A warm outlook for energy on Canada’s windy Prairies

A warm outlook for energy on Canada’s windy Prairies

Individuals on the Prairies are utilizing the natural bounty of renewable energy to sustain a clean-energy transformation– producing tasks and assisting steer us away from the vagaries of unstable international oil markets and costs.

Photo of a solar farm.
Picture of a solar farm. Credit: Zsuzska Boka/ pixabay

A David Suzuki Foundation research study found Canada’s Grassy field provinces could be energy superpowers

Southern Saskatchewan and southeast Alberta get more sunshine than anywhere else in Canada, with some neighborhoods seeing more than 2,400 hours a year.

A lot of wind also blows across the flat Grassy field landscapes. In fact, many farms into the 20 th century had windmills, primarily to pump water.

Now, people on the Prairies are utilizing this natural bounty to sustain a clean-energy transformation– developing jobs and assisting steer us far from the vagaries of unpredictable international oil markets and costs. Alberta, specifically, is shifting from being the leading producer of nonrenewable fuel sources to a renewable resource powerhouse– despite its federal government’s single-minded concentrate on out-of-date fuels. That federal government’s interest for markets, however, has developed a great environment for renewable resource developers.

In Vulcan County, north of Lethbridge, Canada’s largest solar farm is nearing conclusion. Covering 13.5 square kilometres (3,330 acres), the Travers Solar Task will have 1.3 million photovoltaic panels producing 465 megawatts, enough electricity to power 150,000 houses It’s likewise created about 800 direct jobs.

Likewise in Vulcan County, the 300- megawatt Blackspring Ridge Wind job was finished in 2014, and in 2015, the 353- megawatt Whitla Wind task southeast of Lethbridge vanquished Blackspring to end up being Alberta’s largest wind facility.

Saskatchewan now gets 25 percent of its power from renewable sources, with 20 per cent from hydro and the rest from wind. With several jobs underway– consisting of one solar and 3 wind centers– that’s increasing. Three more solar and one wind task are also in preparing stages, along with numerous community-based setups. Saskatchewan has likewise started constructing a battery storage center in Regina.

Shifting Power: Zero-Emissions Electrical Power Across Canada by 2035,” by the David Suzuki Structure with independent researchers from the University of Victoria, reveals that, by purchasing wind and solar generation, and enhancing inter-provincial transmission and updating energy efficiency, Canada can dependably and affordably meet rising need as we shift from fossil fuels to clean electrical power.

That suggests developing a more interconnected grid so that, for instance, “as a weather system with strong winds moves across the meadows, Alberta can export excess electrical power generation to Saskatchewan or British Columbia when windy conditions prevail to the west and then import power from Saskatchewan as the storm moves east. When B.C. is importing wind power from Alberta, it can scale back hydroelectric generation, keeping its hydro reservoir capability for later usage.”

The study reveals that the grid keeps dependability so electrical energy is there when and where it’s required which costs are equivalent to business-as-usual and get lower as the grid is cleaned with renewables and fuel expenses are gotten rid of. Other studies reveal that shifting far from nonrenewable fuel sources for vehicles and home heating minimizes home expenses.

As with all energy developments, there are effects, although not almost as numerous or severe as with fossil fuels.

These concerns should be dealt with in the very same manner as all human activities and the products that support them– by ensuring things last longer, that they and their elements can be recycled or re-used, by making materials and situating infrastructure in ways that are less damaging to the environment and communities, and by ensuring that equity, justice and shared decision-making are intrinsic.

The Structure’s study is accompanied by a companion report, “ Decarbonizing Electrical Energy and Decolonizing Power: Voices, Insights and Priorities from Indigenous Clean Energy Leaders,” by Neegan Burnside and Dean Jacobs, which sets out six concepts for upholding Indigenous rights and guaranteeing Indigenous communities take advantage of a transition to emissions-free electricity.

The future of energy is renewable– specifically on the Prairies!

David Suzuki is a researcher, broadcaster, author and co-founder of the David Suzuki Structure. Learn more at davidsuzuki.org


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David Suzuki is co-founder of the David Suzuki Structure, an award-winning scientist, environmentalist and broadcaster. He is also a popular rabble-raiser.
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