July, 2017 will go down as one of the hottest months in history for much of south central Alberta. It will also rank as one of the highest in terms of energy use.
"Last week on Thursday and Friday, when the media was reporting that we set some new summer peaks, the internal load was probably close to 11,000 (megawatts). That's just because of all the air conditioning load and things like that," reported Alan Gano, District Manager of the Southeast Region for ATCO Electric.
"We actually in the province got a little tight for generation because we had a couple of the generators go down unexpectedly, and so things were a little tight, actually, for a little while, I think, on Thursday and Friday," he continued.
However, Gano was quick to note that generally, Alberta's electrical generating system is more than capable of meeting the province's power needs, even on days when everyone has an air conditioner or fan running.
"If all the generators in the province (were online) and the wind was howling, we'd actually have 16,000 (megawatts)," he explained. "The peak last week, I don't think, got to 11,000, so we've got quite a bit available, but we don't want to run that tight because the wind doesn't blow all the time."
According to the Alberta Energy System Operator, wind could provide 1,445 megawatts of power, compared to more than 7,500 megawatts from gas fired generators and almost 6,300 megawatts from coal fired plants like Sheerness, south of Hanna.