Alberta Utilities Commission launches Inquiry into electricity generation – Important Opportunity for Indigenous governments and Indigenous-owned businesses

The Alberta Utilities Commission (AUC) announced it will hold an Inquiry “into the ongoing economic, orderly and efficient development of electricity generation in Alberta”. The Inquiry flows from the Alberta government’s recent order in council and regulation that halted regulatory authorizations for new renewable electricity generation projects. This Inquiry presents an opportunity for Indigenous governments and Indigenous-owned businesses to influence the process and considerations that govern permission to develop and operate electricity generation projects.

Module A, the first phase of the Inquiry, will look at impacts on land arising from electricity generation projects, including siting and reclamation issues. Amongst other issues, the Inquiry will explore how the AUC should consider impacts of developing electricity generation projects on provincial Crown lands. Indigenous harvesting rights are largely exercised on unoccupied Crown lands. Presently, the development of renewable projects on provincial Crown lands is not permitted.

There will be opportunities to provide submissions this fall with an oral hearing to be held in mid-December, 2023. While the AUC has said more details will come, it appears that Module A of Inquiry will include all types electricity generation projects and not be limited to renewable projects.

Module B, the second phase of the Inquiry, will focus on the growth of renewables and its impacts to generation supply and electricity system reliability. The AUC said it expects to announce further details on Module B in the near future.

If you or your organization have questions about participating in this Inquiry, please reach out to one of the lawyers in our Indigenous practice group who have experience in AUC processes. Meaghan Conroy, Jessica Buhler and Rangi Jeerakathil are part of our Indigenous practice group have experience in AUC processes, including renewable and other electricity facility and rate hearings.