Wind turbines on the Alberta side of the Saskatchewan/Alberta border, northwest of Macklin, Saskatchewan Photo by Brian Zinchuk

If you just had your morning coffee in Alberta, it’s unlikely your coffee pot was powered by wind.

That’s because at 10:16 a.m. on Wednesday, July 27, Alberta’s fleet of 26 wind farms, supposedly capable of producing 2,269 megawatts, was producing just 22 megawatts, slightly less than one per cent of nameplate capacity.

Solar at the same time was putting out 38.2 per cent of its capacity, two hours before noon.

Alberta’s province’s power grid contributions at 10:16 a.m. on Wednesday, July 27. “MC” is maximum capacity in megawatts, “TNG” means total net to grid, and “DCR” is dispatched and accepted contingency reserve. Alberta Electric System Operator

 

Just three of those 26 wind farms spread across southern Alberta were contributing any power at all to the grid, as seen below

Alberta’s wind power generation at 10:16 a.m. on Wednesday, July 27 showed just three of 26 wind farms contributing anything at all to the province’s power grid. Alberta Electric System Operator

While Alberta has 50 megawatts of battery storage capacity across three battery facilities, yet again, the total net to grid at that moment was zero megawatts. In seven months of periodic reporting on Alberta’s power grid, Pipeline Online has not yet seen any power contributed to the grid from battery storage, despite incidents like this when power generation from wind or solar was flatlined.

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Similarly, around 10 p.m. the night before, Alberta’s wind fleet had dropped to 122 megawatts, 5.3 per cent capacity. Of course, being night time, solar was producing zero. And at that time, again no power was being contributed from battery storage.

Despite Alberta’s wind power putting out just 1 per cent of its capacity, the 50 megawatts of battery capacity attached to the grid were adding nothing to supplement it at 10:16 a.m. on Wednesday, July 27. Alberta Electric System Operator

Alberta puts out this grid-wide data publicly on a minute-by-minute basis. SaskPower, however, does not release this information. Thus, Alberta’s grid data is the closest analog to what Saskatchewan may be experiencing from time to time. SaskPower is moving to increase its reliance on renewables, particularly wind and solar, but is also building natural gas power generation to back it up. It is also building battery storage, as Alberta has.

Wind turbine at Grenfell. Photo by Brian Zinchuk

Pipeline Online keeps checking on Alberta’s grid from time-to-time to see how effective the green transition to renewables is working out for the neighbour province which is much further down this path than Saskatchewan, having built 20 solar facilities, 26 wind facilities, and three battery facilities. On a frequent basis, either wind or solar have shown next to no power production at times, even when the sun is shining. See the stories listed below.

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Brian Zinchuk: On Wednesday wind power generation in Alberta collapsed yet again, but renewables are our salvation, right?

Two days ago, Saskatchewan set another summer power consumption record. Today, Alberta’s wind is currently putting out 1.2% of its capacity

Two days in June show utter failure of solar and wind power in Alberta

Pesâkâstêw Solar Facility opens near Weyburn, first grid-scale solar facility done in cooperation with First Nations Power Authority

Asking the hard questions on SaskPower’s new solar and wind announcements