The End of Coal: Alberta's coal phase-out

Alberta implements one of the most ambitious coal phase-outs the world over. What are the politics and economics behind it? Learn more from our new report. 

By Lauren Vriens on May 10, 2018

In November 2015, the Canadian province of Alberta committed to a phase-out of coal power by 2030. The phase-out of coal power in Alberta will involve the retirement of over 40 per cent of Alberta’s 2016 installed capacity and the de facto phase-out of local thermal coal mines.

Alberta's coal phase-out is part of the province's wider Climate Leadership Plan. To implement the phase-out, Alberta's NDP government relies on three pillars. First, the government announced a CAD 1.1 billion payout to coal power companies under Off-Coal Agreements that aim to ensure political longevity and foster a positive investment climate. Second, CAD 45 million has been allocated in programming to transition coal workers and communities. The funding for Off-Coal Agreements and transition support to workers and communities comes from carbon tax revenues. Third, Alberta launched a new electricity market design to bring in replacement power. While public opinion is still divided, Alberta’s solution gained the support of organized labour, power companies, public health advocates, environmental non-governmental organizations and the federal government.

This paper explores the circumstances leading to the phase-out and the actions taken by affected players for those who may draw inspiration and lessons from Alberta: policy-makers, campaigners, environmental groups, the coal industry and others transitioning to a low-carbon economy in Canada and the world over.

Report details

Climate Change Mitigation
Just Transition
Focus area
IISD, 2018