Premier Rachel Notley told the Montreal Board of Trade Monday morning that Alberta is too reliant on coal power and her government plans to change that.
"Alberta burns more coal than the rest of Canada put together," Notley said, noting that 55 per cent of the province's electricity comes from coal-fired plants.
"We will be looking for a strategy to phase out the use of coal as quickly as we reasonably can — without imposing unnecessary price shocks on consumers, or risking security of supply, or unnecessarily stranding capital," Notley said.
But the head of the Canadian Electricity Association says the industry is worried Notley will bring in a plan to phase out coal more quickly than required by federal rules.
"If she's moving that way, she also has to find a way to bring in our companies who have built plans and budgets around a certain deadline," said Sergio Marchi. "So it's something that must be done with also economic sense."
Alberta's premier is at the start of a five-day eastern road trip to sell Alberta as a responsible energy producer and a good place to do business.
"Looking for new opportunities in our energy economy, and pioneering advanced technologies — all this will continue to require investment on a large scale. So under our leadership, Alberta's abundant oil and gas reserves will remain open to investment."
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Notley told the business crowd the only way to achieve economic goals is by getting it right on the environment.
"If we don't get it right on this issue, a solution is going to be imposed on us sooner or later by others — by the federal government, and by our markets, who will increasingly insist that energy products they buy be mined and processed responsibly," Notley said.
Notley also said job creation is a top priority for her government, so she wants to meet with key investors, industry leaders and banking officials to ensure they know what Alberta has to offer.
"It's about ensuring we can assure those investors, either in the U.S. or eastern Canada, that Alberta remains a good place to invest in terms of the return on their investment and the stability of our economy," she said.
Notley plans to move on to New York for a couple of days before finishing the week in Toronto. The trip for Notley, four staff members and two protective officers is estimated to cost about $24,000.