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Opinion

Portland is installing turbines in water pipes to produce electricity, will Red Deer consider following suit?

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Portland is installing turbines in their water pipes to generate electricity. Available for 24 inch or 42 inch pipes, excellent for gravity fed water supply.
This got me thinking about our city applications. Would it be worthwhile for someone at city hall to look into possible applications for Red Deer?
If Red Deer had a guaranteed year round source of flowing water, should we harness it for Hydroelectricity? What if we had a flow rate that was only strong enough to power city buildings? Should we investigate it? If we knew parts of the equation could we not ask?
City Councillor Buck Buchanan thinks it should be looked into. Why?
The city has a guaranteed source that has been recently upgraded to 72,500 cubic meters per day. The source is our Wastewater Treatment Plant. It pumps treated water into the Red Deer River year round and it is not going to stop anytime soon.
The raw wastewater goes through different cycles and/or processes before it is released as clean water. Treated wastewater leaves the plant area through a channel before being released into the Red Deer River.
The upgraded capacity of Red Deer’s wastewater treatment plant is 72,500 cubic meters of water per day or 2.6 million cubic feet per day.
The energy in these moving waters is being wasted. Why not harness it as Hydroelectricity.
Hydroelectricity is electricity produced by movement of water. It is usually made with dams that block a river to make a reservoir or collect water that is pumped there. When the water is released, the pressure behind the dam forces the water down pipes that lead to a turbine. Our wastewater treatment plant acts like a dam as it holds back water for treatment.
So just how do we get electricity from water? Actually, hydroelectric and coal-fired power plants produce electricity in a similar way. In both cases a power source is used to turn a propeller-like piece called a turbine, which then turns a metal shaft in an electric generator, which is the motor that produces electricity. A coal-fired power plant uses steam to turn the turbine blades; whereas a hydroelectric plant uses moving water to turn the turbine. The results are the same.
People have been using the power of moving water to run water wheels and mills for more than 2,000 years. Modern power plants today convert that mechanical energy into electricity.
Tides, ocean currents, waterfalls, rivers… Moving water is a constant source of energy ready to be harnessed. Hydroelectric energy is obtained by using a turbine to convert the kinetic energy of a river or waterfall into mechanical energy, and then an alternator to transform it into electrical energy.
There are two main kinds of hydroelectric generating stations: reservoir, and
run-of-river (ROR).
A generating station with reservoir uses a dam to create an artificial lake. A run-of-river generating station has no reservoir but offers the advantage of producing electricity without having to store the water.
Hydro power plants produce minimal greenhouse gases and are a source of clean, non-polluting energy. The evaporation/condensation cycle also makes hydro energy renewable. The above qualities pertain particularly to ROR plants, which produce energy from the natural water flow, which means that the impact on the landscape, ecosystem and neighbouring communities is considerably reduced. It also costs much less to produce electricity at an ROR plant.
Such properties make ROR hydroelectricity a sensible choice, for economic, social and environmental reasons.
Run-of-river generating stations are not very complicated. Flowing water is channelled through the intake and enters a penstock, which causes it to flow with greater speed and force to the turbine. The turbine is activated by the force of the water, and it, in turn, runs the alternator to produce electricity. The water then flows down the tailrace and returns to the river.
The viability of a site and the electricity it can produce are determined by two factors: drop height and water flow volume.
Hydroelectric energy has been in use for thousands of years. Ancient Romans built turbines, which are wheels turned by flowing water. Roman turbines were not used for electricity, but for grinding grains to make flour and breads.
Water mills provide another source of hydroelectric energy. Water mills, which were common until the Industrial Revolution, are large wheels usually located on the banks of moderately flowing rivers. Water mills generate energy that powers such diverse activities as grinding grain, cutting lumber, or creating hot fires to create steel.
Hydroelectric power is also very efficient and inexpensive. “Modern hydro turbines can convert as much as 90% of the available energy into electricity. The best fossil fuel plants are only about 50% efficient. In the US , hydropower is produced for an average of 0.7 cents per kilowatt-hour (kWh).
Since we know we have a flow rate of 72,500 cubic meters per day, could we not ask an expert if we could harness it for hydroelectricity? If so how much could we produce and how much would it cost?
Just asking.

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City of Red Deer

Goulet-Jones says City’s new Environmental Master Plan means higher taxes and an assault on energy sector

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This opinion piece was submitted by Calvin Goblet-Jones

City Council Unanimously Rejects reason by approving a severely flawed Environmental Master Plan.

I honestly can not believe every councillor voted in favour of this document, I am severely disappointed in our Council Today.
Make no mistake, this document deserves to be put through the shredder.  There are a few good elements of the $150,000 document such as strengthening our inner city forests however the document is nothing more than a glimpse into a future of higher taxes, bans and a continued assault on our energy sector by a council who says they support energy.
Of course the document is full of buzzwords and flowery language but this document rejects the benefits of our local energy sector.  Instead of looking towards cheap natural gas as an energy source they look to failed renewable energy projects that you and I will pay heavily for.  The Document wants to limit Red Deers energy consumption, wants to limit your personal fuel consumption, and wants to ban ban ban.  The document wants to ban wood fires, wants to heavily regulate vehicles, and wants to shift all the vehicles the city owns to be electric which will cost taxpayers heavily.
Quickly, take a look at Action 20, they don’t mention a ban outright but they mention open air burning, wood burning and vehicles as part of their “action plan” it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to interpret what they mean.

Look at Focus Area 1.2.2.3 where they want to limit consumer energy consumption and how they reject our local cheap, economy supporting fossil fuels.

Shame on Council for Unanimously approving this document.
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Opinion

Opinion writer says Trudeau is the future and Scheer is a return to the past

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Henry Ford

This post was contributed by Red Deer blogger Garfield Marks

Faster Horses

In less than 100 days we will be voting federally, either for the “past” or for the “future”, because apparently the “present” is unsatisfactory.
Here in Alberta, we yearn for the good old days when we had big pay cheques, big houses, big trucks, big bikes, big quads, big trailers, big boats and big payments. We worked hard and we played hard.
The world evolved around us, over time, and things changed. Our vehicles went from 350 C.I. and 5 miles per gallon at 50 cents per gallon (4.5 litres) to 3.5L and 50 miles per gallon or 18 kms. per litre at ($1 per litre).
Then the environment started having a mid-life climate crisis and consumers started looking for alternatives. Politicians started playing politics and pipelines did not get built and production began to suffer. Big paycheques shrank.
4 years or so Albertans turfed out the provincial government of the day, because they seemed so out of touch with the needs of Albertans. They voted for the future and things started changing but the big paycheques did not return and even though the future was improving it wasn’t the good old days. A few months ago they turfed out the “new” provincial government and brought back the re-branded “old” government and Albertans have not yet returned to the good old days.
4 years or so Canadians turfed out the federal government of the day because they seemed out of touch with the needs of Canadians. They voted for the future, a new government, and things started changing.
Yet oddly enough this “new” federal government, so disdained by Albertans, did what the “old” government was unable or unwilling to do. They bought a pipeline company for billions and moved forward and approved a new pipeline to encourage oil production. Necessary for those Big paycheques and big oil for Albertans.
Albertans will still likely, vote to turf this “new” government out. Well, they want to bring in a carbon tax. That could cost Albertans $10 per week before rebates, and that is a tragedy.
Never mind that this same “new” government invested billions to bring back the big paycheques, that $10/week before rebates is a no go.
This “new” government had nothing to gain, politically, in Alberta helping the Alberta economy in a political rivalry, so why do it? If they had not purchased and approved the new pipeline they would have gained political support in a majority of other provinces but now they are losing support, in other provinces, and could lose their majority in less than 100 days.
In 100 days we will be voting for the future or the past because presently we still have the big houses, big trucks, big toys, but not the big paycheques of the good old days. We voted for the past a few months ago and no big paycheques, yet, so maybe it’s the next time, is the charmer, when we get to go back to the good old days.
Since 1867 Canadians have seen many great economic engines, whale oil, furs, nickel, fisheries, forestry, coal, railroads, and they were great but temporary and now we face another transition. Change is hard.
Henry Ford pushed through change on an unsuspecting and often times uncooperative and unwilling public. He was once reported to have said: “If I had asked what the public wanted, they would have said, faster horses.” but he voted for the future.
In 100 days are we going to vote for the future or for the past with dreams of faster horses? I am hoping for the future, you?

​Garfield Marks

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july, 2019

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