Grid alert declared in Alberta due to hot weather, low winds

A photo of power transmission lines. A grid alert was declared in Alberta on Monday afternoon due to hot weather and low wind generation. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Colin Perkel

A grid alert was declared in Alberta on Monday afternoon due to hot weather and low wind generation.

According to a post by the Alberta Electric System Operator (AESO), un-ideal weather conditions and an outage in B.C. are straining the province’s electrical grid. The outage in B.C. is preventing the AESO’s ability to import power, the post said.

A grid alert is issued when the power system is under stress and staff are preparing to use emergency reserves to meet demand and maintain system reliability, according to the AESO’s website.

Residents are asked to reduce electrical usage to prevent more serious emergency measures and to balance out the system.

“The AESO takes a variety of actions to maintain reliability, including using emergency reserves, reducing or suspending exports or energy sales, cancelling transmission maintenance, implementing voluntary curtailment programs (participants are asked to reduce their energy use to predetermined levels), and requesting emergency imports,” the organization’s website read.

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“As the last option to maintain reliability, the AESO can initiate temporary rotating power outages.”

Real-time data from Enmax shows Calgary’s system demand was at 1,601 megawatts at around 5 p.m., more than 100 megawatts under the current season’s record (1,733 megawatts).

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Enmax also declared power outages in the southwest Calgary neighbourhoods of Altadore and Garrison Woods, affecting around 375 customers.

Alberta’s energy critic Kathleen Ganley claimed the grid alert is a result of the United Conservative government’s “botched” handling of the electrical grid, according to an emailed statement on Monday evening.

“Albertans are facing unprecedented energy bills, and unprecedented wildfires, while Danielle Smith bans the development of renewable energy. Her actions will limit the supply of electricity while increasing costs and the emissions that drive climate change,” the statement read.

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