On Dec. 31, New Year’s Eve, it was cold across Alberta and Saskatchewan. On that day, TransAlta, one of Alberta’s largest power generating companies, announced it had completed its conversion from coal to natural gas. It was also shutting down the Highvale coal mine, west of Edmonton.
Their release noted, “In aggregate, TransAlta has retired 3,794 megawatts of coal-fired generation capacity since 2018 while converting 1,659 megawatts to cleaner burning natural gas. This achievement, coupled with TransAlta’s growing and diversified generating portfolio, including hydro, wind, solar and battery assets, helps position TransAlta to be a highly competitive provider of reliable, low and zero-emitting electricity for customers in Canada, the United States, and Australia.”
About that wind and solar:
The AESO website revealed some literally cold, hard facts that weren’t in the TransAlta press release. As of noon, the TransAlta Keephills Unit 1, which was scheduled to retire that very day, was still putting out 302 megawatts, of its 395 megawatt rated capacity. At the same time, Alberta’s entire fleet of 13 grid-connected solar facilities, rated at 736 megawatts, was contributing 58 megawatts to the grid. The 26 wind farms, with a combined rated capacity of 2,269 megawatts, was feeding the grid 18 megawatts.
We have the most cowardly conservative politicians since Neville Chamberlain. And I don’t think even Chamberlain would have been so stupid as to shutter Britain’s energy superstructure at his enemy’s request.