Power Lines, Power Generation

Alberta's land base is significantly affected by the generation transmission and distribution of electricity, through land disturbance (e.g., coal mining), and land utilization (e.g. power line rights of way).

Coal-fired generating plants presently supply most of Alberta's electrical power generation. Natural gas supplies most of the remainder. The rest is derived from hydro, wind and other power sources.

Most electrical generating plants are located in central Alberta, close to the coal mines that supply them. Other generating plants are located along the Bow, Kananaskis, North Saskatchewan and Brazeau rivers, part of hydro electric systems that feed into the main power network. Large transmission lines lead from these generating plants to urban and rural centres throughout Alberta.

Renewable Energy Projects

Private Land

Industry and landowners play an important role in environmental stewardship across the Province through complying with regulatory requirements and by voluntarily undertaking best management practices. Their actions to minimize land disturbances, manage at-risk landscapes and invasive species are critical to achieve desired outcomes.

The Government of Alberta respects the laws of property ownership. Private landowners have full control in negotiations with renewable energy development on siting of improvements and construction impacts. The fact sheet below is to inform Albertans on the current regulatory framework on private lands for renewable energy developments, mainly wind and solar, with a focus on how this applies to conservation of native grasslands.

Future Trends


Coal remains Alberta's primary energy source for power generation, with deposits are estimated to last for 300 years at current consumption rates. Continuing development of renewable energy sources such as wind power is ongoing, especially in south-western Alberta. Hydropower will continue to be used for power generation.

More efficient ways of generating electricity from coal (directly and indirectly) are being researched. These include coal gasification, coalbed methane extraction and direct carbon fuel cells.

Co-generation is also resulting in increased efficiency. In this process industrial operations that require steam can simultaneously generate electricity (usually from natural gas). Some operations can meet all their electrical needs through co-generation.


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Updated: Jan 15, 2018