And quite a bit has been happening since our last newsletter (June 2014).
SASKPOWER'S NEW CEO. CHANGE 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.
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?
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.
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!).
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.
...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).