Daily Saskatchewan electricity supply in gigawatt-hours. Yellow is natural gas, brown is coal, blue is hydro, green is wind, grey is “other” and red, barely visible on the bottom, is solar. Notably, there are periods in November, December, January and March where wind power bottomed out. @SKElectricity/Brahm Neufeld

SASKATOON – Six months of daily electricity data in Saskatchewan has been compiled and visualized by Brahm Neufeld, an engineer from Saskatoon. Last fall he launched a Twitter account @SkElectricity, logging and detailing SaskPower’s daily power generation output. Data is collected daily from SaskPower’s “Where Our Power Comes From” dashboard.

The data starts on Oct. 1, 2021. Six months of monitoring and analysis, including regular features like #SolarSaturday, #FossilFriday, #WindWednesday, #CO2Tuesday, Neufeld has come up with some conclusions.

He noted on April 2:

“Lots of interesting insights to tease out:

  • Love it or hate it, coal and gas are utterly dependable
  • Hydro power daily utilization rarely exceeds 50 per cent
  • Wind is highly variable and intermittent day-to-day (likely true hour-to-hour, but we only have daily data)
  • The province’s solar power footprint is miniscule (just 30 MW of grid-scale capacity)

Saskatchewan power utilization (generation divided by capacity). Bright yellow is high utilization, dark red is low utilization. Orange is roughly 50 per cent. @SKElectricity/Brahm Neufeld

 

He tweeted out four graphics showing this analysis. The box plot utilization, for instance, shows how coal and natural gas are consistently used at high utilization rates, as a percentage of their capacity. Hydro is in a tight band, around 42 per cent. Solar never gets about 35 per cent, and wind is highly variable, from negative to just over 90 per cent. (For two days in January, 2023, wind generation went negative, as it took more net power to keep the wind turbines warm than they produced.) Indeed, wind is consistently inconsistent, as those six months of data points have wide distribution between negative and 90 per cent.

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It should be noted that SaskPower’s data is put out as a daily average, and as such, solar, which goes to zero each and every night, does not fare well when its output over 24 hours is considered. In such calculations, even if a solar facility put out 100 per cent of its capacity for 12 hours, it still would only result in 50 per cent output over 24 hours.

Saskatchewan power utilization box plot. The line in the centre of the box is 50 percentile, the top of the box is 75 percentile, bottom of the box is 25 percentile. The bars at top and bottom are 100 and 0 percentile. @SKElectricity/Brahm Neufeld

Additionally, the data in this analysis started on Sept. 21, the fall equinox, and ran to the spring equinox, thus encompassing the darkest months of the year. Thus, utilization and output should show an improvement on the next six months, but as the sun will continue to set every night, there are limits as to how much output and utilization it will have.

Saskatchewan power daily gigawatt-hour box plot. @SKElectricity/Brahm Neufeld

Neufeld’s conclusion?

“There is a clear place on our grid for many small modular reactors to anchor supply with reliable baseload power – especially as coal is to be phased out by Dec 31, 2029 and the price of carbon will drive up the price of natural gas generation.”

 

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  • 0058 Royal Helium Steveville opens anonymous rocket
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  • 9002 Pipeline Online 30 sec EBEX
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  • 0055 Smart Power Be Smart with your Power office
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  • 0015 Latus Viro
    0015 Latus Viro
  • 0052 Predator Inspections
    0052 Predator Inspections
  • 0051 JML Hiring Pumpjack assembly
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  • 0049 Scotsburn Dental soft guitar
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  • 0046 City of Estevan This is Estevan
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  • 0041 DEEP Since 2018 now we are going to build
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  • 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
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