Overview

Ambition: This initiative seeks to establish an integrated, shared vision of Alberta’s future in the context of a transition to electric mobility and smart grid infrastructure.

Building a network of energy companies, communities, economic development organizations, and other related groups aligned with the vision of a coordinated EV charging network would create the opportunity to leverage current work, identify opportunities for collaboration to scale up projects, and establish common goals for expanding e-mobility and smart grid opportunities in Alberta. Failing to coordinate and identify collaborative opportunities will diminish the impact and benefits that could be realized through this initiative. As such, without an integrated e-mobility strategy Alberta is missing an opportunity to better connect and develop rural areas, integrate Indigenous communities in a meaningful way, and provide these communities with associated economic development benefits.

Alberta is at the very early stage of e-mobility network development and thus is ideally situated to establish a long-term vision that will maximize benefits for communities across the province. The current phase of this initiative aims to strengthen and accelerate the conversation around e-mobility connectivity across the Province, without which the conversations around broader grid optimization would not progress.

In the near term, this initiative will support regional EV charging network design and implementation in subregions of Alberta to glean further insight into the challenges and opportunities of e-mobility across the province. Northwest Alberta has been identified as a pilot region for this collaborative initiative.

Challenges

Right now Alberta’s e-mobility infrastructure is developing in an ad-hoc way with little coordination or collaboration, and is not guided by a common vision. Proceeding in this way misses the opportunity to use EVs to maximize grid stability and improve load management. For example, a robust and coordinated strategy for wide use of smart home charging can defer investments in transmission and infrastructure.

Initiative Status

Community Energy Association (Fellow: Megan Lohmann) has recently held a smaller scale version of a collaborative workshop in British Columbia’s East Kootenay region with utilities, municipalities, transportation providers, school districts, private industry, economic development associations, academia, housing developers and community members resulting in a number of new collaborations and pilot projects.

In the longer term, this initiative seeks to pursue the following outcomes:

  • Create awareness with major municipal, industry, government and regulatory energy players of the need for a vision-led, integrated and coordinated approach for Alberta’s e-mobility network.
  • Co-create an early iteration of a long-term (e.g. 2040) vision for an integrated e-mobility network that:
    a. enables participation of rural and urban communities.
    b. maximizes opportunities to use EVs for improving grid management.
  • Identify important policy innovations and collaborative actions to realize this vision.