Wind turbines near Assiniboia. Photo by Brian Zinchuk

If you want to know what the weather is going to be like in Saskatchewan, look to Alberta, and you’ll get a good idea. So if wind power crates in Albert on Tuesday, expect the same to happen in Saskatchewan on Wednesday. And that’s exactly what happened.

Around supper on Tuesday, Nov. 8, and for the next 24 or so hours, Alberta’s wind production dropped to next to nothing, according to the Alberta Electric System Operator. Out of the 3,076 megawatts of wind generation nameplate capacity, for almost that entire 24 hours, the total power to the grid supplied by 32 wind farms was less than 60 megawatts. Most of that time it was 15 to 20 megawatts, and at 12:30 a.m. on Nov. 9, wind power generation dropped to 3 megawatts (one of several times it has occurred in the past year.)

SaskPower doesn’t put out nearly as granular information as the Alberta Electric System Operator, whose data is minute-by-minute. But on Sept. 21, it did start putting out daily average breakdowns, delayed two days.

And so now, on Nov. 11, we have the data from Saskatchewan from the day Alberta’s wind power collapsed.

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According to the SaskPower Where Your Power Comes From web page, on Wednesday, Nov. 9, SaskPower saw its wind fleet of 617 megawatts provide a daily average of 60 megawatts to the grid. Note that’s not a high or low (like Alberta’s 3 megawatt low), but an average throughout the day.

Where Saskatchewan’s power came from on Nov. 9. MW is megawatts. SaskPower.

 

Those 60 megawatts accounted for 2 per cent of the total generation in Saskatchewan. That’s 9.7 per cent of nameplate wind capacity. Solar, which just recently saw a third 10-megawatt grid scale facility added, now has 30 megawatts attached to the grid between three grid-scale facilities.

Hydro came in at 280 megawatts, providing 9 per cent of total production. And coal, which Saskatchewan is supposed to shut down by 2030, provided 1,177 megawatts, or 38 per cent of all power throughout the day.

It was only surpassed by natural gas, which provided 45 per cent of total generation, or 1,406 megawatts. The proposed federal Clean Electricity Standard is calling for natural gas power generation to cease by 2035, except in exceptional circumstances. This has led Saskatchewan to introduce the Saskatchewan First Act, to take control over power generation greenhouse gas emissions standards.

“Other,” which includes heat reclamation from pipelines and small scale wind and solar, was 197 megawatts, or 6 per cent of total generation.

All told, on that colder day, SaskPower generated 3,122 megawatts, with a system demand of 3,063. It exported 59 megawatts, on average.

 

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Alberta’s now 32 wind farms with 3,076 megawatts capacity put out just 15 megawatts at supper on Tuesday, and 3 megawatts at midnight