Wind on Tuesday made up just one per cent of total power production, just as the cold weather has driven up demand. Photo by Brian Zinchuk

The current cold snap is showing up in SaskPower’s daily numbers, as wind power production fell substantially on Dec. 20.

And, as usual, what happens in Alberta weatherwise is usually what happens here the following day.

In order to protect proprietary data, SaskPower delays its reporting of power production by two days. It also doesn’t give out nearly the detail the Alberta Electric System Operator (AESO) provides.

Power production in Saskatchewan on Tuesday, Dec. 20. SaskPower

 

On Tuesday, Dec. 20, SaskPower saw just 1 per cent of its power production come from wind, whereas in recent days that number has been in the six to 10 per cent range.

Wind power production averaged just 39 megawatts, out of a nameplate capacity of 617 megawatts. That’s an average of 6.3 per cent of nameplate capacity.

But as an average, that means that there were times wind power production fell below that 39 megawatts.

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In recent days, natural gas and coal have been trading places for the top form of power production in Saskatchewan. On Dec. 20, it was natural gas, with 1,472 megawatts average throughout the day, accounting for 42 per cent of total generation.

Coal was running flat out as well, producing and average of 1,413 megawatts, or 40 per cent of total power production. That’s actually higher than the 1,389 megawatts listed on SaskPower’s website for the three coal-fired power stations, but then again, SaskPower has continued to use Boundary Dam Unit 4, despite it was supposedly retired at the end of 2021.

Hydro produced an average of 419 megawatts, for 12 per cent of total power. “Other,” which includes small scale wind and solar, as well as heat recovery from pipelines, was an average of 197 megawatts, of 6 per cent of total power production.

The 30 megawatts of installed solar power produced an average of one megawatt throughout the day, the second shortest of the year. As a percentage of total power production, it was negligible.

Overall, SaskPower generated a total of 3,542 megawatts on average throughout the day. We used 3,430 megawatts ourselves, and exported 112 megawatts. Alberta has been regularly importing power from Saskatchewan.

We are nearing the one-year anniversary of a power use record, which was established on Dec. 30, 2021. On that day, SaskPower hit a usage record of 3,910 megawatts. Daily usage in recent days has been creeping every closer to that mark. Alberta hit its own power usage records on Monday and then again on Wednesday of this week.

 

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Alberta issues second “grid alert” in one day, the third in 24 hours, and fifth in three weeks, and sets another demand record