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On Friday, Alberta’s energy minister hailed their largest solar project. On Sunday, it was producing 10.9% at noon


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This was the opening splash for a video clip posted by the Alberta energy minister on social media. Two days later, its power output at noon was barely 11 per cent. YouTube/Canadian Energy Centre


Brian Zinchuk

Brian Zinchuk is editor and owner of Pipeline Online

And wind was doing even worse

Even though Alberta’s build-out of 38 wind farms and 36 solar farms have resulted in an enormous growth of nameplate power generating capacity, the reality was far from the advertised on Sunday, according to data from the Alberta Electric System Operator (AESO).

Despite the noon hour being defined as the sun being at its highest point in the sky, Alberta’s grid-scale solar facilities were having a tough day on Oct. 22. At 11:53 a.m., solar was producing 152 megawatts out of an installed base of 1,292 megawatts. That was 11.8 per cent of capacity. On a good day, that number is closer to 1,000 megawatts around noon.

Power generation in Alberta at 11:53 a.m. on Oct. 22. All numbers are in megawatts, MC is maximum capacity, and TNG is total net to grid. Alberta Electric System Operator

It wasn’t hard to figure out why solar hand tanked. A belt of heavy clouds, visible from Environment and Climate Change Canada satellite imagery, blanketed the principle solar power production region of southern Alberta.

Heavy clouds covered southern Alberta at 11:30 a.m. on Sunday. Environment and Climate Change Canada

Travers, the largest solar facility in Canada with a rated capacity of 465 megawatts and having cost $700 million, was producing 51 megawatts a few minutes before noon. That was 10.9 per cent. Ironically, Alberta Energy Minister Brian Jean had posted on LinkedIn on Oct. 20, “Did you know Alberta is home to Canada’s largest solar farm? Once we set clear rules around land use, reclamation and transmission, we’ll get back to work leading Canada and the world on renewable electricity. I’m proud of our energy workers. Check out this incredible clip 👇”

That 22 second video clip was originally posted by the Canadian Energy Centre, the Alberta government’s “war room,” whose mission is to set the record straight, as it were. “The Canadian Energy Centre’s mandate is to promote Canada as the supplier of choice for the world’s growing demand for responsibly produced energy,” says the Centre’s mandate.

Wind peters out

And wind power production was having an even worse day, with wind power plummeting as the morning turned into afternoon. By that time, wind was generating just 67 megawatts out of an installed based of 3,853 megawatts. That’s just 1.7 per cent of nameplate capacity.

So at that moment, combined wind and solar were producing 219 megawatts out of a nameplate capacity of 5,145, or 4.3 per cent of capacity.

Alberta’s final remaining coal-fired power facility was producing 802 of 820 megawatts of nameplate capacity, or 97.8 per cent. And its power output was 3.7 times the total output of all grid-scale wind and solar across Alberta, from 36 solar farms and 38 wind facilities, composed of hundreds of turbines and costing billions of dollars. As noted above, Travers, alone, cost $700 million and covers 3,330 acres with 1.3 million solar panels.

That last remaining coal plant, the Genesee Power Station, will soon be converted to natural gas, meaning an end to coal-fired power generation in Alberta – a province whose coal reserves run from Edmonton southwest to the BC and US borders.

The wind situation stayed much the same throughout the afternoon, and by 4:18, solar had dropped to 69 megawatts and wind was just 83 megawatts.

Wind generation in Alberta at 11:53 a.m. on Oct. 22. Twenty-four of 38 wind farms were producing exactly zero power at that moment. All numbers are in megawatts, MC is maximum capacity, and TNG is total net to grid. Alberta Electric System Operator

And near the supper hour, X bot account @ReliableAB noted AESO data showing wind was producing 86 megawatts and solar was producing 28 megawatts. At that moment, fossil fuels, principally natural gas, accounted 94.3 per cent of Alberta’s electricity. Alberta was getting 345 megawatts of power from imports, and batteries were contributing zero megawatts.

That 94.3 per cent is significant, because the federal government’s clean electricity regulations will require “unabated” fossil fuel power generation to shut down by 2035, with the exception that unabated natural gas generation could be used for up to 450 hours per year, per generator. As Premier Danielle Smith has pointed out, those hours would have been used up by the end of January in the calendar year of 2023, meaning by this time of year, Alberta’s grid, if those regulations were followed to the letter, would effectively be in almost total blackout. And to compound the situation, not only does the federal government expect provinces like Alberta and Saskatchewan to replace all that power generation in 11 years, two months and nine days, but also be on the path of increasing total power generation by a factor of 2.5x in 26 years, two months and nine days.

Brian Zinchuk

Brian Zinchuk is editor and owner of Pipeline Online

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Indigenous-owned LNG projects in jeopardy with proposed emissions cap, leaders warn

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Indigenous leaders meet with Japan’s ambassador to Canada Kanji Yamanouchi. Photo courtesy Energy for a Secure Future

From the Canadian Energy Centre

By Cody Ciona

‘It’s like we’re finally at the table and we’re having to fight to keep our seat at the table’

A proposed cap on oil and gas emissions will threaten opportunities for Indigenous communities to bring cleaner alternatives to coal to international markets, Indigenous leaders warned during a recent webinar. 

Karen Ogen, CEO of the First Nations LNG Alliance, fears Indigenous-led projects like Cedar LNG and Ksi Lisims LNG are threatened by the cap, which is essentially a cap on production. 

“If we’re going to help China and India get off of coal and help reduce their greenhouse gas emissions, it makes common sense for us to be selling our LNG to Asia and to other countries. To put a cap on, it would just stop us from doing that,” Ogen said. 

“It’s like we’re finally at the table and we’re having to fight to keep our seat at the table.” 

Indigenous communities across Canada have increasingly become involved in oil and gas projects to secure economic prosperity and reduce on-reserve poverty. 

Since 2022, more than 75 First Nations and Metis communities have entered ownership agreements across western Canada. Among those are key projects like the Coastal GasLink pipeline and the joint investment of 23 communities to obtain a 12 per cent ownership stake in several oil sands pipelines. 

The planned federal emissions cap will stall progress toward economic reconciliation, Ogen said. 

“Our leaders did not accept this and fought hard to have rights and titles recognized,” she said. 

“These rights were won through persistence and determination. It’s been a long journey, but we are finally at the table with more control over our destiny.” 

Chris Sankey, CEO of Blackfish Enterprises and a former elected councillor for the Lax Kw’alaams Band in B.C., said the proposed emissions cap could stifle Indigenous communities pushing for poverty reduction. 

“We’re working hard to try to get our people out of poverty. All [the emissions cap is] doing is pushing them further into debt and further into poverty,” he said. 

“When oil and gas is doing well, our people do well.” 

Together, the Trans Mountain Pipeline Expansion, LNG Canada project and Coastal GasLink pipeline have spent more than $10 billion in contracts with Indigenous and local businesses

Indigenous employment in the oil and gas industry has also increased by more than 20 per cent since 2014. 

For Stephen Buffalo, CEO of the Indian Resource Council, an emissions cap feels like a step in the wrong direction after years of action to become true economic partners is finally making headway. 

“Being a participant in the natural resource sector and making true partnerships, has been beneficial for First Nations,” he said. 

“So, when you see a government trying to attack this industry in that regard, it is very disheartening.” 

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Taxpayers Federation hoping for personal tax relief in Alberta budget

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From the Canadian Taxpayers Federation

Albertans need income tax relief now

Author: Kris Sims 

The Canadian Taxpayers Federation is calling on the Alberta government to stick to its promise of cutting its income tax in tomorrow’s provincial budget.

“Cutting the provincial income tax was a huge campaign promise from the UCP and it needs to happen right away,” said Kris Sims, CTF Alberta Director. “Finance Minister Nate Horner should announce this income tax cut in the budget tomorrow.”

The provincial budget will be presented Feb. 29.

During the 2023, election the UCP promised to create a lower income tax bracket for the first $59,000 of earnings, charging eight per cent instead of the current 10 per cent.

The UCP said that move would save Albertans earning $60,000 or more about $760 per year.

The Alberta government currently charges workers who make under $142,292 per year a 10 per cent income tax rate.

By comparison, British Columbia charges an income tax of five per cent on the first $45,654 of earnings and seven per cent up to $91,310.

In B.C., a worker earning $100,000 pays about $5,857 in provincial income tax.

In Alberta that same worker pays about $7,424 in provincial income tax.

“Taxpayers need to see a balanced budget, spending restraint and our promised lower income taxes in this budget,” said Sims.

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