Pause. What’s happening in Alberta?

We got a hold of docs that tell us about Alberta’s pause on renewables. They contradict what the government has been saying for months
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Just over a week ago, Prairies reporter Drew Anderson finally got his hands on internal emails that told a different story than the one Alberta Premier Danielle Smith had been telling since August last year — that her government’s decision to pause renewable energy developments for seven months was a response to a request made by the province’s independent electricity grid operator.

“The Alberta Electric System Operator asked for us to do a pause, to make sure that we could address issues of stability of the grid,” Smith said in August 2023. 

Turns out, Mike Law, the top official at the Alberta Electric System Operator, found the government’s plan to pause renewables “very troubling” and warned it would scare off investors and send a “closed-for-business message.”

But the government-appointed board chair told him to bow to the minister’s request for a letter endorsing the pause, telling him to “support the minister without reservation.”

Wind turbines in southern Alberta visible in a landscape with a river, forests and mountains
‘Ministerial desires’: a behind-the-scenes timeline of the Alberta government’s push for a renewables pause

That’s just one tidbit that came from the hundreds of pages of internal records Drew has been able to obtain through freedom of information legislation. The documents directly challenge the government’s record on why the pause on renewables happened to begin with, one expert told Drew

The scoop has been making waves across Alberta, with Drew making an appearance on Edmonton radio station 630 CHED to explain the details. Premier Smith was even asked about the story at a recent press conference, but she didn’t exactly give an answer.

Any lingering doubt about whether the renewable energy pause was a political decision was “erased” by Drew’s reporting, a CBC analysis noted.

To keep track of everything we know so far about how the pause unfolded, Drew has put together a handy timeline.

Take care and get your story straight,

Karan Saxena
Audience engagement editor
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P.S. Our team is out of office and will get back to your emails next week!
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