Re: “Tech advances aid wind energy,” Lethbridge Herald, Feb. 8.
The only thing predictable about wind energy is the unending supply of spin from the Canadian Wind Energy Association.
Hornung falsely claims that “Alberta is not doing something that no one else has done.” No country with large renewable capacity has removed its main baseload, be it coal, nuclear or hydro. Germany, a world leader in renewables, got 42 per cent of its electricity from coal in 2015 and just opened the newest coal plant in November 2015. Denmark, with a lot of wind capacity, still gets about 40 per cent of its electricity from coal and nuclear, as does the U.K. None of the big renewable players have done what Hornung claims.
Hornung implied that there will be enough backup to cover low-wind periods after Alberta closes its coal plants; however, current experience shows otherwise. AESO issues occasional warnings about strained capacity when demand is high and wind output near zero. Such warnings have occurred even when coal was producing about 4,000 MW of electricity. Yet, soon we will lose all of our coal generation that will be “substituted” mainly with effete wind. Unless changes are made to the ill-considered plan, our grid could fall short when wind produces essentially nothing as it does two to four times every week.
Hornung said, “The largest single threat to birds today is climate change.” A small number of plant and animal species are threatened because of changes in land use, habitat loss and urban sprawl as population grows. However, his irresponsible claim that climate change is the “largest single threat” to birds is sanctimonious, self-serving sensationalism with no basis in science.
Alberta coal plants will close decades before planned and our only baseload energy source will be natural gas. Hornung acknowledges the importance of natural gas and rightly raises questions about future supplies and costs. But remember that most of Alberta’s wind projects are owned by major fossil fuel companies. We will be at their mercy.
The NDP’s ill-conceived electricity plan is simply not workable and Albertans are likely to be faced with power shortages. If nothing else, we can expect the cost of electricity to soar by 2030, exactly as it has done elsewhere where inefficient, subsidized renewables have been forced on citizens. In 2030, Albertans will look back and rue the day Alberta elected the NDPs who enacted an ill-conceived and failed ideological electricity plan promoted by CanWEA.
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