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September 1, 2002

The Editor

The Lethbridge Herald


Not so Windy

Dear Editor,

Mayor Tarleck's initiative to investigate and influence energy supply in Alberta is admirable. Energy, and electricity in particular, is of vital interest to this part of the province.

Unfortunately, the article reporting on his trip to Denmark ("A windy pitch", Delon Shurtz, August 29) is not consistent with data reported by Denmark's energy department website. It appears that the author has reported some data on electricity as energy data.

The article states that Denmark's target is 30% of it's energy from alternate sources. Denmark's "Energy Policy Review 2001" indicates it's goal is to produce 1/3 of it's electricity from renewable sources by 2005. That is a big difference. Denmark's total energy consumption in 2000 was 840 PJ. Electricity provided 125 PJ.

The article notes Denmark has 5000 wind turbines producing about 15% of all energy. The Danish website indicates 6200 wind turbines in 2000. They produced about 13% of Denmark's electricity. Renewables provided about 4% of total energy including wind turbines at about 2%. Confusion reigns supreme between energy and electricity.

The article indicates that less than 1% of Alberta's energy comes from alternate or sustainable sources. Canada's Energy Outlook 2020 indicates Alberta consumed 1530PJ of energy in 2000 including 131PJ of electricity. The Canadian Electricity Association indicates that Alberta derives about 3.8% of its electricity from hydro and 2.7% from "other" which includes wind and waste wood biomaterials. These statistics suggest that hydro and other sustainable energy sources together do indeed account for about 1% of Alberta's energy.

It appears that Mayor Tarleck's goal proposes that we catch up to Denmark's 4% of energy from renewable sources by achieving 3%. That is a tough enough goal in itself. The Herald has inadvertently and incorrectly suggested it may be easy by mistakenly suggesting Denmark is aiming to derive 30% of it's energy from alternate sources. There is a big difference between 30% of energy and 30% of electricity. The difference in Alberta is tens of thousands of wind turbines and the alternate systems to back them up when it's not so windy.

Yours truly,


Duane Pendergast


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