Alberta

Alberta ranked 6th in Canada’s first Provincial Energy Efficiency Scorecard, earning 30 out of 100 available points. 

Energy Efficiency Programs See All

Energy efficiency programs secure energy savings through various strategies such as audits, retrofits, training for building tradespeople, “people-centred” or behavioural efficiency strategies, and customized industrial programs.

Energy Efficiency Program Administration

The Alberta government established the provincially-owned, not-for-profit crown corporation Energy Efficiency Alberta in 2017, with a mandate to deliver programs for energy efficiency and community energy systems.   EEA is funded primarily through the Alberta carbon levy, but also receives funding from the federal government's Low Carbon Economy Leadership Funding.

Following the provincial election in early 2019, the new government repealed the carbon levy, removing a principal source of funding for EEA.  In October 2019, EEA announced that its rebate and incentive programs were closed and not accepting new applications.   EEA continues to offer support for financing, training, and energy management programs.

Last reviewed: November 2019

Energy Efficiency Targets

There are no formal energy savings targets in Alberta.  Energy Efficiency Alberta’s core mandate relates to greenhouse gas emission reductions. The organization’s 2018/19 Business Plan states that performance targets will be included in the 2019/2020 business plan, informed by an efficiency potential study. The Business Plan lists preliminary performance measures related to GHG emissions, energy savings (lifetime energy savings, as well as water savings and renewable energy capacity installed), improved quality of life, and market transformation.

Last reviewed: August 2019

Energy Efficiency as a Resource

Energy savings are not integrated within utility system planning in Alberta. There is limited ratepayer funding for energy efficiency. An exception is the Medicine Hat Electric and Natural Gas Utility.

Last reviewed: August 2019

Efficiency Potential Study and Energy Planning

The Energy Efficiency Alberta Act 2016 mandates Energy Efficiency Alberta to annually complete and provide to the Minister of Environment and Parks a multi-year business plan approved by the board. These plans must include:

  • The budget for the fiscal years to which the plan relates
  • The goals, objectives, and targets for the fiscal years to which the plan relates
  • Any additional information requested by the Minister

An Efficiency Potential study for the years 2019-2038 was prepared for Energy Efficiency Alberta in October 2018.

Last reviewed: November 2019

Cost-Effectiveness Testing

Energy Efficiency Alberta uses a variety of cost-effectiveness tests, including Societal Abatement Cost, Program Abatement Cost and Total Resource Cost. The tests are used at all levels (portfolio, program and measure). While the tests are not used from a pass/fail perspective, they do inform program and portfolio planning.

Last reviewed: November 2019

Evaluation, Measurement and Verification

The following programs were evaluated for the 2017-18 FY: (1) Business, Non-Profit and Institutional (BNI); (2) Home Improvement Rebates (HIR); (3) Instant Savings; (4) Online Rebates, and; (5) Residential and Commercial Solar (RCSP). The primary objective of the evaluation was to verify claimed program energy savings, although the evaluator also reviewed project samples and internal controls, assessed program data tracking and management, and validated savings methodologies. The evaluation reports provided program-specific recommendations, which were implemented wherever possible during the 2018-19 fiscal year.

The following programs were evaluated for the 2018-19 FY: (1) Business, Non-Profit and Institutional (BNI); (2) Home Improvement Rebates (HIR); (3) Instant Savings; (4) Online Rebates; (5) Residential and Commercial Solar (RCSP); (6) Home Energy Plan (HEP); (7) Residential No-Charge Energy Savings (RNCES); (8) Affordable Housing Energy Solutions; (9) Non-profit Energy Efficiency Transition (NEET); (10) Custom Energy Solutions (CES), and; (11) Methane Energy Reduction (MER). The primary objective of the evaluation was to verify claimed program energy savings, although the evaluator also reviewed project samples and internal controls, assessed program data tracking and management, and validated prescriptive savings methodologies. This evaluation was expected to be completed by August 2019.

Last reviewed: November 2019

Program Innovation

Energy Efficiency Alberta does not have a specific fund to support program innovation.

Last reviewed: August 2019

Support for Low-income Energy Efficiency Programs

There are no known legislative or regulatory requirements that encourage delivery of energy efficiency programs to low-income or hard-to-reach populations.

Energy Efficiency Alberta administered the Affordable Housing Energy Solutions program in conjunction with the Ministry of Seniors and Housing. This program was closed in October 2019.

Other low-income initiatives include a Home Upgrade pilot program, in conjunction with Empower Me.  Various EEA grants also target new Canadians, urban Indigenous, seniors and affordable housing tenants.

The Government of Alberta also administered the Indigenous Energy Efficiency (Retrofit) Program.

The All One Sky Foundation operates the Energy Angels Program for low-income seniors in Calgary.

Last reviewed: August 2019

Enabling Policies See All

Enabling policies refer to policies, regulations, and other activities that build supportive infrastructure and policy frameworks to advance energy efficiency in a province. 

Support for Financing

PACE Financing
In June 2018, the Legislative Assembly of Alberta passed an Act to Enable Clean Energy Improvements, which amends Alberta’s Municipal Government Act to introduce a municipal clean energy improvement tax. The legislation became effective January 1, 2019. Energy Efficiency Alberta is launching a pilot program with the City of Edmonton and is developing a program guide for municipalities in Winter 2019.

Loan Guarantees
The Green Loan Guarantee Program funded through the Energy Innovation Fund provides financing for facility owners or managers as well as credit enhancements to support financial institutions and utilities offering financing for energy efficiency, renewable energy and clean technology projects.

Last reviewed: August 2019

Research and Development

Emission Reductions Alberta funds research, development, demonstration and implementation to reduce GHG emissions. One of its project categories includes “industrial process efficiency”.

Between 2014 and 2018, energy efficiency research comprised 4.2% of all energy-related research supported by the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council (NSERC) at universities and colleges in Alberta.

Last reviewed: August 2019

Lead by example

Buildings
LEED Silver is the minimum standard for all new major construction projects since 2006.

The provincial government certified 89 buildings under the BOMA BEST program, and three government-owned buildings have achieved the BOMA BEST Platinum rating.

Vehicle Fleets
No policies found

Last reviewed: August 2019

Grid Modernization

Advanced metering
A market rule put in place after deregulation in the early 2000s required sites with peak demand over 2MW to have a smart meter, and allowed for distribution utilities to establish their own, lower thresholds, if desired. In its 2011 final report, the Alberta Utilities Commission’s Smart Grid Inquiry noted that industrial and commercial customers accounting for around 70% of consumption were equipped with smart meters.

Electricity distribution companies in Alberta that have proposed advanced meter roll-outs include FortisAlberta, ATCO Electric, and the City of Lethbridge. The City of Edmonton also has an advanced metering program.

Non-wires/Non-pipe alternatives
The transmission regulation of Alberta’s 2007 Electric Utilities Act describes the use of non-wire solutions in transmission systems planning. As outlined in Part 3 section 15(3) of the Act, in considering the design and planning of a new electricity transmission system, the Alberta Electric System Operator may recommend non-wire solutions in lieu of a transmission system if:

  • There is limited potential for growth of load in the area, and the cost of the non-wire solution is materially less than the life-cycle cost of the transmission wires solution compared over an equivalent study period, or
  • The non-wire solution is required to ensure reliable service due to the shorter lead time of the non-wires solution.

The Alberta Electricity System Operator notes “Transmission Must Run”, whereby a generator is required to be online and operating as a specific output in a particular area to compensate for insufficient transmission, as a non-wire alternative that is limited by regulation.

In 2011, the Alberta Utilities Commission (AUC) disallowed DSM-related costs in ATCO Gas' 2011-2012 General Rate Application Phase in Decision 2011-450. The Commission ruled that the reduction of consumption was not intended to be captured in the Gas Utilities Act and that the costs associated with ATCO gas' DSM programs, both existing and proposed, were removed entirely from rate base, revenue requirement, and rates. This ruling seems to place a strong restriction on the ability of utilities to pursue DSM programs, though there may be latitude to justify non-pipe alternatives as "providing safe, reliable and economic delivery of gas to customers."

Geo-targeting
Energy Efficiency Alberta programs do not include geo-targeting of energy efficiency and/or demand response.

Conservation voltage reduction
In 2018, the City of Lethbridge implemented grid optimization technologies to lower the operating voltage of the electricity distribution system, and improve the overall energy efficiency of the grid.

Rate design
The province’s electricity market was deregulated in 2001, which means consumers can choose between different retailers with differing prices and rate designs.  Electricity and natural gas consumers can opt for a regulated rate option if they opt to not sign up with an electricity retailer.

In June 2017, the Government of Alberta implemented an electricity price cap (energy charge cap) of $0.068 per kWh of electricity. Until May 31st, 2021, Albertans on the regulated price option electricity plan will pay either the market electricity price or the government cap whichever is lower, for the energy charge portion of the bill.

The Alberta Utilities Commission (AUC)'s Distribution Inquiry will be addressing rate design. From the AUC December 6, 2018 bulletin: "A key issue for the Commission, given its mandate, is whether the current approach to rates and rate design needs to be re-evaluated in light of new technology advances and market entry of new and non-traditional participants providing alternative technology."

Other
In March 2018, with funding support from Western Economic Development Canada, Medicine Hat College in Medicine Hat Alberta established the Community Renewable Energy Microgrid Demonstration Project. This project includes testing solar thermal and two electric vehicle charging stations.

In the Summer of 2018, the Government of Alberta also launched a micro-generation program through the Electric Utilities Act. This program allows Albertans to meet their own electricity needs by generating electricity from renewable or alternative sources. Micro-generators that produce excess electricity receive credits for what they feed to the grid, differing between small micro-generators (under 150 kW) and large micro-generators (over 150 kW).

Last reviewed: August 2019

Carbon Pricing

Alberta first introduced a carbon price for large emitters in 2007 under the Specified Gas Emitters Regulation. Large emitters needed to pay $15/tonne if they failed to reduce emissions intensity of their production based on a facility-specific baseline.

In 2015, the industrial system was changed to set emissions intensity performance based on an industry best practice benchmark rather than a facility-specific benchmark. The carbon price was also expanded to implement a $30/tonne in 2018 levy on household energy use and transportation fuel. Proceeds from the carbon levy were used to support energy efficiency programs.

The Government of Alberta replealed the carbon levy in May 2019, and the federal backstop carbon price is scheduled to come into effect in the province in January 2020.

In October 2019, a new industrial carbon pricing system was proposed by the provincial government,  under the Technology Innovation and Emissions Reduction Implementation Act.

Last reviewed: November 2019

Buildings See All

Buildings are a significant and often neglected component of Canada’s infrastructure, and high-performance buildings are important for our quality of life, physical and mental health, and economic productivity

Building Codes

Houses and Small Buildings
The National Building Code – 2019 Alberta Edition is based on the 2015 edition of the National Building Code (including section 9.36 on energy performance). The previous version of this code was based on the 2010 National Building Code, and the 2012 revision to section 9.36 on energy performance

Large Buildings
The National Energy Code for Building – 2017 Edition was adopted for new buildings other than housing and small buildings by provincial regulation in February 2019, and will come into force on April 1, 2019. The previous version of the code were based on the 2011 National Energy Code for Buildings.

Stretch or Step Codes
Alberta does not have a stretch or step code.

Net-zero energy ready commitment
There is no formal commitment to move towards net-zero energy buildings in Alberta.

Last reviewed: August 2019

Building Code Compliance

No compliance studies were identifed in Alberta. 

Last reviewed: August 2019

Home Energy Rating and Disclosure

Mandatory home energy rating and disclosure: No
Home energy labelling voluntary or pilot program: Yes

Through the Change Homes for Climate initiative, launched in 2017, the City of Edmonton and Energy Efficiency Alberta provide $400 against the cost of an energy evaluation when results are shared online, plus additional incentives to support renovations, as part of the Home Energy Plan program. Edmonton City Council supported developing a new and existing home energy labeling program in the June 2012 Green Building Plan.

Last reviewed: August 2019

Building Energy Rating and Disclosure

Mandatory large building energy rating and disclosure: No
Voluntary building benchmarking and transparency program: Yes

Alberta’s Municipal Climate Change Action Centre, which is funded by the Government of Alberta and Energy Efficiency Alberta, established a voluntary building-benchmarking program for municipal buildings.

The City of Edmonton has launched a Building Energy Benchmarking Program, for owners and operators of large buildings (both residential and commercial with over 20,000 square feet). Participants who opt-in receive technical support, customized building benchmarking reports, tenant education workshops and access to financial incentives (up to $10,000/building) to help offset the costs of an energy audit. The program uses ENERGY STAR Portfolio Manager online services.

Last reviewed: August 2019

Appliance and Equipment Market Transformation

No market or equipment market transformation activities identified. 

Last reviewed: August 2019

Appliance and Equipment Standards

Alberta harmonizes with federal energy efficiency regulations.

Last reviewed: August 2019

Efficiency Requirements for Government Supported Housing

The Affordable Housing Energy Savings program allocates $25 M to retrofit provincial and municipally owned affordable housing stock. $9 M is from the Low-Carbon Economy Leadership Fund.

Last reviewed: August 2019

Transportation See All

Policies tracked in the transporation area reflect the potential energy savings of closer integration of private transportation with buildings and electricity grids. 

Zero-Emission Vehicles Mandate

There is no ZEV mandate in Alberta.

Last reviewed: August 2019

Electric Vehicle Charging Program

EV Charging Program: Yes
Support for fast charging: Yes 

In 2017, ATCO deployed a Calgary-Edmonton Universal Fast Charging Corridor, installed three charging stations in Edmonton, Red Deer and Calgary. Each location was installed with fast charging and Level 2 charging stations. This project was supported by Natural Resources Canada.

The Peaks to Prairies is an electric vehicle charging network in Southern Alberta with plans to install 20 DC fast-charging stations and Level 2 stations by the end of 2019. The provincial government committed funding to this initiative in February 2019. Stations must be powered by renewable energy, through on-site generation and/or renewable energy certificates.

The City of Edmonton is working with ATCO to pilot curbside electric vehicle charging, with stations planned to be operational in 2019.

Last reviewed: August 2019

EV and PHEV Financial Incentives

There are no incentives for EV/PHEV vehicles in Alberta.

Last reviewed: August 2019

“EV Ready” Building Code

There are no provisions in the building code to support EV charging infrastructure.

Last reviewed: August 2019 

Industry See All

In recognition that the industrial sector is highly varied across Canada, this database tracks policies that are broadly applicable to all industrial subsectors and provinces.

Energy Management

Energy Efficiency Alberta operates a number of energy management-related programming under their ‘Custom Energy Solutions’ industrial energy efficiency program, providing support for energy audits and feasibility studies, on-site energy managers, and workforce training. Some of these programs were closed in October 2019.

Full-fledged energy management systems (EnMS) programs include the Strategic Energy Manager Cohort and the Strategic Energy Management for Large Final Emitters programs.   The former is a 2-year program. Year 1 features 4 group workshops, 5 one-on-one site events, and dedicated coaching and mentoring. Year 2 is designed to help facilities maintain the savings they achieved in the first year. Facilities must have an emissions profile of over 5,000 tonnes of GHG emissions annually.

The latter is designed specifically for Large Final Emitters (LFEs) facilities (facilities that produce more than 100,000 tonnes of CO2 annually or facilities who opted into Alberta's Carbon Competitiveness Incentive Regulation (CCIR)) that have complex energy management needs. Participating facilities will receive energy management coaching and engineering resources along with intensive workshops, on-site training, and one-on-one coaching to increase energy management expertise within participating companies.

Participants in either EnMS program receive full access to EEA funding under the Customer Energy Solutions program.  Both programs are based upon ISO 50001 principles, though neither requires certification as a condition to receive associated incentives.

Last reviewed: November 2019

Co-generation / Combined Heat and Power

Energy Efficiency Alberta’s Custom Energy Solutions program includes CHP as an upgrade that qualifies for incentives. Total incentive spending was $1 million in FY 2018-2019 with lifetime GHG emissions reductions of 376,872 tCO2e. Electricity generation in 2018/19 was 10.63 GWh of annual generation.

Last reviewed: August 2019

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