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.

Set Walmart and Target Afloat, Please

Monty Python was onto something with their sailing financial pirates, I think.
“Over 260,000 tons of plastic waste in oceans, study shows
Why buying dollar store crap will come back to haunt you and your grandchildren:

The scientists have stressed their estimates are “highly conservative, and may be considered minimum.” They only took into account the floating plastic garbage, disregarding the waste found on shores and on the seabed.

Another unaccounted for type of plastic is one that can only be found “within organisms.” Researchers believe that large portions of “microplastics,” less than 5mm in size, could disappear in fish bellies, thus entering the human food chain.

Harper’s “crazy” Comments

Here’s an impressive takedown of the Prime Minister’s “crazy” comments in the House the other day. Since 2006 he’s promised to regulate oil and gas. Now he admits that would be “crazy”. Harper is nuts, and a liar, and he’s our Prime Minister for another year.

SaskPower, How’s That 14 Year Test Going?

Head Office at Night, 1965

Dear SaskPower,

I’m interested in seeing the statistics regarding the electricity generated by the test panels installed on the Saskatchewan Science Centre, in the attached picture, and as mentioned in the below quote from your website a couple years ago.

May 2013 solar panels

Solar research:
In 2000, we installed a photovoltaic array at the Saskatchewan Science Centre for research purposes. Results showed that the cost savings realized from the solar energy system cannot effectively offset the capital costs for installation. As a result, this technology is better suited to niche applications where connection to the grid is uneconomical or when passive solar enhancement is desired. For the purposes of scientific demonstration, this project continues to be in operation.

At present (2012), solar power is not suitable for large-scale generation in Saskatchewan because of its high cost and low capacity factors.

Given technology has advanced somewhat in the ensuing 14 years, what is SaskPower’s present outlook regarding large scale solar on the grid? The New York Times, and Forbes note that large-scale solar generation appears to be a cheaper means to generate power than coal, despite its inability to provide overnight baseload power (barring some designs of solar power towers).

http://mobile.nytimes.com/2014/11/24/business/energy-environment/solar-and-wind-energy-start-to-win-on-price-vs-conventional-fuels.html?referrer&_r=4

Notable author Chris Turner says that installed PV costs in Alberta have declined more than 90% since 2000, without government support. What is SaskPower doing to capitalize on this fact, since less than 1% of our electricity is presently solar based?

Regina panoramic

Also see SaskPower’s earlier predictions.



Good news in Saskatoon
, unless the Council stops it from happening.

Janson Anderson, director of customer programs for SaskPower, said that, despite lost revenue, the organization supports homeowners powering their houses with alternate energy sources and that about 260 SaskPower customers across the province currently use solar power as part of the company’s net metering program. Despite dropping prices of solar panels in recent years, Anderson said there remain “significant upfront costs” in installing solar systems and so anything cities can do to ease that burden will help more people utilize solar power.

One way to think of this stat is that it takes the equivalent solar power of 50 homes to power ~50 gas cars.

Equipping 50 homes with solar panels is estimated to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by about 260 tonnes a year. the equivalent of getting 51 cars off the roads.

Who Needs Water Anyway?

A delusional remark in a CBC article:
“Canada, which has long been criticized for being heavily dependent on shipping natural resources to the rest of the world.”
Our Prime Minister, and Saskatchewan’s Premier spend millions, hundreds of millions actually, to tell Canadians and the world how many resources we should be sending elsewhere.

Estevan

Consider the stat from Gasland II, where about 60% of some wells’ casings are expected to fail within 30 years.
Naturally that stat is going to err on the sensational, but even the more conservative ~10% estimates are extremely worrying.
“Leaky plumbing on energy wells seen as threat to climate, water and resources”
“Serge Fortier has been trying for years to raise awareness about leaking wells along the St. Lawrence River. Nothing has been quite as effective as setting them on fire.

“The reaction came very rapidly,” says Fortier, an environmental activist whose fiery demonstration near Ste-Francoise has prompted the Quebec government to acknowledge it has a problem – one that regulatory officials are often not keen to discuss.” And industry officials play this ad instead of discussing the problem:
(The ad playing on the Gazette report is by TransCanada promoting their disastrous Energy East project. They claim “the more you know, the more the pipeline makes sense”, when they mean, “the more propaganda we produce you see, the more likely you’ll fall in line.”)

Basically our options are constant monitoring of hidden/lost wells that produce no more value, or STOP making new holes. Canada is making tens of thousands of new planned holes. When you’re in a hole the first step is to stop digging.
Severn Suzuki said it well at her UN speech 2 decades ago:

NOAA Numbers Manipulated

This is a short essay about why our species can’t have nice things.

A PhD Meteorologist in Florida claims that because October 2003 was hottest since October 2014 by only .01 degrees less, there’s no climate change due to humans spewing ridiculous amounts of carbon into our atmosphere. How did he say this in dog whistle language to climate change deniers:

“How much “hotter” was record October 2014 vs. October 2003? According to NOAA 0.01°C.
14.74°C vs. 14.73°C
Public doesn’t know this.”

Well, “the anomalies are provided with respect to the 20th century (1901–2000) average.”

“the 20th century average of 14.1°C

Yet, NOAA gives
2003 0.73°C
2014 0.74°C
Do you see the error in Ryan’s math? He’s missing a .1 degree in each figure. That’s really beside the point though; he’s cherry picked two “hottest” Octobers as if the difference between “hottest” figures is what’s the problem. Of course they are extremely close, just as it’s no surprise that a hottest anomalous and a coldest anomalous year are far apart in degrees Celsius. The important realization is that our climate is warming due to green house gas pollution, despite the appearance of a so-called “pause”. Each warmest year is almost a degree above average, with scientists saying two degrees above average will effectively end civilization and cause mass extinctions.

NOAA explains their anomaly data: “They are most useful for tracking the big-picture evolution of temperatures across larger parts of the planet, up to and including the entire global surface temperature.”
Apparently they are also useful for climate change deniers to intentionally misinterpret the data so as to minimize concern about climate change, and introduce doubt in the general public about its very existence as a problem.

While cherry picking data, why not pick 1913 instead of 2003?
1913 -0.34°C
2014 0.74°C
There’s a 1.08 degree difference over a hundred years, in average global temps, in October, counting the ocean temps, cherry picked. The problem is the not-cherry-picked trend (big picture) though, because the pollution is building up, and we’re putting more into the air than ever before.

RIC bikes

Are Gore, Suzuki, and Neil Young Hypocrites for Using Oil?

No. They are victims of circumstance, and despite their wealth and fame, they alone cannot change ‘the system’.

A voice from the Facebook-sphere intones: “I appreciate your commitment and respect what you are trying to achieve but bashing fossil fuels while you continue to use them adds no value to your cause.”

Not true. As Shane’s made plain, there’s no means for someone to hop off the oil bandwagon, because we’ve built our society around it for generations. It will take generations to leave it behind (completely), but that isn’t an argument to stop trying. Quite the opposite, it’s time to get started in a more serious way than the last generation.

I’m sick to death of the people mindlessly attacking people like Gore, Young, and Suzuki for “using oil” while speaking against it. Obviously they have to use mass transportation and mass communication presently available to reach people. To command that they stop today, or be hypocrites, is a very thinly veiled attempt to outright silence them.

The Blue Dot Tour

There’s a particularly nasty and brainless bunch on Twitter who earlier this year said I should shut up because I owe my life to oil. Bow down, and tremble like them before thy oily god. They owe their lives to a stable climate and clean water, so why then do they work against the availability of those supposed ‘commodities’ while using what’s left of them? These same twerps are the sorts who claim that “CO(2) isn’t a pollutant because plants eat it“, except they’d never agree to be trapped in a contained environment with “too much” of it, or contemplate its greenhouse effect.

Here are solutions to the problems we all face: