Alberta-based solar power on the rise

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Minister Phillips (centre right) announces that Canadian Solar will partner with Conklin Métis Local 193 on three solar power contracts to supply 55 per cent of the Alberta government’s electricity needs.

This solar electricity contract will be the most cost-effective government procurement of solar power in Canadian history. At an average price of 4.8 cents per kilowatt hour (kW-h), Alberta’s proven approach to attracting new investment in renewable energy is once again setting national records, repeating the success of the Renewable Electricity Program.

The new contract will supply approximately 55 per cent of the government’s annual electricity needs, saving $3.9 million per year compared to the expiring contracts.

“Alberta is one of the best places in the world to invest in renewable energy. I am so proud to take another huge step in advancing solar energy in Alberta while creating good local jobs and saving millions of public dollars. This is an important step in building a more resilient and diversified economy and attracting further investment to Alberta’s booming renewables market.”

Shannon Phillips, Minister of Environment and Parks

To deliver on the procurement, three new solar facilities will be built near Hays, Tilley and Jenner, creating approximately 270 local jobs in southern Alberta during construction. Canadian Solar is building these new facilities in partnership with Conklin Métis Local 193 as 50 per cent equity owners.

“The partnership between Canadian Solar and Conklin Métis Local 193 is a spectacular example of what can happen when industry, government and Indigenous Peoples come together. In addition to reducing government costs, this project empowers Indigenous Peoples to have a meaningful role in taking advantage of the abundant solar resource around us.”

Richard Feehan, Minister of Indigenous Relations

Since 2015, solar generation in Alberta has increased over 700 per cent, mostly with small-scale projects. These three projects represent another doubling of Alberta’s current capacity, while smaller projects will continue to grow with supportive programs.

“We see great potential in the Alberta solar market, and we’re pleased to supply subsidy-free solar power to meet Alberta’s clean energy needs. We hope these 94 megawatt peak solar project contracts serve as a catalyst for solar industry growth in Canada, specifically in Alberta. We are delighted to partner with Conklin Métis Local 193, the Indigenous community that owns a 50 per cent equity stake in the Hays, Jenner and Tilley solar projects.”

Shawn Qu, chairman and CEO, Canadian Solar Inc.

“We are extremely excited about our partnership with Canadian Solar, world leaders in solar power. As a Métis community, we highly value the opportunity to invest in renewable energy projects within the country. This partnership will help diversify our investment portfolio and the financial benefits will support our community in key social and economic initiatives. We applaud the Government of Alberta and Canadian Solar for their progressive mentality and look forward to a long-lasting, prosperous relationship.”

Shirley Tremblay, president, Conklin Métis Local 193

Quick facts

  • Government’s contract with Canadian Solar will run from 2021 to 2041, with the new solar facilities expected to come online early in 2021.
  • Canadian Solar’s three new facilities will produce up to 146,431 megawatt hours (MW-h) of electricity per year.
    • Estimated Annual Energy Production:
      • Hays Solar Project – 51,706 MW-h
      • Jenner Solar Project – 48,654 MW-h
      • Tilley Solar Project – 46,071 MW-h
    • The Government of Alberta will pay an average of $48.05 per MW-h (4.8 cents per kW-h) for electricity generated by these facilities.
  • The electricity generated by these solar facilities will feed directly into Alberta’s electricity grid and would power approximately 20,000 homes annually.

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National Flag of Canada Day: Premier Notley

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“I’m proud to join Canadians from across the nation to celebrate our national flag.

“Fifty-four years ago, the iconic red maple leaf was raised throughout the country and around the world. Since then, generations of women and men have worn it as international peacekeepers, as travellers and as representatives of our country. The maple leaf has been carried to the top of Mount Everest and into outer space.

“As Albertans, we are proud that the designer of the flag, Colonel George F. G. Stanley, was Calgary-born, Edmonton-educated and an incredible scholar who changed the nation with a sketch for a bold new national symbol. A historian, author, soldier, teacher and public servant, Colonel Stanley served our country proudly.

“National Flag Day of Canada is a perfect opportunity to reflect on the values that inspired that flag and which we share as Canadians – equality, diversity and inclusion. The flag has come to represent a commitment to peace, freedom and respect for every Canadian, no matter their background.

“This year, Albertans will fly the flag high to kick off the 2019 Canada Winter Games in Red Deer, a competition featuring incredible athletes from coast to coast, all of whom are proud to come together under one symbol.

“I invite everyone to cheer on our athletes and contemplate what the flag means to each of us.”

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Honouring community safety leaders and innovators

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The awards recognize individuals, organizations, businesses and groups who have made exceptional contributions to community safety, crime prevention and the criminal justice system.

“Preventing crime and keeping our neighbourhoods safe is a community effort. Every year, these awards recognize Albertans who have made notable contributions to safety within their communities. I encourage everyone to recognize these inspiring activities with a nomination.”

Kathleen Ganley, Minister of Justice and Solicitor General

Nominations for the Alberta Community Justice Awards are submitted by members of the public. The awards are presented in five categories: leadership; innovation; service enhancement; community mobilization; and partnerships and collaboration.

Eligible nominees include Albertans who work in crime prevention organizations, youth justice committees, victim services and restorative justice programs.

To nominate a community leader or organization, submit a nomination by March 22, 2019.

The Alberta Community Justice Awards ceremony will take place in Edmonton on June 27, 2019.

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Alberta welcomes Canada’s young athletes

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Minister Miranda carries the 2019 Canada Winter Games torch through Calgary as it makes its way to Red Deer.

About 340 athletes, coaches, managers and mission staff will represent the province at the Games. In total, about 3,600 athletes and support staff from across Canada will participate in 19 events, including curling, alpine skiing, table tennis and wheelchair basketball.

“We are thrilled that for the first time in 24 years, we will once again host the Canada Winter Games. Our athletes, coaches, staff and volunteers have been training hard for this moment, and we are so proud of their efforts. I hope all our visitors enjoy the competition and hospitality that Alberta is know for.”

Rachel Notley, Premier

“Sport is a way of life in Alberta. It’s part of our cultural fabric. We look forward to welcoming visitors from across Canada, and I know we will give them an unforgettable experience. To the athletes representing our province, we are already so proud of you, and cannot wait to cheer you and your teammates on. Go, Team Alberta!”

Ricardo Miranda, Minister of Culture and Tourism, responsible for sport

More than 20,000 visitors are expected to travel to Red Deer for the Games, which is anticipated to bring more than $130 million in economic activity to the region. The Alberta government, through the Alberta Sport Connection, contributed $11 million to the Games.

The province also contributed $80 million to improve the interchange at Gaetz Avenue and the QEII, including new on and off ramps and construction of five new bridges. Red Deer College received $72 million, including $52 million through the Alberta Capital Finance Authority, to construct the Gary W. Harris Centre, which will be used extensively for the Games.

“We are grateful for the province of Alberta’s work on the Highway 2 / Gaetz Avenue Interchange Improvement Project in advance of Red Deer welcoming the nation for the 2019 Canada Winter Games. These upgrades enhance the safety for local traffic and provide a welcoming entrance to our city.”

Lyn Radford, board chair, 2019 Canada Winter Games

The Canada Games is the nation’s largest multi-sport and culture event for amateur athletes. It is held every two years, alternating between winter and summer events. Alberta hosted the Games in Grande Prairie in 1995, and in Lethbridge in 1975.

The Canada Winter Games run from Feb. 15 to March 3.

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Investing in education, diversification in Edmonton

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Premier Rachel Notley tours the new CuriousCITY Gallery with TELUS World of Science scientist Samantha Marion and president and CEO Alan Nursall (background right).

The province is investing $12 million in the Aurora Project, which will increase capacity at the TELUS World of Science through new exhibition spaces and redevelop programs that have a northern focus.

“For more than three decades, the TELUS World of Science has guided children, families and adults alike on a journey of discovery. Our investment in the Aurora Project will help to challenge and inspire visitors and stimulate new ideas that have the power to transform our world.”   

Rachel Notley, Premier

The funding supports the new CuriousCity exhibit, which will allow visitors to explore the science and history of Edmonton, as well as the Arctic Gallery which is focused on Canada’s breathtaking northern environment and emergent issues like climate change.

“The Aurora Project expansion will help the TELUS World of Science meet the growing demand for educational and public programs, creating unique and exciting visitor experiences and generating new economic opportunities for Edmonton and Alberta.”

Ricardo Miranda, Minister of Culture and Tourism

Construction of the expansion will create nearly 350 jobs and generate more than $80 million in economic activity. Once the project is complete, it’s expected to add $3.5 million in economic benefits to the capital region every year with more than 50 people being hired to support the increase in visitors.

“Every day at the science centre, we are privileged to ignite curiosity, inspire discovery, celebrate science and change lives. This announcement of support from the province of Alberta will allow us to continue to make that difference well into the future.”

Alan Nursall, president and CEO, TELUS World of Science – Edmonton

Construction of the expansion began in October 2018. The overall cost of the expansion is $40 million with additional funds being provided by the City of Edmonton, the Government of Canada and  donations to the TELUS World of Science. 

Quick facts

  • The Aurora Project will add nearly 2,000 square metres of space to the facility.
  • TELUS World of Science is the largest ticketed cultural attraction in northern Alberta and is second in the province behind the Calgary Zoo. A wide range of interactive educational and public programs is available to students and lifelong learners of all ages.
  • The facility attracts an average of more than 400,000 visitors each year, including students, families and tourists, and is supported by more than 17,500 members of the science centre.

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Memorial marches: Statement from Premier Notley

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“Today, we join survivors and families in remembering Indigenous women and girls who have lost their lives to gender-based violence.

“We recognize the women and girls who have gone missing – their individual absences felt daily in homes and communities.

“These women and girls were cherished daughters, sisters, mothers and friends. Their loss is an ongoing national tragedy. It has not only disrupted and altered the lives of their loved ones, but damaged the social fabric of our province and nation.

“During these vigils, we walk with you to recognize the ever-present memory of your loved ones. We vow to do right by them. We renew the call for justice and action. And we commit to building a province in which Indigenous women and girls feel safe and valued.

“In honour of these women and girls, we must work together to make our province safer.”

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Expanding technology relationship with Mexico

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Minister Bilous and Roberto Russildi, Nuevo Leon’s Secretary of Economy and Labour, sign an agreement to explore tech opportunities.

As part of Premier Rachel Notley’s focus on jobs and economic diversification, the Alberta government has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with Nuevo Leon to explore opportunities that promote innovation.

The agreement is focused on the areas of information and communication technologies, life sciences, environmental technologies and clean energy. Alberta is the first Canadian province with this type of MOU with the Mexican state.

“We’re fighting for what matters, like more great opportunities for Alberta’s innovators. This agreement means they’ll gain valuable international experience that helps attract investment and growth, benefiting all Albertans. Mexico is becoming an even more important trading partner as we work towards our shared goals of innovation and expanded technology sectors.”

Deron Bilous, Minister of Economic Development and Trade

“We’re pleased to collaborate with the Government of Alberta and are eager to sign this agreement that will surely bring great benefits for both regions. As a leader in digital transformation and 4.0 technologies in Mexico, Nuevo Leon has a lot to offer to Alberta.”

Roberto Russildi, Secretary of Economy and Labour, Nuevo Leon


  • Mexico is Alberta’s third largest bilateral trading partner.
  • Bilateral trade between Mexico and Alberta totalled $2.8 billion in 2017.
  • Of all the Mexican states, Nuevo Leon is considered one of the biggest contributors to national economic growth, and is Mexico’s leading state for advanced manufacturing with a strong record of technology commercialization.
  • The Alberta-Nuevo Leon MOU will be in place until Sept. 30, 2021.
  • Historically, Alberta has established successful technology partnership opportunities with jurisdictions in Mexico, China and Europe.

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Lethbridge a new hub for science and research

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University of Lethbridge students give Minister Phillips and MLA Fitzpatrick a demonstration in the new Destination Project SynBridge Lab.

Scheduled to open for classes in September 2019, the $247-million, 38,400-square-metre building is the largest expansion at the University of Lethbridge in more than 40 years. About 750 new jobs were created to complete construction over the past four year, and the project will provide learning spaces for an additional 450 students.

“Our government was proud to fully fund this incredible facility so that residents of southern Alberta can access world-class science programs close to home. I’m inspired to think that because of this investment, students will work with some of our country’s most talented minds to make discoveries, develop new technologies and bring their ideas to life.” 

Marlin Schmidt, Minister of Advanced Education

“The Destination Project is a landmark achievement for our community and a gift to the next generation of Alberta leaders. This is the largest investment in the University of Lethbridge since it was built and completion of this world-class facility will attract new talent, expand student enrolment, support our research community and continue to grow the economy.”

Shannon Phillips, Minister of Environment and Parks and MLA, Lethbridge-West

“The faculty at the University of Lethbridge are world leaders in their respective fields and have been a critical element in the high-quality learning environment that our undergraduate and graduate students enjoy. This expertise will be completely unbridled in the Destination Project, which is arguably one of the most innovative teaching and research buildings in the world.”

Michael Mahon, president, University of Lethbridge 

“The Destination Project is community infrastructure. Not only will the facilities provide unparalleled research and teaching space for our faculty and students, but it will also be a hub where community gathers to learn, innovate and grow.”

Kurt Schlachter, board chair, University of Lethbridge

“The Destination Project will allow current and future students to study in a world-class environment that puts student accessibility and experiential learning at the forefront of one’s education.” 

Laura Bryan, president, University of Lethbridge Students’ Union

The University of Lethbridge aspires to meet gold LEED standards with this building by prioritizing energy efficiency. It will feature several innovative efficiency upgrades, such as a winter garden that facilitates fresh air exchange and passive heating and cooling.

The project will feature an incubation space for students and faculty to collaborate with industry, entrepreneurs and investors. This innovative approach will help researchers and students take their ideas to market and further diversify our economy.

This project is one of seven capital and planning projects for Alberta’s post-secondary system outlined in Budget 2018. Government will invest $479.3 million in these projects by 2020-21, plus an additional $356 million for capital maintenance and renewal.

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Lethbridge drug house boarded up

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The Safer Communities and Neighbourhoods (SCAN) unit of the Alberta Sheriffs obtained a court order closing this house at 235 15 St. N. in Lethbridge for 90 days. Crews have boarded up the house, changed the locks and erected a fence around the property to enforce the closure.

Investigators from the Safer Communities and Neighbourhoods (SCAN) unit of the Alberta Sheriffs worked with Lethbridge Police  to gather evidence necessary for a court order to close a property at 235 15 Street N for 90 days.

The court order took effect at noon Feb. 13, and work crews immediately began boarding up the house, changing the locks and putting a fence around the property. These measures are aimed at breaking a cycle of criminal activity at the property. Any occupants must leave the premises for the 90-day closure period.

“The collaboration between SCAN and concerned Albertans who report suspicious properties is a valuable tool in keeping our communities secure. I commend investigators for their diligent efforts to tackle crime and keep our communities safe.”

Kathleen Ganley, Minister of Justice and Solicitor General

The SCAN investigation began in July 2018, in response to complaints from the community. SCAN investigators confirmed drug activity and partnered with Lethbridge police to address the issues.

On Aug. 2, 2018, Lethbridge police executed a search warrant at the property and seized drugs and weapons. SCAN issued a warning letter to the owner, who does not live at the property.

Drug activity at the property continued, prompting investigators to gather more evidence to support a Community Safety Order application in court.

On Dec. 21, 2018, Lethbridge police executed a second search warrant at the property, resulting in criminal charges against several people. Police found drugs, stolen identification and stolen property.

Following negotiations with the property owner, SCAN obtained a Community Safety Order from the Court of Queen’s Bench on Feb. 5, 2019. The owner agreed to the 90-day closure, which ends on May 13, 2019.

The Community Safety Order remains in effect for one year, giving SCAN the authority to monitor the property and enforce conditions until Feb. 5, 2020.

The Safer Communities and Neighbourhoods Act gives sheriffs the option of targeting problem properties through civil enforcement.

Since its inception in 2008, Alberta’s SCAN unit has investigated nearly 5,000 problem properties across the province and has issued more than 70 Community Safety Orders. The majority of complaints are resolved informally, with no need for legal action, by working with property owners to address issues.

MEDIA AVAILABILITY: SCAN Insp. Mike Letourneau and Const. Ryan Darroch of the Lethbridge Police Service will be available between 1:45 p.m. and 2:15 p.m. on Wednesday, Feb. 13 for on-camera interviews at 235 15 St. N, Lethbridge.

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Alberta invests in innovation to fuel the future

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Premier Notley announces investment in high tech with (L-R) Laura Kilcrease, John Shillington, Minister Bilous and Minister of Finance Joe Ceci.

The Alberta government is investing $100 million to attract more artificial intelligence-based high-tech companies to invest in Alberta. Coupled with last year’s investment of $50 million to create 3,000 new high-tech training seats at post-secondary institutions across the province, this represents a significant diversification initiative.

“Innovation is a critical tool for competitiveness in nearly every sector of the economy, including energy. By investing in technology and the talent that powers it, we are ensuring Alberta continues to be a world leader in clean, efficient energy production and that our economy is more resilient and diversified for the future.”  

Rachel Notley, Premier

The province’s investment in technology will build the industry and business capacity needed to help talented Albertans find jobs here at home. This investment in both Alberta Innovates and the Alberta Machine Intelligence Institute (Amii) will leverage partnerships with Alberta’s leading research universities and support long-term research and job creation.

The overall investment is estimated to result in:

  • more than 6,000 trained, skilled Albertans
  • the creation of over 140 new companies
  • over 30 new multi-national offices, labs in Alberta
  • over $207 million in leveraged investments by industry
  • increased competitiveness and productivity of at least 150 Alberta businesses through the use of artificial intelligence (AI)

“By investing today, we are setting Alberta up for long-term economic diversification and success, while creating thousands of jobs and generating millions in value in the near term.”

Deron Bilous, Minister of Economic Development and Trade

An initial investment of $27 million will allow Alberta non-profit Amii to develop a new program that supports companies looking to build their in-house AI capacity, incorporate innovative solutions and drive benefits. It also means the Edmonton-based organization can expand its presence and open a new Calgary office. This new investment, along with the federal government’s commitment of $25 million, will accelerate the positive impact of artificial intelligence and machine learning on the Alberta economy.

Amii is already home to some of the world’s top talent in AI. Estimates from across the high-tech community suggest this funding will result in about 5,600 new high-paid jobs and roughly $1.5 billion in overall value to Alberta businesses and Amii-affiliated startups.

“This landmark investment will catalyze economic growth stretching beyond Alberta’s machine intelligence sector. Businesses around the world are turning to machine learning and artificial intelligence as key drivers of innovation across every industry sector. With this renewed support from the Government of Alberta, Amii will advance transformational business programs offering scientific mentorship and educational opportunities. Together, we’re helping Alberta businesses seize the opportunities presented by machine intelligence.”

John Shillington, CEO, Alberta Machine Intelligence Institute

The funding will also support Alberta Innovates with work focused on company growth and acceleration, applied research and development, industry solutions and establishing a stronger global market presence for Alberta.

“The support for these programs demonstrates the shift in how Alberta Innovates drives innovation and builds on past expertise to accelerate Alberta’s digital transformation towards a data-enabled economy.”

Laura Kilcrease, CEO, Alberta Innovates

Alberta is attracting top-level talent and investment from around the world, including Google DeepMind, the Royal Bank of Canada and Mitsubishi which have all opened research facilities here. Interest from other major high-tech industry leaders is anticipated which will mean additional millions in new private-sector investment in the province and hundreds of new jobs for Albertans.

Quick facts

  • Since 2002, the Government of Alberta has invested about $42 million in AI-related research at the University of Alberta and Amii.
  • Alberta’s researchers are already ranked third in the world in the area of AI and machine learning, thanks in part to Amii.
  • More than 200 companies from around the world have expressed interest in working with Amii.
  • In 2017, the federal government committed $25 million for AI and innovation funding through the Pan-Canadian Artificial Intelligence Strategy to Alberta, delivered by the Canadian Institute for Advanced Research.

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