August 16, 2014 · 11:00 AM
On Wednesday August 13, 2014 the Alberta Utilities Commission (AUC) gave the go-ahead for the combined cycle gas turbine (CCGT) electricity generating units known as Genesee 4 and 5. G4 and G5 will produce 1,050 megawatts (MW) and will help offset the retirement of 870 MW of four coal power units by December 31, 2019 required via Federal regulation.
But, according to the 2014 AESO Long Term Outlook (LTO), there will still be a need for an additional 3,500 MW of power to handle the electricity demand in Alberta in 2020. Eighty percent of this additional power (2800 MW) is planned to be fuelled with natural gas while a paltry 708 MW of zero emission renewable electricity is planned to be powered with 663 MW wind and 45 MW ‘other’. Alberta should, and can do better.
Ten coal units, not four, should be shuttered by 2020. At the same time 3,700 MW of wind, solar, geothermal, hydro, and bioenergy, coupled with energy efficiency and energy storage should be supported via a dedicated fund which channels levies collected via the SGER toward reliable, zero emission renewable electricity. Noteworthy, is the fact that Alberta has an advantage over other power jurisdictions – existing gas turbine power units, currently operated at low capacity factors, can be called upon quickly if wind or solar generation decreases.
Join us on Saturday, August 16 to discuss how to inspire our political leaders to wean Alberta off the fossil fuel electricity diet and progress toward a more sustainable energy future.
Ken Hogg – Co-ordinator, Calgary Renewable Energy Meetup