Wind Energy Helps Alberta’s Power Grid Stay Reliable

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Alberta's power grid remained reliable this year, thanks, in part, to newly added wind energy.

According to the Alberta Electric System Operator (AESO), the province has seen a 3.5% increase in electricity demand in 2014 due to population growth in the cities and energy sector development. Despite the increased pressure on Alberta's electricity system as a whole, the AESO says the grid ran reliably this year because of strong management efforts and new generation.

The AESO says it connected over 1.4 GW of new generation to the system in 2014, more than 2012 and 2013 combined.

The majority of generation added this year was fueled with natural gas. A large portion of that was from the Shepard Energy Centre, which was energized this year and will contribute up to 873 MW to the system in the future.

However, the AESO says the next most significant source of generation was wind, with 300 MW of capacity added from the Blackspring Ridge wind farm.

Project partners EDF EN Canada Inc. and Enbridge Inc. announced in May that Blackspring Ridge, located in Vulcan County, Alberta, reached commercial operation ahead of schedule. The project features 166 Vestas V100-1.8 MW turbines.

‘This was a big year of added generation due to two large-scale projects and really helps when we think about our forecast for generation over the next 20 years, which tells us we will require another 11,900 MW by 2034,’ explains Miranda Keating Erickson, vice president of operations with the AESO.

According to the Canadian Wind Energy Association, Alberta ranks third in the country for installed wind energy capacity, with more than 1.12 GW online.

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