Southern Alberta municipalities obtain substantial income from renewable power tasks, says new evaluation

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A non-profit group which is towards the province’s renewable power moratorium has launched a brand new evaluation that factors out that Alberta municipalities accumulate thousands and thousands in taxes from photo voltaic and wind tasks.

The Enterprise Renewables Centre-Canada (BRC-Canada), an initiative of assume tank the Pembina Institute, says in an Oct. 16 launch that the quantity of municipal tax income coming in from renewable power has virtually tripled to $28 million for the reason that quantity was first estimated in 2017. BRC-Canada says it calculated the tax income every municipality acquired by utilizing the 2022 tax evaluation worth of every renewable mission and every county’s or municipal district’s tax fee.

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The evaluation discovered that some southern Alberta municipalities obtain a considerable quantity of tax revenues from wind and photo voltaic tasks. For instance, the County of Forty Mile, a rural municipality in southeastern Alberta between Lethbridge and Medication Hat, collects 50 per cent of its tax revenues from renewable tasks, whereas the municipal districts of Pincher Creek and Willow Creek, based mostly in Claresholm, accumulate round 30 per cent, in keeping with the evaluation.

“What we needed to do was put a quantity on (how a lot income municipalities obtain) and spotlight how a lot profit goes to municipalities,” stated Jorden Dye, director of the Enterprise Renewables Centre-Canada, throughout an interview with Postmedia. “Eight of the 18 districts with renewable power tasks are receiving over $1 million.”

Renewable power tasks provide municipalities long-term income streams and permit them to plan for the longer term, he stated.

“Whether or not that’s holding property taxes for residents low or new investments locally, we simply wish to spotlight the position renewable power tasks are enjoying in serving to stabilize municipal revenues,” stated Dye.

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Enterprise Renewables Centre-Canada believes the province’s seven-month moratorium on the approval of recent renewable tasks over one megawatt — the pause ends on Feb. 29, 2024 — was “short-sighted” and is hurting municipalities.

“One of many issues we needed to focus on is that at a minimal that pause pushes again any tasks that weren’t already underneath development till at the least March of subsequent yr,” stated Dye, including that delay in flip impacts when municipalities will obtain income from these tasks.

Primarily based on the 2022 calculations and the tasks presently within the Alberta Electrical System Operator connection queue, the municipalities can count on that quantity to develop by an extra $170 million to $250 million in just some years, he stated.

“We’re nonetheless on the very starting of this income curve for municipalities. That’s what we’re apprehensive in regards to the moratorium jeopardizing.”

Wind and solar energy tasks are capital-intensive tasks and are “delicate” to escalating prices, stated Dyer.

“By introducing extra danger into the market, the federal government has raised that price of capital, and that’s the place we see one of many main impacts enjoying out,” he stated.

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BRC Municipal Taxes Map
This Enterprise Renewables Centre-Canada graphic exhibits that the overall taxes paid in 2022 to Alberta municipalities for photo voltaic and wind tasks was $28 million. Graphic provided to Postmedia Calgary by Enterprise Renewables Centre-Canada

New Pembina Institute launched alongside the evaluation confirmed 75 per cent of Albertans, together with 66 per cent of Albertans residing outdoors of Edmonton and Calgary, want to see extra renewable power tasks the place they dwell, stated Dye.

“That discovering actually aligns with what we’re seeing, from worth to landowners, to worth to municipalities,” he stated. “We’re an power province, and the individuals of Alberta wish to see us construct extra power tasks.”

Vulcan County Reeve Jason Schneider stated renewable power tasks presently make up over 40 per cent of the municipality’s evaluation base and has performed an enormous position in diversifying the municipality’s tax base.

“We’re attempting to do a little bit of a hybrid the place we’re attempting to take a position among the cash, decrease taxes to make Vulcan County much more engaging to individuals to dwell, to work, to run their companies in,” Schneider stated.

The County is dwelling to a 300-megawatt wind mission, Blackspring Ridge, and Canada’s largest photo voltaic mission, the 465-megawatt Travers Photo voltaic. As soon as the 514.6-megawatt Buffalo Plains wind mission comes on-line — development started earlier yr — the municipality shall be over 50 per cent. It’s a dramatic shift in income streams for Vulcan County, which previously few years has seen a major decline in its municipal income from oil and fuel tasks.

Vulcan County is planning long-term in order that the municipality stays sustainable when the tasks are now not round, he stated.

Renewable power tasks have been tremendously benefitted Vulcan County, however the municipality’s council favours the moratorium in order that the province has time to have a look at regulatory modifications round mission placement and reclamation, and transmission line capability, stated Schneider.

“We’re not saying, ‘Don’t kill it, it’s been excellent to Vulcan County, however we simply need good builders,” he stated.

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