With Ottawa moving forward with plans to phase out coal by 2030, Enmax said it's prepared but is waiting for more details around the implementation plans here in Alberta.

Speaking in front of the Red Deer Chamber of Commerce at a luncheon this afternoon, Gianna Manes, President and CEO of Enmax, talked about the changes to Alberta’s energy sector and how this will impact both its business and customers.

Manes said right now there are numerous technological and environmental changes happening in the industry.

“The largest change we’re incurring right now has to do with the increased emphasis on environmental regulation.”

“Here in Alberta we are on a path to retire our coal plants for example and we must replace that generation with something that is cleaner but also reliable and affordable.”

Also impacting the industry are various policies being implemented by the Alberta government, explained Manes.

“Our market structure is going to change, they’re introducing energy efficiency programs and they’re introducing distributed generation.”

“Every element of our energy sector in terms of its market and how we interface with customers and the technology we use is going to be affected by policy.”

As a result, Manes said it’s important to focus on a smooth transition and making sure all the pieces fit together, to give Albertans affordable electricity that they can rely on.

With these new changes taking place and a new emphasis on gas and wind, Manes explained that Enmax has already taken steps to transition to natural gas as a primary fuel, long before the policies were put into place.

“In 2015 we built an 860 megawatt gas plant just outside of Calgary,” Manes said.

“Today we have that plant and a number of other gas plants and some wind.”

In terms of energy prices, right now Albertans are at a historical low but Manes said she does foresee this changing.

“It’s really too early to tell, how much and how soon, all depends on the implementation plan and that is currently under development and will be a part of government and their plans over the next several years.”

What that implementation looks like however, Manes said it’s important to get it right, because the economy for decades to come depends on it.