Oil-rich Canada province challenges clean energy bill

OTTAWA (AFP): The conservative premier of energy-rich Alberta province challenged the Canada government Monday over its plans to make the national electricity grid carbon-neutral by 2035.

Alberta Premier Danielle Smith argues that this idea will jeopardize the power grid in her western province, which is highly dependent on natural gas, and would trigger sharp rises in utility rates for consumers.

To oppose the clean energy bill, Smith resorted to a sovereignty law passed a year ago that lets her province disregard federal laws it deems harmful.

Alberta is Canada’s largest producer of oil and natural gas.

“We’re creating an opportunity for the federal government to do the right thing,” Smith said.

“I’m hoping that they now understand that we’re serious, that we are going to preserve the integrity of our power grid in whatever way we need to, so that we can get back to the table and talk about the ways in which we can agree,” she added.

She said her government is considering creating a public electrical utility to dodge federal energy requirements.

“It’s simply too massive a risk for Albertans,” she said, referring to what the consequences of the federal clean energy plan would be for her province.

Canadian Environment Minister Steven Guilbeault responded by saying Smith’s announcement lacked any legal basis and is fueled by what he called an ideology that resists the fight against climate change.

The government’s plans to overhaul the electricity grid are expected to become law in January 2025.