Tuesday, July 10, 2012

The Globe and Mail's Flawed Reporting on Alberta's Brownout

... troubles occurred at four coal plants and two natural-gas plants, Mr. Simpson [director of market operations for AESO-Alberta Electric System Operator] said. They all suffered unrelated problems, have different owners, and are located in different parts of the province. Wind power helped fill the void, and by late afternoon, three of the six troubled power units were ramping up their operations, Mr. Simpson said.

The problem with the statement from Mr. Simpson is that it is nonsense.
The problem with the Globe and Mail is it's disinterest in that.

The facts are simple. Alberta has over 939MW of wind capacity, which didn't step in to anything but for a mild bump in a wispy moment around 6pm.

Other, suddenly more reputable outlets, got the story right.

Energy Minister Ken Hughes said rolling backouts were instituted with no warning across much of the province Monday because of an unusually bad set of circumstances, including extreme power demand, unexpected shutdowns of several generating stations and calm weather that kept wind turbines still. 
The daily report can be found at www.aeso.ca - but it takes some digging so I've embedded it here:

Checking into reporting available at the Alberto electricity system operator (AESO), I quickly located a weekly reporting and checked a week for the heart of January.  It demonstrates how wind is not reliable for meeting demand needs in either peak season.


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