Some of the world’s largest companies are now investing in solar and wind projects through virtual power purchase agreements. These deals to buy renewable energy to supply corporate demand are now among the biggest drivers of new wind and solar energy development in the country. Two of the largest and most recent investors are Amazon and Shell – and Alberta and Saskatchewan are the hotspots.
John Leslie, a Director at BTY specializing in Energy & Power, shared recent developments shaping the sector’s future.
In April, Amazon committed to an 80-megawatt solar project east of Calgary that the largest known solar virtual power purchase agreement in Canada. The same month, Oil and gas giant Shell signed a long-term deal to buy power from a new $200-million-plus wind farm to be built near Drumheller by BluEarth Renewables of Calgary. The wind farm could generate about 100 MWh of electricity, according to Business Renewables Centre (BRC) Canada.
April also saw Labatt Breweries of Canada sign a virtual power purchase agreement with Capital Power to buy nearly 51% of the electricity generated by a new solar facility in Taber, Alberta.
John also noted, “according to Business Renewables Centre (BRC Canada), growth in solar projects has skyrocketed. Deals announced since the start of 2019 have multiplied 30-fold for utility-scale solar in Alberta alone.”
In addition to this, the Canadian Energy Regulator (CER) reports that wind capacity in Saskatchewan is projected to triple — and nearly double in Alberta — between 2020 and 2023. Significant solar capacity growth is also projected, with Alberta adding 1,200 MW by 2023.
BTY has acted as Independent Engineer for Lenders and Owners on over 150 MW of solar projects, both portfolios of rooftop systems on commercial/industrial buildings and on utility-scale ground-mount projects. We have seen the industry change from mono-facial 240W panels to today’s +600W bifacial panels designed to maximize energy production and reduce system costs.
Contact us for more information on BTY’s Energy & Power sector capabilities.