February 24th, 2024

Subsidies are the big appeal for investment in wind projects


By Lethbridge Herald on December 15, 2023.

Editor: 

I’m writing to shed light on the wind farm industry and, specifically, the Buffalo Plains Wind farm under construction in Lomond. Much has been made of the potential benefits of wind power and many people get visions of rainbows and unicorns dancing between the pristine white towers when they think of wind power. 

The truth about the costs and benefits of wind generated electricity is somewhat different than those idealistic thoughts.

We have been subjected to a constant stream of propaganda regarding renewable energy for too long. Each year the elite and well-connected travel to Davos in their luxury yachts and private jets to berate the worlds middle class for their crimes against mother earth. 

Driving their kids to soccer practice or, living in the suburbs are seen as climate distorting and evil. I’m not a climate denialist – climate change is real but I’m personally tired of the rhetoric. 

Canada’s share of carbon emissions, as a share of world output, have declined from 1.8 per cent in 2005 to 1.5 per cent in 2020. Over that same period China’s emissions have risen from 18.6 per cent in 2005 to 28.1 per cent in 2020. In 2023 China permitted slightly more than two new coal fired plants per week. Each plant is rated at double the output of the Buffalo Plains Wind Farm. It seems tragically naïve to think projects like the one in Lomond have any meaningful impact on carbon emissions while coal fired electricity plants are be ing constructed at breakneck speed.

You must wonder why international companies are in such a hurry to build wind farms in Canada. The answer is simple.

 They’re not attracted by the wind but rather the subsidies. Buffalo Plains will collect a guaranteed minimum price for its electricity under the Renewable Energy Program. The federal SREP program will provide grants to support the cost of construction and maintenance. 

The federal Accelerated Investment Incentive will allow Buffalo Plains to deduct accelerated capital costs so they pay less tax. The real plum of these subsidies will be the carbon credits Buffalo Plains will get each year.

The Pembina Institute did a study in 2019 and found that a 150 MW wind farm would receive about 17.5 million per year for the power it generates and 9.8 million per year in carbon credits. Bear in mind that carbon credits have risen substantially since 2019 and that 9.8 million would be much higher today.

The Buffalo Plains Wind Farm was developed by ABO, a German company, and subsequently sold to Copenhagen Infrastructure Partners in 2022. 

CIP is an investment vehicle. It’s funded by large, mainly European investors, who are attracted to a stable subsidized rate of return. They are not saviours of the planet. 

We, in Canada, through our taxation of incomes and fossil fuels, have become a great place to mine – not gold, or iron ore, but rather tax dollars. Only the galactically stupid would believe that this project is about carbon emissions. It’s all about subsidies. 

If the Gods in Davos or Ottawa were serious about climate change, they would seek out the low hanging fruit and pressure both China and India to clean up their act. Instead, we’re all paying taxes so the European elite can maximize the rate of return on their pools of money.

On a personal level the Buffalo Plains Wind farm surrounds my acreage. I can’t image a life with 50 decibels of background noise so we will be forced to move from a farm that’s been in my family for over 100 years. 

It’s only reasonable that the value of property will be devastated since I can’t imagine anyone else would live here either. With no compensation whatsoever from Buffalo Plains and no mechanism to seek damages we will lose a substantial amount of money on the property devaluation. 

We have allowed our wind and tax dollars to be farmed by companies who couldn’t care less how much damage they create in rural Alberta. 

It’s shocking to see how little value our lives have and frustrating to think I’m going to help pay for the devastation of our community with my own tax dollars. We need to change direction on this issue and think pragmatically about the future, and for God sakes, stop funding the Davos elite with our tax dollars.

Ron Magnuson

Lomond

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SophieR

Wind farms produce cost competitive power with low emissions.

The subsidies look a lot like what bitumen production has enjoyed for a few decades – accelerated depreciation, royalty holidays, etc. – (except carbon credits, of course).

And then the litmus test – China. It’s like complaining Calgary makes fifteen times the emissions as Lethbridge, so why should we do anything?

buckwheat

Subsidies = handouts. Tax deductions = investment, more employment etc. but then drink your cool aid. Ron is spot on, you can’t argue his points so you defer to the old rhetoric, the resource industries get it. Yeh, maybe in some instances but they produce something long term, not intermittent, like good jobs and solid income tax to pay for those things like dental care, health care, education etc. you really need to figure things out. Intermittent power doesn’t exist if they take their hands out of your pocket.

The Dude

The idea that Alberta’s royalty rates on oil and gas extraction or its unwillingness to hold the industry financially accountable for the orphan well mess do not constitute subsidizing the industry, which is largely foreign owned, is patently stupid.

Last edited 2 months ago by The Dude
Fedup Conservative

I have a cousin who worked in China for 14 years and 7 years in South Korea for 7 years building nuclear power plants to help them with their pollution problem. At least they are trying to do something to help the planet.

biff

nuclear is hardly the answer. we need to get far more needs based, and far less wants based

GHG

Nuclear is the only answer. They are energy dense, safe, reliable and are long-life assets. Politicians are coming around to realizing that.

biff

well, when one bases one’s stake in nuclear on “politician’s coming around”, ya gotta know we are headed the right way, eh?

GHG

Countries at COP28 have no recognized the importance of nuclear to their net-zero ambitions, Canada included.

biff

wind farms are a net eviro hazard and decimate too many creatures that fly.

IMO
biff

good news on the wind; and also have long acknowledged the gruesome slime that are tailings lakes and their effect on birds, and the environment and the people that surround those ugly toxic armpits of the sleazy oil barons

GHG

Sorry SophieR, but wind is an unreliable energy diffuse method. Without subsidy they are not profitable on their own. And they require baseload backup (nuclear, gas or coal) which adds to the cost.

SophieR

Wind power is more reliable than coal generation. (I assume you mean intermittent.) The backup system already exists; more is not necessary. Wind power enjoys no more subsidization than what is already in the books greasing our petroleum industry. Wind power generates electricity at prices competitive with fossil fuels – how can it be otherwise in an unregulated market?

It’s funny that someone advocating for nuclear power, the most subsidized generation on the planet, would be concerned about wind or solar.

biff

well said

GHG

Wind and solar will never become 100% of our source of energy. They will form a small part of the energy mix. If you are serious about net-zero then nuclear is your friend. Cheers.

biff

toxic stuff is fun stuff – let us go as toxic as we can, so that we can ensure everyone can fulfill all the wants stuff dreams they can afford, or can extend their credit to get. much better than getting real and becoming more needs based.

GHG

“Toxic stuff” is pure fear mongering. Spent fuel can be safely stored. There’s all kinds of “toxic stuff” in our lives. We are ingenious. We learn to deal with it and render it safe. Cheers.

biff

utter nonsense – everything we do that is unnatural comes back to haunt us. toxic stuff associated with nuclear is disaster awaits – it is amazing that one would rather do anything in the name of wants, rather than exercise some restraint and decency around being needs based. as for your “indigenous” remark, the great thing about real indigenous peoples is they by and large respected the planet and its systems: nuclear is an affront to any of that, as is unbridled capitalism and selfish living.

GHG

Cheez, you need a rum and egg nog to chill a little. The word used was “ingenious” not “indigenous”. The word requires energy and lots of it. That train has left and it isn’t turning back. Nuclear it will be. Cheers.

lumpy

“ingenious” not “indigenous”…give your head a shake!

biff

while i stand by my point that the indigenous ways are far wiser when it comes to interacting the natural systems. as for ghg’s actual comment, “We are ingenious. We learn to deal with it and render it safe”, that is an absurd remark, and almost funny, save for how sad is the reality of our ongoing follies with toxins.

Kal Itea

“Each year the elite and well-connected travel to Davos in their luxury yachts and private jets to berate the worlds middle class for their crimes against mother earth”
Davos is a long way from a large body of water.

buckwheat

Ok. Just four of them, but they all drain somewhere. Poor argument.
Most of Switzerland’s rivers are small tributaries that run into the larger rivers, draining out into the sea. The waterways of Switzerland drain out in four different directions, flowing into the North Sea, the Mediterranean Sea, the Adriatic Sea and the Black Sea.

Fedup Conservative

Gee Ron have you been to Germany and seen what they are doing there? Have you bothered to do any research on china and seen what they are trying to do there? Do you honestly think that millionaires would be spending all this money in Alberta if it didn’t work and where are Albertans going to find all this electricity to run their electric vehicles when it’s all they can buy? Maybe instead of sticking your head in the sad and claiming it won’t work you should get behind it. I have a friend who put solar panels on his roof in1975 and says it was the smartest thing he ever did. He isn’t pay the stupid fees added to his power bills like we are thanks to Ralph Klein.

buckwheat

Germany is firing up coal plants. Nice try. Read this and weep
It is important to acknowledge that you can see and read this. 

At noon in Alberta on Friday, Dec. 8, both wind and solar were producing very little power, despite the sun being at its highest point in the sky and additional units being added to the generation mix almost every week in recent weeks.

Alberta now has 42 grid-scale solar facilities listed on the Alberta Electric System Operator page. And at noon, 20 of them were producing exactly zero power to the grid. While a small handful of the newest entrants onto the generation list might still be in startup phase, that’s only a few, not nearly half the fleet. Again, that’s at noon, when the solar potential is at its highest point throughout the day.

Overall, the now 1,575 megawatts of solar capacity in Alberta was generating 116 megawatts at noon. That’s 7.4 per cent of nameplate capacity.
The Travers Solar Facility in Vulcan County, Canada’s largest at a nameplate capacity of 465 megawatts, was producing only 55 megawatts.

All of this can be explained by the heavy cloud cover blanketing southern Alberta at noon, and what was coming out of those clouds. Southwest Alberta around Calgary had heavy snowfall warning. Lethbridge had snow. The southernmost foothills had “patches of dense fog with near zero visibility.” Heavy cloud, dense fog and snow on solar panels all tend to account for minimal solar power generation.

A large number of Alberta’s wind turbines are in that area, and almost by definition, dense fog generally means low wind conditions.
Alberta’s nameplate wind generation capacity is now 4,491 megawatts. And at noon they were getting 133 megawatts – or 3 per cent of capacity.

But it was even worse a few hours earlier. X bot account @ReliableAB, which posts hourly updates on the status of the Alberta grid using data from the AESO page, noted at 9:38 a.m. wind was generating 56 megawatts out of a possible 4,491. That’s 1.2 per cent capacity. Low wind conditions like this had persisted throughout the morning, even as solar was still ramping up from sunrise. At that moment, solar was producing 23 megawatts. That means out of a total 6,066 megawatts of grid-scale wind and solar in Alberta, the province was getting only 79 megawatts, or 1.3 per cent capacity.

At that moment, 94.6 percent of power in Alberta was coming from fossil fuels. This is a key point, because the federal government is moving to eliminate unabated fossil fuel power production in Canada by 2035. That’s 11 years and 23 days from now. And due to the increasing electrification of everything from vehicular transportation to space heating, those same regulations anticipate the electrical grid will need to grow by a factor of 2.5x by 2050. That’s 26 years, 23 days from now. So given what took place in Alberta on Friday, that province would need to replace 94.6 per cent of its power generation with non-emitting power AND increase its grid by a factor of 2.5x, again, in 26 years and 23 days.

Additionally, two more 20 megawatt grid-scale battery systems were added to the grid in recent days, eReserve7 and eReserve8. Despite low wind and solar conditions in Alberta at noon, the 170 megawatts of battery capacity was producing zero power to the grid. The website Dispatcho.app also logs AESO data, and it showed the batteries had provided no power to the grid for the previous 24 hours.

by Brian Zinchuk
Ok All together now, slag Zinchuk with your religious cult like fervour but what every one does, don’t refute his information, because everyone is lying and facts don’t count.

Fedup Conservative

Well aren’t you a real hero quoting figures for projects still not completed and using one day as your excuse to ignore it when the oil executives we’re stating that with the help of green energy the Ottawa targets can be met if Danielle Smith hadn’t stopped developing them eliminating 24,000 jobs in the process and $33 billion in financial investments for Albertans. Gee did you think we are so stupid we don’t know that the wind doesn’t blow every day or the sun doesn’t shine all the time, why do you think we need batteries?

Fedup Conservative

By the way had you bothered to look into it you would know that Germany has opened back up coal fired electricity from October to March 31, 2024 because of the fight with Russia over natural gas because of the Ukrainian war.

SophieR

To crib Mr. Fitch’s conclusion to his Opinion piece: “You might think change isn’t necessary but neither is survival.”

Produce from wind and solar when you can. Use existing natural gas generation when you must. Bring the average emissions per kWh down. Sequester carbon (by preserving and restoring wetlands, grasslands, forests) to approach net zero. It is idiotic to believe that we must rely on a single technology, as presented by Zinchuk and reliably echoed by the buckster.

biff

i am able to agree somewhat, bit i am opposed to wind because as it stands, the so-called technology is a net hazard, as well as a killer of too much that flies. moreover, the answer to our woes had best include a move away from wants based living toward more of a needs based focus

SophieR

I agree that reduction is always the first and best approach. We waste a lot of energy.

And bird/bat deaths are very undesirable. But I am also concerned that 2/3 of bird species are at risk of extinction from rising temperatures due to ghg emissions (https://www.audubon.org/conservation/climate-initiative)

Fedup Conservative

It’s been proven that they don’t kill the large number of birds and bats that were originally thought and should not be considered, which is why they being produced. I have four friends who were involved in the North America study that proved that it wasn’t that big a deal.

biff

that is an incorrect statement. more accurate is to acknowledge they needlessly kill too many creatures that fly. period.

lumpy

Well then back up your claim with some strong evidence. You just saying it doesn’t fly.

biff

try and educate yourselves, please…i did my best to avoid all the abstracts that require long reads to get to the point. also, while it has been noted that cats and windows kill more birds than windmills, we can also add that people kill more birds also, via hunting and chicken consumption, right. however, we are also building out more wind farms which also will add to death totals
then there is the issue of those that live near wind farms, which have been reported to make humans sick…thus, why are we creating more problems simply to support the wants of humans, rather than scaling back our wants? https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2021/08/210818130533.htm
https://blog.nature.org/2014/05/28/wind-turbines-bird-mortality-bats-science-impacts/
https://www.bbc.com/future/article/20200302-how-do-wind-farms-affect-bats-birds-and-other-wildlife
https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0006320713003522
https://letstalkscience.ca/educational-resources/stem-explained/how-do-wind-farms-affect-birds-and-bats
https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/wind-turbines-kill-bats/

Last edited 2 months ago by biff
lumpy

No need to be a dick, I just asked for something to back up your claim. No wonder you get all the neg votes here for being a pompous ass.

biff

quite right – i was a dick. very sorry. i sometimes get too reactive n a moment, and should wait before i post. i will edit the stupidity out of that entry, with my apology and best wishes.

Last edited 2 months ago by biff
biff

i think this is an excellent take on what is both a gross exercise in picking the pockets of the public purse, and, creating an enviro hazard that kills far too many critters that fly.

R.U.Serious

Wind farms have a much higher carbon footprint than fossil fuel energy and are poor and unreliable for maintained power to the grid. They impact weather, kill birds at a high rate and the massive blades cannot be recycled and they now bury them in massive blade graves. We have been mislead if we think this is better for the environment. In Alberta, billioniares promote it and solar wind to earn more money, US billionaire Warren Buffet for one, whose company owns Alta-Link, Alberta’s priimary electrical transmission grid, as well as solar farms and wind investments. They dominated the oil and gas markets and now want to dominate the green energy market.
https://www.instituteforenergyresearch.org/renewable/wind/wind-farms-raise-temperatures-at-the-surface-level/
Studies have found that wind turbines impact local meteorological conditions by raising temperatures at the surface level while the wind turbines are in operation.”
They also ignore the number and types of birds that are killed from wind turbines, which is significant, and the impact of wind turbines on farming.
https://www.bloomberg.com/news/features/2020-02-05/wind-turbine-blades-can-t-be-recycled-so-they-re-piling-up-in-landfills
Companies are searching for ways to deal with the tens of thousands of blades that have reached the end of their lives.
We are all been forced into green energy projects that are worse for the environment.

SophieR

GHG emissions for electricity generation

CO2_Emissions_from_Electricity_Production_IPCC
R.U.Serious

You are only taking into consideration a very small percentage of windmill generation.
The highest emissions come from making these massive blades, the manufacturing of the generators the blades turn the transportation and then there is the disposable, which at this time no one can say what happens underground as they deteriorate.
Did you any of the material? Apparently not!
Some other facts for sheep that are being hoodwinked:
Canada only emits 1.6% of the world GHG’s, while China over 30% and if you combine just China, the US and the EU they emit just under 60%.
At the very best, Canada can only reduce its emissions by 0.4% maybe 0.5% bringing it down to 1.1%. Now think, why is Canada receiving most of the world pressure to reduce emissions, while China is ignored??
Think!
The change in climate is serious and we are not going to stop it! The sun is the biggest perpetrator on our climate, due to the massive solar wind storms that hit our planet from Coronal Mass Ejections from the sun in which the solar flares send the solar winds, which impact our weather and even disrupt radio signals and other communications. They have increased. If you think about all of the ‘Northern Light’ displays we have, that is caused by solar winds hitting our atmosphere.
We need to focus on adapting to the climate change, but the greedy billionaires want to focus on making money. We will never stop the change in climate!

SophieR

A whole bunch of horse muffins that doesn’t need to be addressed.

You seem to be focused on burying turbine blades at the end of their safe life. A 1 GW coal plant consumes 9000 tonnes of coal each day. 25% of that is disposed of as ash, along with all the heavy metal contaminants that pollute groundwater or are emitted from the smokestack as air pollution.

One has to look at the big picture. And one has to accept settled climate science.

SophieR

And unlike coal plants, the materials science keeps improving:
https://www.ucdavis.edu/climate/news/a-sustainable-solution-wind-turbine-blades

Fedup Conservative

Besides it will create jobs that these Reformers are so keen to destroy. I wonder who we should make pay for the $8 billion lawsuit launched against us by the coal companies these fools got involved with when they destroyed Lougheed’s protection policies on our mountains, some think we should include their supporters who are so hellbent on helping them destroy our children’s future. There certainly hasn’t been any intelligence in electing these fools, has there?

buckwheat

Settled science by the climate cult is a consensus not science. You are behind the curve Sophie. Catch up and go after China. Just because you hate Smith you still need to produce the truth. We are well on our way off the coal train, with much higher power bills, but such is the price of unrelenting fear mongering.

Alberta currently has just over 1200 MW of coal generating capacity left on its system. The Genesee units 1, 2 and 3 at Warburg will be converted to natural gas before the calendar turns to 2023. At that point, Canada’s fourth-largest province will be fully transitioned from coal-fired electricity.

SophieR

For someone who thinks a nonbinding referendum on an oblique question is democracy, you have a pretty dismissive notion of scientific consensus. You also probably thing scientific uncertainty means the scientists are uncertain.

Be that as it may, earth systems don’t care what you believe. Just keep feeding the atmosphere carbon, sit back and watch.

lumpy

You DO know we are near peaking on a consistent 11 year solar cycle. (sunspots)

buckwheat

One only needs to observe the outstanding northern lights displays in the northern hemisphere to confirm your statement.