Hello Chestermere! According to the Alberta Electric System Operator wind has a “maximum capacity” of 1445 megawatts (MW) which is about 9% of available generation in Alberta. Around midnight last night, in -27 weather, or -37 with the windchill, wind energy was supplying Albertans with a whopping 11 megawatts of power or 0.119% of needed power. I looked this morning and wind was supplying 0 MW of the 10992 MW required ( http://ets.aeso.ca/ets_web/ip/Market/Reports/CSDReportServlet ).
In fact we were importing 211 MW of power from Montana which is largely generated by burning, you guessed it, coal. Now you know I love renewables, in fact I have 40 solar panels on my house, but let’s face it, with renewables, and no matter what decisions governments make, there will always need to be a secondary source for energy when the wind does not blow and the sun does not shine. Can you imagine what life would be like without reliable power? We need to educate ourselves about these things, and really have an honest idea about how this all works. Let me provide some context for this discussion. I was at the Enmax Shepard Energy Centre for a tour this week. It is the largest natural gas fueled power facility in Alberta. As I write this it was supplying 829 MW of its 860 MW maximum capacity and can do so pretty well 24/7. This is about 50% of what Calgary uses, and it emits less than half of the emissions produced at conventional coal plants. They use reclaimed water that comes to them from the Bonnybrook wastewater treatment plant, filtered until it is almost as pure as distilled water. They use incredibly powerful and efficient gas powered turbines to power the generators. The turbines compress air and mixes with fuel. It is then ignited and then that hot mixture moves through the blades causing them to spin, then through a generator which is converted into electricity. Enmax uses a process called combined cycle generation and the exhaust heat from the turbines is used to make steam to power more generation in a process called Heat Recovery Steam Generation. The efficiency of this plant is something that will only continue to improve, and more that that, imagine if this technology was used in places like China and India. It cost $1.4 billion to build here in Alberta in a 50:50 partnership with Capital Power from Edmonton. This is how we keep the lights on, and our homes warm in the winter. We are so blessed to have this incredible natural resource, and we should be selling it to other nations, along with this incredible technology to help reduce emissions, and to help other nations bring necessary energy to their populations. Energy poverty in countries like India is a real and pressing issue. I will never understand how our Governments, who claim to care about the environment and care about global issues, continue to handcuff a nation and an industry that could bring real and meaningful increases in other nations’ prosperity. Income from our natural resources leads to us being able to build hospitals, roads, schools, and to fund important social programs. Our provincial Government’s policies have taken our industry to its knees and only now do they seem to realize that they have destroyed investment, trust and any advantage that we may have had in continuing to create prosperity for our province and our economy.
Ok folks, it is time to drop the writ! It is time to call this election, and it is time to let the people of Alberta have their chance to vote. The Premier is using your tax dollars every day to campaign, and she is not the first Premier to do this. She is quoted in 2015 saying, in reference to Premier Prentice, “It is not acceptable that this PC government uses the public purse as its own personal campaign fund. This doesn’t pass the smell test and Albertans deserve better” (https://edmontonsun.com/opinion/editorials/editorial-parties-are-already-campaigning-drop-the-writ-already). The ads the NDP are running are expensive NDP political propaganda paid for with your tax dollars. I am as always shocked at the policies of this government and moreover the double standards that our Premier follows.
I would like to point to a very good article from the Herald’s Chris Nelson (https://calgaryherald.com/opinion/columnists/nelson-in-reality-our-city-is-still-hurting) in response to a group of academics that felt that Albertans were not really suffering. Finally, Happy Black History Month. I will keep you updated with upcoming events, and also please participate in zero tolerance day for female genital mutilation on Feb 6th. We have an event coming up on Feb 11 at the University of Calgary, and I will post the information on my Facebook and website pages. Speaking of events, get an early start on Valentine’s Day at my upcoming “All That Political Jazz” fundraiser on Feb. 9 at the Dockside Pub here in Chestermere. Check out www.VoteLeela.com/events for details!