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One (Megawatt) is the loneliest number, but hundreds of batteries are absurd


12 minute read

From the Frontier Centre for Public Policy

By Brian Zinchuk

That comes out to $104,000,000,000, in batteries, alone, to cover those 18 hours on Feb. 8. To make it easier on you, $104 billion. If you use Smith’s numbers, it’s $80.6 billion. Even if I’m out by a factor of two, it’s an obscene amount of money.

SaskPower Minister Dustin Duncan recently told me I watch electricity markets like some people watch fantasy football. I would agree with him, if I knew anything about fantasy football.

I had some time to kill around noon on Feb. 8, and I checked out the minute-by-minute updates from the Alberta Electric System Operator. What I saw for wind power production was jaw-dropping to say the least. Alberta has built 45 wind farms with hundreds of wind turbines totalling an installed capacity of 4,481 megawatts.

My usual threshold for writing a story about this is output falling to less than one per cent – 45 megawatts. Its output at 11:07 a.m., Alberta time, in megawatts?


Ten minutes later:


30 minutes later:


How long can this last? Is there a fault with the website? There doesn’t seem to be.

12:07 p.m.


Strains of “One is the loneliest number” flow through my head.

I’ve seen it hit one before briefly. Even zero for a minute or two. But this keeps going. And going. I keep taking screenshots. How long will this last?

1:07 p.m.


1:29 p.m.


Finally, there’s a big change at 2:38. The output has doubled.


That’s 2.5 hours at one. How long will two last?

3:45 p.m.


4:10 p.m. – output quadruples – to a whopping eight megawatts.

It ever-so-slowly crept up from there. Ten hours after I started keeping track, total wind output had risen to 39 megawatts – still not even one per cent of rated output. Ten hours.

It turns out that wind fell below one per cent around 5 a.m., and stayed under that for 18 hours.

Building lots of turbines doesn’t work

The argument has long been if it’s not blowing here, it’s blowing somewhere. Build enough turbines, spread them all over, and you should always have at least some wind power. But Alberta’s wind turbines are spread over an area larger than the Benelux countries, and they still had essentially zero wind for 18 hours. Shouldn’t 45 wind farms be enough geographic distribution?

The other argument is to build lots and lots of batteries. Use surplus renewable power to charge them, and then when the wind isn’t blowing (or sun isn’t shining), draw power from the batteries.

Alberta has already built 10 grid-scale batteries. Nine of those are the eReserve fleet, each 20 megawatt Tesla systems. I haven’t been able to find the price of those, but SaskPower is building a 20 megawatt Tesla system on the east side of Regina, and its price is $26 million.

From over a year’s frequent observation, it’s apparent that the eReserve batteries only put out a maximum of 20 megawatts for about an hour before they’re depleted. They can run longer at lower outputs, but I haven’t seen anything to show they could get two or five hours out of the battery at full power. And SaskPower’s press release explains its 20 megawatt Tesla system has about 20 megawatts-hours of power. This corresponds very closely to remarks made by Alberta Premier Danielle Smith, along with the price of about $1 million per megawatt hour for grid-scale battery capacity.

She said in late October, “I want to talk about batteries for a minute, because I know that everybody thinks that this economy is going to be operated on wind and solar and battery power — and it cannot. There is no industrialized economy in the world operating that way, because they need baseload. And, I’ll tell you what I know about batteries, because I talked to somebody thinking of investing in it on a 200-megawatt plant. One million dollars to be able to get each megawatt stored: that’s 200 million dollars for his plant alone, and he would get one hour of storage. So if you want me to have 12 thousand megawatts of storage, that’s 12 billion dollars for one hour of storage, 24 billion dollars for two hours of storage, 36 billion dollars for three hours of storage, and there are long stretches in winter, where we can go weeks without wind or solar. That is the reason why we need legitimate, real solutions that rely on baseload power rather than fantasy thinking.”

So let’s do some math to see if the premier is on the money.

If you wanted enough batteries to output the equivalent of the 4,481 megawatts of wind for one hour (minus the 1 megawatt it was producing), that’s 4480 megawatts / 20 megawatts per battery = 224 batteries like those in the eReserve fleet. But remember, they can only output their full power for about an hour. So the next hour, you need another 224, and so on. For 18 hours, you need 4032 batteries. Let’s be generous and subtract the miniscule wind production over that time, and round it to 4,000 batteries, at $26 million a pop. (Does Tesla offer bulk discounts?)

That comes out to $104,000,000,000, in batteries, alone, to cover those 18 hours on Feb. 8. To make it easier on you, $104 billion. If you use Smith’s numbers, it’s $80.6 billion. Even if I’m out by a factor of two, it’s an obscene amount of money.

But wait, there’s more!

You would also need massive amounts of transmission infrastructure to power and tie in those batteries. I’m not even going to count the dollars for that.

But you also need the surplus power to charge all those batteries. The Alberta grid, like most grids, runs with a four per cent contingency, as regulated by NERC. Surplus power is often sold to neighbours. And there’s been times, like mid-January, where that was violated, resulting in a series of grid alerts.

At times when there’s lots of wind and solar on the grid, there’s up to around 900 megawatts being sold to B.C and other neighbours. But for 18 hours (not days, but hours), you need 4,000 batteries * 20 megawatt-hours per battery =  80,000 megawatt hours. Assuming 100 per cent efficiency in charging (which is against the laws of physics, but work with me here), if you had a consistent 900 megawatts of surplus power, it would take 89 hours to charge them (if they could charge that fast, which is unlikely).

That’s surplus power you are not selling to an external client, meaning you’re not taking in any extra revenue, and they might not be getting the power they need. And having 900 megawatts is the exception here. It’s much more like 300 megawatts surplus. So your perfect 89 hours to charge becomes 267 hours (11.1 days), all to backfill 18 hours of essentially no wind power.

This all assumes at you’ve had sufficient surplus power to charge your batteries, that days or weeks of low wind and/or solar don’t deplete your reserves, and the length of time they are needed does not exceed your battery capacity.

Nor does it figure in how many years life are you going to get out of those batteries in the first place? How many charge cycles before you have to recapitalize the whole fleet?

For the dollars we’re talking here, you’re easily better off to four (or more) Westinghouse AP-1000 reactors, with 1,100 megawatts capacity each. Their uptime should be somewhere around 90 per cent.

Or maybe coal could be renewed – built with the most modern technology like high efficiency, low emissions (HELE), with integrated carbon capture from Day 1. How many HELE coal-fired power plants, with carbon capture and storage, could you build for either $80 billion or $104 billion? Certainly more than 4,481 megawatts worth.

Building either nuclear or HELE coal gives you solid, consistent baseload power, without the worry of the entire fleet going down, like wind did in Alberta on Feb. 8, as well as Feb. 45, 6, and 7.

Indeed, according to X bot account @ReliableAB, which does hourly tracking of the Alberta grid, from Feb. 5 to 11:15 a.m., Feb. 9, Alberta wind output averaged 3.45 per cent of capacity. So now instead of 18 hours, we’re talking 108 hours needing 96+ per cent to be backfilled. I don’t have enough brain power to figure it out.

You can argue we only need to backfill X amount of wind, maybe 25 per cent, since you can’t count on wind to ever produce 100 per cent of its nameplate across the fleet. But Alberta has thousands more megawatts of wind on tap to be built as soon as the province lifts is pause on approvals. If they build all of it, maybe the numbers I provide will indeed be that 25 per cent. Who knows? The point is all of this is ludicrous.

Just build reliable, baseload power, with peaking capacity. And end this foolishness.

Brian Zinchuk is editor and owner of Pipeline Online, and occasional contributor to the Frontier Centre for Public Policy. He can be reached at [email protected]


Pope Francis calls for ‘global financial charter’ at Vatican climate change conference

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From LifeSiteNews

By Michael Haynes, Snr. Vatican Correspondent

Addressing a Vatican-hosted climate change conference, Pope Francis called for a “new global financial charter” by 2025 which would be centered on climate change and “ecological debt.”

“There is a need to develop a new financial architecture capable of responding to the demands of the Global South and of the island states that have been seriously affected by climate catastrophes,” said Pope Francis on Thursday, May 16.

The Pontiff’s words came towards the end of his keynote address at the conference “Climate Crisis to Climate Resilience,” organized jointly by the Vatican’s Pontifical Academy of Sciences and Pontifical Academy of Social Sciences.

Outlining a three-fold action plan to respond to the “planetary crisis,” Francis told the participants that any such action must be centered around financial action. 

“The restructuring and reduction of debt, together with the development of a new global financial charter by 2025, acknowledging a sort of ecological debt – we must work on this term: ecological debt – can be of great assistance in mitigating climate changes,” he said, appearing to allude to an already existing, but as yet unpublished, charter.

The Pope’s three-fold plan also highlighted his call for “policy changes” based on climate adherence and the reduction of warming, fossil fuel reliance, and carbon dioxide: 

First, a universal approach and swift and decisive action is needed, capable of producing policy changes and decisions. Second, we need to reverse the curve of warming, seeking to halve the rate of warming in the short space of a quarter of a century. At the same time, we need to aim for global de-carbonization, eliminating the dependence on fossil fuels. 

Third, large quantities of carbon dioxide must be removed from the atmosphere through environmental management spanning several generations.

Francis’ call for finance-related policies to implement climate change goals will have been met especially warmly by certain attendees of the Vatican’s conference. Among the numerous participants and speakers at the three-day event were ardent pro-climate change advocates California Gov. Gavin Newsom, London’s Mayor Sadiq Khan, New York Gov. Kathy Hochul, Massachusetts’s lesbian Gov. Maura Healey, along with academics and politicians from South America, Africa, Italy, and Taiwan.

Newsom and Khan – both of whom have implemented sweeping and highly controversial measures in the name of climate change – spoke respectively on “The Gold Standard – Climate Leadership in the Golden State” and “Governance in the Age of Climate Change.” Khan also wrote in the U.K.’s The Tablet that he joins his voice to that of Francis “to support climate resilience efforts and advocate for climate justice.”

Green finance for the future

Last October 4, Francis published a second part to his 2015 environmental encyclical letter Laudato Si’ in the form of the Apostolic Exhortation Laudate Deum, in which he issued stark calls for “obligatory” measures across the globe to address the issue of “climate change.”

READ: Pope Francis calls for obligatory global ‘climate change’ policies in new document ‘Laudate Deum’

“It is no longer possible to doubt the human – ‘anthropic’ – origin of climate change,” wrote the Pontiff, before later calling for mandatory alignment with “green” policies:

If there is sincere interest in making COP28 a historic event that honors and ennobles us as human beings, then one can only hope for binding forms of energy transition that meet three conditions: that they be efficient, obligatory and readily monitored.

Francis’ oft-repeated lines on the subject have repeatedly born similarities to the sentiments expressed by key globalist and founder of the World Economic Forum (WEF) Klaus Schwab, whose proposed anti-Catholic “Great Reset” is underpinned by a focus on a “green” financial agenda, as he mentions the “withdrawal of fossil-fuel subsidies” and a new financial system based on “investments” which advance “equality and sustainability” and the building of a “‘green’ urban infrastructure.”

Indeed, the world of finance is one of the sectors that is most devoted to implementing “climate change” policies, such as those outlined by the Paris Agreement – the pro-abortion climate agreement to which the Vatican joined in 2022.

A lesser-known third aim of the Paris Agreement pertains directly to the financial element of the document, ensuring that the future of global finance is directly connected to the various climate change efforts laid out in the Paris Agreement. It reads:

Making finance flows consistent with a pathway towards low greenhouse gas emissions and climate-resilient development.

This aim provides the basis for international governments to link provision of finance to the implementation of the “green” agenda of the Paris Agreement. The almost unknown Network of Central Banks and Supervisors for Greening the Financial System (NGFS) was born at the Paris “One Planet Summit” in December 2017, with the purpose of transforming the global economy in alignment with “green” climate change policies. 

READ: Secretive international banking group may enforce Great Reset ‘green’ agenda on world

Already, it numbers 138 members, with an additional 21 observer organizations, including national and international banks such as the “Bank of Canada; Bank of England; Banque de France; Dubai Financial Services Authority; European Central Bank; Japan FSA; People’s Bank of China; Swiss National Bank; U.S. Federal Reserve.”

Such policies are regularly at the forefront of international finance meetings as well. One such example was last year, when French President Emmanuel Macron called for a “public finance shock” based around climate issues and global finance. His address was given to international leaders at the 2023 Summit for a New Global Financial Pact, held in Paris.

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LNG leader: Haisla Nation Chief Councillor Crystal Smith on the world’s first Indigenous project

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Haisla Nation Chief Councillor Crystal Smith during a press conference announcing that the Cedar LNG project has been given environmental approval in Vancouver, Tuesday March 14, 2023. CP Images photo

From the Canadian Energy Centre

By Will Gibson

‘Now we are working together to make our own opportunities as owners and developers of the resource’

Growing up in the 1980s, Crystal Smith felt supported and nourished by her community, the Haisla Nation along the shores of Kitimat, British Columbia. But at the same time, she also sensed the outside world had placed some limitations on her future. 

“I enjoyed a wonderful childhood with a solid foundation and lots of love, especially from my grandma Cecilia Smith. She raised me because I lost my mother and stepdad at a young age. But it wasn’t popular to be Indigenous when I grew up,” says Smith.  

“A lot of people would talk about how Indigenous people were not expected to be successful. That kind of talk really affected my confidence about what I could be.” 

Smith, now the Haisla Nation’s elected chief councillor, never wants children in her community to feel those constraints.  

Her community has seized on a major opportunity to build prosperity and resiliency for future generations. The Haisla Nation is a partner in the proposed $3.4 billion Cedar LNG project, the world’s first to have Indigenous ownership. A final go-ahead decision for the project to proceed is expected by the middle of this year 

Smith, who has served as board chair of the First Nations LNG Alliance since 2019, has already seen tangible changes in her community since the project was announced. 

“It’s hard to put into words about the impact on the ground in terms of how this opportunity has affected our members in their lives,” she says.  

“We were just interviewing candidates to serve as board directors on our economic development corporation and one candidate, who is from our community, just amazed me with how far he has come in terms of pursuing his education and how much his career has progressed.” 

The town of Kitimat on British Columbia’s west coast. LNG Canada site in background. Photo courtesy District of Kitimat

Of her own career, Smith says she knew since college that her future was in serving the community. She started working in the Haisla band administration in 2009 and was first elected chief councillor in 2017.  

“I was lucky because my family really pushed me to seek an education after high school, so I took the business program at Coast Mountain College. I also helped that I had mentors in my community, including my father Albert Robinson, who served as an elected Haisla councillor, and Ellis Ross (now an elected MLA in B.C), who was very inspiring in terms of his vision as chief councillor and encouraged me to take the step into elected office,” Smith says.  

“When I came back to the community from school, I knew I would end up working in our band office. I wanted to see more opportunities for people in my community and LNG provides that.” 

She already sees the benefits of the development, as well as the Haisla Nation’s participation in the LNG Canada project, within her own family including for her grandsons.  

“Xavier is six and he goes to the same school I attended as a child. He gets to learn parts of our culture, our teachings, as well as the value and importance of family and community. There’s more of an emphasis on our language and culture in the curriculum, which really makes me happy. Luka, who just turned two, will also attend that school when he’s old enough,” Smith says.  

“I want programs and services to meet our needs, not the level of government’s needs. And we need to make sure that it is sustainable not just for my grandsons or their peers but for seven generations beyond this one.” 

Cedar LNG is coming closer and closer to fruition, with all permits in place and early construction underway 

An eight-kilometre pipeline will be built connecting the recently completed Coastal GasLink pipeline to deliver natural gas to the floating Cedar LNG terminal located along the Douglas Channel near Kitimat.  

The facility will be capable of producing up to three million tonnes of liquefied natural gas every year, which will be transported by carriers through the Douglas Channel to Hecate Straight, using the existing deepwater shipping lane, to reach customers in the Asia-Pacific region.  

Powered entirely by renewable energy from BC Hydro, Cedar LNG will be one of the lowest carbon intensity LNG facilities in the world. Its so-called emissions intensity will be 0.08 per cent CO2 per tonne, compared to the global average of 0.35 per cent per tonne. 

Rendering courtesy Cedar LNG

 Up to 500 people will work on the project during the peak of construction. Approximately 100 people will be working at the facility full-time during operation, which is expected to start in the second half of 2028.  

Smith says the benefits of the project will extend beyond the 2,000 members of the Haisla Nation. 

“This work has really helped us reconnect with other Indigenous communities along pipelines and shipping routes,” she says.  

“When I was growing up, our communities never had the opportunity to come together because we were separated by the territorial boundaries imposed by the Indian Act. And we were fighting each other for financial scraps from Indian Affairs.  

“Now we are working together to make our own opportunities as owners and developers of the resource. That’s very empowering and the most important part. Participating in developing these resources provides independence. It’s the only solution for my nation and other Indigenous communities.” 

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