Calling All Prairie Experts

Alberta’s Climate Leadership Plan has identified the need to reduce Alberta’s dependence on coal for the generation of electricity.  This will require a significant increase in the development of renewable energy resources such as wind, solar, geothermal and other renewables to meet the needs of Albertans.  

While considered a source of clean energy, wind, solar and other forms of renewables can have both direct and indirect impact on the environment, particularly if development is to occur on the remaining native prairie and parkland ecosystems.  

Anticipating the need to provide consistent guidance for new forms of industrial activity, Alberta Environment and Parks  released Principles for Minimizing Surface Disturbance in Native Grassland, Principles, Guidelines and Tools for all Industrial Activity in Native Grasslands in the Prairie and Parkland Landscapes of Alberta, (http://aep.alberta.ca/lands-forests/land-management/native-grassland/documents/PrinciplesSurfaceDisturbance-Sep01-2016.pdf).  The need to develop industry specific best management practices to assist project planning, construction, operation and decommissioning activities was identified in the document.

As renewable energy projects increase on our landscape, the Prairie Conservation Forum (PCF) is working collaboratively to ensure disturbance on native prairie is minimized. Photo by Trevor Curtis.

As renewable energy projects increase on our landscape, the Prairie Conservation Forum (PCF) is working collaboratively to ensure disturbance on native prairie is minimized.
Photo by Trevor Curtis.

The Alberta Prairie Conservation Forum (PCF) is a non-profit organization that is committed to raising public awareness of the stewardship challenges faced in maintaining the remaining ecologically important prairie, and parkland  ecosystems and the wetlands they contain. PCF has facilitated the development of principles and guidelines for minimizing surface disturbance in native prairie within the petroleum industry, with government agencies, industry representatives and interested stakeholders since the 1990s.

PCF is now facilitating a workshop designed to assist in the development of industry specific best management practices for renewable energy projects.

We would like to invite you to participate with industry and interested stakeholders, including government staff to discuss the environmental issues and to draft practical, industry specific best management practices as well as identify overall challenges within your industry to achieve these practices. We are particularly looking for participation from the engineering, construction and operations sector of the renewable energy industry.  

Of particular interest is new technology and practices that will reduce surface disturbance and share minimal disturbance practices developed by the petroleum industry. We are focused on drafting a practical framework for each industry that can be expanded as technology and construction practices improve over time.

With each additional footprint on the land also comes the need for roads and power lines. Photo by Brian Taylor.

With each additional footprint on the land also comes the need for roads and power lines.
Photo by Brian Taylor.

Marilyn Neville of Gramineae Services Ltd. has been contracted by PCF and has prepared a first draft of the issues, gaps and a best management practices framework for each industry to help facilitate the discussion. 

The workshop will be held February 2, 2017 at the Airdrie Agriculture Centre from 10 am until 3 pm. A detailed agenda and location map will be forwarded to registered attendees.

To register, please contact: info@albertapcf.org
and include the names, agency, company or organization you represent,
email address and phone numbers of those wishing to attend.

Registration will close January 30, 2017.