Posted on Jul 13, 2021


CALGARY - Alberta’s NDP is proposing support for farmers and ranchers to build or retrofit net-zero barns, which consume less power and are cheaper to operate. This call is a part of the NDP’s commitment to affordable electricity and to a net-zero electricity grid by 2035 and a net-zero provincial economy by 2050.


“Farmers and ranchers need a significant amount of energy to operate, and there is technology available today that can bring those costs down,” said NDP Leader Rachel Notley. “The provincial government can help reduce the upfront costs of making barns and other buildings more energy efficient and net-zero in carbon emissions. 


“We’ve had some deep cold and some intense heat in Alberta this year, and energy costs have climbed as a result,” said NDP Agriculture critic Heather Sweet. “Farmers and ranchers can protect themselves from rising energy prices by generating more power on site, and by making barns and other buildings more energy efficient.”


The Opposition is proposing a $15 million fund for capital grants to offset initial costs of a retrofit or a new building, as well as loan guarantees for farmers and ranchers. This will result in immediate utility bill reductions, a contribution to net-zero goals, and a strong medium-term return on investment. Some of the proven approaches to achieve this are: 

  • Heat-recovery technology and in-floor heating
  • Solar Photovoltaic Systems
  • LED lighting, energy efficient ventilation fans, and building insulation


“This is a sound investment for farmers and ranchers, and for the province. It reduces operating costs, and helps Alberta take its place as the renewable energy powerhouse of North America,” Notley said.


Dandelion Renewables is a renewable energy company headquartered in Alberta which has designed and built large solar installations in the province, and worked with many different types of agriculture producers such as dairy, pork, and bees to increase energy efficiency in their projects. 

“Our approach was always looking at a broader picture to help make the agriculture industry more resilient and sustainable,” said president Mikhail Ivanchikov. “That approach includes economic modeling of a facility or a barn and recommending energy efficiency measures and renewable energy generation. 

“Designing or upgrading Alberta agricultural facilities towards net zero not only helps the environment, but also helps to reduce dependency on the system and put control back into the farmer's hands. As Alberta electricity and transmission charges continue to rise, it allows farmers to generate their own renewable electricity, store energy and implement energy savings to minimize the operating costs and the exposure to volatile energy prices.” 

Alberta’s NDP is committed to creating at least 60,000 jobs by modernizing Alberta’s electricity grid to net-zero carbon emissions by 2035, and hitting the same target province-wide by 2050.


“Net zero by 2050 is the standard that the world is moving towards quickly,” said Sweet. “Alberta’s major energy companies have already made that commitment. There is an enormous competitive opportunity for Alberta’s agriculture sector to cut its operating costs as part of that movement.”