This is the Bull Creek Wind Farm, northeast of Provost, Alta on Sept. 12. On that day, half the turbines were not turning and the other half were barely turning, or ramping on and off. The wind turbine on the right is so close to the Saskatchewan border, it’s shadow falls on the Land of Living Skies. The right edge of the photo is Saskatchewan. Photo by Brian Zinchuk.

Alberta’s last two coal units were putting out 54.9x its total wind fleet

One more time, Alberta’s 3,618 megawatts of nameplate wind power generation dropped to less than 1 per cent of capacity.

Twitter bot Reliable AB Energy (@ReliablyAB), reports hourly stats as published by the Alberta Electric System Operator. Throughout the afternoon, total wind generation was falling across Alberta. After lunch, wind power generation fell to 70 megawatts at 1:25 p.m., or 1.9 per cent. At 2:45 p.m., the total output was 40 megawatts, or 1.1 per cent capacity.

By 3:25 p.m., output had fallen to 17 megawatts, or 0.47 per cent (47 ten-thousandths of capacity.) And at 4:25 p.m., the number fell to 15 megawatts, or 0.41 per cent (41 ten-thousandths of capacity).

An hour later, wind generation hit 27 megawatts at 5:25 p.m., followed by 64 megawatt at 6:25 p.m. At this point, solar power production had declined to 3 megawatts, and the pool price for power, which had been floating around $70 per megawatt-hour throughout the afternoon, shot up by a factor of 10 to $706.25 per megawatt-hour. With slightly better, but still very low wind generation and no solar power, the early evening saw power prices float around $838.75 per megawatt-hour. (Alberta only allowed prices to go up to $1000 per megawatt-hour.

At the time, Alberta was not drawing on its now five grid-scale batteries, which have a combined capacity of 90 megawatts. However, The province was importing 507 megawatts of power, including 153 megawatts from Saskatchewan, 103 megawatts from Montana, and 251 megawatts from British Columbia. That’s a pretty consistent number pulled from SaskPower in recent months.

The province’s two remaining coal units were putting out 100.5 per cent of their capacity, putting out 824 megawatts with a remaining installed based of 820. That means those two units were putting out 54.9 times the output of the entire fleet of 36 wind farms in Alberta, with hundreds of turbines between them.

 

 

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