Chances are vanishingly small that Alberta’s United Conservative Party Government somehow managed to intentionally cause last night’s cold-weather electricity crunch that led to every Albertan with a smartphone receiving an emergency alert pleading with them “to immediately limit their electricity use to essential needs only.”

Somebody’s screenshot of Saturday’s emergency power alert (Image: Twitter).

The Alberta Electric System Operator, the non-profit created by government regulation to oversee the province’s electrical system, issued the urgent call yesterday afternoon and it was relayed via the province’s emergency alerts system. 

“Reducing peak electricity demand through province-wide conservation will minimize the high potential for rotating outages this evening,” AESO’s news release said. 

“Immediate power conservation could make a significant difference in reducing overall system demand, currently at approximately 12,000 MW,” the AESO release continued. “To put these numbers into perspective, tonight the City of Calgary will be drawing approximately 1,650 MW of electricity, and, if rotating outages are implemented, will need to reduce power by approximately 50 MW.

“Rotating outages mean that some power will be temporarily out in different parts of the province until sufficient generation returns to the grid or power demand declines enough that the AESO can rebalance supply and demand,” the release warned, noting that it would be up to municipalities to decide who gets cut off. 

Now, I’m not saying that there aren’t a few people in the UCP Government malicious enough to come up with a scheme that cynical, but one strongly doubts they have the competence to manage such a feat in the short time span while a polar vortex sends Western Canadian temperatures plummeting to near Martian levels.*

Alberta Premier Danielle Smith, who is not renowned for the accuracy of her statements (Photo: Alberta Newsroom/Flickr).

Still, it’s a commentary on the credibility of the claims and explanations regularly offered up by Premier Danielle Smith and the UCP that large numbers of Albertans apparently concluded yesterday evening this was a real possibility worthy of being asserted on social media. 

Seriously, I have been paying attention to politics since my teens nearly 60 years ago and I have never seen or heard of a government in a Canadian jurisdiction whose pronouncements are so lacking in credibility. Mind you, the one in the Prairie province to the east is giving the UCP a run for its money in that regard.

Premier Smith didn’t help by immediately inserting her ideological opposition to renewable energy into her messages about the power shortage, tweeting, “Right now, wind is generating almost no power. When renewables are unreliable, as they are now, natural gas plants must increase capacity to keep Albertans warm and safe.”

Unmentioned in the premier’s tweet was that there were outages at two gas-fired electricity generation plants, one of them for “planned maintenance.” 

Many commenters seemed to be thinking the same thing: “Are we sure that the warning was not contrived to affirm her fear mongering?”

“We have had cold snaps before…no problem,” said another commenter. “The difference this year is Smith made a big stink about not having enough power.”

And why, others asked, did the lights all stay on in the half-empty office towers of downtown Calgary while private homes co-operated?

University of Calgary environmental law professor Martin Z. Olszynski (Photo: University of Calgary).

There’s plenty more of the same online. 

It’s obvious, as social media commentary often notes, that Ms. Smith in particular frequently just makes stuff up and, even when her explanations are loosely tethered to facts, tends to blame Ottawa and the NDP for anything that goes wrong on in Alberta’s jurisdiction on the UCP’s watch – which is now entering its sixth calendar year, it is worth remembering. 

I suppose it would be fair to call this a conspiracy theory, and proof that it is not just the UCP’s Q-adjacent base that is vulnerable to such thinking. Still, numerous commenters couldn’t help recalling the government’s threatening freeze-in-the-dark-and-cold engagement campaign last fall and drawing the inevitable sinister conclusion.

The $8-million Alberta Government campaign had diesel trucks rolling around places like Ottawa and the Maritimes bearing statements like “No one wants to freeze in the dark” and asking folks who saw it to go to a website called and shout at the Trudeau Government. 

Whatever happened to the Tell-the-Feds website? you ask. Well, it doesn’t appear to be there any more, with an Error 1001 message explaining, “You’ve requested a page on a website ( that is on the Cloudfare network. Cloudflare is currently unable to resolve your requested domain (”

Who knows? Maybe it’ll be back with modifications, maybe it’s gone forever. Whatever.

At the time, the Globe and Mail published an opinion piece by University of Calgary environmental law professor Martin Z. Olszynski that bluntly called the campaign “grossly exaggerated if not outright false.”

“The ‘Tell the Feds’ campaign isn’t about feasibility, affordability or reliability, but rather a thinly disguised attempt to enlist ordinary Canadians in Alberta’s unyielding service to the fossil fuel industry,” Professor Olszynski concluded.

Anyway, while the temperature remains around -30, last night’s emergency seems to have passed. 

AESO published a press release just before midnight thanking Albertans for doing their bit to prevent the system from having to cut anyone off. “Almost immediately after the alert was issued, the AESO saw a significant 100 MW drop in electricity demand, which amounted to a 200 MW reduction within minutes,” the news release said. “The Grid Alert was declared ended at 8:40 p.m.”

It goes without saying, though, that the Albertans most likely to have quickly gone ahead with the AESO’s request were “the wokerati,” “cultural Marxists,” and “green leftists.” I can offer no proof for this assertion, but y’all know in your hearts that I’m right.

ND bees are buzzing again!

Once again, there’s an audible buzz in NDP circles that something big is about to happen in the Opposition Caucus.

A screenshot of Calgary-Mountain View MLA and Opposition Energy Critic Kathleen Ganley’s announcement of … something (Image: Twitter/Kathleen Ganley).

Once stung, twice shy, and all that, so I won’t try to pinpoint a date, or speculate on what it might be, but there’s definitely the feeling that something is up. 

On Jan. 10, Calgary-Mountain View MLA and Opposition Energy Critic Kathleen Ganley has even posted a soft launch of … something

Whatever it was, we now know that Ms. Ganley knows who she is, why she’s here, and that her colleagues stand with her. 

But why is the former Justice Minister in Rachel Notley’s NDP cabinet telling us all about this just now? 

For the moment, I’ll just leave it to your imaginations. 

*I’m not kidding. The temperature on my back porch this morning was supposedly seven degrees Celsius colder than the day’s high on the surface of Mars.

Join the Conversation


  1. I haven’t forgotten my father a Power Plant Engineer promoting solar panels on roofs . His concern was that Alberta didn’t have the ability to generate power with water like other provinces did and we were going to need a lot more green energy. Yet here we have this stupid Danielle Smith deliberately trying to get even with Trudeau by destroying the creation of more electricity along with 24,000 jobs and $33 billion windfall for Albertans. Add the wasting of another $75 million of taxpayers money on the stupid children’s pain killers. Once again trying to outsmart Trudeau proving how stupid this woman really is and the idiots who elected her.

    1. Alan K. Spiller I actually have read about other retired power plant engineers, and Alberta PC MLAs, who were in Peter Lougheed’s government, who said that electricity deregulation from Ralph Klein was a very dumb thing to do. That started this horrible mess, and the UCP have added to it, with their foolish games. As you and I know, these Reformers only care about their rich friends.

    2. Dear Mr. Spiller: I certainly agree that putting a moratorium on renewables seemed especially irrational even for the UCP. This weekend showed what a bad bet it was. In my view the problem this weekend was more in the nature of a lack of “grid services” rather than a lack of absolute generating capacity.

      There were two missing gas-fired plants with 900 MW of capacity, which had just been connected in 2023. Known as Cascade 1 & 2, your father and most power engineers would refer to these as “peaker” plants because they can fire up quickly to provide grid services like meeting sudden peaks in demand and keeping the frequency of the electrical supply stable. Without those “grid services” brown-outs and even black-outs are a risk.

      However, providing those grid services can be done by the same grid-scale batteries Texas and most other jurisdictions are deploying as fast as they can. Batteries do the same essential work as fossil-gas peakers but more reliably and effectively with a lower cost. Most grid scale batteries use an iron-based chemistry, which is more economical and durable than the cobalt-based chemistries used in some cars.

      By blocking the installation of renewables, including grid-scale batteries, the “stable geniuses” of the UCP were really betting that the investment of around $1.5 billion in these fossil peaker plants by a private company would pay off.
      Cascade 2 has yet to go on line and to date, Cascade 1was only on line for three days this January. These are both new facilities, so it is no surprise they might have teething problems, especially at minus 40.

      With all due respect to Professor Tombe and others, replacing simple cycle gas generators with renewables, including batteries, and better inter-connections with BC and MB hydro is certainly cost effective and can be done well within Ottawa’s time frame. Which is what the AESO said last year on the subject.

      I would point out that we have just over 5,000 MW of long-term baseload generation from places like Syncrude, Dow, Nova Chemicals and many others, along with the existing 4,500 MW of wind capacity. So, putting more wind, solar, and batteries on line along with expanding our interconnections with our neighbours to the east and west is a practical policy.

      Incidentally, on the bright sunny Sunday when AESO warned about possible brown-outs, by my count, 40 of the 43 solar farms in Alberta were not being fully utilized. Was that because our connections to BC, Sk/Mb, and Montana were too small, or was it some other reason?

      In my view, the Redford administration totally bungled the expansion of the Alberta grid by insisting on building two 500kV HVDC lines in the wrong place to service obsolete coal-fired generators being converted to natural gas. It looks like the UCP are doubling down. You can thank Redford’s PCs for your high electrical service charges and it looks like we can thank Smith’s UCP for our dead-end electrical system if she gets her way. How much longer do we have to play the “could have, would have, should have game” in Alberta?

      1. Lots of misinformation:
        -the Cascade Power Plant is combined cycle, and will provide baseload. Peaker plants are simple cycle
        -Cascade has been in testing since about last summer. It has never provided substantial power to AESO
        -Cascade is a new entrant to the AB power market and has no incentive for economic withholding
        -the UCP, or any government official, has no control over solar plants being offline. Wind and solar generators offer blocks of power into AESO at $0/MWh. These bids will always be accepted if available
        -battery storage works on diurnal cycles and would have no value during cold snaps. Its value is more suited to sunny places with high AC demand as the batteries shift supply from peak solar (ex. HE 10 to 14) to meet peak AC demand (ex. HE16 to 20). They charge and discharge every day. There isn’t enough lithium on Earth to store wind and solar generated during an Alberta Summer to discharge during an Alberta Winter
        -Stelmach championed the Eastern Alberta Transmission Line (EATL), not Redford. The coal fired plants were mostly west of Edmonton as was the existing transmission backbone. The EATL enabled cogen facilities in Ft. Mac and the Heartland area to contribute to the grid, as well as providing redundancy in case weather or wildfires take out the western backbone
        -expanding interties eastward makes little sense as SK and MB are part of the Midwest Reliability Organization (MRO), while AB and BC are in the Western Electricity Coordinating Council (WECC). The two interconnects are not synchronized and minimal transmission exists eastward from MB as most goes south
        -AB has been exporting electricity to BC over much of the past 6 months due to the drought afflicting the PNW

        1. Doug: you misunderstand the nature of peaker plants. To quote from their industry profile: “Cascade 1 and 2, have two Siemens SCC6-8000H gas turbines for a combined generation capacity of 900 MW. These turbines are designed for short start-up and ramp times which will help ensure a stable power grid in Alberta.” That’s a peaker plant.
          You can access the turbine spec sheet from here:

          The point is these investments in gas fired peakers are uneconomic compared to the cost effectiveness of grid scale batteries. So, of course they will be used simply for generation. You also misunderstand the nature of a combined cycle vs a simple cycle system. That has more to do with efficiency than end use.

          Who said anything about ‘economic withholding’? If you look at the operational profile of most of the grid-scale batteries in Alberta they are constantly storing electricity and then discharging it to the grid on a minute-by-minute basis to provide frequency stability and peaker services. This is very profitable for the battery owners who enjoy a pay-back time measured in months. They are seldom used to save electricity from the day for night use; although given how fast battery prices are falling that may soon be economic.

          You do point out a valid consideration to connecting east. So far our grid has been integrated on a north to south basis. This mostly benefits our US neighbors and makes for the absurd situation that Manitoba farmers are competing with Chicago and points south for electricity instead of doing what BC Hydro does, and selling us grid scale storage for our solar and wind production.

          As to your observations on transmission lines. AltaLink made it very plain the western transmission spine was not subject to undue risk from storms and the regulator agreed with them. The generators you mention are firmly connected to that HVDC western spine though the transmission corridor on the south side of Edmonton. The eastern HVDC line is a very expensive and unnecessary addition to the grid.

          Your assertion that “Wind and solar generators offer blocks of power into AESO at $0/MWh.” opens a can of worms about the nature of how electricity is ‘marketed’ in Alberta which the AB NDP and AESO worked to fix. Suffice it to say that to operate effectively a grid needs to be run with a high degree of command and control. Klein and company made a stab at grafting on a so-called ‘free market’ in electricity which the AESO has the unenviable task of managing. The UCP interfering in that system to stop the superior life forms of renewables from growing is a bad policy choice in my view and undermines the AESO. Stelmach’s and later Redford PC’s meddling with transmission planning is an earlier example of how costly it is to have politicians meddling in what should be technical decisions to help their friends.

          I apologize to our host. This was not intended to flood the zone.

          1. Cascade is a combined cycle plant. Yes the gas fired turbine cycle can react quickly, but the heat exchanger cycle cannot. Operating such a plant as a “peaker” would not make sense.

            Grid scale batteries are irrelevant as they play on daily charge/discharge cycles to shift small amounts of peak supply to periods of peak demand. They do not shift days of peak supply to days of peak demand.

  2. I have solar on my roof, an EV in my garage and I promptly turned off my dryer with a load of wet laundry in it and every light except for the two that hang over our pool table when we got that alert. Felt like a Canadian who was concerned about my neighbours and neighbouring communities so must do my part…..and this afternoon before I read your article, I actually did wonder if Smith and her minions had fabricated a crisis to make a point. Yes, that woman has no credibility nor do her cohorts and that makes me wonder if any of her TBA/UCP supporters were concerned enough about their fellow Albertans, to turn their dryers and lights off.

    1. AESO operates at arms length from the government and cannot fabricate a crisis. The same cannot be said of government owned utilities like BC Hydro. The UCP has walked the line between blaming the grid alerts on the Feds and the real issue, which is that no existing technology would have sustained AB through the cold spell other than gas fired electricity, so the CER is not feasible. Capital Power announced a 300MW nuclear project today. That technology could replace gas but remains to be proven and could not scale by 2035. Gas is here to stay regardless of the Liberal dinosaurs whose expertise is campaigning and not much more.

      1. Doug: What malarkey. AESO is not independent from the UCP. It’s because the UCP have their stronghold in it, like they do in other aspects of Alberta services and programs. Also, these new natural gas power plants coming in 2024 will not reduce power prices in Alberta, because of economic witholding, which is a large part of our jacked up power prices, which the UCP have enabled to happen again. Economic witholding has existed prior, but only under the Alberta PCs. TransAlta was a major player in economic witholding before, and they will also be involved with these new natural gas power generators, so it’s not going to go away. Economic witholding has cost Albertans a lot of money, and so has electricity deregulation, which Ralph Klein was responsible for. Billions of dollars have been flushed away, and we can’t get that money back.

  3. When the temperature hit -30° C., my first thought was, “I wonder if Dani’s going to turn off the power now.” It would have been the housed equivalent of turfing the homeless from their improvised tents and stealing their sleeping bags and heaters in -30°C. with a -46° C. wind chill. Well, that happened. As it turns out, the kiddies didn’t have to do their homework by headlamp as shown in one of those freeze-in-the-dark billboards. Implied threat of a blackout in -30°, followed by a blackout in -30° C.? Well, duh! Play stupid games, make stupid threats, get the stupid consequences of your stupidity.

    Panama sure does look inviting right about now, doesn’t it?

    1. Abs: Panama may well be where she is by the sound of it, ironic given that Jason Nixon thinks it’s appropriate to slag Amarjeet Sohi for being in Hawaii. DJC

  4. Not that I agree with much the comes from the UCP, but here we sit at -34 in Edmonton, with 6,131 MW of wind and solar capacity on the grid, and only 248 MW of actual generated power to show for it (a paltry 4%). These values are taken from the Alberta Electric System Operator website. So if we take the carbon out of our province’s electric system, how exactly is that supposed to work?

  5. the whole thing struck me as peculiar. saw it on the news here in B.C. the ’emergency” didn’t last long enough to there been a “real” emergency. The UPC MLA’s might not have been bright enough to pull something off like this, but they all have staff and techies.

    When you do something like that, you are possibily thinking of setting the public up for a large increase in electrica rates or start using something which won’t help the enviornment and the federal gov’t. might not be happy about. You create a crisis and then offer a solution you want, that the people didn’t want, but are now willing to accept. works like a hot dam every time.
    “wind is almost not generating…”. it can’t be generating electricity if you don’t have the equipment. If there wasn’t any wind, turbines won’t generate electricity either.
    the only thing which is “unreliable” is Smith and gang. Solar panels work like a hot dam. Lots of people have them on their houses, barns, sheds, etc. .
    Perhaps it was simply a “test” to see if people would fall for the “joke” and how far they”d follow “dear leader smith”

    1. Electricity rates as likely to decline in AB due to several new gas fired facilities coming online in 2024:
      ~900 MW from Cascade (near Edson)
      ~500 MW incremental from Genesee 1 and 2 repowering (near Wabamun)
      ~800 MW from Suncor cogen (replacing coke fired boiler with a gas fired one that also generates electricity) (near Ft. Mac)

  6. More histrionics from Dani gang. Growing up in Calgary when the grid was strictly non renewables, there were plenty of cold weather brownouts. Just as our brownout here in Cochrane yesterday was caused by natural gas not wind.
    The point being missed and never properly made, the renewables grid has to expand exponentially to protect us but she put the brakes on it in order to make it untenable. Why are we putting up with ridiculous woman? She has to go.

    1. It will be, till Elon manages to get there. Let’s start a GoFundMe page to send Danielle & Co. to Mars with Elon!

    2. JM: Not necessarily. In the 1930s, when “The Man from Mars” visited Alberta farming communities, I’m sure he said Mars was governed according to Social Credit principles. Which via Wildrose, is basically the UCP with a dash of Trumpism and Qanon tossed in. DJC

  7. I would like to focus on two of the numbers mentioned here about the electricity systems recent again near collapse.

    As already mentioned, 6 years is the number of years the UCP has been governing and have had to fix things. Now, if they put as much effort into doing that as they have blaming everyone else for the problem, things would probably actually be much better.

    Two, as already mentioned, the number of gas fired plants down for maintenance. Doesn’t the electricity regulator look at weather reports? It was really not a good time for this. It seems like they often schedule maintenance for the coldest or hottest days when demands on the system are going to be the highest. Given the questionable competence of this scheduling, maybe UCP politicians are involved. However I have the feeling that while they are great at conspiracy theories, they are not smart enough to be involved in actual conspiracies.

    In any event, it is a sad commentary about the condition of our province that over the decades we have seem to have progressed from talking about easterners freezing in the dark to nearly doing it to ourselves.

    Something is clearly rotten in this province and it seems to be getting worse and worse the longer this gang of incompetent kooks is in power.

  8. ” right now wind is generating
    almost no power” ???
    Well forgive me for asking dumb questions then ,but if you’re talking about -30°+ with a wind chill of feels like -40°+,would I be wrong in saying the wind is definitely blowing ??? , or is that just more of “Daniscience” .
    And according to BC Hydro spokesman Mr Olynyk, new record use in BC ,but they were still able to sell to Washington state and Alberta.

    “Planned maintenance” for mid January in Alberta — sounds perfectly rational ( if you’re planning on creating power disruptions)….impo **
    The same tactic used by the oil refinery plant in BC, usually just before a long wknd. ‘Supply and demand’ have become my stress twitch words.

    So I guess we’ll never know if the 40+ crypto mining sites were also issued the “save energy alerts ” or does the UCP figure that since they’re only paying. 03cents @kwh ,it wouldn’t make any difference on income for app. 3hrs (4-7pm)

    ** (disclosure)small insight as a former IBEW card member.

    Closing thought— I guess it didn’t occur to Dani to call up her buddy PP to send a few of his “special electricians” to come out and harness some lightning ?? But then he was kind of busy himself, wandering the wintry roads of northern Ontario in the back of the red pickup truck.

      1. Mike— lol , good point. I missed it at the Thunder Bay stop , but then I was trying to figure out how the 5 people constituted a full house with him in the back of the truck at his next stop, lol. And was he hauling around the “merch” he’s selling….going on full d’rump with that.
        And just as a footnote, why did he make the quick trip to Winnipeg? I don’t suppose it had anything to do with Heather Stefanson’s resignation from the party later that day….sheer coincidence and speculation on my part I guess.

  9. Maybe too many people charging a Tesla? Even Elon Musk says the grid isn’t ready but the people that want to save us all still think EVs are a solution. Try driving an EV a few hundred miles in this weather

  10. We have lived in northern Alberta since 1986, first way up North, then later in Grande Prairie — where we still reside and work. Cold snaps of this severity are not that unusual, and in fact happen at least once every winter. But in all that time, we have never heard any “emergency” announcements threatening rotating brown- or blackouts.

    Perhaps the allegation made in social media that the UCP engineered the power shortage is, as our host argues, overly reliant on a level of competence not supported by the available evidence — somewhat analogous to the strongest argument against the “9/11 was an inside job” conspiracy theory.

    But politicization of the emergency alert system is certainly within their ability and not something I’d put past them.

  11. Smith loves the sound of her own voice. Unfortunately for Albertans though her words are only misinformation, outright lies or dog whistles to the kooks who voted for her.

  12. …there were outages at two gas-fired electricity generation plants, one of them for “planned maintenance.”

    Who in a province with a climate like Alberta’s does “planned maintenance” in January? Does the AESO mean scheduled maintenance to deal with a serious problem that had emerged in the last few weeks or months?

    Even so I don’t believe the UCP has enough control over the weather to have pulled this off though one might want to look for evidence of weather rituals and animal sacrifices.

  13. What? Nobody screaming it is their right to run their space-heaters and dryers whenever they want? DJF

  14. I commented on the Globe website in response to a post that wind and solar were contributing next to nothing to the power grid. I asked (as you point out) why private commercial buildings are exempt from reasonable conservation measures. The five buildings on the Esso campus blaze away all night, every night.

  15. The ongoing plight of unhoused people is a reflection of our citizens? Nay not everyone is heartless in Alberta, sadly however many people prefer to look the other way and not seem to give a hoot, but some people are trying in vain to stem the tide of misery. There are many reasons why people find themselves without a home. Part of the nexus of the problem is inequality. Until we no longer tether those in need to capitalism which is a system of attrition, greed, monetizing everything from birth to death, people will continue to suffer and the number of people who are deemed valueless by the cruelty of capitalism will continue to grow in number. If people want to actually help to solve this serious problem they need to be willing to share wealth and put funding into place to take care of people when they need help. I find it galling that many politicians work against people, and that these perpetual liars, indecent, and criminal-like people have normalized tyranny. Their malicious genius is that they have convinced the public that their best interests are being served while the evidence is there that proves the public is being duped. In 2023, Edmonton Coalition on Housing and Homelessness held a memorial for 159 people who died that year. Do these lives have any value? The murderous contempt UCP people have for others is duly noted. Also, the high number of unhoused unfortunate people who require amputation because of the cold is shocking. Truly unhoused people needlessly suffer and only do so because of our pathetic unsatisfactory attempts to solve this horrible problem, a problem from which no one is exempt – just a matter of circumstance. For the UCP people to say that everything is in hand is disgusting and not based in truth, or fact. When you are talking about these UCP people, you are talking about tyrants and there is nothing these people will not do to destroy everything and everyone around them who and what does not fit their doomsday world view – the UCP world is one of shame, hate, fanatical, irrational, dangerous, and so on. These people are beyond embarrassing, they are world destroyers . To think that many of our population supports this outrage is preposterous. Time to organize; time for those who give a rip to start a revolution. Better to die fighting for what you believe in than live your life on your knees.

  16. I did think the contrast between the press release from Leif Sollid, communications manager for the Alberta Electric System Operator (AESO), and the emergency alert:

    “said the previous record was 12,193 megawatts on Dec. 21, 2022.

    “The record power demand, of course, is being driven by the extreme cold across the province, and that’s a factor of furnaces running overtime, people plugging in their vehicles, space heaters, that sort of thing is really pushing up the power demand,” he said. “We were quite fortunate yesterday (Thursday); we had quite a bit of wind, about 1,200 megawatts, which made a big difference and got us through without having to use backup reserves.”

    And finally

    As of late Friday afternoon, AESO had issued a grid alert.

    “That doesn’t mean the lights go out or there’s outages; that just means emergency reserves, and it’s a heads up to the public to do what they can to preserve power,” Sollid said.

    So one note, uh it actually was renewables that got us through Danielle Smith,

    Note two is more on the timing of the two statements, Friday we were in no danger of blackouts, but by Saturday we were ? I’m no so conspiratorial minded that I believe the UCP ordered up a polar vortex, but I do believe the opportunity to push their message in a perceived crisis would be far too tempting for them to pass up, exaggerated or not, you have to know they’ll use the optics to their perceived advantage every time. I’m not at all shocked to hear Trash Can Dani used it to dunk on the very renewables that got us through the crisis ; I set my watch to it.

  17. The arrogance to assert the wind isn’t nearly always blowing in alberta, and expect the rest of the people that LIVE here to go along with that assessment is mind blowing.

  18. “Never attribute to malice what can be adequately explained by stupidity.” We should keep in mind that Danielle Smith and her fellow idiots are not deliberately trying to damage Alberta’s electricity grid. That would impact their fanbase—most farmers don’t have backup generators—and their corporate masters, the small oil & gas company owners—who wouldn’t bother to buy enough backup generators.

    Furthermore, Smith et al are probably, repeat, emphasis, PROBABLY, not dumb enough to deliberately lie about something potentially disastrous to the entire province. (I know, I know. But I choose to be cautiously optimistic where something this important is concerned.) I’ll give them credit for not setting up this almost-crisis. After all, building any kind of power generation or storage facility takes time.

    But that’s all the credit I’ll give them. Even a modest attempt over the last six years would have seen more renewables, more energy storage and less grid fragility. Enough less fragility? Maybe. Look, with 12 gigawatts of generation, the grid became unstable when consumption came within 100 megawatts of the maximum. Here’s the numbers with all the zeroes:
    12,000,000,000 watts consumption
    100,000,000 watts shortage
    …which is 0.83% of total consumption. “To put this in perspective,” the shortfall would have needed ¼ of a large gas-fired power plant, or five 20 MWh storage batteries. Which do you think would be cheaper?

    1. Given that the UCP is willing let’s people freeze, anything is possible. See what happened outside the Bissell center recently. See the Ministers comment that no way would he, nor any member of the gov’t, attend any meeting to address homelessness in our cities and the province. Certainly not one that the Fed’s would be a part of. Heaven forbid!

  19. Then there’s the emergency request to private citizens to immediately turn off their lights and stuff. OK. Someone had to do something. But—like all those office buildings with the lights on—did any industrial or commercial company turn off anything?

    I’ve heard of agreements between AESO, or somebody, and large electricity consumers to cut consumption in an emergency. Did AESO even bother to ask? Or does this only happen when ordinary folks like us fail to turn off enough stuff?

    Ever since the climate crisis became a thing, corporate spinmeisters have done their damndest to convince us that we, the peepul, have to do all the heavy lifting (except for not buying SUVs and such. That’s too much lifting for ExxonMobil’s peace of mind). I know there’s been SOME action by industry CEOs to reduce electricity consumption, but that’s mostly to avoid paying ever-higher bills. Are they gonna take the next step and deliberately spend money NOW to avoid paying carbon taxes later? Just askin’….

  20. I know we are talking about power but one commentator mentioned how alberta does not have the water power to generate electricity. This caused me to think about the drought that is predicted for alberta I recommend this book by tim Egan. The worst hard time Which has researched the dust bowl survivors. In this book it explains why this phenomena occurred and it was deemed MAN made by F Roosevelt research team due to many factors especially soil erosion So I am not saying we will have the same but How bad will this drought be in alberta by summer if it is evident now and what is UCP going to do about it and are they planning now Will this still be JT fault maybe DS will,have trucks with a sign tell the Feds on this issue too thx

  21. Incredibly, resource conservation has not come up during in discourse about this problem.

    There was a rapid public emergency response this weekend that demonstrated personal actions are effective, but there is no profit in encouraging people to use only what they need for the greater good outside of an emergency.

    The population in the province has expanded faster than investment in needed utilities infrastructure, setting the stage for alternative like nuclear power. An incentive to save such as a utility bill discounts for use major appliances off peak, would be attractive yet it seems we just want to run finite supplies wide open despite the signs to take responsible action while castigating the other alternatives suck as electric cars, windmills and solar power.

    There is another resource utilization crisis in southern Alberta and throughout the western USA where reservoirs are mud holes, seemingly as deep as the Grand Canyon. The Old Man Dam Alberta is in trouble and back up water reserves are diminished. Alberta owes a regular measure of water flow to Saskatchewan. It will be interesting to see how premiers figure out how to pin blame on the PM while water is scarce for human use, let alone agriculture, irrigation and fire fighting.

  22. The polar vortex defeated El Nino. Mmm *consults notes*. Next up? The Atlantic currents change. Then? But according to Dani it’s all the fault of renewable energy, because our wind resources had to shut down – even though the wind was blowing – because the blades were not able to withstand the temperature? And, two of our gas fired generators were down! Or because she wanted to fluff her even more comically ignorant fellow traveller for keeping coal plants going? Where’s our battery storage Premier “numbnuts?

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