Alberta forced to use reserves to balance power system for 2nd time this July

Click to play video: 'Coalition pushes for bigger, stronger electricity grid in Canada' Coalition pushes for bigger, stronger electricity grid in Canada
WATCH ABOVE: A coalition of power companies, labour and other groups are pushing for increased integration of power grids across Canada as we see more pressure caused by severe weather. Tom Vernon reports – Jul 14, 2021

For the second time this month, the Alberta Electric System Operator issued an “energy emergency alert” on Wednesday because the province was being forced to rely on reserves to balance the power system.

Just before 5 p.m., AESO tweeted  that it had issued a Level 2 energy emergency alert.

READ MORE: Alert lifted after Alberta forced to use ‘reserves to balance power system’ 

“This is due to unplanned loss in generation,” the organization said. “Reserves are balancing the power system.

“Supply continues to meet demand.”

AESO asked Albertans to try to reduce their power consumption between the hours of 4 p.m. and 7 p.m.

AESO said the emergency alert ended at 7:34 p.m.

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READ MORE: Alberta eclipses previous summer peak electricity use record 

The alert was issued as much of Alberta remains under a heat warning. Power consumption in Alberta has surged this summer, particularly during a historic heat wave that hit the province earlier this summer.

Group pushes for more integraton of power grids

Some people have been pushing to have more power grids across Canada linked to one another, in part to mitigate the possibility of power shortages, but also for economic and environmental reasons.

On Wednesday, a new initiative called Canada Grid was announced, which calls for improved integration of the electrical grid across North America so that it can double the grid’s capacity to ensure “enough affordable, secure and decarbonized electricity supply to power our net-zero future.”

Philip Dugay is the managing director of the Canada Grid initiative at the Transition Accelerator, a charity that says it aims to help “solve societal challenges while moving Canada down viable pathways to reach net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050.”

“This is about our national economic competitiveness,” Dugay said, adding he believes grid integration can drive investment.

He suggested Alberta could bring in power from B.C. and sell surplus wind and solar power to U.S. markets.

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“We have all the capital and human resources that we need,” Dugay said. “But we don’t have the market opportunity.”

Bruce Lourie is the president of a charity called the Ivey Foundation, whose website says it aims to “improve the well-being of Canadians by focusing its resources on selected issues of significance.”

“It’s better for consumers, it’s better for the environment and it’s really just a better way to run an electricity system,” he said.

When asked for comment on some groups pushing to better integrate Alberta’s power grid with other provinces, the province’s associate minister of natural gas and electricity said his government shares “the goal of having a robust, reliable and resilient electrical grid that can meet growing demand in the coming years, and will look for opportunities to collaborate with jurisdictions and industry to ensure Albertans have the electricity they need.”

“We remain deeply committed to ensuring Alberta maintains its sole jurisdiction over our electricity market, and ensuring our market-based approach to electricity continues to serve the best interests of all Albertans first and foremost,” read a statement issued by Dale Nally to Global News.

“Our province has a unique energy-only electricity market which has continued to attract significant private investment in our grid. We’ve seen $2 billion in announced renewable projects in the past two years alone.”

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–With files from Global News’ Tom Vernon

Watch below: (From June 29, 2021) With a heat wave gripping Alberta, power and water consumption has increased drastically – leading many municipalities to ask or even order residents to scale back on non-essential usage. Sarah Komadina reports.

Click to play video: 'Water, power consumption concerns during Alberta heat wave' Water, power consumption concerns during Alberta heat wave
Water, power consumption concerns during Alberta heat wave – Jun 29, 2021

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