A sunny outlook for vitality on Canada’s windy Prairies

A sunny outlook for vitality on Canada’s windy Prairies
Folks on the Prairies are harnessing the natural bounty of renewable vitality to fuel a dapper-vitality revolution — creating jobs and serving to steer us away from the vagaries of volatile world oil markets and costs.

Photo of a solar farm.
Photograph of a photo voltaic farm. Credit ranking: Zsuzska Boka / pixabay
A David Suzuki Foundation glimpse learned Canada’s Prairie provinces might per chance almost definitely well almost definitely be vitality superpowers. It’s now not as a result of their diminishing gives of polluting, climate-altering coal, oil and fuel — or even uranium for nuclear energy. The Prairies dangle an abundance of cleaner, more worth effective vitality: solar and wind.

Southern Saskatchewan and southeast Alberta win more sunshine than wherever else in Canada, with some communities seeing bigger than 2,400 hours a yr. In step with a CBC article, “the relaxation of Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba need to now not some distance within the lend a hand of, racking up over 2,000 hours per yr.” That’s nearly twice as noteworthy as some areas alongside the Pacific budge!

A style of wind additionally blows across the flat Prairie landscapes. Truly, most farms into the 20th century had windmills, essentially to pump water.

Now, folks on the Prairies are harnessing this natural bounty to fuel a dapper-vitality revolution — creating jobs and serving to steer us away from the vagaries of volatile world oil markets and costs. Alberta, especially, is shifting from being the main producer of fossil fuels to a renewable vitality powerhouse — despite its authorities’s single-minded focal point on outdated fuels. That authorities’s enthusiasm for markets, on the other hand, has created a factual climate for renewable vitality developers.

In Vulcan County, north of Lethbridge, Canada’s finest photo voltaic farm is nearing completion. Covering 13.5 square kilometres (3,330 acres), the Travers Photograph voltaic Project can dangle 1.3 million photo voltaic panels producing 465 megawatts, ample electrical energy to energy 150,000 homes. It’s additionally created about 800 remark jobs.

Additionally in Vulcan County, the 300-megawatt Blackspring Ridge Wind project used to be executed in 2014, and closing yr, the 353-megawatt Whitla Wind project southeast of Lethbridge beat out Blackspring to change into Alberta’s finest wind facility.

Saskatchewan now gets 25 per cent of its energy from renewable sources, with 20 per cent from hydro and the relaxation from wind. With several projects underway — including one photo voltaic and three wind facilities — that’s rising. Three more photo voltaic and one wind project are additionally in planning stages, in conjunction with several community-essentially based mostly installations. Saskatchewan has additionally started building a battery storage facility in Regina.

“Appealing Vitality: Zero-Emissions Electrical energy Across Canada by 2035,” by the David Suzuki Foundation with honest researchers from the College of Victoria, displays that, by investing in wind and photo voltaic generation, and bettering inter-provincial transmission and upgrading vitality effectivity, Canada can reliably and cheaply meet rising quiz as we shift from fossil fuels to dapper electrical energy.

Meaning making a more interconnected grid in converse that, as an example, “as a weather system with solid winds moves across the prairies, Alberta can export extra electrical energy generation to Saskatchewan or British Columbia when windy prerequisites prevail to the west and then import energy from Saskatchewan as the storm moves east. When B.C. is importing wind energy from Alberta, it might per chance most likely scale lend a hand hydroelectric generation, keeping its hydro reservoir capability for later employ.”

The glimpse displays that the grid maintains reliability so electrical energy is there when and where it’s wished and that costs are equivalent to business-as-usual and win decrease as the grid is cleaned with renewables and fuel costs are eliminated. Plenty of compare masks that shifting away from fossil fuels for vehicles and residential heating reduces family costs.

As with every vitality tendencies, there are impacts, despite the incontrovertible truth that now not nearly as many or excessive as with fossil fuels. Renewable vitality projects, including vitality storage infrastructure, require house and materials, many of which need to be mined. They’ve additionally been connected to human rights abuses in parts of the sphere — especially mining and hydro tendencies.

These issues need to be addressed within the equivalent formulation as all human activities and the merchandise that enhance them — by making certain things closing longer, that they and their parts will be recycled or re-outdated skool, by manufacturing materials and situating infrastructure in ways that are much less unfavorable to the ambiance and communities, and by making certain that fairness, justice and shared decision-making are inherent.

The Foundation’s glimpse is accompanied by a companion sage, “Decarbonizing Electrical energy and Decolonizing Vitality: Voices, Insights and Priorities from Indigenous Desirable Vitality Leaders,” by Neegan Burnside and Dean Jacobs, which sets out six principles for upholding Indigenous rights and making certain Indigenous communities lend a hand from a transition to emissions-free electrical energy.

The methodology forward for vitality is renewable — especially on the Prairies!

David Suzuki is a scientist, broadcaster, creator and co-founding father of the David Suzuki Foundation. Written with contributions from David Suzuki Foundation Senior Creator and Editor Ian Hanington. Learn more at davidsuzuki.org.


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David Suzuki is co-founding father of the David Suzuki Foundation, an award-winning scientist, environmentalist and broadcaster. He’s additionally a widely known rabble-raiser.The David Suzuki Foundation works… Extra by David Suzuki

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June 9, 2022