Alberta to Wind and Solar: Not Just Now, Thanks

Tom Finnerty14 Aug, 2023 2 Min Read
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Alberta's Conservative premier Danielle Smith has announced a moratorium on new wind and solar projects in her province. Global News lays out some of her reasoning:

Smith says Ottawa is one of the reasons why her government has placed a moratorium on approving new wind and solar power projects, arguing the feds are preventing development of backup generation for renewable energy like natural gas. Smith, whose government surprised the province’s renewable energy industry last week by announcing a six-month freeze on new projects greater than one megawatt, told her provincewide radio call-in program Saturday that backup plants powered by natural gas are needed for when wind isn’t blowing or the sun isn’t shining.

But, she said, the federal government doesn’t want Alberta to add any new natural gas electricity plants to the grid. “So I’ve told them, how can I bring on additional wind and solar if I’m not able to secure the reliability of my power grid by being able to bring on natural gas peaker plants? That’s the heart of the problem,” Smith said.

In short, Smith wants to pair new wind-and-solar capacity with new natural gas capacity, because of the basic unreliability of renewables. She's concerned that relying too heavily on wind-and-solar could compromise the electric grid. But the Trudeau government disagrees. They've manipulated the market and established a regulatory regime as part of Trudeau's pledged transition away from the traditional resource sector -- one of the backbones of the Canadian economy, remember -- such that adding new natural gas capacity is nearly impossible. Since Ottawa has dug in their heels on oil-and-gas, Smith has decided to dig hers in on wind-and-solar.

All the right people are outraged by this, most especially the Canadian media, who are almost uniformly in the tank for Trudeau and his environmentalist agenda. Here's hoping she's able to weather the storm and keep this decision in place, for the eventual benefit of her constituents, her province, and the whole of Canada. If so, it'll be fun to see Justin Trudeau with a bit of egg on his face. It might even help clean off the boot polish.

Tom Finnerty writes from New England and Ontario.


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