With both a newly elected Alberta and federal government whose platforms featured commitments for ambitious plans for renewable energy production, Medicine Hat may be particularly well positioned to take advantage of green initiatives.
Marcus Campbell, Terralta operations manager, is at least is hopeful that’s the case.
“We’re cautiously optimistic,” said Campbell.
“There are rumblings the NDP government is going to do something and we hope they do the right thing in regards to an incentive program.”
The Dunmore-based renewable energy product provider and installer recently completed two solar projects at the LMT Trucking and Shortgrass Public Library offices.
Terralta has also installed a number of residential solar panel projects.
For Campbell, it’s those type of smaller micro-generation projects he hopes upcoming government policies will address.
“If they are going to do anything, we’re hoping they will look after small businesses rather than get into that utility-scale type of generation,” said Campbell.
But if there is to be incentives, Campbell believes the price per watt model — rather than a straight up cash subsidy — is the best way forward.
That price per watt amount is calculated by dividing the capital cost of a project by the maximum power it can produce.
By utilizing this method in calculating incentives, “the guy who installs a two-kilowatt system gets the same value as the guy who installs the 10-kilowatt system,” said Campbell.
But one of the best models of providing support for both micro-generation and energy efficiency projects that can be enacted province-wide is the HatSmart program, said Campbell, adding the uptake for the program has been huge.
Wayne Perehudoff, HatSmart’s energy sustainability engineer, said the city program has been funded until the end of 2016 with a steady amount of incentive applications coming from Hatters.
While HatSmart continues to provide up to $4,700 for residential solar projects, Perehudoff also highlighted the program’s incentives for energy efficient doors.
“If (government) offers something alongside of that — we’ve got a steady response right now but if they added on to it, it would probably be even better,” said Perehudoff.
“That’s what happened with the first version of HatSmart, because there was federal and provincial money.”
The Liberal government’s election platform may see a return of federal funds for such programs if followed through with a promise to commit more than $5 billion in environmentally friendly energy project over the next four years.
The Alberta NDP have said specifically it would provide $5 million for interest green loans as well as indicating a shift in thinking towards other such programs.