In honour of the solar eclipse on Monday, SaskPower shared what it’s been saying about solar power for many years. The problem with reusing years-old information about technology, is that sometimes you get things wrong due to advances in the technology. There should not be so many factual errors in SaskPower’s communications with the public. It’s a sore point for me, because it’s so critical that people understand the capabilities (and true limitations) of renewable energy technologies. Only by changing how we power our electrical grid and daily lives, can we quickly leave fossil fuels in the past to reduce damaging climate changes, and health problems from emissions.
I’m one of those 400 #solar energy providers to the SaskPower grid. It’s known as Net Metering, because the net electricity used, at the end of a year is billed to me, but any generated above equality is kept in SaskPower’s favour.
Photons, not IR/heat is collected from light, & is converted into electrons (electricity). Heat causes additional resistance / lower output. Telling people otherwise could convince them that seasonally cold Regina isn’t a great place for solar, when it’s actually a top location in the world!
As you can see from my examples, SaskPower has some explaining to do, about the [mis]information they’re sharing on their Twitter feed. I worry what else they’re telling people, that’s as inaccurate.
ADDED: Sent this to SaskPower. I’ll let you know what they do to correct the record.
“SaskPower shared some inaccurate information on its series of tweets during the solar eclipse. Will SaskPower correct the record, and tweet correct information about solar power from this point forward?
Please let me know when SaskPower issues corrections, and I’ll update my article.
“Thank you, your inquiry has been submitted.
A SaskPower representative will respond to your inquiry shortly.”
UPDATE: They replied yesterday:
Thank you for your email. Solar is an important part of a cleaner energy
future for Saskatchewan. We want customers to understand our plans for
solar, and as you note in your blog, the limitations of the technology, as
well. To ensure reliability for customers, intermittent generation sources
like wind and solar require back up baseload power that’s available 24/7.
We also aim to balance a mix of sources that offer reliability,
cost-effectiveness and environmental sustainability. We are keenly paying
attention to the development of utility-scale battery storage technology as
you mention and will look forward to testing it once the technology
continues to evolve.
Okay, but what about correcting the mistakes in the information you shared with the public? e.g. equating heat with electricity production in PV cells. That’s not how it works.
Why are you not testing battery storage technology now?
May 26, 2017
In response to your May 24th article “Regina councillors return from Vancouver”, about Regina Councillors seeking to make our city use more renewable energy, I’d like to point out that Regina presently produces no solar electricity on public buildings. This is frankly outrageous since Regina’s solar resource is the best in Canada among major cities. The Federal, Provincial, & Municipal governments, and even the University of Regina all produce 0 Megawatt hours (MWh) of solar electricity for the SaskPower grid in Saskatchewan. That’s 4.6 MWh less than I’ve personally produced with my solar panels, for SaskPower. If the City would spend only $20,000, they could surpass my contribution within a year.
Saskpower is on track to miss their “50% renewable electricity by 2030” target mentioned in the article. 71 MW more fossil fuel electricity is planned to go online than renewable electricity in the next 4 years in Saskatchewan. That leaves a significant shortfall to hit 50%, with no plan as of yet being delivered to explain how the Crown Corporation intends to make it up.
Brad Wall says “…we need to do better in terms of more sustainably developing our energy resources…”
Unfortunately what he means is he wants to find ways of ensuring fossil fuels and uranium come out of the ground at an increasingly profitable pace, no matter the world’s demand/need for such things.
Greg Fingas views it as such, too.
He notes that oil pride goes “Before the fall”. (Although technically oil prices have already fallen.)
“The government’s climate change policy works like this: extract every last drop of fossil fuel then pray to God that no one uses it.” – G. Monbiot
I’ll add that they hope no one uses it, so long as someone first buys it. Perhaps we need to consider if the economic system is capable of delivering what Wall says he wants for our society.
I wouldn’t have as big a problem with the SaskParty’s development of Wall’s favoured energy resources if they also put money and thought into doing a better job of sustainably developing our energy resources – all of our resources, like wind, solar, geothermal, and hydro.
“It (coal/oil) employs people right across Canada, indirectly and directly. And yes, we all hope that fossil fuels will one day not be needed, but in the meantime they are — 2013, 80% of the world’s energy was, came from fossil fuels, after all of the world’s projected climate change measures are done by two (zero) thirty five (2035), the number’s 57%.”
It’s 57%, if we as a species fail to avert climate change. If our political leaders make an effort to save us, then it can be less than 10%.
“Coil, coal and oil, will still be a part of, it makes a big part, more than half of the mix of generating energy.
We have a chance as a country to play a big part in that, in terms of reducing the carbon footprint of energy development. We should be a little prouder than we are of the resource, and understand that programs like equalization and all the rest are funded by a strong economy and in our country a big part of a strong economy has been energy.”
Proud that Saskatchewan is a world leader in carbon pollution per capita? Wall’s right that Saskatchewan has a chance to play a big part in reducing the carbon footprint, but he’s barely begun. Aside from the billion tax dollar giveaway to Cenovus at the SaskPower CCS power plant, he’s spent insignificant time/money on wind or solar energy resources.
The biggest surprise is that it hasn’t been done already.
With overspending of $60,000/month on utilities, the cost of the upgrades would be recovered after less than 4 years! After that point, the City will have $60,000 more each month to spend on further upgrades, like adding solar panels to public buildings to offset natural gas and coal electricity production.
The question also is, when will the City of Regina catch on, and how much each month are they wasting through building inefficiency?
One interesting fact is that Saskatchewan produces more carbon dioxide pollution per capita, than any other jurisdiction in the world. Yay Number 1!
Greenhouse Gas Reductions and Transportation
Ian Loughran, Manager, Energy and Sustainability Engineering, City of Saskatoon
“Many attendees were astonished to learn that Saskatchewan has the highest greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions per capita in Canada, and that 86% of these emissions come from cars. Mr. Ian Loughran commented that Saskatoon is a “car hungry city,” and that taking public transit is stigmatized, as it’s “not cool”.
People around the room jumped to the defence of all that pollution, saying the province grows the world’s food so it’s okay. I explained that we create a lot of demand for pollution overseas too through our demand for consumption of Chinese (and other) resources/manufacturing/shipping.
Join the discussion on Urban Transportation and Design!
When: Friday, Jan. 24, 8:30am-4:00pm (with networking to follow)
Where: Park Town Hotel, Saskatoon
Explore issues such as balancing urban sprawl and density, transportation planning, transportation behaviour and choices, managing greenhouse gases and more. Speakers include city planners, engineers and government officials. Attendees will also be given the opportunity to discuss the topics and their own ideas in group discussions throughout the day.
Tickets are $200. A limited number of discounted tickets are available for students and community organizations on a first-come, first-serve basis. For more information, contact firstname.lastname@example.org
The University of Saskatchewan’s School of Environment and Sustainability (SENS), in conjunction with the APEGS Environment and Sustainability committee and the City of Saskatoon, is pleased to introduce its first Sustainability Networking conference on January 24th, 2014. True to its title, the conference will discuss current urban transportation practices and then examine how we can design and build more sustainable systems for our cities in the future. The day will be comprised of 2 sessions, morning and afternoon, to address urban design and transportation issues and solutions in Saskatchewan cities. The morning session will encompass urban design issues and opportunities, such as the current approach to balancing sprawl versus density, transportation planning within the City of Saskatoon’s Integrated Growth Plan and finally, urban design lessons learned in similar jurisdictions in Canada. The afternoon session will involve transportation behaviour hurdles and prospects, including the City of Saskatoon’s recent transportation survey, approaches to encouraging behaviour change and finally, how greenhouse gas policies might instigate change in the future.
The morning and afternoon sessions will each be kicked off with a panel of three speakers who will introduce and discuss the topics, followed by an open question and answer period. A speed networking session will follow, where participants can chat about the topics introduced in the panel session. Finally, participants will be involved in a set of roundtable discussions to help break down the issues introduced and to help generate solutions. The finale of the day will be a wrap up where thoughts and ideas from the roundtable session are presented.
• Balancing sprawl versus density: Derek Thompson (Land Development Project Manager at the City of Saskatoon Land Branch) will discuss how communities can plan and design for ‘smart’ development in urban areas that optimizes transportation, including using existing infrastructure, revitalizing existing neighborhoods, promoting mixed-use land development and providing for public transit-oriented, walkable, bicycle-friendly land use.
• The City of Saskatoon’s Integrated Growth Plan: Alan Wallace (Manager of the City of Saskatoon’s Planning & Development Branch) will discuss the Integrated Growth Plan and its nexus with transportation planning. Topics and strategies that will guide Saskatoon’s future growth will also be introduced.
• Lessons learned in urban design: Rhonda Toohey, P.Eng. (Director, Policy Implementation and Evaluation, Transportation Planning Branch, City of Edmonton) will address how Edmonton has dealt with significant growth and changing transportation patterns and provide some insight in terms of lessons learned from their experience.
• The City of Saskatoon’s household transportation survey: Angela Gardiner (Manager of the City of Saskatoon’s Transportation Branch) will discuss what the transportation survey is, why it is being conducted, who can participate, and what the transportation branch will do with the results. The discussion will also include some of the short- and long-term plans the Transportation Branch is pursuing, especially as related to citizens’ transportation behaviour.
• Approaches to encourage transportation-related behaviour change: Bob Patrick, from the University of Saskatchewan’s Department of Geography and Planning, will talk about how planners are encouraging behaviour change to reduce single-occupancy vehicle use in our urban communities, as well as how to work with people’s perceptions and motivation, overcome habitual behaviour and bridge the gap between knowledge and behaviour.
• The City of Saskatoon’s Energy and Greenhouse Gas Management Plan: Ian Loughran will discuss the City of Saskatoon’s Energy and GHG Management Plan as it relates to reducing GHG emissions. He will include a discussion of some of the strategies that could be implemented to reduce transportation-related emissions, as well as raise some questions for the audience to consider regarding how to reduce our community’s greenhouse gas emissions.
Have you wondered what you could do to reduce your power and heating bills, but weren’t sure where to start? Here’s a fun way to meet the local experts who have done it and are willing to show you how:
Saskatchewan Solar Tours is having its 3rd annual bus tour of homes and businesses powered by solar energy on Saturday 9am – 5pm June 23rd, 2012. This tour showcases the most innovative applications of solar energy used for homes and businesses. Traveling in and around Regina, the tour, which is carbon neutral, checks out passive, thermal, photo-voltaic and wind systems.
Morning: 9am to noon ($20)
Afternoon: 1pm to 5pm ($20)
Full day: 9am to 5pm with organic lunch provided ($30)
The touring bus, equipped with A/C and bathroom, departs from Candy Cane Park (just east of the Science Centre on Wascana Drive).
Solar professionals or owners will be on site to explain systems and answer questions.