According to a poll released on September 28, almost two-thirds of residents in Alberta are against the recently imposed ban on new renewable energy projects by the provincial government. The poll was commissioned by the Calgary Climate Hub and conducted by Leger.
The pause on approvals for wind and solar power projects, initiated by the United Conservative Party government, is set to last for six months. The government claims that the pause is necessary to address concerns related to land-use and reclamation as the renewables industry in the province continues to grow.
While Rural Municipalities Alberta (an organization representing counties and municipal districts) supports the pause, it did not specifically request it.
The online survey, conducted from August 25 to 27, involved 1,000 participants. Results showed that 65% of Albertans opposed the renewable energy moratorium, saying that the move was either “definitely not needed” or “probably not needed.”
The number was slightly higher in Edmonton and Calgary, while it was slightly lower in rural areas. However, even in heavily conservative rural Alberta, 57 percent of people agreed that the pause was unnecessary.
The unpopularity of the moratorium in rural areas is unsurprising. Rural areas have more limited sources of tax revenue, which has caused the moratorium to hit them the hardest. Mayors of communities such as Innsifail and Caroline have written letters to Premier Smith expressing their opposition.
Opposition to the moratorium was consistent across demographic groups, income levels, and educational backgrounds. College-educated individuals were more supportive of the pause compared to high school or university graduates, with 42 percent acknowledging its probable necessity.
According to Global News, the poll cannot be attributed with a margin of error since it wasn’t a random sample.
The moratorium’s effects
The moratorium has faced widespread criticism for being unnecessary and becoming an obstacle to substantial investments in Alberta’s thriving industry. Minister of Affordability and Utilities, Nathan Neudorf, clarifies that no projects are being canceled, and only 13 projects that were under review by the Alberta Utilities Commission are directly affected.
Nonetheless, the Pembina Institute, a clean energy think tank, claims that the impacts of the pause extend beyond the directly affected projects.
The Institute claims that it’s impacting a total of 118 projects, representing $33 billion of investment. These projects have the potential to provide employment to approximately 24,000 people for a year and generate around $263 million in local taxes and land leases across 27 municipalities.
Image Source: M Nesbitt, twitter.com