Electricity (Emissions Management Framework)

The goal of the Electricity team was to develop an air emissions management approach including standards and performance expectations for the Alberta electricity sector.

The team’s objectives were to recommend strategies to improve the air emissions performance of Alberta’s electricity sector that reflect CASA’s goals for air quality, namely:

  1. protect the environment
  2. optimize economic performance and efficiency; and
  3. seek continuous improvement

Read more in the terms of reference.

The new framework outlined in An Emissions Management Framework for the Alberta Electricity Sector: Report to Stakeholders ensures that an appropriate balance between environmental quality and economic growth and competitiveness is maintained.

Substantial emissions reductions of mercury, sulphur dioxide, nitrogen oxides and primary particulate matter are anticipated by the year 2025.

For more information, email casa@casahome.org.


Additional Reading

Listed below is additional reading for those interested in the management of emissions from the electricity sector. ?The documents and web links below do not necessarily reflect the views of the CASA electricity project team, its subgroups, CASA board members or CASA stakeholders.

  • Air emissions-related science and environmental and health impacts
  • Summary toxicity assessment report for inorganic arsenic compounds, prepared under the Canadian Environmental Protection Act (CEPA), March 2003
  • New Source Emission Guidelines for Thermal Electricity Generation, announced January 3, 2003 under the Canadian Environmental Protection Act. View news release.
  • Beyond Coal: Power, Public Health and the Environment. November 2002. A report prepared by the Ontario Public Health Association, focusing on Ontario’s electrical sector and its impacts
  • Canada wide standards for particulate matter and ozone, Canadian Council of Ministers of the Environment
  • Forecast of Common Air Contaminants in Alberta (1995 to 2020) Final Report, April 2002. A report prepared for the CASA Particulate Matter and Ozone project team by ChemInfo Services Inc.
  • Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons (PAHs) science, Environment Canada
  • Technical summary of IPCC science assessment, 2001, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change
  • Linking Environmental Agents to Autoimmune Diseases, Environmental Health Perspectives Supplement, October 1999
  • Cancer in Alberta: A Regional Picture (July 2002). This annual publication from the Alberta Cancer Board provides current data on cancer and identifies provincial cancer trends. The report is 68 pages long and 3.85 MB. The 2001 edition is available on request by calling 403-670-4862.


  • EPCOR Genesee Power Plant Expansion
  • Environmental Impact Assessment Reports
  • Alberta Energy and Utilities Board Decision 2001-111, December 2001
  • TransAlta Keephills Power Plant Expansion (the Centennial Project)
  • Environmental Impact Assessment Summary
  • Alberta Energy and Utilities Board Decision 2002-014, February 2002
  • Emissions trading – Alberta project
  • Alberta Environment’s Air Emissions Trading Project is examining the potential for setting air emission objectives on a broad basis and establishing air emissions trading in Alberta. The overarching objective is to improve environmental outcomes in the most cost-effective way and ensure that clean areas are kept clean, despite the pressures of industrial development and urban expansion.


  • The American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy is a non-profit organization dedicated to advancing energy efficiency as a means of promoting both economic prosperity and environmental protection. Their web site describes the benefits of incorporating energy efficiency into energy policy.
  • Greenhouse gases and climate change
  • Government of Alberta climate change action plan
  • Government of Canada climate change web site and draft action plan


  • The New Hampshire Clean Power Strategy, New Hampshire Department of Environmental Services
  • New Hampshire House Bill 284-FN, “An Act relative to additional emissions reductions from existing fossil fuel burning steam electric power plants”
  • NESCAUM’s publication archive provides access to a number of documents related to air quality. NESCAUM, the Northeast States for Coordinated Air Use Management, was formed in 1967 to deal with the problem of emissions from large power plants located on or near state borders, and has since become involved in other air quality issues.
  • The Clean Air Council, covering Pennsylvania and Delaware, is a non-profit organization working on a range of air issues including climate change, alternate energy, mercury and transportation.
  • Environmental Challenges and Opportunities of the Evolving North American Electricity Market; a report of the Secretariat of the Commission for Environmental Cooperation, prepared under Article 13 of the North American Agreement on Environmental Cooperation. Comments of the governments of Canada, Mexico, and the United States in response to this report, as well as the associated working papers are also available at the same site.
  • U.S. Clear Skies Act, to reduce emissions of mercury, sulphur and nitrogen from electric utilities; introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives on July 26, 2002 and the Senate on July 28, 2002


  • Canadian Council of Ministers of the Environment Deputy Ministers have agreed that discussions and consultations need to proceed with regard to setting a Canada-wide Standard for mercury emissions from coal-fired power plants, June 9, 2003
  • Eight coal-fired power generation companies in Canada have developed the Canadian Electricity Association’s Mercury Program to improve the information base around the measurement and control of mercury emissions from coal-fired generation. Data from the program are being posted on the website.
  • “Ethical Perspectives for Public and Environmental Health: Fostering Autonomy and Right-to-know,” by Timothy William Lambert, Colin L. Soskolne, Vangie Bergum, James Howell, and John B. Dossetor, in Environmental Health Perspectives Online, February 2003
  • Evaluation of the Technological and Economic Feasibility of Controlling and Eliminating Mercury Emissions from the Combustion of Solid Fossil Fuel, a report prepared by the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection, pursuant to 310 CMR 7.29 – Emissions Standards for Power Plants, December 2002
  • Mercury Study Report to Congress, Volume III, Fate and Transport of Mercury in the Environment, December 1997. Report prepared by U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. (This document is 376 pages long and 4.4 MB.)
  • General information and fact sheets on mercury, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
  • Technical Report: Mercury in the Environment: Implications for Pediatricians, American Academy of Pediatrics (policy statement)
  • Wisconsin’s proposed rule to reduce mercury emissions, Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources
  • The Mercury Policy Project is a project of the U.S. Tides Center formed in 1998 to raise awareness about the threat of mercury contamination. The project promotes policies to eliminate mercury uses, reduce the export and trafficking of mercury, and significantly reduce mercury exposures at the local, national, and international levels. It provides regular updates on mercury-related initiatives in many jurisdictions.
  • Results of sediment, fish and water sample studies conducted in Wabamun Lake between March and July 2002
  • An assessment of impacts of regional coal-burning powerplants on metals accumulation in Lake Wabamun, a report prepared by Dr. William Donahue, Department of Biological Sciences, U of A, for the Lake Wabamun Enhancement and Protection Association


  • These articles examine renewable energy portfolio standards, particularly their design and implementation: 
  • Backgrounder on Renewable Portfolio Standards, a report prepared by Paul D. Hunt of Climate Change Central, November 2002.
  • The renewable energy portfolio standard: design considerations and an implementation survey, by Trent Berry, Compass Resource Management, Ltd.; and Mark Jaccard, Simon Fraser University. 2001
  • The Renewables Portfolio Standard in Texas: An Early Assessment, by Ryan Wiser, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory; and Ole Langniss, German Aerospace Centre. 2001.
  • The Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory also undertakes electricity market studies on electricity market restructuring, including issues affecting energy efficiency, renewable energy, electric system reliability, and retail competition and customer choice.
  • Structure and economics of the electricity sector in Alberta
  • Introduction to Electricity, Alberta Department of Energy

Team participants

All members and stakeholder groups showed remarkable determination and commitment to the large and challenging tasks this project presented. The volunteer time given to this project by individuals and by organizations was significant and well beyond expectations.


  • Bert Riggall Environmental Foundation
  • Canadian Public Health Association
  • Climate Change Central
  • Environmental Law Centre
  • Lake Wabamun Enhancement and Protection Association
  • Mewassin Community Action Council
  • Pembina Institute
  • Prairie Acid Rain Coalition
  • Toxics Watch Society


  • Alberta Association of Municipal Districts and Counties
  • Alberta Energy
  • Alberta Energy and Utilities Board
  • Alberta Environment
  • Alberta Health and Wellness
  • Alberta Urban Municipalities Association
  • Environment Canada


  • Agricultural Producers
  • ATCO Electric
  • Calpine Canada
  • Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers
  • Canadian Chemical Producers Association
  • Canadian Petroleum Products Institute
  • Luscar
  • Power Purchase Arrangements holders
  • TransAlta
  • Vision Quest Windelectric Inc (corresponding)


In March 2002, the Clean Air Strategic Alliance (CASA), at the request of Alberta Environment, established the electricity project team to develop an air emissions management framework, including performance expectations and standards, for the Alberta electricity sector.

The framework outlined in An Emissions Management Framework for the Alberta Electricity Sector: Report to the Ministers ( 1.2 MB) contains strategies that reflect CASA’s goals for air quality, namely:

  • Protect the Environment
  • Optimize Economic Performance and Efficiency; and
  • Seek Continuous Improvement

The electricity project presented the framework to the CASA board of directors. The board approved the recommended framework by consensus at its meeting on Nov. 27, 2003. Consensus was given by representatives of environmental and health organizations, senior provincial and federal officials, municipal leaders and industry leaders. More than 350 Albertans added their input at 11 public meetings held across the province.

The framework has been presented to the Minister of Environment on behalf of the Alberta Government with a recommendation for its implementation by 2006.