SaskPower Says Bigger Is Better, Even Losses? #PowerToGrow

As a followup to the Star Phoenix’s article on the hugely expensive, and (public) money losing CCS plant at Estevan, comes word of further cost overruns. The overruns, in the hundreds of millions of dollars, would have been sufficient to buy Regina its Stadium II, outright, fix its pension shortfall, or replace its Waste Water Treatment Plant.

SaskPower has apparently been misleading people by saying we need coal for “baseload” power, when Saskatchewan’s abundant wind source, coupled with Manitoba’s hydro, could safely provide a reliable power supply to homes, schools, etc.

And it appears that viable, cleaner, lower-cost solutions are readily available. According to a recent New York Times article, the cost of utility scale wind energy is now as low at 3.7 cents a kilowatt hour (without subsidies), well under the price for conventional coal, let alone CCS.

Emissions-free wind energy could have generated the same amount of electricity as the coalfired Boundary CCS power plant at a fraction of the cost.

SaskPower argues that wind can’t replace baseload coal because electrical generation from wind is intermittent. But numerous studies have found that installing substantial amounts of variable wind energy does not require additional backup capacity.

All types of power generation require backup, even coal. All utilities, including SaskPower, have substantial backup supply. New wind capacity would rely on the backup provided by existing “idle capacity,” which in the case of SaskPower is about 40 per cent.

Most authorities agree that incorporating at least 25 per cent variable power sources like wind or solar is feasible right now, and many jurisdictions are doing just that.

But SaskPower seems committed to a fading 20th-century paradigm of large-scale generation using fossil fuels. The 21st century paradigm being adopted by progressive utilities involves a shift toward conservation, efficiency and multiple sources of renewable energy, often provided by private industry, and in some cases by thousands of small co-operatives and community investors.

In the 21st century model, the utility becomes more the manager of power supply, demand and transmission. This emerging model – which in some ways resembles the Internet – is more nimble and resilient than a traditional utility.

CCS is an attempt to keep the old model alive.

Premier Wall owes Saskatchewan at least $1,500,000,000 in renewable energy investment after gifting billions of dollars to Cenovus for oil development through CCS. It’s time to stop letting money blow through our fingers, and stop burning coal like we’re from the 19th Century.

CBC Live As Composed As A Live Blog

Ancient years ago, about 6, CBC journalists could be heard explaining to crowds how bloggers might one day be eating their lunch, but for the time being the responsible journalism was being done by the Main Stream Media.

Then an armed gunman shot a soldier at the War Memorial before charging into Parliament with a rifle. Peter Mansbridge reported there were “reports” of a shooter at the nearby Rideau Centre. People hunkered down at the Chateau Laurier hotel on the other side of the Canal. In hindsight these were reasonable precautions given erroneous or exaggerated reports of there being another shooter seen coming out of the car of the first. Also in hindsight, it was a mistake to report them because the information turned out to be misinformation, and were never properly confirmed. Ivison reported there were two people coming from the car, and that Canada had lost its innocence. The shooter made it past second base, I suppose, but Canada is no virgin. Ivison remained wrong on both claims.

At least one journalist figured it out:

Ottawa journalists are too close to the story to be objective, as Mitrovica made very apparent:

If you’ll allow me to recycle one tweet from my last blog post about this subject, Frank Magazine raises an important question that applies to the supposed benefit of having live, unconfirmed news coverage of an active shooting scare:

#DontLookAtTheSun it’s now #PostModernMedia

Now Sun News is owned by the National Post now [soon].
The National Post, AKA the Financial Post has made it clear they’ll do lewd things in a washroom with Big Oil for money and power. Sun has made it clear they do do lewd things on TV for Big Oil, just because that’s how they roll.

Stop buying newspapers, and start funding independent media competition to them.

To Inquire, or Not To Inquire, Don’t Ask The Question

The latest Coyne article seems to be self defeating in its thesis.

“It’s not evident what contribution another public inquiry would make,” opines Coyne.

For one thing, we could have an inquiry to demonstrate that for Coyne. Or we could for once listen to what First Nations people want out of the Canadian government, rather than what a mainstream newspaper columnist in Toronto wants for First Nations people. The act of the federal government doing what First Nations want over what white people in Ontario want, would be a step in the right direction to healing some of the rifts that Coyne mentions in his column.

WikiLeaks: A Country’s Name To Kill

An interesting ethical debate is taking place. FirstLook Media, the controversial and adversarial media outlet owned by PayPal’s inventor, has withheld the name of the 5th country the NSA collects recordings of all phone calls from. SOMALGET and MYSTIC are Top Secret programs revealed by the Snowden leaks from the NSA. Following on the earth shaking revelations of last year starting with the “metadata” gathering in the US called PRISM, MYSTIC is again changing Americans’ views of what their spy agencies are actually working toward.

I think WikiLeaks should reveal this information, and not because it’s likely to cause deaths, but because a Top Secret American program having a country name revealed more than a year after it was known to be compromised, is not a reason to redact it any longer. WikiLeaks is right, and the citizens of the violated nation have a human right to know the United States government was able to record every phone call. It wouldn’t be the first time a Top Secret American program has led to people dying, either.

People can then place the blame where it belongs for any deaths, at the feet of the NSA, and Bush/Obama, not simplistically on the WikiLeaks scapegoat.