The Government of Alberta has decided to pause approvals for renewable energy projects until February 2024, amid rising concerns over the rapid pace of development.

The government said that the move was in response to a letter from the Alberta Utilities Commission (AUC) and concerns from municipalities and landowners over responsible land use and the quick pace at which renewables were being developed.

From August 2023, AUC will put a hold on new renewable energy projects over 1MW and will review policies and procedures for the development of such projects.

Once the process is completed, future renewable projects can move forward at a pace conducive to business while the Canadian province’s electricity supply is preserved.

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Alberta Affordability and Utilities Minister Nathan Neudorf stated: “We are proud of our leadership in responsible renewable energy development and we are committed to its continued growth.

“This approach will provide future renewable investments with the certainty and clarity required for long-term development.”

However, the temporary moratorium does not apply to Albertans, who are free to deploy renewable products in their homes and communities.

The inquiry will include a review of the use of agricultural and public land for wind and solar projects, land reclamation and the municipal government’s role in land selection for project development and review.

The inquiry will specifically look into issues such as the development of projects on specific types or classes of agricultural or environmental land, their visual impact on the province, the development of projects on land owned by the Crown and the impact of the increasing growth of renewables on the supply mix and electricity system reliability.

Alberta Utilities Commission chairperson Carolyn Dahl Rees stated: “We are pleased to support the government in canvassing relevant issues for its development of policy to ensure the economic, orderly and efficient development of electricity generation in Alberta.”