SaskPower’s Plan Isn’t Ambitious

SaskPower’s new target, announced by the Premier last week, is out.

Saskpower mix by 2030 vs 2015

That’s more wind power than we produce with coal or with natural gas today. Sounds impressive, until you realize that North Dakota did this already:
As of the end of 2014, 1,886 megawatts (MW) of generation capacity had been installed for wind power in North Dakota.

SaskWind also says this is “unambitious”.

1) As noted: Wind energy is cost competitive with natural gas, half the price of coal with carbon capture and significantly cheaper than nuclear. It is the cheapest form of new renewables on the market today.

2) Saskatchewan has a world class wind resource – which is substantially better than the average in both the US and Europe.

3) The European Union and the US expect 23 percent and 20 percent respectively of ALL their electricity to be generated by wind in 2030.

Alberta is heavily dependent upon coal electricity. By 2030, according to their #ABclimate plan, there will be no coal burning for electricity in 15 years. In Saskatchewan, SaskPower promises up to HALF of our electricity will STILL come from fossil sources like lignite coal. That’s a disgrace. We’ve got to stop using, and subsidizing fossil fuels now.

France Has Law To Put Solar or Plants on Rooftops

I was impressed to learn that France had made new commercial buildings do this. I’ve felt badly that new buildings going up all over the University of Regina campus since I started paying attention to it in 1998, haven’t put a single solar panel up on them. There’s a building on Research Dr. with a round skylight that looks like a CD player, that would have been a perfect spot for some solar panels. At least the RIC building in 2006 had a partial green roof built onto its shady side.


Shared Knowledge Conference – Regina

These videos are from the second day of the Shared Knowledge Conference at the Core Ritchie Centre, the second weekend of June.

Jim Elliott with many interesting (and terrifying) facts about Regina’s watershed system.

James and Brooke of Sound Solar Systems:

Next, I presented on Bitcoin and alternate currencies being used to build alternate economies apart from the monetary systems provided by governments.

Dan B. of Tradebank Regina

Lindsay H. wraps up with what’s in store for next time.

Aurora from a sunspot explosion

Sun with sunspot AR2371


Last night the rating of the solar storm was “severe” according to
Kp 8 is the strongest I’ve seen, unless it was 9 earlier this year for a storm I missed. The northern lights were to the south and east of Regina, which was good because I don’t have a clear view to the north.

Telephone line:
sun with powerline

Sun with sunspot

Without digital zoom, the Sun is this big in my 12X zoom camera:
Sun with sunspot

2020 Solar Power for 100% of Saskatchewan Homes Possible

This letter appeared in the Saskatoon Star Phoenix on Saturday.

In response to Kurt Soucy’s letter about the cost of powering the entire provincial grid with Photovoltaic (PV) solar power, I’d like to voice my support for his idea. It’s also possible to power every Saskatchewan household with concentrated solar thermal power plants similar to what’s already operating in California at Ivanpah. We’d need only three of those plants, and with a modification to their design, the solar power would be available into the night, using heat storage.

Mr. Soucy’s solar PV idea is sound also, and by aiming at powering only 410,000 households* instead of businesses too, we’re sure to have a diverse mix of power available for every electrical customer. Ivanpah took only 3 years to build, so at that pace, we could be most of the way to completely on renewable energy by 2020. The cost of 1 Ivanpah was $2.18 billion (USD), so 3 would be approximately $6.6 billion (USD).

The Premier just proposed we take another look at nuclear power, despite polling last year which indicated most people in Saskatchewan are opposed. Nuclear power can’t compete with the profitability of renewable energy, so I welcome a series of “[Solar] Power to Grow” forums held by the provincial government around the province. These forums were called for by citizens** during the Uranium Development Proposal (UDP) of 2009. Now that the Premier has suggested we need to revisit the UDP, this time we should give the spotlight to renewable energy. We stand to eliminate most of our carbon pollution, and lower our future utility bills if we make the best choices.

*According to