Alberta Premier Danielle Smith stood firm in her opposition to the federal government’s proposed clean electricity regulations, articulating a resolute argument for a more realistic target of 2050 instead of the proposed 2035 net-zero electricity grid. The premier, joined by provincial ministers Rebecca Schulz (environment) and Nathan Neudorf (affordability and utilities), addressed reporters in Edmonton, underscoring the financial considerations and the burden on Albertans as key aspects of their defiance.

The premier emphasized the province’s commitment to balancing environmental responsibility with economic feasibility, citing concerns about the potential financial burden on Albertans. While answering questions from reporters, Smith addressed the need to alleviate the carbon tax, emphasizing its impact on the province’s residents. She underscored the importance of finding a middle ground that supports environmental objectives without unduly burdening the people of Alberta.

This marks the first instance of invoking the Alberta Sovereignty within a United Canada Act, highlighting the gravity of the situation and the province’s determination to protect its interests. Premier Smith reiterated the collaborative initiatives Alberta is willing to undertake, such as working on hydrogen, small modular nuclear projects, and carbon capture utilization and storage tax credits. However, she drew a clear line in the sand, stating that the proposed 2035 target is a non-starter for Alberta.

As questions poured in from various reporters, Premier Smith delved into the intricacies of the province’s energy landscape. She outlined the current processes involving the Alberta Electric System Operator, the Alberta Utilities Commission, and the Market Surveillance Administrator, stressing the importance of these entities reporting to the province. Smith detailed the province’s energy needs, projecting a doubling of the required base load power by 2050 and asserting Alberta’s commitment to building the necessary infrastructure to meet this demand.

Reporters sought clarity on the perceived defiance of the federal government, questioning whether the province was actively challenging Ottawa’s regulations. Premier Smith responded unequivocally, stating that the sovereignty act is a response to the federal government’s imposition of a 2035 target. She expressed concerns about the feasibility of meeting this target, particularly given the lack of regulatory frameworks for natural gas, nuclear, and hydro projects.

Smith defended Alberta’s stance, emphasizing the need to prevent instability in the power grid and ensure continued growth without facing the specter of brownouts and blackouts. She categorically rejected the federal government’s vision, stating, “We’re going to build enough base load power so that we can continue to keep up with growth, which will be doubling the amount of power that we need. And we’ll build whatever we need to.”

The premier also addressed the potential impact on private companies, assuring that the order would not apply to them. However, she expressed doubts about these companies meeting the 2035 target, given the challenges posed by the proposed clean electricity regulations.

In closing, Premier Danielle Smith urged a cooperative approach, citing the Supreme Court’s ruling that federal powers should not interfere with provincial jurisdiction. She emphasized the need for dialogue with the industry to de-risk projects and find solutions that align with both provincial and federal objectives.

Premier Danielle Smith’s steadfast defense of a 2050 target for achieving a net-zero electricity grid, coupled with a call for financial relief through reduced carbon taxes, presents a comprehensive approach to governance. In the face of the federal government’s clean electricity regulations, particularly impacting Conservative-led provinces like Alberta, the province emerges as a symbol of a well-balanced approach. Challenging the established norms, Premier Smith champions a vision where environmental responsibility aligns seamlessly with the economic prosperity of its residents.