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Alberta promises to phase out coal by 2030

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World Coal,

Alberta is aiming to rid itself of pollution from coal-fired power plants by 2030 under a new plan unveiled by the province’s new premier, Rachel Notley, head of the new centre-left New Democratic Party government.

“Our goal is to become one of the world’s most progressive and forward-looking energy producers,” Notley said in a speech to launch the Climate Leadership Plan. “In this we are turning the page on the mistaken policies of the past. Policies that have failed to provide the leadership our province needed.”

This includes a commitment to reducing pollution from coal-fired power plants to zero by 2030 by accelerating the retirement of such plants beyond current regulations, replacing it with renewables and new gas-fired generation.

Current federal regulations require coal-fired power plants to meet greenhouse gas emission standards or retire after 50 yr of operation. This would have seen 12 out of 18 Albertan coal-fired plants shut by 2030; the new proposals will now see all plants close by then or have to install technology to produce zero pollution.

In another move to target the coal-fired power industry, the Canadian province will also impose a carbon price of CAN$30 per tonne of CO2 on emissions above what Alberta’s cleanest gas-fired plant would create to generate the same amount of electricity.

The Albertan announcement was welcomed by the new Canadian federal government with Catherine McKenna, Minister of Environment and Climate Change, calling it a “strong, positive step in the right direction.”

“We want to send a clear signal to Canadians and our partners around the world that Canada is back and ready to play our part,” McKenna continued in a statement. “Alberta is taking a leadership position on phasing out coal, and as Minister of Environment and Climate Change, I will be looking at ways to help accelerate the reduction of coal power right across the country.”

“The government of Canada will work closely with the provinces and territories to take action on climate change, put a price on carbon, reduce emissions and invest in clean technologies,” McKenna concluded.

McKenna’s comment mark a clear break with the previous federal government under Prime Minister Stephen Harper, which withdrew from the Kyoto Protocol in 2011.

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