Because of the new carbon taxes (provincial from Notley and Federal from the Useful Idiot); TransCanada Power is having to shut not just the Hanna located Sheerness plant in 2017 but will also close the Sundance A and B plants – 560 MW for A and 353 MW for B ; plus the 756 MW of sheerness. That means Alberta is loosing 1,669 MW of capacity in 2017 or to put it in perspective that is 50% of the power consumption of the city of Calgary or to put it in another way that is the power usage of 2 MILLION average homes. To generate that with wind turbines you would need a 457% increase in the current Alberta Wind Turbine Capacity.
As of August 2015 Alberta had total capacity of 16,242 MW of capacity, so we are loosing 10% next year. Currently 38% is from clean coal, 44% is from natural gas and 18% is other sources. The “other” sources is 9% wind, 6% is hydroelectric and the 3% is biogas (manure).
The province likes to say 44% is from renewable or alternative sources… but they are counting 26% natural gas where it is a cogen so the natural gas is used to provide steam for something else (usually oil sands production) and then the excess steam is used to make power. No one considers co-gen “renewable” except the Notley government.
Currently Alberta has 1,459MW of wind rated capacity. The government fact sheet from the Gov’t in 2011 mentions “However, due to wind blowing intermittently, the electricity generation from wind power varies over time.” they admit if you crunch the numbers that actual capacity vs rated capacity is between 25-30%. So for every 4MW of rated capacity they actually only generate 1MW of real power. Compare this with a natural gas or coal plant where the rated and actual capacity are the same as long as the plant is running.
Our current government doesn’t mention in the newest fact sheet that the Rated Capacity is not the same as Actual generation capacity.
Using the available information you can see that Alberta used 11,229 MW of power between October 2014-March 2015 , it also mentions that 7,700 MW of additional natural gas power plants are proposed but the vast majority of that has been cancelled after Octobers carbon tax scam came out. So ignoring the capacity that will not be built while Notley is in power we will have 14,573 MW of RATED capacity after the plant closures in 2017.
Now we have to also calculate actual capacity: 14,573MW – (1,459MW of wind) + (1,459MW of wind *25% conversion to actual) = 13,478 MW or about 2,249MW more than demand.
There is a side to this we haven’t discussed – The Environment – Coal and Natural gas power plants come in 2 types: Peak plants which only run during peak hours or during peak demand and continual which run all the time. As wind power fluctuates it is the peak plants turning on and off that make up the differences. Continual plants are more efficient because they are designed to run at an optimal output, while Peak plants are less efficient since they turn on and off all the time and start up is inefficient. All three of the plants closing are continual plants designed to run all the time; that means we are loosing capacity in the area that is the most efficient and more of the peak plants will be required to cover the shortfalls.
I predict that we will see brown outs by the end of 2017.