Alberta wind turbines. Photo by Clive Schaupmeyer

When the sun is highest in the sky, solar power generation is supposed to be at its peak. That’s the idea, anyway. Reality is sometimes different, as at noon on Thursday, Nov. 23, solar power generation in Alberta was producing just 10 per cent of its nameplate capacity.

According to data from the Alberta Electric System Operator (AESO), at 11:57 a.m., solar power was producing 142 megawatts, out of an installed base of 1,470. That’s 9.7 per cent output, when the sun was highest in the sky.

The Travers Solar Facility, Canada’s largest with a nameplate capacity of 465 megawatts, was producing just 40. Nine solar facilities were showing zero power production of any kind, although a few of those may still be in the commissioning process. Ten solar farms were showing just 1 megawatt of power at noon, despite having ratings as high as 23 or 24 megawatts for some of them.

  • 0062 TED_EPAC_Technology_30
    0062 TED_EPAC_Technology_30
  • 0061 SIMSA 2024 For Sask Buy Sask
    0061 SIMSA 2024 For Sask Buy Sask
  • 0060 Arizona Lithium Lease building
    0060 Arizona Lithium Lease building
  • 0059 Southeast College Heavy Equipment Operator
    0059 Southeast College Heavy Equipment Operator
  • 0058 Royal Helium Steveville opens anonymous rocket
    0058 Royal Helium Steveville opens anonymous rocket
  • 9002 Pipeline Online 30 sec EBEX
    9002 Pipeline Online 30 sec EBEX
  • 0055 Smart Power Be Smart with your Power office
    0055 Smart Power Be Smart with your Power office
  • 0015 Latus Viro
    0015 Latus Viro
  • 0052 Predator Inspections
    0052 Predator Inspections
  • 0051 JML Hiring Pumpjack assembly
    0051 JML Hiring Pumpjack assembly
  • 0049 Scotsburn Dental soft guitar
    0049 Scotsburn Dental soft guitar
  • 0046 City of Estevan This is Estevan
    0046 City of Estevan This is Estevan
  • 0041 DEEP Since 2018 now we are going to build
    0041 DEEP Since 2018 now we are going to build
  • 0032 IWS Summer hiring rock trailer music
  • 0022 Grimes winter hiring
  • 0021 OSY Rentals S8 Promo
  • 0018 IWS Hiring Royal Summer
  • 0013 Panther Drilling PO ad 03 top drive rigs
  • 0011
  • 0006 JK Junior
  • 9001
  • 0002

 

And at the same moment, Alberta’s 4,420 megawatts of wind capacity, spread across 44 wind farms and comprised of hundreds of turbines costing billions of dollars was generating 30 megawatts. That’s 0.7 per cent of nameplate capacity.

Total power generation in Alberta at 11:57 a.m. on Thursday, Nov. 23. MC is maximum capacity in megawatts, TNG is total net to grid, and DCR is dispatched (and accepted) contingency reserve. Alberta Electric System Operator

Indeed, Alberta’s wind power was having an even worse day than solar. In fact, it was like a bad hangover from the night before. At 10:39 p.m. the previous night, wind power generation fell to 14 megawatts out of an installed base of 4,420 megawatts, or 0.3 per cent, according to X bot account @ReliableAB, which provides hourly logging of AESO data.

That account showed that for 18 hours, Alberta’s wind generation remained under 2.2 per cent capacity, e.g. under 100 megawatts.

@ReliableAB

@ReliableAB

At 9:36 p.m. on Nov. 22, wind power fell to 43 megawatts. An hour later it was the aforementioned 14. Until mid-afternoon on Friday, Nov. 23, wind generation largely hovered between 34 and 70 megawatts, briefly hitting 85 megawatts at 8:39 a.m, but dropping to 24 megawatts at 12:39 p.m. At 3:38 p.m. it crept up to 65 megawatts (while solar had fallen to 56 megawatts). At 4:38 pm., just as peak demand hours around supper usually begins, wind finally climbed to 148 megawatts, but solar had now zeroed out. The evening saw wind power finally pick up, after 18 hours of power generation below 100 megawatts (below 2.2 per cent capacity).

The highest solar output was recorded at 12:38 p.m., when it crested at 156 megawatts, or 10.6 per cent output.

Corresponding with this with these low wind and solar conditions, the pool price for electricity spent most of the working day between $500 and $809 per megawatt-hour before dropping like a stone late in the evening.

 

  • 0062 TED_EPAC_Technology_30
    0062 TED_EPAC_Technology_30
  • 0061 SIMSA 2024 For Sask Buy Sask
    0061 SIMSA 2024 For Sask Buy Sask
  • 0060 Arizona Lithium Lease building
    0060 Arizona Lithium Lease building
  • 0059 Southeast College Heavy Equipment Operator
    0059 Southeast College Heavy Equipment Operator
  • 0058 Royal Helium Steveville opens anonymous rocket
    0058 Royal Helium Steveville opens anonymous rocket
  • 9002 Pipeline Online 30 sec EBEX
    9002 Pipeline Online 30 sec EBEX
  • 0055 Smart Power Be Smart with your Power office
    0055 Smart Power Be Smart with your Power office
  • 0015 Latus Viro
    0015 Latus Viro
  • 0052 Predator Inspections
    0052 Predator Inspections
  • 0051 JML Hiring Pumpjack assembly
    0051 JML Hiring Pumpjack assembly
  • 0049 Scotsburn Dental soft guitar
    0049 Scotsburn Dental soft guitar
  • 0046 City of Estevan This is Estevan
    0046 City of Estevan This is Estevan
  • 0041 DEEP Since 2018 now we are going to build
    0041 DEEP Since 2018 now we are going to build
  • 0032 IWS Summer hiring rock trailer music
  • 0022 Grimes winter hiring
  • 0021 OSY Rentals S8 Promo
  • 0018 IWS Hiring Royal Summer
  • 0013 Panther Drilling PO ad 03 top drive rigs
  • 0011
  • 0006 JK Junior
  • 9001
  • 0002

 

Alberta now has 44 wind farms, and Wednesday night they collectively produced next to no power

Steven Guilbeault cheers IEA report saying “no new long-lead-time conventional oil and gas projects are needed”