Ottawa requires provinces to phase out coal by 2030, expected to affect taxpayers – by Geoffrey Morgan (Financial Post – November 22, 2016)

CALGARY – The federal government’s plan to phase out coal-fired power ahead of schedule will affect taxpayers in Nova Scotia, New Brunswick and Saskatchewan, but have little effect in Alberta, the province with most coal-generated electricity plants in the country.

Federal Environment and Climate Change Minister Catherine McKenna announced Monday that coal-fired power plants in the country now must shut-down or install technology to eliminate their emissions by 2030. The government’s goal is to move Canada’s electric grids toward 90 per cent renewable or non-emitting sources by 2030, up from 80 per cent now.

“Taking traditional coal power out of our energy mix and replacing it with cleaner technologies will significantly reduce our greenhouse gas emissions, improve the health of Canadians, and benefit generations for year’s to come,” McKenna said in a press release.

Ottawa’s move follows a similar plan in Alberta, announced last year by the province. “We are well ahead of other jurisdictions that are grappling with this,” Alberta Environment Minister Shannon Phillips said.

University of Calgary economics professor Trevor Tombe said that Alberta’s experience, and evidence from the futures market for electricity, shows that electricity prices shouldn’t rise significantly for ratepayers in province’s with coal-fired generation, though there could be some costs for taxpayers.

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