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    Net-Zero Emissions Pathways

    Introduction

    Alberta’s power sector is undergoing significant change. This change is being driven by multiple factors within the power system and beyond. New technologies, carbon policy, broad electrification and a societal desire for cleaner forms of energy are creating substantial and rapid change across the electricity value chain, from production to consumption.

    Throughout 2022, as follow-on to the 2021 Long-term Outlook and in response to the growing societal drive towards net-zero emissions, the AESO will be undertaking critical work associated with the long-term sustainability of Alberta’s electricity system. The decarbonization of the electricity system, as well as the potential for increased electrification of other sectors of the economy, will have profound impacts on how power is produced and consumed.

    AESO Net-Zero Report

    On June 27, 2022, the AESO published a detailed analysis of the opportunities and challenges involved in eliminating greenhouse gas emissions from Alberta’s power system. The AESO Net-Zero Emissions Pathways report is the first in-depth analysis of the potential implications of a net-zero future to focus specifically on electricity in Alberta.

    The report reviews potential supply and demand combinations that may enable Alberta to reach a net-zero electricity system by 2035 while also considering potential implications to reliability, the market, and supply and transmission costs. In a net-zero system, carbon emissions are significantly reduced with any remaining emissions offset by reductions of carbon in the atmosphere coming from elsewhere.

    Download the Net-Zero Report and access the data through an interactive dashboard on the Power BI Public website.

    View the dashboard larger

    AESO Engage Platform

    On September 22, 2022, the AESO launched AESO Engage, our new external engagement platform, for non-regulatory stakeholder engagements.

    Please visit the Net-Zero Emissions Pathways page on AESO Engage, for information on this consultation and opportunities to participate.

    Next steps

    The AESO is committed to providing timely analysis and insights regarding the net-zero transformation. The AESO expects to follow this analysis with the following activities during the 2022 to 2024 period and will inform stakeholders as they progress:

    1. Continue to monitor and participate in the development conversation around policy initiatives such as the Clean Electricity Standard (CES) and Technology Innovation and Emissions Reduction (TIER)
    2. Develop a reliability requirements roadmap for future reliability services needed to support the future resource transformation based on operational impact assessments that utilize high renewables scenarios to identify potential operational and reliability challenges and potential mitigation measures
    3. Through the Market Evolution Roadmap, identify other market initiatives to support long-term sustainability and competitiveness of the energy-only market structure based on output from carbon policy analysis and assessments.
    4. Engage with Distribution Facility Operators (DFOs) to better understand the impacts and potential costs of carbon policy analysis and assessments to the distribution system
    5. Incorporate carbon policy analysis and assessments into the 2023 Long-term Outlook (LTO), which will inform subsequent iteration of the Long-term Planning (LTP) report and continue to provide further details of future transmission development activities to support a transformed resource mix

    For additional information on the AESO’s 2021 LTO, Industry Roundtables or Technology Forward work, please click on their page link below:

    Materials

    If you have any other questions, please contact forecast@aeso.ca and subscribe to our stakeholder newsletter for updates.