03/17/2016 13:20 EDT | Updated 03/18/2017 01:12 EDT

Electricity analyst says Alberta has reasonable deadline to get off coal

EDMONTON — The man hired to move Alberta away from coal-fired electricity says while it's a complex challenge, time is on the side of the province.

Terry Boston says with a deadline of 2030, there's enough lag time to craft a solution that works best for the industry, keeps rates fair for taxpayers, and keeps the lights on.

As part of its climate change plan, Alberta is shutting down coal-fired electricity generation by 2030 to reduce greenhouse-gas emissions.

Twelve of Alberta's 18 coal-fired generating units are already expected to be shut down by then, so the focus of Boston's work will be on the remaining six.

Boston will be paid up to $600,000 and will deliver a list of options to the government by the fall.

Boston recently retired as the head of PJM Interconnection, which is the second largest centrally dispatched power system in the world.