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Wind Force #1. 19 July 2015
It's been a while but we're back! 

And quite a bit has been happening since our last newsletter (June 2014). 

Saskatchewan

SASKPOWER'S NEW CEOCHANGE IN THE WIND? 
Apparently so!  Mike Marsh - a 25-year SaskPower engineer with an MBA - was formally appointed in early April. Before the end of the month he had already announced details of his first major policy initiative...

...MAJOR NEW WIND ADDITIONS!  The new targets, given what has been achieved elsewhere, are not particularly challenging. However their significance lies in the fact that they were the new CEO's first major policy announcement and came only a couple of weeks after his appointment. Hopefully this is the real deal and not just Greenwashing.

COMMUNITY WIND IN THE SOUTH? Given the excellent wind resource further south and the lack of interest shown by the City of Saskatoon in the YXE pilot we had initially planned to develop, we are now pursuing a project further south. Things are going well and we hope to be able to announce details later this year.

REPORT: $1-BILLION CARBON CAPTURE LOSS. We released
our 100-page report in March and it wasn't pretty. Turns out the $1.6-billion scheme is a hidden subsidy to the oil industry. It will result in losses of $1-billion for Saskatchewan electricity consumers and, as a result, it means higher electricity prices for the forseeable future. In the 15 weeks since publication nobody from SaskPower or the Government, has been able to fault our calculations or conclusions. Their silence is deafening.

SASK. USE OF WIND FALLS BEHIND CHINA & WORLD. In 2014 Saskatchewan, for the first time, generated less of its electricity from the wind than both China and the World. FYI Saskatchewan fell behind the US in 2012 and Europe in 2006. We have Canada's highest per capita GHG emissions from power generation, the second lowest use of both renewables and wind energy in the country and can also lay claim to the dubious distinction of being one of the only jurisdictions in the world to reduce our use of wind & solar since 2006.

SASK PUBLIC WANTS MORE FOCUS ON RENEWABLES. At last a public opinion survey re new generation options! It showed that the vast majority want more of their electricity from renewable sources. Three quarters of those surveyed feel that the province is not doing enough to develop renewables. 61% of respondents self-identified as SaskParty supporters...  

..BUT PREMIER WALL WANTS MORE FOCUS ON OIL & GAS.
The Premier was in the national news this week when, at the premiers' meeting concerning the historic 'Canadian Energy Strategy', he stood alone in seeking more emphasis on oil & gas and less on renewables. He appears fixated on '20th Century Oil and Gas' while the rest of Canada has moved on to '21st Century Energy'. Another Jim Prentice? 
 

Canada

Outside SK wind is growing rapidly: here are some highlights.

CANADA. In June and with the opening of Ontario's K2 wind project (see below) Canada became the 7th country in the world to pass 10,000 megawatts of installed wind. That capacity generates enough electricity for about 3 million homes.

BRITISH COLUMBIA. Vancouver committed to run on 100% renewable energy and its Mayor, Gregor Robertson, who chairs Canada's 'Big City Mayor's Caucus' (BCMC), announced the release of the BCMC united call for climate action. Both Regina & Saskatoon are part of the 21-City BCMC and this resolution requires them to make and deliver on, GHG reduction targets.  

ALBERTA all change! In May the Province saw its first new political party since 1971. Rachel Notley's NDP is critical of Alberta's reliance on coal to generate 54% of electricity and wants to see more use of wind & solar.

MANITOBA. Minnesota Power's permit application, for a transmission line which will use hydro in Manitoba to balance wind variability in Minnesota and North Dakota, received unanimous regulatory approval. Completion will facilitate $2.7-billion of wind or enough for 270,000 homes. Since Manitoba is our neighbour, this does leave one wondering why Saskatchewan is not pursuing a similar concept.

ONTARIO. In July Ontario and 22 other states and regions signed the first ever Pan-American action statement on climate change. 
In June the 
K2 Wind Power facility (one of the largest in the country) was completed. This single project increased installed provincial wind capacity by almost 10 percent. Its 140 turbines will produce electricity equal to that used by 100,000 Ontario homes. In 2008 Ontario generated 0.9% of its electricity using wind turbines. At the end of 2014 that had increased to 4% and it will rise to 11% by 2025.

NOVA SCOTIA. Wind power continues to gain market share: for 2014 as a whole it was supplying 10% of the total and that amount is growing rapidly as new projects come on-line. Nova Scotia expects to source 40% of its electricity from renewables by 2020 (up from 22% today).

USA

RECORD WIND & SOLAR 2014 CAPACITY INSTALLATIONS. In 2014 57% of ALL newly installed capacity was renewable of which the largest single contributor was solar with 31.5%. For the first 5 months of 2015, 65% of all new US generation was renewable with wind dominating.

WIND COSTS CONTINUE DOWN: SHARPLY! Impressive installation stats were due to excellent economics. In the last five years wind costs have fallen 58% & solar 78% according to Lazard (an investment bank) Cost declines will continue

WIND NOW CHEAPEST FORM OF NEW GENERATION. The US Energy Information Administration estimates wind to be cheaper than  gas, coal and nuclear. Prices being achieved on individual projects are even lower and well below that for new gas facilities.

HIGH WIND STATES PAY LESS FOR THEIR ELECTRICITY. This should be apparent from a quick glance at this correlation of average electricity price vs. wind penetration for all US states in 2014. If that doesn't do it for you - try this analysis.

GOVT. PLANS FOR 35% ELECTRICITY FROM WIND BY 2050. The US is already ahead of target to deliver on its 2008 '20% by 2030' wind target. Consequently the Energy Department decided it was time to look further ahead and is now working on a comprehensive '35% by 2050' plan.

TEXAS TO GENERATE 17% FROM WIND BY 2017
Completion of a $5-billion west-east transmission project unleashed a wave of new wind investment. The Lone Star state now expects that in only 2 years it will be sourcing 17% of its electricity from wind (that's up from 9% at the end of 2014).

IOWA @ 29% FROM WIND.  40% BY 2020? The 40% report was from the American Wind industry so you could say "they would say that, wouldn't they!". But there's no debating that, in 2014, wind energy generated 29% of all of the Hawkeye state's electricity: a US record.

NORTH AMERICA'S LARGEST WIND FARM. Awesome review by @GabeKahn in the Pacific Standard of a 1,000 turbine, $8-billion Wyoming development that will generate enough electricity for 1 million homes in California (go figure!). 

WIND TURBINES SAVE WATER. The drought in California entered its fourth year and Governor Jerry Brown declared a state of emergency. That didn't make it rain and by the end of June America's largest reservoir was at its lowest level ever. So? Using wind (& solar) energy saves lots of water.

World

CHINA/US GHG AGREEMENT. In November Chinese leader Xi Jinping and President Obama struck a deal to limit greenhouse gases, with China committing for the first time to cap carbon emissions and Obama unveiling a plan for deeper U.S. emission reductions through 2025. This provided an important boost to the COP-21 in Paris in December this year. 

POPE FRANCIS' ENCYCLICAL ON CLIMATE CHANGE. In June the Vatican released the much anticipated Laudato Si on 'Care for Our Common Home'. The entry of the Roman Catholic church changes the debate as illustrated before the release by this from the Washington Post and after by this in the Globe and Mail

RENEWABLE CAPACITY ADDITIONS DOMINATE
The 2015 FS-UNEP Global Trends in Renewable Energy study made for fascinating reading noting that in 2014 48% of total global new generation capacity additions were renewable. Bloomberg's 2015 New Energy Outlook forecasts that this year the world will add more renewable energy capacity (dominated by wind and solar) than thermal and nuclear

...OK - BUT WHAT ABOUT ENERGY? Capacity is great but what is really important is the amount of energy generated. Amazing as it may sound renewables has been dominating the global scene since 2011. In 2012, 2013 and 2014, renewables was the single largest contributor to global PRIMARY ENERGY growth. The contribution from renewables during that period exceeded that from natural gas, coal and nuclear combined.  

WIND & SOLAR: THE WORLD'S TOP-15 COUNTRIES. Of the top-15 Denmark leads with an impressive 43%. For the first time there are 10 countries (population - 300 million) which generate 10% or more of their electricity from wind & solar. One of the big surprises? The UK overtook Germany in electricity from wind (although it's still trailing if solar is included).

EUROPEAN UNION. The 503 million people of the EU generated 11% of their electricity using wind and solar power in 2014. This represents a steady increase from just 3.2% in 2007 which, as it happens, was the same as Saskatchewan. Since 2007 the Sask. figure actually declined: to 2.7%. 

Keeping it real

This ad was placed by Humble Oil, which subsequently became Exxon (now ExxonMobil), in a 1962 edition of Life Magazine.  How right they were!

Other news? As ever there is lots. Take a gander at our Twitter and Facebook pages.
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