Why Automation won’t take your job for at least the next 100 years – Cruise control for your car is handy but I don’t think you need to worry about cars driving you from point A-Z yet! The technology is gaining traction “PUNNY” but we are still a long ways off from replacing the man, […]Continue Reading
There’s an expression about the lazy days of summer, but in recent weeks, wind energy developers in Alberta and Saskatchewan have been anything but idle.
They have been hard at work readying their projects as both provinces move forward with their plans to go to the market for new clean energy supply.
The Alberta Electric System Operator (AESO) is in the middle of a competitive process to procure 400 MW of renewable energy that will come on-line by the end of 2019. This is the first step in the province’s plan to support installation of 5,000 MW of renewable power capacity by 2030.
When the Renewable Electricity Plan (REP) Round 1 request for qualifications (RFQ) stage closed in June, the AESO received 22 applications for renewable energy projects, from Alberta and across the globe. We also know that, at last count, there were more than 8,000 MW of wind projects on the AESO’s connection list. In other words, the AESO has a wide variety of projects to choose from as it chooses qualifiers to participate in a formal request for proposals (RFP) to be released September 15.
SaskPower’s ongoing procurement for 200 MW of wind energy to be brought online in 2021 is also the first in a series designed to meet the utility’s goal of having wind make up 30 per cent of the province’s generating capacity by 2030. SaskPower’s RFQ attracted 23 submissions, and from those, eight companies were invited to submit project bids by the May 25, 2018 deadline.
Both the AESO and SaskPower have put a lot of time and effort into designing competitive processes that will ensure they get the best our industry has to offer. From the very strong response they’ve received, it’s pretty clear they are on the right track.
Both provinces have set clear, long-term goals that give businesses the confidence to invest in the development of projects that may compete in multiple procurements over a number of years prior to being awarded with a contract. The next step is to provide a well-defined schedule of such future procurements. This will then provide developers with the time and incentives to forge meaningful, mutually beneficial working relationships with municipalities, landowners, and Indigenous communities in both Alberta and Saskatchewan.
In the wind energy industry, the competitive forces are considerable. Almost 60,000 MW of wind energy was installed worldwide in 2016, the second-biggest year ever. The International Energy Agency’s newly released World Energy Investment 2017 report found spending in the electricity sector exceeded the combined investment in oil, gas and coal supply for the first time ever last year, and the largest area of electricity spending was in renewable energy. Bloomberg New Energy Finance’s New Energy Outlook 2017 predicts that nearly three-quarters of the US$10.2 trillion spent on new power generation over the next 23 years will be invested in renewables, and that by 2040, wind and solar will make up 48 per cent of the world’s installed generating capacity and 34 per cent of total electricity production.
The need to reduce greenhouse gas emissions is a big driver of this energy market shift, but so too is cost. Wind energy is 66 per cent less expensive than it was just seven years ago – thanks mainly to rapid technological innovation – and Bloomberg is expecting to see another 47 per cent drop by 2040. Wind is now the least expensive form of zero-emission electricity available in Canada, and increasingly competes head-to-head with gas-fired plants – the lowest-cost conventional generation source – in markets across North America.
There is no doubt the RFPs now underway in the Prairies will ride these trends and deliver clean, affordable electricity to consumers. In fact, I’m willing to go one step further. I predict that when the winners in Alberta are announced in December and in Saskatchewan in the fall of 2018, we will see some of the lowest prices ever paid for wind energy in Canada.Continue Reading
Back in November of last year, I came up with a crazy idea. As Talk Energy Week 2015 was fast approaching (last week of Feb) I began to wonder what role I would play in the week. I wanted to do something fun and different that still had a link to energy in Canada. I looked into how Canadians use energy as well as the major energy sources, and then it dawned on me. I should go on some sort of energy diet! I should do some sort of a weeklong activity during which I would forego the energy that Canadians rely on to provide the essentials of modern day living. As the two most significant users of energy in Canada are transportation, and the heating and cooling of our homes, I decided that I would have to be moving and sleeping outside in order to forego both of these things. Why not take a walk? I figured walking for a cause would probably be a good way to raise some awareness and that’s how I came up with the idea of walking from Montreal to Ottawa during Talk Energy Week 2015. Now all I needed was the approval of the LTE team. I decided to throw in a couple of visits along the way to some energy related sites like the Carillon Hydroelectric dam and Beaus Brewery to see some ways we produce and consume energy.
Our bi-weekly team meeting came and I pitched the idea. The team laughed at first not because the idea was so ridiculous but because they thought I was kidding. Walking from Montreal to Ottawa and sleeping outdoors during February seems more madness than wisdom. Once I explained all of the logistics, they all came around to the idea. They did tell me though that this was my idea and no one would be forcing me!
Now that I had the support I needed, I decided to look into the logistics a little more closely. I estimated that I would need 5 and half days of walking. I would be ending at the Canada Aviation and space museum for their Talk Energy Week Speaker Series on the Friday of the week, which was perfect timing. I also would need a tent since I would be sleeping outside, as well as warm gear to be able to be comfortable on my journey I put all my equipment into a pack and discovered it weighed about 40 pounds. This would seriously slow me down, so I decided that I could live without some of my clothing. I mapped out my route and found four very interesting energy related sites the Carillon Hydro dam, the Beau’s Brewery, the Fairmont Montebello and the Thurso Cogeneration Facility would make great stops, and give me something to break up the monotony of walking. Doing the math and pouring over maps, I decided I would average about 30 to 35 km a day and would have a great experience under my belt. Or so I hoped… There was just one problem – with only a week to go, the long range forecast predicted unseasonably cold weather. With the coldest February on record for the last 150 years, I began to wonder what I had signed myself up for.Continue Reading
As we’ve mentioned here before, the Renewable Energy Program (REP) has positioned Alberta to be Canada’s largest market for new wind energy investment for the next decade. The REP ensures this by providing contracts for 5,000 MW of new renewable energy capacity, in order to reach the Alberta government’s goal of 30 per cent of electricity coming from renewable sources by 2030.
As the most cost-competitive source of renewable energy in Alberta today, wind energy is well positioned to provide the majority of new renewable energy required to meet the government’s commitment. According to a new report by The Delphi Group that we released today, growing the wind energy sector will also create jobs and a more prosperous Alberta.
The report, “Alberta Wind Energy Supply Chain Study”, finds that, if wind energy were to be awarded with contracts for 4,500 MW, it would result in $8.27 billion in investments by wind energy developers. These investments would provide approximately 15,000 job years of employment and $3.6 billion in local spending in project development and construction by 2030.
Alberta’s strengths: supply and skills
Alberta’s wind energy capacity currently produces enough electricity to meet six per cent of the province’s electricity demand, enough to power about 625,000 average sized homes for a year. With some of the best onshore wind resources in Canada, Alberta has huge untapped potential to produce more of this cost-effective renewable energy.
The province is also home to a tremendously skilled workforce that could fill the jobs in a growing wind energy sector. Many of the skills and occupations required to develop wind projects – such as engineering, construction, operations and maintenance – are transferable from the oil and gas sector.
Wind energy can power prosperity in Alberta in the 21st century
Albertans know a thing or two about taking the bull by the horns, and about reinventing themselves. The REP sets the stage for a new kind of made-in-Alberta opportunity. The entrepreneurs and innovators in the province are poised to capitalize. The decisions we make in the next few years relating to procurement, workforce development, and research and innovation, have the potential to deliver on the promise of wind energy and contribute to future prosperity in Alberta.Continue Reading