Alberta plans to phase out coal fired electricity by 2030.
President of the Alberta Federation of Labour Gil McGowan also chairs the coalition of coal workers. His coal transition coalition has released a report that delves into how the government can best phase out coal with a minimal impact to the approximately 3000 workers who make their living keeping your lights on.
McGowan told the Alberta Morning News that the government has put $1.3 billion on the table to help out the power companies.
“They put money on the table to take care of the issues of consumers so their power rates don’t go up. The group that has not been dealt with yet are the workers and the communities, and with our plan, we think we can address their needs with a much lower price tag.”
McGowan said one of the key points is the call for the creation of an economic adjustment agency.
“We’re suggesting we endow that agency with a significant amount of money that will be used to help the affected workers. So, it would fund bridging programs for people who are closer to retirement and are not likely to find another career, and it would help fund retraining programs.”
McGowan said the demise of the coal fired power industry doesn’t lay exclusively at the feet of the NDP.
“12 of those 18 units in the 6 plants that we have here in Alberta were already slated for closure before the New Democrats were elected, and they were slated for closure partly because some of them were getting old, but most of them were actually slated for closure as a result of regulations introduced by previous governments.”
McGowan said there are eight Alberta communities that will be significantly impacted by the coal phase out.
You can download the report here.