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Municipalities want greater say on renewable energy projects

"I don’t think anyone is saying they don’t want renewables; that is never the sentiment that I get from any municipalities," says Mountain View County Reeve Angela Aalbers

MOUNTAIN VIEW COUNTY - County council has instructed administration to examine the possibility of Mountain View County (MVC) joining Rocky View County in advocating for rural municipalities to be given a greater say on how and where renewable energy projects are undertaken and reclaimed.

In a letter received and discussed by MVC council at its Jan. 11 meeting, Rocky View County Mayor Crystal Kissel said her county is interested in joining with other rural municipalities in undertaking an advocacy campaign to “improve provincial governance of renewable energy projects and invite you to join the campaign.”

Rocky View County is proposing that a third-party consultant be hired by partner municipalities to conduct the campaign.

“We wish to build a coalition of willing municipalities to hire a third-party consultant to advocate to the government of Alberta to develop an overarching policy framework for land use decisions on renewable energy projects that is more inclusive of municipal policies and interests,” said Kissel. 

“We also want to request that municipalities be sheltered from potential financial liabilities associated with future reclamation of renewable energy sites.”

Rocky View County is a rural municipality located immediately south of Mountain View County. It has allocated up to $10,000 towards the hiring of the consultant, and hopes that MVC will consider a similar allocation, she said.

“The intent of the campaign is not to oppose renewable energy projects (however) we believe that municipalities should have more influence over the process for determining where these projects are located,” she said. “We are the level of government that is closest to residents and have the best understanding of local concerns. 

“This is acknowledged for most land use decisions and should be extended to decisions over renewable energy projects.”

During discussion of the matter at the Jan. 11 council meeting, MVC reeve Angela Aalbers said, “I think this is just fantastic from an advocacy, education and from an issues point of view. I don’t think anyone is saying they don’t want renewables; that is never the sentiment that I get from any municipalities. 

“Everyone is just saying we need to understand it better and make sure that it is appropriate and sustainable and reclaimable.”

MVC council passed a motion directing administration to “pursue the idea that Rocky View County has provided regarding renewable energy and hiring a third party consultant and that we work with administration to ask appropriate questions to make a good decision.”

Administration was expected to bring the request for decision on the matter to the Jan. 25 meeting, with Rocky View County asking for a reply by Feb. 3.