A Tale of Two Places – Denmark + Alberta

Researcher/writer William Kay, of the blog Ecofascism, wrote a research trilogy last year (2015) on the geopolitics of climate change.  Part three – “A Tale of Two Places” is instructive for Albertans and Canadians at this time as there is a push to incorporate renewables and be ‘green like Denmark.’  But is Denmark ‘green’?  If so, why are they still using so much coal?  And if Denmark has Alberta’s wealth of high-quality coal, would they be building wind farms at sea?

Download “A Tale of Two Places” via the link below :

tale-of-two-places-one-part-sept-19-2016

In a Calgary Herald report of Sept. 14, 2016, Alberta’s NDP government claims it will have “30 percent renewable power by 2030” – but despite Denmark’s massive offshore wind resources, it had only managed to get 17% power from wind, and then only because it has a unique power grid configuration that is split in half, with one-half connected to Norway’s hydro and the other half connected to Sweden’s nuclear – both of which can handle the ebb, flow, and spill of wind power.  Conventional grids backed up with natural gas could not.

Though Denmark effectively generates more power from wind than the 17% or so that it uses, it usually has to spill this highly subsidized power offshore to Sweden and Norway which are pretty much ‘carbon neutral’ anyway.

World Nuclear Association has some interesting discussion on the power mix in Denmark and may include some more up-to-date figures than “A Tale of Two Places” – but in principle, the fact remains that Alberta does not have equivalent wind resources to Denmark, and Alberta does have lots of very affordable coal.

Wind power is an erratic and unpredictable force that must be backed up 24/7 by equivalent fossil fuel (or hydro) resources and ‘peaking’ gas powered plants must be at the ready to ramp up or down power production to fill the sudden drops in power.  This natural gas back-up was found by Ontario Professional Engineers to actually increase carbon dioxide emissions (Ontario has nuclear back-up and hydro).

alberta_wind_2012q3

Data Source: AESO – graph shows erratic nature of wind power in the 3rd quarter of 2012 

Geopolitics are a key factor in the climate change game, as noted by Prof. Dr. Istvan Marko in numerous blog pieces on this weblog.  Albertans should think carefully before going down an expensive path that does not result in a more reliable or affordable power system. Let’s learn the Lessons Learned in Germany.

A review of some of the wind energy challenges can be seen in this presentation to Alberta School Boards.wind-power3

“Mike, we are a green energy company, but the green stands for money.”

Jeffery Skilling, President, Enron

***

Swindle Final Outfront

 

 

3 thoughts on “A Tale of Two Places – Denmark + Alberta

  1. I like the direction Alberta is headed in in energy. Its good for the planet and good for Alberta.

    http://canwea.ca/wind-energy/alberta/

    In spite of this impressive progress to date, the future for wind energy is even brighter. The Alberta Government’s new commitments on climate change will fundamentally transform Alberta’s electricity grid. Specifically, Alberta has said it will phase out coal-fired electricity generation by 2030 and will replace two thirds of that energy will renewable energy – primarily wind energy. This will require a minimum of 4,000 MW of new wind energy to be built in Alberta over the next 15 years, and the number will likely be higher as Alberta strives to move towards 30 per cent of all electricity coming from renewable energy by 2030.

  2. It appears the market is speaking on this matter. How much are you going to block what the people of Alberta want?

    http://canwea.ca/wind-facts/wind-facts-alberta/

    A recent Nanos Research survey shows that most Albertans believe wind energy offers many positive benefits and should be part of helping to diversify the province’s mix of electricity sources. Albertans also believe:

    Almost 80% of Albertans think the Government of Alberta should do more to develop renewable energy like wind and solar.
    Over half of Albertans surveyed (54%) think that more wind energy projects is the #1 way to combat greenhouse gas emissions.
    The most popular piece of advice (34%) for the Premier of Alberta to improve environmental performance: Increase the supply of renewable energy like wind and solar energy.

  3. Though Denmark effectively generates more power from wind than the 17% or so that it uses, it usually has to spill this highly subsidized power offshore to Sweden and Norway which are pretty much ‘carbon neutral’ anyway.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Energy_in_Denmark
    In February 2011 the Danish government announced the “Energy Strategy 2050” with the aim to be fully independent of fossil fuels by 2050,[8] and a new government repeated the goal in 2015 despite public scepticism.[9] The European Renewables Directive set a mandatory target at 20% share of energy from renewable sources by 2020 (EU combined).[10][11] In 2012 the Danish government adopted a plan to increase the share of electricity production from wind to 50% by 2020,[12][13] and to 84% in 2035.[14]

    Denmark doesn’t seem interested in cheap coal.

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