Renewables In Sparsely Populated Regions of Canada

“We’re committed to managing emissions as we rebuild the electricity system to meet the needs of our growing province. We’ve set a target of 50% of generation capacity from renewables by 2030. To achieve this goal, we will double the percentage of renewables in our supply mix in just 15 years.”
 
See Renewables Roadmap – SaskPower
In planning a drive across Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba I’ve been struck by the limited number of charging stations in sparsely populated regions of these prairie provinces. There’s certainly no shortage of land that is less suitable for farming or other industries. Why is not solar and wind generation seen as a legitimate farming activity? Alberta, Saskatchewan and some parts of Manitoba are remote from abundant hydroelectric power but they have large regions which already convert sunshine into food. Why not energy? Some regions have high unemployment. Some have employment in coal/oil extraction industries and power generation. Surely more could build the electrical infrastructure.

It’s good to see Saskatchewan has a plan to ramp up wind/solar. It’s a windy and sunny place with lots of land and only a million or so people. They could easily meet their needs by renewable. They can still sell their coal and oil to whomever wants it. A combination of renewable energy and electric vehicle charging stations would promote an entirely new industry, the EV, and the wealth could be spread around from the oil companies and automakers to everyone else. Now there are 100+km per charging station along many of our highways, or more. The world would be a better place if there were 1 charging station per square kilometre instead.

About Robert Pogson

I am a retired teacher in Canada. I taught in the subject areas where I have worked for almost forty years: maths, physics, chemistry and computers. I love hunting, fishing, picking berries and mushrooms, too.
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15 Responses to Renewables In Sparsely Populated Regions of Canada

  1. oiaohm says:

    Robert Pogson I said 25 years is optimistic.

    The mirrors used in solar towers are good for 100+years. The core tower can be serviced and repaired as required.

    This is one of the advantages of the compact solar tower systems. Life span that make coal, gas, nuclear plants look like a joke. Hydro systems also have in all types have proven ability to be dependable over 100+ years. Wind systems with smaller turbine designs are proven for over 100+ years as well.

    Coal, gas and nuclear normally looking at a full rebuild after 50-60 years.

    http://reneweconomy.com.au/how-it-works-solar-power-towers-with-integrated-storage-78892/

    Solar towers have been upgraded to also to have a integrated storage. Interesting enough the molten salt was developed for nuclear.

    The reality with all the different techs the base load arguement is most false. Its more using renewable smart and efficiently. Even with a base load gap you more would be looking at a gas turbine that can spin and down fairly quickly.

    http://repository.tudelft.nl/islandora/object/uuid:4128fa2c-0446-4857-a2c0-ff1c9ff94b49
    Studies on hydro power storage built into high-rises has been done. This is where the based load arguement falls apart. High-rises technically can be designed to service their own base load and even a percentage of near building need and take power from grid when ever there is excess from generation. Those storage systems don’t have to use freshwater.

    Issue here is we have not designed our buildings for a renewable power. Also High-rises that are the base load source for cities would have prevented many of the historic USA power grid failures from being as bad.

    So storage we know how to-do losing about 50 percent with hydro systems that can go for 100+years.

    So “base-load requirement” so bull its not funny. The issue is how to generate enough power because using hydro storage you have to generate 50 percent more than what you will be using.

    Solar in solar towers and wind in turbines has lower total cost of ownership than using fossil fuels. Of course deployment requires investment.

    The reality is using fossil fuels for electricity don’t stack up from a cost point of view.

  2. oiaohm wrote, “you can strike off PV solar panels off list if you are looking for anything with a decent life span”.

    25 years is just fine. They break even in about 5 years if you DIY. A big advantage for my yard is casting a shadow. Without big trees we need shade here.

  3. oiaohm says:

    Arthur C. Clarke is person who does know his numbers.
    http://www.ichiwah.com/cp/uploads/IIS-No1-Feynman.pdf
    Only place for that really wrong so called Feynman quote is found. Its not in the official quote list or has no truly conformable reference so most likely 100 percent false. Feynman did at one point talk about how much power could be in a cubic metre of a black hole but you would not all that normal space.
    I never actually tracked that exact quote down myself, however it does not distract away from the message does it?
    Dougman yes it does when you are quoting known garbage should anyone believe anything else you say. Never use a quote if you don’t know if it valid or not.

    On the notion of wind, I have no damn clue what you are trying to say. Actually solar would be the cleanest, and requires less maintenance, then the other two options.
    Look at the graphic dougman that is TCO back on Environmental_impact_of_wind_power wikipedia page. Solar all forms end up being more expensive to make and with at times shorter life span than wind or hydro systems for same power yield.

    http://www.computerworld.com/article/3058270/sustainable-it/study-solar-panels-dont-last-forever-and-degradation-varies-wildly.html

    If you be optimistic a solar panel has 25 years of life. Wind turbines bigger is not better. The really big wind turbines have been found to be wearing out in 15 years where the smaller ones have a 30 year life span and can be reconditioned for longer.

    Also the generate degrade in wind turbine is in fact slower than the generation lose rate in solar panels.

    So you can strike off PV solar panels off list if you are looking for anything with a decent life span.

    Solar power tower require lot more maintenance than you would think. All the moving mirrors to focus the heat comes at a cost. This is way better than PV but a lot more maintenance than wind turbines.
    http://reneweconomy.com.au/world-first-solar-tower-powered-tomato-farm-opens-port-augusta-41643/
    Why was solar here chosen over wind. Compactness of system for dependability and the conditions are right. Please note that is not only fully solar powered tomato farm it does not use a single drop of fresh water instead it desalinates every bit of water it uses to be drought proof.

    Solar updraught tower is a variation on wind were you are using solar to make sure you have a wind.

    Wind to be effective has large scale and backed by hydro systems or some other storage system. So wind you would say as part of a nation wide power grid. Solar towers are something you can deploy compact and commercial scale to run a farm or equal. Wind systems have another advantage conditions that are bad for solar towers are no where near as bad for wind turbines. All the moving parts of a solar tower set-up does not like like ice and dust storms. Even a highly effective PV system has to use trackers that have issue. Then when you get too far north and south you end up not having enough light to use solar then you have to go wind.

    So Wind with hydro storage beats the solar options in area of usability and TCO costs. Wind loses in amount of land area required for effective deployment. If you don’t have like 4000 square km of area to deploy wind turbines in you might as well forget it as a dependable system. And that 4000 is if you can get ideal locations on the face of the earth. Some case you are talking 1000 times worse so 4000000 square km before you are at dependable. A solar tower on under a square km can be a dependable system.

    Pumping water from the oceans, for Hydropower? Dougman you would be thinking that all of this would be costing electricity not that there are other ways because you have access to sea.

    The japan one gets even more interesting as a percentage of water is pumped out the sea by wave power and tide change. Tide change it something you will have every day 4 times. These methods are Sea Hydropower its a little different to freshwater hydropower. The Sea forms of Hydropower have not been done anywhere near enough.

  4. dougman says:

    “I’ve read Feynman and don’t recall that quote. I think it’s also false, not something for which Feynman is known. e=mc2 kind of contradicts it unless our concept of mass is wrong.”

    I never actually tracked that exact quote down myself, however it does not distract away from the message does it? It could have been attributive to Arthur C. Clarke in some way too, but who cares.

    Eistein’s equation is not contradictory, it’s just a piece of the pie.

  5. dougman says:

    Pumping water from the oceans, for Hydropower? God damn it, Ffi! You’re a god damn genius! This is the most outstanding answer I have ever heard. You must have a goddamn I.Q. of 160. You are goddamn gifted!!

    On the notion of wind, I have no damn clue what you are trying to say. Actually solar would be the cleanest, and requires less maintenance, then the other two options.

  6. dougman wrote, “Not till you have an extended drought, then what? Deploying solar panels and a noisy wind-mill is going to upset your neighbors. One, for being an eye-sire and two, class envy.”

    Nope. If that were the case, there’d already by a by-law against those. There isn’t. Folks here are not against diversity. We had one neighbour with a shockingly purple house. They then chose to paint it black. Others have houses that are not boxes but piles of shapes. Some have swimming pools. Some have lots of trees. Others scarcely any. We have on this block houses and lots worth $600K and $350K all peacefully coexisting, except for a dog or a snowmobile trespassing…

    BTW, windmills don’t have to be noisey and no one here complains about small planes approaching a nearby airport at 500 feet altitude nor the rattle of gunfire from a shooting range. We are Canadian. We mostly get along. Solar panels can be just new shingles on the roof or a sunshade over a picnic table. It’s all good, not a problem.

    Also, BTW, I was born on a farm and lived on a farm for many years of my life. I still have relatives who live by farming although their numbers have declined as the size of farms increased as did the sizes of tractors used to cultivate them. My uncle, for instance, began farming after military service with a loan from the government for veterans that he finally paid off in the 1970s because the interest rate was so low it made no sense to pay it off earlier. I did drive a grain truck for him one summer. I’ve raised rabbits, pigs and cattle. This summer I’m going to plant a few square metres of grains: millet, wheat, barley and corn along with a lot of fruit, nuts, and vegetables. I do count pennies. My land is poor for vegetables but I’ve managed to get grapes, asparagus and horseradish established and I will have more fruit than I can eat in a few years.

  7. dougman wrote, “in one cubic meter of space, there is enough energy to boil all the water in all of the oceans on Earth.”

    I’ve read Feynman and don’t recall that quote. I think it’s also false, not something for which Feynman is known. e=mc2 kind of contradicts it unless our concept of mass is wrong.

  8. ram says:

    Clearly if wind and solar work in Northern climates such as Canada and Scandinavia, they will work even better in sunny Australia. Unfortunately, in Australia, we are presently stuck with the most corrupt government of all time who is wedded to the fossil fuel industry.

  9. oiaohm says:

    Not till you have an extended drought, then what?
    So hydro electric systems don’t have to depend on freshwater from skies.. So don’t have to be drought sensitive. If drought can ruin your hydro electric system you have designed it wrong.
    http://blogs.worldwatch.org/revolt/pump-up-that-seawater-a-remix-to-pumped-storage-hydro/
    Yes this is a island in Japan that use seawater hydro electricity storage where they pump water out the sea then flow it back to the sea when they need power. So totally drought proof. So that your base load power. Now you just need power sources to keep the base load filled.

    a noisy wind-mill is going to upset your neighbors.
    There is more than 1 wind-mill design the debate is about what one is best.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Environmental_impact_of_wind_power#/media/File:Greenhouse_emissions_by_electricity_source.PNG

    The cleanest power source is the combination of wind and hydro. Wind can be placed out to sea and other locations were the noise is not a problem. The noise problem is working out what in fact causes the trouble. Wind going past buildings also makes noise. If amount of money that has been put into so called clean coal had been put into fixing wind turbine noise problem it would be solved by now.

    dougman so where are you going to make a post without an error.

  10. dougman says:

    “Yes, exactly. Most of these insurmountable problems raised are just problems for which there may be multiple feasible solutions. They are not blocks but stepping stones. For instance, for my Solo, I can charge a battery while the sun shines and then to charge my EV, run an inverter to feed the car. ”

    I don’t see them as problems. The REAL rulers rather you not have anything, hence carbon taxes 2020. All the problems we have or supposedly have today, have already been solved long ago.

    For instance, in one cubic meter of space, there is enough energy to boil all the water in all of the oceans on Earth. It should be noted, that Richard Feynman used this quote often.

    In particle physics it is well known that the active vacuum is incredibly energetic, but in classical Maxwell Heaviside electrodynamics, the same scientific community now assumes in the model that the vacuum is absolutely inert! See the disparity?

  11. dougman says:

    “Who cares?”

    Obviously you don’t.

    “I live in a home that probably has already invested $50K in insulation, windows and geothermal heating.”

    That is way overpriced! Again, you over paid.

    “We use almost exclusively hydro-electricity where I live. I can easily justify a further $50K to have wind/solar added to the mix.”

    Not till you have an extended drought, then what? Deploying solar panels and a noisy wind-mill is going to upset your neighbors. One, for being an eye-sire and two, class envy.

    “If I can replace most of that with wind/solar I’m laughing.”

    Using computer boards as an example, you won’t replace anything, and you will not be laughing, in fact, you’ll be sad and wondering why.

    “TLW will come around. She’s like a very big boat. ”

    You just called her a “big boat”?

    “BTW, farmers are business-people. If they can produce a product and sell it at a good enough profit, they are fine with that.”

    BTW, you’re not a farmer, nor will you ever be.

  12. oiaohm wrote, “dougman so again most of what you wrote is not researched garbage.”
     

    Yes, exactly. Most of these insurmountable problems raised are just problems for which there may be multiple feasible solutions. They are not blocks but stepping stones. For instance, for my Solo, I can charge a battery while the sun shines and then to charge my EV, run an inverter to feed the car. There is some inefficiency but I don’t care, even if the battery needs to charge twice. I don’t need to drive every day, nor do I need to drive the maximum range every day. I could spend three times as much and build a reserve sufficient to handle three cloudy days or whatever. “Base load” can be handled many ways. Alternatives that do work: compressed air, hydrogen, pumping water uphill, spinning up a big flywheel, batteries, even hoisting a load of rock… A bit of imagination makes dougman’s “obstacles” disappear. In particular, for me, cost is no object. Whatever I invest in such a project merely increases the value of my property. It’s durable goods and has a value that will be appreciated by future owners. dougman can live the way he wants. Others will do the same and renewable energy and electricity will thrive.

  13. oiaohm says:

    http://reneweconomy.com.au/base-load-power-a-myth-used-to-defend-the-fossil-fuel-industry-96007/

    dougman problem here there is more than 1 solar.
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Solar_power_tower
    These do in fact provide base load as they store the solar salt in salt and other heat storage methods.

    Then you have solar ponds(salt water ponds) that are used in Australia in places that on smaller scales are the sun collector and storage in one.

    Wind with hydro has been used to provide base load in quite a few areas.

    dougman so again most of what you wrote is not researched garbage.

  14. dougman wrote of wind/solar, “solar and wind does not provide the requisite base-load requirement”.

    Who cares? We have many storage options and hydro-electric power to run after midnight. Capital costs, maintenance costs and longevity of wind/solar are all OK these days. In what century does dougman live?

    I live in a home that probably has already invested $50K in insulation, windows and geothermal heating. We use almost exclusively hydro-electricity where I live. I can easily justify a further $50K to have wind/solar added to the mix. Total expenditures are now $thousands per annum on electricity/fuel. If I can replace most of that with wind/solar I’m laughing. TLW will come around. She’s like a very big boat. You can’t just speed it up with one hand but if you push long enough it will move towards the future.

    BTW, farmers are business-people. If they can produce a product and sell it at a good enough profit, they are fine with that. Some already to, but like EVs, they’re still not there on mind-share.

  15. dougman says:

    “Why is not solar and wind generation seen as a legitimate farming activity?”

    Are you eff’n kidding me? LMAO…solar and wind does not provide the requisite base-load requirement, and not to mention both require substantial investment and costs for ownership of the life of the products.

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