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30 Fairmont Park Lane S
Lethbridge, AB T1K 7H7
Phone: (403) 328-1704
Monday, Thursday, December 22, 2016

The Editor
The Lethbridge Herald
P.O. Box 670
Lethbridge, AB, T1J 3Z7

In the past year our government has created confusion with careless announcements about their plan to produce more of Alberta’s electricity from renewable sources. It has been unclear whether renewable generation goals constitute some 30% of installed power plant capacity or 30% of total electricity generated.

Electrical power plant capacity is the maximum rate of energy production and is typically measured in multiples of Watts. Energy output summed over time specifies the total energy produced and is typically measured in multiples of Watt-hours.

Thirty percent renewable power capacity will not result in 30 percent of electricity coming from renewable sources such as wind and solar. Why? Wind and solar driven electricity generation is highly variable and often zero. Summed output over time varies from 1/10 to 1/3 anticipated power based on rated maximum capacity. Coal and gas driven generators, on the other hand can run at near rated power capacity continually. Their total electrical energy output can be close to output based on rated capacity.

It is this issue which is leading to the wide ranging estimates of cost, or “investment” to deploy more renewable electricity in Alberta by 2030. Shannon Philips remarked last spring that $30 billion dollars of “investment” would be needed to meet renewable energy goals. A government announcement of September 14 suggests an “investment” of just $10.5 billion to deploy 5000MW of wind turbine capacity. Our Energy Collegium developed an estimate of up to $50 billion to comprehensively cover all the costs of coal phase-out, and replacement with electricity from renewable sources and natural gas.

Clarification of this discrepancy is forthcoming. Bill 27, The Renewable Energy Act, is now under discussion in the legislature. The renewable energy goal is stated as; “A target is established that at least 30% of the electric energy produced in Alberta, measured on an annual basis, will be produced from renewable energy resources.” That means Watt-hours. The target is to be met by 2030. The Energy Collegium upper level cost estimate of $50 billion will thus apply. It is available at http://www.computare.org/guests.htm.

Albertans will pay these vast sums via carbon tax based subsidies and higher electricity bills. Surely, we can think of better ways to improve the lives and health of Albertans.

Yours truly,

Duane Pendergast
Energy Collegium



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