What If Canada Had Wind and Not Oilsands?

That article is classic rubbish that you get from leftist eco-lunatics.  It is just so bad that it is not even laughable any more.  Forget these Guardian guys.  Neither physics, nor chemistry, nor economics, nor engineering, nor brains is their strong suit. 

You simply cannot operate a power system on anything intermittent. 

the idea that you are going to run battery-powered cars in a climate where it is unreal cold for half the year is ludicrous. 

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2 hours ago, Jan van Eck said:

That article is classic rubbish that you get from leftist eco-lunatics.  It is just so bad that it is not even laughable any more.  Forget these Guardian guys.  Neither physics, nor chemistry, nor economics, nor engineering, nor brains is their strong suit. 

You simply cannot operate a power system on anything intermittent. 

the idea that you are going to run battery-powered cars in a climate where it is unreal cold for half the year is ludicrous. 

Tell us how you really feel. Don't hold back, Jan.  :)

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6 hours ago, Jan van Eck said:

That article is classic rubbish that you get from leftist eco-lunatics.  It is just so bad that it is not even laughable any more.  Forget these Guardian guys.  Neither physics, nor chemistry, nor economics, nor engineering, nor brains is their strong suit. 

You simply cannot operate a power system on anything intermittent. 

the idea that you are going to run battery-powered cars in a climate where it is unreal cold for half the year is ludicrous. 

On the other hand Alberta wouldn't have the largest clean up liability legacy ever. 

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22 hours ago, Jan van Eck said:

the idea that you are going to run battery-powered cars in a climate where it is unreal cold for half the year is ludicrous.

 

You will find the highest share of electrical cars in Norway....  far from a tropical climate.

 

The guy who owns the most Tesla's in the world is living in a norwegian city in the arctic circle.

https://qz.com/202463/meet-the-guy-who-owns-the-most-teslas-in-the-world-and-lives-in-the-arctic-circle/

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11 minutes ago, Guillaume Albasini said:

 

You will find the highest share of electrical cars in Norway....  far from a tropical climate.

 

The guy who owns the most Tesla's in the world is living in a norwegian city in the arctic circle.

https://qz.com/202463/meet-the-guy-who-owns-the-most-teslas-in-the-world-and-lives-in-the-arctic-circle/

Norway, sitting on the end of the Gulf Stream and warmed by the ocean waters, has nowhere near the severe climate of Alberta, landlocked and blocked from the ocean by the Rocky Mountains and the Bugaboos.It gets seriously cold in Alberta, to the point where truck diesels are not shut off outdoors in winter, you never get them started. 

You are also not giving consideration to the differences in driving conditions.  Alberta has no coastal ferries; you want to go between cities and towns, you drive.  And those drives are long and harsh. Distances in Canada are tremendous; it is a very spread-out land.  Your suggestion about "the guy who owns the most Teslas" suggests that simply because some total lunatic buys himself a fleet of expensive Teslas to show off to his chums somehow validates the use of those cars in Canada is just not realistic.  You are going to find ridiculous people everywhere, including in Norway. 

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Does anyone have any information on if wind turbines can operate in the kind of weather conditions Alberta experiences in Winter?

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On 6/16/2018 at 11:11 AM, Refman said:

Does anyone have any information on if wind turbines can operate in the kind of weather conditions Alberta experiences in Winter?

those machines get into serious trouble due to rime ice forming on the blades.  Chunks of ice six inches thick and several feet long have been known to fly off, a serious hazard to anyone within 1,000 feet  (another reason for long setbacks). You will appreciate that if some big chunks break off one blade and the others stay coated, then you have a seriously unbalanced propeller and that will tear up the gearbox.  Not just Alberta;  also in Eastern Canada and New England States. 

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Thank you Jan,

 

I had a feeling that ice buildup might be a big problem on the blades.

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Coming to the discussion a little late but the analysis in the article is badly flawed. In the first line it assumes that each MW of installed capacity will act like a conventional MW - that is it will generate most of the time. In fact the capacity factor (effective output) for wind generators is usually about 30-33 per cent of capacity onshore. So most of the wind figures you'd have to discount by two thirds. But that is just the start of the problem. What time periods are they comparing? And bear in mind that wind generators typically last 10-15 years whereas mines - I don't know exactly how oil sands work - usually last much longer, maybe 30-40 years. In all the article, as other posters have already noted, is typical eco-lunatic rubbish, not worth bothering with.  

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3 hours ago, markslawson said:

Coming to the discussion a little late but the analysis in the article is badly flawed. In the first line it assumes that each MW of installed capacity will act like a conventional MW - that is it will generate most of the time. In fact the capacity factor (effective output) for wind generators is usually about 30-33 per cent of capacity onshore. So most of the wind figures you'd have to discount by two thirds. But that is just the start of the problem. What time periods are they comparing? And bear in mind that wind generators typically last 10-15 years whereas mines - I don't know exactly how oil sands work - usually last much longer, maybe 30-40 years. In all the article, as other posters have already noted, is typical eco-lunatic rubbish, not worth bothering with.  

Id agree the energy balance is in favour of oil

111 GW at 30 percent capacity is approx 290 twh of electricity

912m barrels of heavy oil is approx 1630 twh of primary energy minus processing costs and conversion efficiency losses. Not sure of the figures but I recall EROEI is quite low with oil sands. 

Where is your evidence that wind turbines typically last 10-15 years? 

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10 hours ago, Jan van Eck said:

those machines get into serious trouble due to rime ice forming on the blades.  Chunks of ice six inches thick and several feet long have been known to fly off, a serious hazard to anyone within 1,000 feet  (another reason for long setbacks). You will appreciate that if some big chunks break off one blade and the others stay coated, then you have a seriously unbalanced propeller and that will tear up the gearbox.  Not just Alberta;  also in Eastern Canada and New England States. 

Modern wind turbines are usually designed to slow down and stop if too much ice builds up on rotor blade. 

That design feature should be obligatory on all models. 

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On 6/15/2018 at 11:18 AM, Marina Schwarz said:

An interesting variation on this is if you had a scenario where the oil sands didn't exist but Canada had 111 GW / 290 twh of wind generated electricity what utility would it have?

Charge PHEV vehicles (I'd agree that EV's would be very challenging in this climate)

Ground source heat pumps ( 3x the heat for every kwh of electricity)

Export to USA / Eastern Canada

Conversion to Ammonia - fertiliser and can be used in modified diesel engines

 

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NickW - the 10-15 years life-span for wind turbines is standard industry rule of thumb. If you want to challenge it, then by all means do so. If ice forms on the blades in they way other posters have described, I'm surprised they last that long in Canada. There are other problems in very cold climates. Wind generators in the Baltic have to be kept turning by diesel in periods of extended calm, as often occurs in Europe, otherwise the mechanism freezes up.

I see you've added ground source heat pumps and conversion to Ammonia. Sure, all that could be done, at a cost, and certainly will have to be done to reduce reliance on wind. Getting rid of emissions while still keeping warm and keeping industry working will cost a bomb, and there is no getting around that. 

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They would be a lot like Denmark or the Netherlands, with high electricity prices, and in which despite wind provides 30% of all the electricity is only 6-10% of all energy consumption. There's a reason why Canadian electricity is mostly hydropower, the country has a gross potential of like 400 GW, or more.

Oh, and it would not have a completely canadian chemical industry

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I have to agree The Guardian is very far from what one would call unbiased analysis, indeed. With this, I deny any suggestions I posted the infographic because I agree with it. I apologise for the digression.

5 hours ago, markslawson said:

Wind generators in the Baltic have to be kept turning by diesel in periods of extended calm, as often occurs in Europe, otherwise the mechanism freezes up.

That's charming. How does it fit with the concept of wind power being "renewable", I wonder.

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16 hours ago, markslawson said:

NickW - the 10-15 years life-span for wind turbines is standard industry rule of thumb. If you want to challenge it, then by all means do so. If ice forms on the blades in they way other posters have described, I'm surprised they last that long in Canada. There are other problems in very cold climates. Wind generators in the Baltic have to be kept turning by diesel in periods of extended calm, as often occurs in Europe, otherwise the mechanism freezes up.

I see you've added ground source heat pumps and conversion to Ammonia. Sure, all that could be done, at a cost, and certainly will have to be done to reduce reliance on wind. Getting rid of emissions while still keeping warm and keeping industry working will cost a bomb, and there is no getting around that. 

Life Expectancy.

Whose 'rule of thumb? Historically its 20-25 years

http://www.renewableenergyfocus.com/view/43817/the-end-of-the-line-for-today-s-wind-turbines/

Most wind turbines should last for about 25 years with normal inspection and maintenance. A 2014 study found that the UK’s first wind turbines deployed in the 1990s are still largely profitable as their power production is about 75% of their ideal production. Those first turbines are expected to have about another five years of profitable operation

These turbines would have been small by modern standards (<500KW) and subject to far more turbulence which is one of the main wear and tear factors. It would be reasonable to assume that 20-25 years on manufacturers have learnt much about reducing wear to prolong the life of the turbine. 

Icing of rotor blades

A problem that has largely been resolved by all the major manufacturers

http://www.vindportalen.no/Vindportalen-informasjonssiden-om-vindkraft/Vindkraft/Cold-climate-English/Anti-icing-and-de-icing-technology

 

Using Diesel to turn wind generators in calm conditions?

Why on earth would anyone use diesel (I assume here you mean diesel gensets) routinely to turn a still wind turbine when the unit is connected to the electricity grid and mains power can be purchased at a fraction of the price? 

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11 hours ago, Sebastian Meana said:

They would be a lot like Denmark or the Netherlands, with high electricity prices, and in which despite wind provides 30% of all the electricity is only 6-10% of all energy consumption. There's a reason why Canadian electricity is mostly hydropower, the country has a gross potential of like 400 GW, or more.

Oh, and it would not have a completely canadian chemical industry

The scenario I painted was a hypothetical one where the Oil sands didn't exist in which case would it be worth developing the wind resources to reduce reliance on imported energy?

Thats pretty much the situation Denmark is in bar its rapidly dwindling oil reserves. Likewise the Netherlands gas reserves are in decline too. They are also both very low lying countries so rising sea levels are going to a particular concern for them. 

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(edited)

3 hours ago, NickW said:

The scenario I painted was a hypothetical one where the Oil sands didn't exist in which case would it be worth developing the wind resources to reduce reliance on imported energy?

Thats pretty much the situation Denmark is in bar its rapidly dwindling oil reserves. Likewise the Netherlands gas reserves are in decline too. They are also both very low lying countries so rising sea levels are going to a particular concern for them. 

Consider that many countries like Germany, Denmark, Netherlands, and Belgium that everybody thinks they run solely on Wind and Solar, the people who think that live in a fantasy to be honest, Germany had 30% of it's total energy in "renewables", eh sure, a lot of that was biomass, and in Europe that's a nice name to saying "cutting down century old forests bringing them to the ground like we did before coal"

people tends to forget that wood and peat emit 3 to 5 times more CO2 than Oil and Gas, a lot of people would emit less co2 in Europe if they heated their homes with LPG cylinders instead of wood chips, because any carbon cycle reduction they think they get is reduced to zero, old trees absorb as more CO2 than younger trees with the difference they convert it to glucose (sugar) instead of cellulose (wood), or that takes 50 years for an spruce to get to 60 meters.

yeah, Canada can survive without oil at cost of burning their forest, thanks to the oil sands Canada overthrow Brazil as the country with the second largest amount of forests. Brazil is the country with the highest bio-fuel production, you know what's the country with the highest deforestation per year? Also Brazil. Think of the environmental impact of cutting down trees for fuel, not only CO2, but loss of species, lack of water filtration, flooding and droughts, dust storms, desertification.

The thing about energy is that if Canada needed energy and didn't have oil sands, they would go to take on their 400GW of Hydropower potential, and then Geothermal, remember that Canada is on the western side on the ring of fire.

Just after all of those sources they should consider in taking wind power, after having 600 to 700GW real generation capacity (nearly 100% capacity factor)  of Geothermal, Hydro, Tidal, just then they could consider in using wind power supported by pumped storage

Edited by Sebastian Meana
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44 minutes ago, Sebastian Meana said:

Consider that many countries like Germany, Denmark, Netherlands, and Belgium that everybody thinks they run solely on Wind and Solar, the people who think that live in a fantasy to be honest, Germany had 30% of it's total energy in "renewables", eh sure, a lot of that was biomass, and in Europe that's a nice name to saying "cutting down century old forests bringing them to the ground like we did before coal"

people tends to forget that wood and peat emit 3 to 5 times more CO2 than Oil and Gas, a lot of people would emit less co2 in Europe if they heated their homes with LPG cylinders instead of wood chips, because any carbon cycle reduction they think they get is reduced to zero, old trees absorb as more CO2 than younger trees with the difference they convert it to glucose (sugar) instead of cellulose (wood), or that takes 50 years for an spruce to get to 60 meters.

yeah, Canada can survive without oil at cost of burning their forest, thanks to the oil sands Canada overthrow Brazil as the country with the second largest amount of forests. Brazil is the country with the highest bio-fuel production, you know what's the country with the highest deforestation per year? Also Brazil. Think of the environmental impact of cutting down trees for fuel, not only CO2, but loss of species, lack of water filtration, flooding and droughts, dust storms, desertification.

The thing about energy is that if Canada needed energy and didn't have oil sands, they would go to take on their 400GW of Hydropower potential, and then Geothermal, remember that Canada is on the western side on the ring of fire.

Just after all of those sources they should consider in taking wind power, after having 600 to 700GW real generation capacity (nearly 100% capacity factor)  of Geothermal, Hydro, Tidal, just then they could consider in using wind power supported by pumped storage

No argument there over the fact biofuels are crap and take huge amounts of land for limited return. I read somewhere that in the UK a hectare of land will produce about 1200-1500  litres of biodiesel from Canola. That is appalling when you further consider the fertiliser inputs. 

Whatever people say about wind and solar they need not take up much space relative to their output. Wind has a fairly small footprint - approx 60m2 for a turbine that produces several GWH per year. Solar can generally go on roof spaces. 

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NickW - 20-25 years.. okay, maybe I won't contest that one, although I don't think the source is impartial it's of little importance, the higher figure is still far less than half the expected life of a mine, coal powered plant or nuclear reactor. This just underlines the poor commercial case for those things, even without taking into account the huge additional costs of using them on a grid. I'll take your word on deicing.. as for using diesels in the Baltic to keep turbines turning I just checked.. they were offshore and didn't have mains connection at the time, so now they require pollution from a different source to keep turning during a calm, plus the helicopter fumes from the helicopters used to service those things. Offshore turbines are truly the most ridiculous piece of technology imaginable. .  anyway, thanks for that. leave it with you.. 

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16 hours ago, markslawson said:

NickW - 20-25 years.. okay, maybe I won't contest that one, although I don't think the source is impartial it's of little importance, the higher figure is still far less than half the expected life of a mine, coal powered plant or nuclear reactor. This just underlines the poor commercial case for those things, even without taking into account the huge additional costs of using them on a grid. I'll take your word on deicing.. as for using diesels in the Baltic to keep turbines turning I just checked.. they were offshore and didn't have mains connection at the time, so now they require pollution from a different source to keep turning during a calm, plus the helicopter fumes from the helicopters used to service those things. Offshore turbines are truly the most ridiculous piece of technology imaginable. .  anyway, thanks for that. leave it with you.. 

The study is impartial - its from Imperial College (London) so will have been peer reviewed before publication. 

The 20-25 year lifespan is irrelevant when compared against a mine or nuclear power plant. Some mines only last 10-15. the lifespan of a gas turbine is typically 20 -25 years.

The scenario in which diesel was used in the way described is in the construction phase - which would have ceased once the grid connection was made. 

Helicopters are not routinely used to service wind turbines. Boats are used. increasing use of drones for survey work will further reduce the need to use helicopters on occasions. Maybe helicopters need to be used more when the Baltic is iced up - I will concede that.  As Windfarms move further out to sea and get larger the plan is to use accommodation ships to take service crews out for a defined period - a week or 2 at a time. 

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On 6/15/2018 at 4:18 AM, Marina Schwarz said:

I’ll bite: it doesn’t matter. Nobody knows. It like asking a man “what if you’d been born a woman instead”. We don’t know what it like to be a lady, so it’s impossible to answer. 

However, I will say a lot of the article is far fetched; if we went back to the late 90s/early 2000s, wind power would be so expensive as to bankrupt producers, end users, governments who subsidize. 

I work in the oil business, but have zero problem with renewables, have actually done some continuing education courses on the subject matter. However, the business needs to pull its head out of a certain orifice (like the oilpatch at times) and be truthful about both it’s cost and abilities in near-medium-long term

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(edited)

What if Dr. Carl Clark hadn't begun his oilsands research?  Or if the Canadian government hadn't thrown its support behind Great Canadian Oilsands in the 1960's?  

Do a little digging into the supply of rare earth metals, the chokepoint in the entire alternative energy product mix.  That same class of elements that make your cellphone work are present in the solar panels and the powerful magnets in the wind turbines.

Private Chinese interests own the mines where most of this is sourced.  It doesn't matter if its Tesla batteries or glowing phone screens, the neodymium, scandium or samarium are called rare for a reason.  And China uses that power to force manufacturers to relocate to their country.  The mining process as toxic as heck, but you don't mind offloading the impact overseas, do you?

Edited by Batman
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