dollars a year, it could be many billions of dollars a year, and there’s no real upper limit to do that demand since we have a deregulated market. Private companies could come here and build energy products and sell the energy on the open market or a private market to people, and everybody wins. There are more jobs, there’s more expertise etc. Keeping up to the times with our electricity transition for economic development is core and fundamental to our region’s prosperity.”