April 17th, 2024

Amount generated from electricity sources varies

By Lethbridge Herald on February 16, 2024.


The letter from Mr. Barrie Orich of February 1 makes some interesting points but also consists of inaccuracies.  Just because wind and solar resources are variable doesn’t make them ineffective or valueless.  

As for electricity storage there are 190 megawatts (MW) of battery storage and, this winter there has been roughly 300MW’s of hydro generation being held back and used as storage.  

These resources and their respective capacities are planned and used by the AESO (Alberta Electric System Operator) as Dispatched Contingency Reserve (DCR) which are paid for but not used unless needed.  These reserves vary in capacity based on the time of year, where the generation may be required if there is a problem on the grid and the amount of water stored behind a dam.  Hydro is dependent on snowpack and rain each year and mandated stream flows necessary to support downstream aquatic life.  

The potential does exist to have little or no wind generation when it’s very cold or very hot.  However, to say that there is no solar available on our coldest or hottest days is false.  While these resources are variable, they are also predictable, but the AESO does not factor them in daily generation forecasts.  If there is generation from wind/solar the AESO removes or reduces generation from polluting fossil fuel or hydro resources.  Many generating resources provide a reliable and dependable grid.  One that relies on a few resources only is in for a calamity eventually.  

Mr. Orich’s statement that coal (and/or gas) plants operate 24/7, 365 days a year is just not true!  Generating records of these plants, show they are offline many times for scheduled maintenance, forced outages, cold/hot weather conditions or other environmental conditions such as injecting too much hot water into river systems.  

Unlike oil/gas, landowners have a choice of having renewable energy facilities on their land.  I wrote many wind energy contracts and they all had reclamation clauses even back in the 1990’s.  The Premier uses this to delay any progress of the renewables industry.  

The fact is that when 5,000 MWs of wind and solar are operating these clean resources are preventing the pollution from between 12 – 20 coal or gas plants!  

Dale Johnson


Share this story:

Newest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments

Ok, turn off your gas, turn off your electricity and go renewable, and then get back to us. Renewable is intermittent and there are large projects being dumped all over the world, but we’re going to save the day because we are “committed” or should be.


Buck isn’t big on new things, but we all know they win out in the end.


Truth hurts eh. Oil and NG are going nowhere. Renewables preferably called intermittent are going now where. Get with the program.


4500 mw of wind was producing 0.1% on January 13th, remember? If all our gas plants went offline at the same time we’d have some questions too.

Fedup Conservative

So you wet your pants when we weren’t producing electricity for one whole day and ignore the fact that batteries would have covered it.

Fedup Conservative

While Dale Johnson was involved in the business these mindless seniors think they are a lot smarter and can’t understand why more people don’t support their stupidity. It’s always the same fools isn’t it, you can count on them?


mr fed c I am not a mindless senior I have been tested have you? I resent your term mindless seniors should be classified as obfucios the Herald should shut your mouth


Have you been tested for spelling?
I can’t find this ‘obfucios’ word you’ve invented. lol