Texas Can Power SK with Wind

With the Saskatchewan Government touting nuclear ambitions again, only 10 years after it was soundly rejected by the population, I’ve been reviewing what I wrote at the time then. One person in the audience of the UDP forum in Regina noted that Texas could power Saskatchewan with its wind power alone. That’s even more true today. Saskatchewan has a comparable wind resource.

We’ve let SaskPower and the SaskParty delay and fail to build for the future for long enough. The 2010s were largely wasted, with far more fossil burning capacity added to our grid than renewable power. That must change in the 2020s, or we’ll never meet targets that hope to save our world from mass extinctions.

Civic Hatchback vs. LEAF Hatchback

Should you buy a Honda gas burner, or a pure electric Nissan if you need a family hatchback motor vehicle?

“2019 Civic hatchback and coupe models are priced […] at $20,150US and $19,350US, respectively. The base trim includes features like a rearview camera, Bluetooth, a 5-inch display screen, and a USB port.”

Currency exchange is about 1.34 to CAD right now, so that’s 20150*1.34 = $27000$26,265 (price updated Apr 27, 2019)

My used Nissan LEAF 2014 (bought 2 years ago), with the same technology features listed above plus rear heated seats, and heated steering wheel (handy in Winter): $15,500. At my old place, I had 8 solar panels which cost $8400 installed. Together that’s $23,900.

Now, I’m no financial genius, but a solar powered hatchback that costs $2365 less than a new gas burning hatchback, seems like a better idea.

Doubting sorts might question, can a $8400, 2kW solar array really power a Nissan LEAF. That’s a great question! The answer is complicated. The short answer is yes.

Using a Bluetooth OBDII car-computer reading gizmo to read the LEAF’s battery status with my phone and the app Leaf Spy Lite, it reveals the car’s battery has 20kWh of capacity, down from its brand new 24kWh selling point.

Using the Solar Edge website, I was able to determine that my array in March would typically produce more than 10kWh per day. That electricity is instantly used in the house, the EV if plugged in to charge, and the excess goes into the grid. The power company, SaskPower, provides a credit 1-for-1 for the electricity provided vs. taken from their grid in a set year. This is known as Net Metering.

My household tends to charge the LEAF to 100% overnight on the regular wall plug (slow Level 1 charging this is called), and use it to about 50% capacity during the following day. That means it needs ~10kWh put back into it at night.  Astute readers will note that’s about how much power the panels are producing.

The LEAF doesn’t need gasoline, or oil changes. You can “fill” it at home on a regular wall plug. Why are people still buying new Civics? If they routinely travel more than 100km in the city in a day, or 70km at top highway speeds, the Civic might be more appealing, but it’s obviously more expensive and harder on your lungs and our planet’s creatures.

Now, if you want to save even more money, and more creatures, I have another tip for you:

Wind Will Be Cheaper Than Natural Gas

Will be? Naw, it has been for years. Still, SaskPower is building another 350MW of natural gas to go online in 2019, while building far less than 300MW of wind power by then. They’ve a target of 50% renewable generation by 2030, and still wind is far less than 5% of the grid total. Clearly they’re on the wrong track, and costing rate payers money.

SaskPower Is Going To Miss Target

March 16, 2017
Dear Editor,
People should be asking how SaskPower intends to meet the 50% renewable electricity by 2030 target set by the Premier over a year ago. Since that announcement, a 350 MegaWatt (MW) natural gas burning plant has been planned for opening in 2019. A 170 MW wind installation is planned for southwest Saskatchewan. This week SaskPower is consulting with Saskatchewanians about a proposed 60 MW solar addition to the grid by 2021. And 1 MW of natural gas created by human activity at the Regina landfill, has just come online this month.
According to SaskPower, over 90% of the power produced within Saskatchewan comes from fossil fuel sources. We import hydro from Manitoba, and generate some in Saskatchewan. A bit more hydroelectricity is planned at Tazi Twe, to add 50 MW by 2019. A little more at Saskatoon’s delayed river hydro project.
Not to bore you with basic math, but 350-170-60-50+1 = 71 MW more will come from burning fossil fuels to be added to the grid within the next 4 years. Their “Renewables Roadmap” lists only 210 MW more for wind and solar to be called for by this quarter in their Request for Proposals. This leaves a huge renewable electricity shortfall to be fixed in the remaining 9 years. Does SaskPower have an answer to this? Does the Premier? Are they hoping no one notices?

Sask Party Not Getting the Best Rate For You

“Our principle here … is that we do no further harm to an economy that already has its hands full.” – Brad Wall

“We’ve always been in competition,” said Boyd about Saskatchewan and Alberta competing for oil and gas investment. “Certainly we’ve had productive conversations here in Calgary.”

Why would we want to compete with Alberta? Competition drives the price of extracting our non-renewable resource down and means lower royalty payments upon which much of our economy is based.

Obviously Wall and Boyd in the Sask Party are working from the perspective that they have to get the best, lowest rate for Big Oil companies. They’re supposed to be considering what is best for Saskatchewan’s people, however. I’m sure they are not influenced by their former Minister McMillan who is now head spokesperson for the oil and gas industry in Canada.

“Today, there continues an existential threat to this industry, this industry that is so important in my province,” Wall told an appreciative luncheon crowd.

The Saskatchewan government didn’t do a good job acquiring land for the Global Transportation Hub near Regina and as a result paid too much, the provincial auditor says.

SaskPower renegotiated contract to avoid $91.8M penalty

It seems routine for this Sask Party government to never be found technically corrupt while they continually deliver poor deals for tax/rate payers, and great deals for their friends in the Oil and Gas industry.


Another example of the Saskatchewan government giving up in favour of corporations over citizens.
“Province abandons low-income housing project after cost overruns
48-unit apartment building reverts to private developer – renting at market rates”

SaskPower Correcting the Record Feels Like Lying

Letter: carbon capture project doesn't double cost of electricity

Mike Marsh, president and CEO of Sask-Power, writes:
…The technology at Boundary Dam is the first of its kind and, as with other technologies, we expect the price to drop as it develops. The BD3 CCS project is on track to meet our goal of capturing 800,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide in 2016 – equal to taking over 200,000 cars off our roads.

People are using more electricity than before and we need to expand our fleet. We also need to invest in costlier forms of generation to meet challenges presented by climate change and record growth. These types of investment will impact rates, but to suggest CCS doubles rates is simply false.

SaskPower never had commitment to sell 100 per cent of C02 to Cenovus

They were spreading misinformation about solar power just the other week. This is the organization whose VP told me solar wouldn’t be cost effective for utilities in the “northern hemisphere”, as Spain already had a utility solar plant in production, and many more have since been built all over North America.

ADDED:

SaskPower was just “required to supply a minimum volume of CO2 to Cenovus, with Cenovus having the option to buy 100 per cent of production”, Wall’s office said, adding the contract was renegotiated and that Watson’s 2013 comments “were aspirational at the time, not reflective of the contract that was signed in the end.”

In no small irony, this information came to the Leader-Post the same day the newspaper ran a letter to the editor from current SaskPower president and CEO Mike Marsh, who felt he needed to “correct the record” on “misinformation about the cost of carbon capture and storage.”

Gas Production, not Power Byproduct

This clip makes it seem as if CCS is more about producing gas to enhance oil recovery, and not so much about trapping a dangerous byproduct of dirty electricity production.

As a result of the renegotiation though, Cenovus is not required to take 100 per cent of the CO2 output, meaning less revenue coming into SaskPower.

Marsh said Cenovus is buying “more than 50 per cent of the production, but I’m not going to give you an exact figure.”

He said specifics of the new deal won’t be disclosed, citing a confidentiality agreement.

Marsh said Boundary Dam is capturing about 2,700 to 2,800 tonnes of CO2 each day, or a little less than 90 per cent of the output of which it’s supposed to be capable.

Production has been slowed, he said, because Cenovus “does not need the full amount, so we don’t need to produce the full amount.”

Why would production of gas be slowed? Wouldn’t it depend entirely upon how much electrical demand there is, not demand for the waste carbon dioxide? After all, BD3 has been sold to the public as a means of offsetting greenhouse gas production of coal electricity. If gas is produced, just store it, right?

I hope the geniuses at SaskPower and the Sask Government calculated the lost revenue from selling less gas to Cenovus, and we’re not going to lose more than $91Million from the renegotiation. Because they won’t give us the figure roughly between 50-90%, calculation may be harder for the public to confirm they didn’t screw up again to the tune of millions.

Is the Premier still planning on selling this technology if it depends upon a hidden sale value the public can’t even see now?

UPDATE: And important update is now available to this story

 

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