By Brian Zinchuk of PiplelineOnline.ca
Wind power generation in Alberta has had a pretty good week, all things considering, with power generation often hitting over 2,800 megawatts.
And then there was Wednesday night going into Thursday morning, when wind power production flatlined to effectively nothing.
According to X bot account @ReliableAB, which uses data published by the Alberta Electric System Operator (AESO), wind power generation fell to 14 megawatts out of a nameplate capacity of 4,420 megawatts at 10:39 p.m. on Wednesday, Nov. 22. That’s 0.3 per cent, or three ten-thousandths of capacity.
And since it was nighttime, solar was producing zero megawatts out of a nameplate capacity of 1,470. So if you added total wind and solar output, divided by their total capacity, you got 0.2 per cent output.
Wind came up slightly, and hovered around 40 to 70 megawatts throughout the night. By 7:02 am, wind generation capacity was 39 megawatts, out of a total of 4,420 megawatts installed base. That’s less than 0.9 per cent capacity.
And since the sun had not yet risen, solar power generation was flatlined at zero, meaning not one morning coffee pot was being heated by grid-scale solar, despite an installed base of 1,470 megawatts.
That means total wind and solar generation at that moment was 39 megawatts out of a nameplate capacity of 5,890 megawatts. That meant wind and solar combined were producing 0.7 per cent of nameplate capacity.
These low output numbers are despite substantial growth in both wind and solar power nameplate capacity. In recent months Alberta’s wind capacity grew from 3,618 megawatts to 4,410, an increase of 802 megawatts. That’s an increase of 22 per cent capacity in just a few months. And yet all those additional nameplate megawatts didn’t amount to a hill of beans when the wind decided not to blow across all of southern Alberta, as typically happens in these scenarios which Pipeline Online has reported on no less than 20 times in the last two years.
An argument often made by wind power proponents is that “If it’s not blowing here, it’s blowing somewhere, so build more windfarms.” But out of the now 44 wind farms in Alberta (up from 36 this past summer), only nine were producing any power whatsoever. Thirty-five wind farms were producing zero power. Those 44 wind farms are made up of hundreds of wind turbines, costing billions of dollars collectively.
This fallacy is also exhibited in discussions of how much power generation capacity is really there. For instance, wind and solar’s combined 5,890 megawatts makes up 28.8 per cent of the Alberta grid’s 20,457 megawatt nameplate capacity. But the output at the later Wednesday night was just 0.2 per cent of that nameplate.
Similar arguments are often made by SaskPower… To read the full article, click here.