Solar Production for the Alberta Electric Systems



According to the Alberta Electric System Operator (AESO) website, on December 31, 2021 the province’s 13 grid-connected solar facilities were rated at 736 megawatts of capacity but were contributing only 58 megawatts to the grid. Their 26 wind farms, with a combined rated capacity of 2,269 megawatts, were contributing only 18 megawatts. So, on a day that averaged somewhere around -30C across the province (not exactly a rare event), at noon the total contribution of ALL solar and wind capacity was only 76 megawatts, or 2.5% of the rated solar/wind capacity. That means that someone (taxpayers?) paid for 97.5% of capacity that was totally absent at that particularly point in time. At that same time, the total load was 11,232 megawatts.

So solar and wind was providing only 0.7% of the total electric energy that was demanded of the grid. What would have happened that day if all of the existing coal and natural gas fired plants had been mothballed – as some “experts” are calling for in the near future? How many people would have frozen to death? How many electric cars would not have started? If, on the coldest day of the year, we can only count on 2.5% of the rated capacity of solar and wind power, what’s really going to happen? Will we be subjected to rolling blackouts and brownouts? Will the fundamental requirements of our modern society be available to us? Or will we be jerked back to medieval times burning wood in our homes and pulling our wagons with horses?

Next time you’re talking to Justin Trudeau or David Suzuki, perhaps they would care to answer these questions. So forget the debate of how much the government should rebate people when they buy an electric car or install a high-speed charger in their garage. Forget the debate on how much carbon Canada emits into the air. And ignore the people who believe that electric power somehow magically comes out of the wall socket without considering the immense complexity of operating a modern-day electric grid with power demands changing literally on a minute-by-minute basis 24/7/365.

Perhaps someone should, finally, start talking about where all of our power is going to come from, how reliable it will be, and how much it will really cost (both to install and operate) – after our so-called leaders shut down all of our fossil fuel and nuclear options.