“Ancient Embers”, Adrian von Ziegler, from the album “Mirror Of The Night”, (2011)
From a blog site appropriately named “Sunshine Hours” comes a posting on why the NDP promise of closing out coal by 2030 coupled with the imposition of $30 per ton carbon tax means that we here, in a province currently experiencing -20 Celsius and a wind chill of -30 Celsius, will be looking at the closing of about 18 coal fired generation plants by end of 2018 as they become more and more unprofitable.
But, the coal generation infrastructure represents 40% of electrical generation in Alberta and supports north of a 100,000 jobs in Alberta, not counting the industries who depend on electricity to stay in business. Can we replace 40% of our electrical generation with renewable?
The cold, hard, facts say NO! Reality on the ground seems to indicate that cows will more likely start pooping gold bricks, along with all the greenhouse gasses they are allegedly farting, than that we have even a tiny hope in hell of replacing 40% of our electrical generation capacity with renewable energy from ANY or ALL sources put together.
My own post earlier reports some realities from the world of Physics and Engineering which information is not apparently a contender for consideration in the planning of the NDP and the rest of the Gaia worshipers.
… For too many people “alternate energy” is more about religion than about physics. They believe that if we are just creative enough, we can overcome fundamental physical limitations — and it’s not that easy. In order for “alternate energy” to become feasible, it has to satisfy all of the following criteria:
1. It has to be huge (in terms of both energy and power)
2. It has to be reliable (not intermittent or unschedulable)
3. It has to be concentrated (not diffuse)
4. It has to be possible to utilize it efficiently
5. The capital investment and operating cost to utilize it has to be comparable to existing energy sources (per gigawatt, and per terajoule).
If it fails to satisfy any of those, then it can’t scale enough to make any difference. Solar power fails #3, and currently it also fails #5. (It also partially fails #2, but there are ways to work around that.)
My rule of thumb is that I’m not interested in any “alternate energy” until some one shows me how to scale it to produce at least 1% of our current energy usage.
America right now uses about 3.6 terawatts average, so 1% of that is about 36 gigawatts average.
Show me a plan to produce 36 gigawatts (average, not peak) using solar power, at a price no more than 30% greater than coal generation of comparable capacity, which can be implemented at that scale in 10-15 years. Then I’ll pay attention.
Since solar power installations can only produce power for about 10 hours per day on average, that means that peak power production would need to be in the range of about 85 gigawatts to reach that 1%.
(Ed note: At present, Alberta has 16,261 MW of installed generating capacity so 40% of that would be about 6,500 Mega-Watts. How are we going to provide for this shortfall after we close down coal?
Kronos Solar, with head offices based in Munich, Germany, has “significant experience in the design, planning, development, construction, and maintenance of PV parks.”
They are seeking planning permission for approximately a 50-hectare Photovoltaic Park, with projected generation of 20 MW, that will plug directly into the ATCO Power network.
So at best we are looking at at least 325 of these projects using 17,000 hectares of land That’s about a quarter of the land area currently occupied by the city of Edmonton. We are daily witnesses to the chaos and animosity aroused by Edmonton’s efforts to annex a little more land. Just imagine the outcry when the government expropriates 17,000 hectares of productive farmland for development of solar farms.
And what about cost? The current advertised costs project out as a cost in taxpayer’s dollars somewhere north of Canadian $100,000,000.00 per installation. Gee! Lets see … that’s somewhere above 32 BILLION Canadian Dollars of taxpayers money to cover off the immediate shortfall of 40% of Alberta’s electrical generation capacity! That doesn’t allow anything left over for increased usage and growth -OH YEA! We don’t want increased growth, we don’t want a better economy, we don’t care about jobs. I get it.
That is just what the proponents are saying it will cost, while trying to sell it to the public. If past history is any indicator (and it is!) this could easily climb to over 60 billion, just like every other government project in history. That’s Canadian $1.6 billion per year of advertised cost (or 3.2 billion if you don’t trust government figures) which the province hasn’t got in it’s current revenue stream.
After we get rid of evil coal and start cutting back on evil oil the province will have even less in it’s piggy bank. So I look at these numbers and I wonder how the NDP plan to raise that $1.6 billion (3.2 billion) per year – maybe higher taxes and higher electrical costs? What do I know, I am just one of those desperate people in fly-over country clinging to my guns and religion. But I still wonder “how city dwellers spell “brownout” and “blackout” and “unemployment”?
This solar park with 900,000 solar panels which went fully on line in October 2009, and will supply electricity for 15,000 households (about the size of the small city of Camrose, Alberta) a year while reducing the use of pollution-generating fossil fuels.
The Lieberose Solar Park cost $238-million U.S. dollars and is operated by the Juwi Group, which has a 20-year contract on the land. The installations which the German companies are proposing for Alberta alegedly have a projected 25 year lifespan, but 20 years is probably more realistic or why wouldn’t they contract for a longer lease.
This projected lifespan of about 25 years is – in another words – just about exactly how long it has taken Germany to accept that Solar doesn’t work.)
Without (meeting the 5 criteria), it’s just religion, like all the people fascinated with wind and with biomass. And even if it did reach 1%, that still leaves the other 99% of our energy production to petroleum, coal, hydro, and nuclear.
The problems facing “alternate energy” are fundamental, deep, and are show-stoppers. They are not things that will be surmounted by one lone incremental improvement in one small area, announced breathlessly by a startup which is trying to drum up funding.
The way you can tell that a fan of “alternate energy” is a religious cultist is to ask them this question: If your preferred alternate source of energy is practical, why isn’t it already in use? Why not? Because of The Conspiracy™. The big oil companies don’t want it to happen, and have been suppressing all this live-saving green people’s energy all this time for their own nefarious purposes.
As soon as you hear any reference to The Conspiracy™, you know you’re talking to someone who is living in a morality play. That isn’t engineering any more, that’s religion. And while religion is an important part of many people’s lives, it has no place in engineering discussions.
UPDATE: There’s actually another common answer to the “Why not” question. It’s because you engineers are just too hidebound and conservative and unimaginative. If you’d just get on board and recognize how utterly cool and romantic these other ways of producing energy would be, then you could wave your magic engineering wand and make it happen.
That’s another kind of religion. It’s not a religious struggle against evil (as personified by Big Oil) so much as a religious image of paradise. If the adherents of this kind of religion can just convert enough doubters, then paradise can happen. If you just believe, we can all be saved! Hallelujah, baby! Praise Gaia and pass the biodiesel!
Thanks, but no thanks. My “conservatism” on this subject is due to my understanding of the laws of physics and the principles of engineering, not to me being hidebound and unimaginative.
Assuming you made it through the above dry-as-dust explanation of the laws of physics as to why renewable is not ready for prime time, one finds only two possible explanations for the direction our government is going in: 1. They are delusional and should be locked up for their own protection. 2. They know exactly what they are about, namely the complete destruction of Alberta and everyone in the province who doesn’t share their religious beliefs.
And this site where they say: The cornerstones of the new plan are: (1) an accelerated phase-out of coal, (2) an economy-wide carbon levy, (3) an absolute cap on oil sands emissions, and (4) a methane gas emissions reduction plan. Together, the different parts of the province’s new plan will affect all Albertans and a number of industries.
Another site, the Financial Post, which is as about as close as Canada comes to a reasonable Main Stream Media source, we have this article: http://business.financialpost.com/news/energy/albertas-coal-power-phaseout-will-begin-in-2018-industry-association-says
and another article from the same source :
None of this is an accident or unintended consequence. This is just the first stroke of the NDP master plan for the destruction of the Alberta economy for the long haul and the subsequent enslavement of anyone in Alberta who have might have worked productively and independently as part of the most prosperous economy in Canada. TD Bank Financial Group. April 22, 2003 ranked the Edmonton – Calgary corridor as the most productive real estate in North America.
A little further on we will look at some reliable, credible information from some reliable reasonably unbiased sources headquartered in Europe, where they started down the path of Rachel’s “Brave New World” of renewable energy back in 1997 or so, with the German Green Party’s initiatives to shut down coal and other hydrocarbon energy sources (Gee! That sounds familiar doesn’t it?)
“Sacred Earth”, Adrian von Ziegler, from the album “Libertas”, (2014)
Nothing Rachel Notley is doing is new. As mentioned, Germany started this at the behest of the Greens back in 1997. We have seen it play out in real time in the last 20 years and the results are unequivocal.
Germany is now looking at dumping the renewable energy religion because it has become a mortal threat to their economy and this only stands to accelerate as Deutchebank melts down in the coming months. That is why more and more German renewable energy companies are competing for government tax money in Canada – our governments are still drinking the Gaia Worship Punch
The inevitable results are proven over and over again, everywhere it is tried anywhere in the world in the past or right now in River City. But why would any Progressive Socialist give a care for the reality of the little people whose money they are spending.
The ideology and the dream are the important thing, even if we have to kill millions which is where this type of non-thinking has always gone and always goes (If you doubt the fact of the killings take a look at Belgium these days).
They just keep driving the bus over the cliff using other people’s money and other people’s lives until there is no other people’s money or lives to spend and then their dream world melts down, drowning in it’s own offal, isn’t that right Father Mao, Uncle Joe, Mr. Pol Pot, Mr. Hitler, Mr Trudeau?
One can only conclude that the NDP’s intention is exactly to replicate the disaster in Europe by employing hugely discredited alternate energy companies from Germany. They can’t get government contracts in Europe any more because all Europe is starting to understand that Solar and renewable just doesn’t work in the real world.
But here in Alberta we are still drinking the KoolAide. For example we have a proposed solar project near Heisler which met with totally unexpected public opposition at their open house in November.
I suppose that Rachel underestimated the popular response in a rural population who need hay, not solar power when the temperatures reach -20 degrees Celsius.
I guess that is what comes of having spent your entire life in the role of publicly funded domestic terrorist in both Alberta and British Columbia, doing your best to destroy the economy and society you live in like every other good little useful idiot. Joe Stalin must be just smiling in approval in whatever hothouse he occupies now.
In the body politic, it is called Socialism, personified in Canada by the NDP with the Liberal Party running a very close second. In Canada, even the Conservatives are to the left of even the extremist elements of the Democratic Party in the U.S. Eh?
And when this cancer called Socialism metastasizes in the Body politic it is manifested by the election of Socialist and progressive parties to govern, the more left the better, with absolutely no regard to how well we are doing as a nation economically compared to any other nation on the planet.
And, as in the biological body, it just as effectively kills the host. For a current example just look at the state of affairs in Hungary, Ukraine, Poland, the Caribean and South America, a number of places in Africa, and so on. Come on all you lefties, I hear that holiday properties are going cheap in the Workers Paradise of Eastern Europe, or maybe you are waiting for the real estate marked to open up in Cuba?
All these nice pretty bar charts show relative energy costs around the world. I pulled these graphs from a site in England, OVO Energy Ltd, registered office 1 Rivergate Temple Quay Bristol, BS1 6ED, company no. 06890795 registered in England and Wales, VAT No. 100119879
Lets look at some electricity costs in various countries around the world – all these graphs are normalized in U.S. cents per KWh. Not too surprisingly for non religious engineering types (aka Grey Tribe) those countries whose Socialist Governments are MOST infatuated with the religion of Gaia Worship have the highest energy costs in the world.
Lets take Denmark for starters. At 41 cents per KWh they come in at about 400% higher than energy costs in Canada and especially Alberta.
If you think about it for a minute the input cost of energy pretty well reflects the competitiveness of a country in the world, because the energy costs are picked up to one degree or another by every part of the economy and the supply chain, from workers cost of living, to transportation costs, to costs of running factories and infrastructure.
So you just got to ask, when was the last time we heard of Denmark as a world economic powerhouse? Lets see, that would be … about the late 8th century when they made their wealth raiding other more productive regions of Europe.
Of course that popular activity has been completely replaced, in this sophisticated modern world, by an extremely lucrative membership in the EU. The Danes better hope that Brexit isn’t a herald of the fall. They might actually have to start working for a living.
400%! A 400% increase in my electrical bill would have me paying about $1200.00 Canadian per month in the winter. That’s about half an employee’s monthly take home pay. I wonder if Rachel ever noticed how companies cut costs when input costs go up. In order to survive they shed employees – those evil capitalist company owners!
But my situation is not unique, just take a quick glance at the situation where another domestic terrorist has been energetically destroying the Ontario economy. In Ontario, many people are now finding themselves having to choose between eating (kinda necessary ya know) and paying their electrical bill (also kinda necessary at -20 degrees Celsius). Thanks a bunch Kathleen!
“Horse with No Rider”, Alan Menken, from the soundtrack album of the movie “Tangled”, (2010)
And in Liberal Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne’s own back yard there are rumblings. All the polls are saying the Ontario Liberals might have a better shot at retaining their majority government if they get a new leader, new polls suggests, even as Premier Kathleen Wynne plans to stay to fight the 2018 election. But that is just a “might”.
The Liberals are trailing the Progressive Conservatives by 14 percentage points in the latest Mainstreet Research poll for Postmedia. The Tories — at 35 per cent — are in possible majority territory. The Liberals trail with 21 per cent, followed by the NDP at 18 per cent and the Green party at five per cent.
So we Canadians, as a nation and a producer are in third place after India and China as the most competitive place on the planet to operate on an energy cost basis. In the Old Days when productivity and prosperity were good and a goal for everyone that would have been a prized advantage (The Alberta Advantage).
So in Kathleen’s and Rachel’s Brave New World we are in an all out race to the top of the energy cost charts, just peeing ourselves in our drooling eagerness to join Germany, Spain, Nigeria, and Denmark as another global center of expensive energy excellence.
Well! SOMEBODY has to do it, otherwise the world will end. Right Rachel? I wonder how your voters in Redmonton and Calgary will feel after a full four years of record unemployment and $1200.00 a month electrical bills? Maybe about the same way the Ontario voters are starting to feel about Her Royal Highness Queen Kathleen. Re-election, or Torches and Pitchforks, your call?
Our society and culture and economy cannot function without cheap energy. Looking at the results of eliminating coal and then oil, and looking at the real world viability of Solar and Wind and Biomass, I am starting to see a Nuclear future for Alberta in particular and Canada in general. After all, we invented the CANDU nuclear reactor and sold it to half the world before the Liberals shut down Chalk River. (more on that future to follow)
Isn’t -30 degrees beautiful???
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