Suncor’s Forty Mile Wind Project, southwest of Medicine Hat. Suncor

If you just had supper in Alberta, it’s likely not much of your meal was heated by wind power. If you ate 100 french fries cooked in your electric oven, just one of them was cooked by wind power.

At 6 p.m. on Wednesday, Aug. 17, Alberta’s wind power generation was again contributing a very small percentage of its rated capacity to the Alberta power grid.

According to the Alberta Electric System Operator website, its now-28 wind farms which have cost billions of dollars was cumulatively providing less than one third of what one singular coal unit was feeding into the grid.

All of Alberta’s cumulative installed wind power at that moment were contributing 116 megawatts of a nameplate capacity of 2,589 megawatts, or 4.5 per cent. That 116 megawatts was also only 1.1 per cent of the total power being consumed by Alberta at that moment, despite being 15.2 per cent of Alberta’s installed supposed power generation capacity.

Alberta’s power grid at 6 p.m., Wednesday, Aug. 17. MC is maximum capacity in megawatts, TNG is total net to grid, DCR is dispatched (and accepted) contingency reserve. Alberta Electric System Operator.

 

The denominator on that calculation got a bit bigger since the last report Pipeline Online did, as there are now 28 wind farms in Alberta. And despite the total possible generation going up with the addition of more wind farms, there are still regular occurrences of the entire fleet producing less than 5 per cent of their cumulative capacity. Ten on the list were producing exactly zero megawatts, although two of those facilities may not yet be fully operational, despite being listed. Most of the remainder were producing single digits of megawatts.

The list of wind farms is now 28 facilities long, with the addition of Forty Mile Granlea and Wheatland Wind in recent days. Alberta Electric System Operator

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The newest addition is the Forty Mile Granlea, which was showing zero megawatts. It’s a wind project by Canada’s largest oil company, Suncor, and is located southwest of Medicine Hat. Ironically, as the project is coming to fruition, Suncor has said a few months ago it is getting out of wind power.

Suncor map of 40 Mile Wind Power Project footprint. Suncor

More detail can be found in the pdf here:

2019-06-07-forty-mile-wind-power-project-footprint-en

Suncor’s website describes it as this:

The Suncor Forty Mile Wind Power Project is located in southeastern Alberta, on approximately 50,000 acres of private land, south and east of the town of Bow Island and in the County of Forty Mile. The project is designed to be developed in two phases for a total of 400 megawatts (MW), with the first phase consisting of 200 MW.

Once built, the first phase of Forty Mile will consist of 45 wind turbines (4.5 MW each), a meteorological tower, an electrical collection system, turbine access roads, and temporary construction facilities. Forty Mile will deliver generated electricity to the grid via the Granlea substation, which will connect to the existing 240 kiloVolts (kV) transmission line within the project area.

That $300 million wind farm is now on the list, but Suncor’s website notes it is expected to phase in commercial operations in December. It was registering zero power, as was the most recent addition, the Wheatland Wind project.

As usual, Alberta’s 50 megawatts of installed battery backup were contributing nothing to the grid, despite the minimal performance of wind generation.

Notably, Alberta’s three remaining coal power units at its sole standing coal power station were running at 99 per cent capacity, just a handful of megawatts short of their peak rated capacity.

As usual, the last of Alberta’s coal-fired power plants was running full out. Alberta Electric System Operator

The province with the most energy resources in Canada was however drawing on British Columbia, Saskatchewan and Montana to meet its power requirement needs. At that moment, 683 megawatts were being brought in across its borders, with British Columbia providing 436 megawatts, Montana 144 megawatts and Saskatchewan 103.

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Negative values means Alberta, Canada’s most energy-rich province by a long shot, is drawing power from three of its neighbours. Alberta Electric System Operator

A week ago Saskatchewan’s Crown power utility signed an agreement with the American Southwest Power Pool to beef up its interconnect, from 150 megawatts to 650 megawatts. This will allow SaskPower to buy and sell power to the SPP, and it will pay a $56 million tariff per year for that privilege, substantially more than the Province of Saskatchewan collected in coal royalties in 2018.

Saskatchewan is currently demolishing one of its first wind farms, Sunbridge, near Gull Lake, having reached its 20 year life expectancy.

For hourly automated tweets on where Alberta is getting its power from, you can follow https://twitter.com/ReliableAB on Twitter.

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  • 0023 LC Trucking tractor picker hiring mix
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  • 0021 OSY Rentals S8 Promo
  • 0019 Jerry Mainil Ltd hiring dugout
  • 0018 IWS Hiring Royal Summer
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