Saturday Letters: let’s invest in the greening of electricity production

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D. “How did Alberta survive the cold spell? Don’t Thank Solar Power,” David Staples, January 14

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Mr. Staples does a good job presenting the facts extracted by Ian Mackay on renewable energy production during our recent cold spell. Mr. Staples isn’t shy about using words like fantasy or utopia when talking about renewable energy. But let’s not forget that he keeps an opinion column.

The column does not explain the why of these facts. It is not that the cold disables the production of renewable energies. Renewable energy in Alberta is just a drop in the ocean. In the middle of a cold spell, no one is going to check why the solar panels are not working well, all the resources are concentrated on the functioning of the heart of our electricity production and distribution systems.

No one is asking to abandon the production of electricity from fossil fuels; we need it. The request is to make the fantasy possible and to invest in greening our electricity production. Here’s another fact: Alberta has the dirtiest power generation in Canada. Alberta has potential for renewable energy generation that is being overlooked.

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Countries whose governments have seriously invested in renewable energy still need fossil fuels, but they have managed to reduce their emissions from electricity generation. When the appropriate energy storage technology is ready, they will be closer to transitioning to cleaner energy.

Miguel Burgos, Edmonton

Columnist clinging to the energy of yesterday

David Staples reports that solar and wind energy provide only 30% of Alberta’s energy needs and wonders what we would do if they were our only energy sources. In 1890, the average person took 297 horse-drawn carriage rides a year. Once automobiles were slowly introduced, people complained about noise and dust and it took 50 years for automobiles to dislodge the horse as king of the road.

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I think David Staples is still going to hang on to his “energetic” horse-drawn buggy.

Stephen Crocker, Edmonton

The Atco probe should be made public

D. “Consumer coalition wants a place in Atco talks”, January 12

Bob Weber’s article in the January 12 Journal was much appreciated. This indicates that Atco wishes to keep this issue out of the public eye as much as possible. The fact that both parties Atco and the regulator would prefer that counsel for the Consumers Coalition not attend these preliminary talks tells me that it is even more important that he be allowed to do so.

It is important that the public be kept informed at every stage of this process because Atco’s actions, if true, must be known to the public and the company and those responsible pay a very high price because this type of deception can undermine public confidence in the system.

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Perhaps while the regulator considers what action to take in this case, there should also be a review of why our utility bills are so high due to extremely high transmission and distribution costs. A comparison of these costs with those of other provinces can help Alberta consumers see how well we are being served by the unregulated system imposed so many years ago.

Allen Futcher, Sherwood Park

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