As we have already noted: yesterday Saskatchewan released its targets for renewables in generation by 2030 as well as answers to five commonly asked questions. Alberta released their targets the day before. Given the usual rivalry between the two provinces the natural question arises: how do their respective ambitions compare?

 On your marks, get set...

To compare the two one obviously needs to see where they are starting from.   Current electricity generation, by fuel, is;

Source: Alberta Energy and SaskPower 2014 Annual Report

Clearly Saskatchewan is the leader with 23 percent of electricity from renewables versus Alberta's 10 percent. The picture becomes more confusing when one looks at per capita carbon emissions from power generation - but that's one for another day.

But what of 2030?

Alberta stated on Sunday that all coal capacity will be shut down by 2030 and that electricity from coal will be replaced two-thirds with renewables and one-third with natural gas up to a maximum renewables penetration of 30 percent by 2030. "Most" of this renewables will be provided by wind power - but there are no specific amounts mentioned. Likewise it is not clear what will replace the coal once renewables reaches its 30 percent 'cap' - we have assumed that it is gas. Nonetheless the reality is that the Alberta electricity sector is entirely market driven (i.e. there is no 'central planning' as is the case in Saskatchewan). Consequently no-one really knows how the Alberta market will develop by 2030.

As for Saskatchewan - we covered the SaskPower-forecasted 2030 mix in a post yesterday and have reproduced the chart from that analysis in the following graphic along with Alberta for comparison. Unfortunately there is not much in the way of detail for Alberta but we have included what little there is.

SourceAlberta Energy and SaskPower 2014 Annual Report + SaskWind calculations and estimates. Total AB electricity generation in 2030 is taken from the AESO's 2014 Long Term (20  year) Electricity Outlook which forecasts demand growth of 2.5% per annum over the period. 

And the winner is...

Conceptually at least Saskatchewan comes up the winner with 44 percent of generation from renewables in 2030 versus 30 percent for Alberta. However the reality is that 2030 is still 15 years out so who knows what may happen between then and now.

But, for the moment at least, kudos to SaskPower and the SaskParty for breaking the mold and being more ambitious, on the energy file, than Alberta.