By investing in energy storage, utility scale solar projects and other renewable energy opportunities, ERA is helping Alberta to accelerate renewable energy technology and to encourage adoption across our complex electric system.

Increasing Adoption of Rooftop Solar

The Leduc Recreation Centre is home to Canada’s largest rooftop solar system. The 1.14 MW system was installed with support from the Enmax solar leasing project that is funded in part by ERA.
The Leduc Recreation Centre is home to Canada’s largest rooftop solar system. The 1.14 MW system was installed with support from the Enmax solar leasing project that is funded in part by ERA.

ERA has advanced the adoption of solar energy through a project led by ENMAX Energy Corporation that identifies and addresses barriers associated with residential and commercial solar energy systems. The initiative pilots a new business model that reduces the up-front cost and risk for consumers who are interested in putting solar panels on their roof. It has increased adoption of rooftop solar panels, developed a skilled workforce of installers and addressed sometimes complex permitting requirements.

The installation of Canada’s largest commercial rooftop solar system at the Leduc Recreation Centre was part of the ENMAX project. This one system will reduce GHG emissions by an estimated 1,000 tonnes per year. In addition to generating about 15% of the Centre’s annual energy consumption, the system also has economic benefits. Based on current demand, Leduc Mayor Greg Krischke estimates that the new solar installations in Leduc will reduce electrical costs by up to $90,000 per year.

Adopting Bio-Methane as an Efficient Power Source

Slave Lake Pulp low-rate anaerobic treatment system helps supply between 3.5 and 4.5 MW in electricity to the mill.
Slave Lake Pulp low-rate anaerobic treatment system helps supply between 3.5 and 4.5 MW in electricity to the mill.

Renewable energy can play a major role in Alberta’s forestry industry.

Slave Lake Pulp, a subsidiary of West Fraser Mills is a 240,000-tonne-per-year mill that primarily processes aspen to produce market pulp that is used globally. Pulp mills generate large quantities of waste-activated sludge that is usually incinerated, landfilled or land-applied.

In 2012, the company decided to explore bio-methane for power generation. ERA committed $5 million to the project, in collaboration with Canada EcoTrust for Clean Air and Climate Change, who brought $10 million to the table through the Alberta government. The project involved integrating an energy-efficient anaerobic digestion system into the mill’s existing wastewater treatment system. The low-rate anaerobic treatment system is believed to be the first in Canada for the pulp and paper sector.

The system improved the performance and efficiency of the mill, with increased process stability, reduced electrical costs, lower chemical use and reduced waste sludge.

The project demonstrates that we can reduce GHG emissions in Alberta’s pulp and paper industry and address a significant issue associated with waste management at the same time.