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Alberta Renewable Energy | Advancing the Energy Industry | Global Energy Show
Alberta Renewable Energy Projects: The Driver of Canadian Energy Advancement
Alberta, the heart of oil country, is leading Canada in solar and renewable energy projects. Co-founder, president and CEO Dan Balaban of Greengate Power is leading one of Canada's largest solar project ventures.
Dan sat down with Rachel Gregory, Digital Host at The Global Energy Show, to discuss how energy projects of scale don’t have to compromise on clean energy and how Canada has tremendous opportunities for advancement in renewable energy growth.
Commitment to Clean Renewable Power
Rachel: Could you tell us more about Greengate Power? What is it you guys do and your mission as a company?
Dan: We develop renewable energy projects of unprecedented scale in the heart of oil country right here in Alberta. Right now, we're working on one of the largest solar energy projects in the world. By far the largest in Canada and Southern Alberta. About 1.5 hours south of Calgary, it's a project called Travers Solar. It's going to have about 1.5 million solar panels spread over 3000 acres of land to provide a clean source of power to more than 150,000 homes. But I think most importantly, it shows that renewable energy projects of scale can work here in Alberta, here in the heart of oil country.
Alberta is the Hub of Canada’s Renewable Power
Rachel: Why would you say Alberta is the perfect place for the growth of renewable energy and project development?
Dan: We're the sunshine state of the north. Our solar resource in Alberta is as good as the solar resource in Florida. We have the only deregulated power generation market in Canada. We have a very strong carbon tax regime on large industrial emitters. A significant amount of our power today comes from coal, which is being phased out over the next several years. We have a growing need for power in this province. There's electrification going on in the world and energy transition going on in the world, and I think all of that points to increasing demand for power going forward. I believe a significant chunk of that new power demand in Alberta can come from renewable energy.
Alberta's just generally entrepreneurial, an easy place to do business. I think if you put all of those ingredients together. It makes Alberta a fantastic potential destination for renewable energy investment.
Global Trend Towards Renewable Energy
Rachel: Biden administration has vocalized that they're very passionate and supportive of renewable energy projects and increasing renewable capacity. So how do you see that impacting us here in Canada, economically and in the future?
Dan: With the Biden election, and his very ambitious clean energy objectives, it really just sends a directional signal to the world. You know, the world's largest economy is accelerating its transition to clean energy. I think the impact of that is going to reverberate across the world here in Canada. You know, our own federal government has put out some ambitious plans for emissions reduction to net-zero by 2050. Another example is that the world's largest economies are moving in that direction and that Canada is moving in step with global trends.
Canada’s Future in Renewable Energy and Fossil Fuels
Rachel: Here at the global energy show, our mission is to drive those vital conversations about integrated energy and Canada's opportunity for global leadership. So considering that there isn't just one single source of energy that can meet all of those needs and the demand, how do you see renewables and the oil and gas industry collaborating together — both short term and in the next 2-3 years and perhaps longer-term as we reach net-zero?
Dan: So I think the energy discussions become unnecessarily polarized in this country and other parts of the world as well. It's been framed as oil and gas vs renewables. But I think it's an "and.” I think we should be developing our oil and gas AND renewable energy resources going forward.
You know, the world is going through an energy transition. It’s a transition that is accelerating. For the foreseeable future, we need both fossil fuels and renewable energy in our power mix. That mix is going to change, and we’re going to see more and more of our energy coming from renewables. The amount of time that it takes is still to be determined, but I think it's really important that we're investing in both so we can remain relevant today, and relevant and prosperous for generations to come.
A Mission Towards an Environmentally Friendly Economy
Rachel: What was your inspiration for starting Greengate Power? What gets you out of bed in the morning?
Dan: Growing up here, I developed a tremendous love of nature and an interest in environmental issues. I ended up starting a software company, which provided software solutions to the oil and gas sector among which included helping oil and gas companies report their greenhouse gas emissions. That got me exposed to what I saw as the looming environmental challenges that the energy sector would face. I knew the next business I wanted to start was something green, something that could have a positive environmental benefit and a positive economic benefit because ultimately I think that's what business is about. The purpose of a business is to make money for our shareholders, but also leave a positive lasting impact on the world. That's my inspiration for Greengate.
Rachel: Thank you so much, Dan. It was so great learning about Greengate Power. You guys are doing amazing things and have a wonderful mission. It's so great to see companies like yours staying committed to that outcome of clean energy production.
The Future of Renewable Energy in Alberta
With the rising concerns of greenhouse gas emissions, a turn towards renewable energy is the new future. Alberta is leading the country in renewable energy advancement, with many new projects underway. Greengate Power’s Traverse Solar Project is an excellent example of how industry leaders are turning towards renewable solutions.
If you’re interested in learning more about Canadian energy topics like the renewable energy movement in Alberta from the people leading the country towards an environmentally friendly future, register for the next Global Energy Show today.