April 5, 2021

Procuring Renewable Energy in Alberta: What You Need to Know

procuring renewable energy in alberta

Is your company a large emitter with carbon compliance obligations in Alberta, Canada? Does your company buy electricity in Alberta or have renewable/sustainability targets in North America? Have you ever considered procuring renewable energy in Alberta?

If so, there are a number of options available to you in order to help you set achievable sustainability targets, meet near-term and long-term goals, manage carbon compliance, understand policy implications and mitigate financial risk. The energy market is constantly evolving, and navigating it can be overwhelming; so before you begin your renewable energy procurement journey, it is critical to understand the programs and policies that are already in place.


Learn about Canada’s updated strategy to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions by 2030.


One key program in place in Alberta is the Technology Innovation Emissions Reduction (TIER) regulation.

What is TIER?

In Alberta, the TIER Program regulates facilities that emit more than 100,000 tons of CO2e per year. Large emitters using a facility-specific benchmark must reduce emissions by 10% in the first year and 1% every year after that. Qualifying facilities are even able to generate emissions performance credits by reducing emissions beyond what is required.

To meet this target, facilities can:

  • Reduce facility emissions,
  • Purchase carbon offsets,
  • Use emissions performance credits, or
  • Pay into the TIER fund at a rate of $40/ton in 2021

A facility with less than 100,000 tonnes CO2e per year may also be eligible to opt-in to the TIER if it competes against a facility regulated under the TIER regulation, or emits 10,000 tonnes CO2e or more per year and belongs to a sector with high emissions intensity and trade exposure.

How can renewable energy help with meeting my carbon compliance obligations?

By procuring renewable energy in Alberta through solar or wind farms, users generate carbon offsets by displacing fossil fuels on the grid.  Alternatively, renewable energy projects can produce renewable energy certificates (RECs) which can be used to meet sustainability goals.

Increasingly, companies are signing virtual Power Purchase Agreements (VPPAs) with renewable energy projects to obtain RECs or carbon offsets directly from a project to meet compliance obligations or sustainability goals. VPPAs allow buyers to:

  • Meet compliance obligations with carbon offsets or meet corporate sustainability goals with RECs
  • Claim its investment helped bring new renewable energy onto the grid
  • Hedge against future electricity price volatility
  • Lock in a price for carbon offsets

Virtual Power Purchase Agreements: How do they work?

VPPAs are financial contracts where a buyer pays a fixed price for energy for every MWh of electricity generated. VPPAs are possible in deregulated energy markets, such as Alberta, and are becoming increasingly common for corporate offtakers.

When the energy generated through a VPPA is sold into the provincial power market, the buyer receives a financial settlement for the energy and in some cases the environmental attributes, such as RECs or carbon offsets for each MWh of renewable energy generated.

virtual power purchase agreement

How do I know if a PPA is right for my company?

Start with Renewable Energy Strategy Development

Our team will work with your company to develop a customized renewable energy strategy that aligns with your objectives, risk tolerance and corporate governance. With the strategy in place, we then execute by finding the best renewable energy options and contract structures that meet your strategic objectives. Our goal is to source the lowest-cost, best risk-adjusted renewable energy to achieve your company’s carbon reduction and financial risk goals.

So, what next?

If procuring renewable energy in Alberta (or elsewhere in Canada) seems like a good fit for your organization, let our team of renewable energy experts help you take the next step. Edison Energy has been advising corporations, universities, and institutions on renewable energy and sustainability strategy in North America for a decade. As a founder of the virtual PPA market, our team has advised on over 6,700 MW of executed PPAs across the US, Mexico, and Canada and is currently consulting on an additional 2,500 MW. With an office in Burlington, Ontario, active client engagements for wind and solar PPAs in Alberta, and a policy team tracking the impact of ever-changing provincial policies, the Edison team is well-versed in helping Canadian companies meet their emissions reduction and renewable energy goals in a strategic and cost-effective manner.

Let us help you find what works for you. Are you ready to take the next step? Send us an email, and a member of our energy team will be in touch.