Wind turbines in southern Alberta. Photo by Clive Schaupmeyer

The afternoon of June 12 saw wind power production drop to less than one per cent of its rated nameplate capacity. Windspeeds in southern Alberta, where the wind generation facilities reside, were faced with low single-digit windspeeds.

Twitter bot account @ReliableAB posts hourly updates on power generation in Alberta from the Alberta Electric System Operator. At 3:25 p.m., wind power production fell to 30 megawatts, or 0.8 per cent of the 3,618 megawatts of installed wind power nameplate capacity.

This occurred during a warm but smoky day in Alberta. In Calgary it was 25 C at the time, with winds of 5 kilometres per hour. Lethbridge was 26 with a wind of 2 kilometres per hour. Medicine Hat was 29 with winds of 4 kilometres per hour.

This came less than a week after the Alberta Electric System Operator issued a “grid alert” at 3:49 p.m. on June 7 “due to hot temperatures and low wind, combined with an unplanned generator outage.” Coincidentally, the low wind conditions on June 12 coincided almost to the minute to the low wind conditions that triggered the grid alert five days before.

 

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