Wind Wednesday

Imagine that you’re looking to buy an iPhone: You gather up all the Canadian providers in one room.. “$299!” Shouts the Rogers rep.. “$245!” Proudly proclaims Bell’s seller… $215 a guy from Fido declares (I haven’t bought a phone in a while, not sure if Fido exists, or even what the heck a phone costs nowadays)…. But you get the idea: set the scope, set the parameters, and let the producers fight over the rest.

This occurred late 2017 in Alberta for the latest round of competitive bidding for four wind energy farms in the southern part of the province. At $37 Mwh, it was certainly the cheapest price we’ve seen for wind in the province and across the country.

3 companies were awarded the work; Edmonton’s Capital Power, EDP Renewables (Based in Portugal with some Canadian footprints) and Enel Green Power (Italian-based with some North American footprints) Collectively, it’s assumed the total spend will be about $1 Billion to build the wind farms.

So, what does that mean for Canada jobs, Alberta jobs? Well, to be honest, hard to say…

Just last year, Siemens wind-turbine-blade factory in Ontario CLOSED putting about 200 people out of work IMMEDIATELY and in total over 300 when it was permanently closed near the end of 2017…. Why would a Canadian manufacturer of wind turbine blades close when things are trending up? Siemens AG, the German head-office, cited falling prices, growing competition and changing demand forced its closure…. (Who could have foreseen the public wanting cheaper prices and more options for their Energy future?!!?)

*To be fair, Siemens cited many reasons including lack of demand in Ontario and for US Exports due to changes in policy (OK, no Trump comments on this post!)

Also, as I’ve seen working within this industry, the growing sizes in turbines and blades have grown almost exponentially, with blades over 55 metres, the Ontario manufacturer would be hard-pressed to accommodate the size.

OK, so blades are likely coming from over-seas. *I’ve asked for comment from many in the industry and have received very little at this point (“Very little” is my nice way of saying they’ve ignored my requests)

So what’s my point… well in speaking to a lot of my Ontario colleagues, they site subsidies and a mess of issues that have left a pretty sour taste in the province with regard to Wind Power Options (lost jobs probably doesn’t help either)

As for myself, as I’ve stated before, I think our energy mix (with a lack of Great Lakes or Oceans) is going to be a lot different than Ontario and BC, and cheap prices is good for me! (Read my iPhone example up there ^^^) But as the old adage goes, “You get what you pay for”… So let’s make sure we keep the spotlight on these projects, and future projects, to determine what’s best for our Energy Future!

That’s your Wind Wednesday,

Let the chinook wind’s blow!


Kelly Hall

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3 Comments on "Wind Wednesday"

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Rick Seabrook

Seems to me, the large rotating wings are the most difficult to accept. If there was an alternative way, like the bladeless fans, that would certainly be more acceptable.