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

At 4:35 p.m. on Saturday, Aug 27, Alberta’s power grid was showing a big shift compared to early in the week, when the same wind fleet was putting out just 2 per cent of its rated capacity on Wednesday. Alberta’s wind resources were putting out almost full power for all wind farms online (26 of 28), with the province actually net exporting power instead of importing it, the usual case.

That’s according to minute-by-minute data posted by the Alberta Electric System Operator, which can be seen at http://ets.aeso.ca/ets_web/ip/Market/Reports/CSDReportServlet. SaskPower does not publish this data, so Alberta’s grid is the closest analog to what could be happening in Saskatchewan.

Alberta’s total power generation at 4:35 p.m. on Saturday, Aug. 27. MC is maximum capacity in megawatts, TNG is total net to grid in megawatts, and DCR is dispatched (and accepted) contingency reserve in megawatts. Alberta Electric System Operator

 

Wind turbines were going full tilt, as it were, with most facilities running close to full capacity. Blackspring Ridge was putting out 289 megawatts of 300. Ardenville Wind was outing out 67 of 68 megawatts. Whitla 1 was making 185 of 202 megawatts and Castle Rock Wind Farm was making 72 of 77. Two recent additions to the list are apparently not online yet, as both Wheatland Wind (120 megawatts) and Suncor’s Forty Mile Granlea (200 megawatts) and registered zeros.

Cumulatively, wind was making 1,921 megawatts of 2,589 megawatts listed. If you exclude the two down facilities, then it was making 1,921 of 2,269 megawatts, or 84.7 per cent.

Alberta’s wind power generation at 4:35 p.m. on Saturday, Aug. 27. Alberta Electric System Operator

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But solar was having a tough day. Alberta’s solar nameplate capacity has now risen to 991 megawatts, but was producing only 118 megawatts. Earlier in the week, solar was putting out over three quarters of its capacity. Nearly all 24 solar facilities were registering a small fraction of their rated capacity, with eight facilities registering zero, and many others registering single digits. Four new facilities have been added to the over the summer, list – Kisikaw-pisim 1 and 2, at 7 megawatts each, and Conrad 1 (23 megawatts) and Conrad 2 (18 megawatts). Once everything is fully online, Alberta will be just shy of a full gigawatt of nameplate solar capacity.

Alberta’s solar power generation at 4:35 p.m. on Saturday, Aug. 27. Alberta Electric System Operator

Still, it is apparent the surge in wind output had a dramatic impact overall. The province typically brings in 700 to 800 megawatts during the day, but at this time was actually exporting a net of 161 megawatts. It was sending 271 megawatts to British Columbia – a rare occurrence, and importing 94 megawatts from Montana and another 16 from Saskatchewan.

Alberta’s grid interchange at 4:35 p.m. on Aug. 27. Negative values mean Alberta is importing power, while positive values are exporting. Alberta Electric System Operator.

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The other impacts can be seen throughout the grid. Power produced from former coal plants converted to natural gas was down substantially at a number of units. As examples, Battle River 5 was producing only 91 of 385 megawatts, and Sundance 6 was producing 87 of 401 megawatts.

Alberta’s natural gas power generation from former coal power stations at 4:35 p.m. on Saturday, Aug. 27. Alberta Electric System Operator

Two of the three remaining coal units were running flat out, as usual, but Genesee 2 was running at 202 of a possible 400 megawatts.

Alberta’s coal power generation at 4:35 p.m. on Saturday, Aug. 27. Alberta Electric System Operator

 

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Another Wednesday, another day Alberta’s wind power puts out 2% of its rated capacity

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