I Was Worried For a Moment

When I saw Google/Pocket recommending this article on batteries for the grid, I was a bit concerned. It was contrary to what I understood to be the truth, so I read a bit to get a sense if it was new information. It turned out to be 4-2 year old information, and seems to favour fossil fuels and nuclear. It’s safe to discount as FUD, at this point.

“This article was originally published on July 27, 2018, by MIT Technology Review, and is republished here with permission.”

Fluctuating solar and wind power require lots of energy storage, and lithium-ion batteries seem like the obvious choice—but they are far too expensive to play a major role.

It’s simply old information. Obsolete.
A coworker last night sent me this story about batteries as a huge success on the grid.
Yes, a peaker battery isn’t the same as 100% battery, but no one is saying that the entire supply should rely on only batteries.

Battery prices are falling at a pace of 22% per year for the last decade. Imagine what they’ll cost in 2022, in only 2 more years?

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.

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.

Canada 100% Renewable Electricity by 2030?

Read this, and think of Energy East pipeline Brad Wall is pushing hard for.

Most of the globe’s coal, natural gas and oil investments will ultimately be affected by the transition, Seba suggest, at risk of becoming “stranded assets” — resources that lose their value before the expected end of their economic life.

“They are going to be stranded over the next five to 15 years,” he maintains. “It’s not going to take us over 40 years.”

Saskatchewan could strand assets, or we could build the future starting now.

Solutions Project calculates that 70 per cent of all the net new electricity generation in the U.S. last year was from wind and solar; another 25 per cent came from natural gas.

Meanwhile in Europe, Jacobson says if you look at the net gains minus losses, “100 per cent of new generation was from clean-energy sources.”

Here are some figures regarding present energy and electricity use across Canada.

And here’s a cool one about solar:

“At this point, 20 U.S. states have reached what economists call “grid parity” for solar power: the point at which solar energy costs no more than fossil fuels. Energy research company GTM estimates 42 states will reach that point by 2020.”

Stanford business professor Tony Seba, …whose advice has been sought in boardrooms from Tokyo to Paris, is confident that solar and wind are key to sweeping away the industrial age of transportation and energy — and fast. He suggests we can reach that magic number of 100 per cent within 15 years.

“The solar-installed capacity has doubled every two years since the year 2000. Doubled every two years,” he says. “If you keep doubling that capacity, all you need is seven more doublings in order for solar to be 100 per cent of the world’s energy supply.”

For math lightweights, that’s 7 times 2 years. 14 years from now is 2030. If you go out tonight and get pregnant, by the time the child becomes a teenager, Canada could have no coal plants, or natural gas plants in operation to produce our electricity. That’s awesome!

Is #COP21 #ParisAgreement a Great Advance, or a Huge Flop?

We’ll know, I think, by 2025 when it’s too late to do anything about the past 10 years.
I’m cautiously optimistic that it’s an agreement that will provide a better push than Kyoto or Copenhagen ever had a chance to do.
It’s probably aiming somewhere beneath a complete success (which we obviously need to preserve civilization and species at risk of extinction), and above the total failure to move lagging countries like Canada and India off their fossil fueled paths.

Saskatchewan is showing signs of improvement, with even conservative (Conservative leader hopeful?) Brad Wall loosening the chains on progress toward renewable energy. But expect the Premier to re-pitch nuclear power.

American cities are showing bolder targets. 100% is Possible. Saskatchewan should have a plan this bold too [PDF].
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Can Postmedia Be Trusted?

Newspapers have a duty to publish public concerns. However such concerns, when unsubstantiated, poorly researched and ill-expressed should be confined to the letters page.

The editorial boards of both the Star Phoenix and Leader Post have made it abundantly clear that they support coal with carbon capture. However that ship has sailed and renewables now represents a $5-
billion industry that could generate thousands of jobs across Saskatchewan. Isn’t it about time for our Province’s two largest newspapers to get on board with this new reality?

The Leader Post’s legacy assets like Mandryk and Johnstone have fondness for Wall’s Carbon Capture and Storage boondoggle, and a distaste for those speaking out against it like David Suzuki. What shows up in the paper today, after the dreadful anti-wind op-ed yesterday?
Boundary Dam carbon capture project is better than many think” -Frank Proto

If it weren’t for Greg Fingas appearing in the columns section, the LP would be a near total wasteland when it comes to critical thought and expression.

Suzuki’s No Slave To The Economy

I hope we see meaningful changes in our economy, in time. There’s not a great understanding in our society that the economy is a system of resource distribution. We’ve enshrined it, even creating a phony holiday today when our retail gods go into the black.

It’s not that Canadian oil patches use slavery (don’t seem to, and they pay workers well), but an economy shouldn’t thrive on creation of injustice. An economy is supposed to create the conditions for prolonged success of people participating in it. When it’s found to be causing harm, it must change to adapt, or the harm grows and creates threats to societal success.

Yet Suzuki did offend people.

“People caught … working for the fossil-fuel industry will have to make a transition, they are not the target of my ire,” he reportedly said.

“But who would say today that the economy should’ve come before slavery?” Suzuki said.”
He could have said the same about child labour, or the factory disaster in Bhopal, India that killed tens of thousands of people. It was 50 years ago that #Nader held an industry to account for a product that was unsafe when used. Today, it’s fossil fuels.
“People dare to say it’s more important to make money?!” – Suzuki
Yes, people dare say it, just as they did when justifying child labour too.

Is seeking an analogy with which to compare an industry presently essential to our economy, yet undeniably harming our atmosphere, destined to cause offense? There are fainting couches ready all over the Saskatchewan Legislature, lest someone mention a reduction in fossil fuel output in the presence of Brad Wall. Some of those couches are staffed by the media with great big feather fans at the ready while asking if people want to “nuance” their message opposing a growing fossil industry. Does that mean we should never bring up the subject about how he’s going to meet the increase in renewable energy by 2030, if he doesn’t reduce fossil fuel dependency?

Suzuki also understands the urgent importance in reducing pollution.

About having Suzuki on his show, “Because I’m a shit disturber” – Suzuki
“The twerp in me loves it!” – Solomon
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