This has been a relatively warm winter hereabouts (upper Midwest, USA), but this doesn’t mean that other parts of North America aren’t getting them some real winter. Canada, western Canada, for example.
Starting with the NDP, and continuing under the UCP, coal fired power generation is being converted to natural gas. The coal mining operation next to the power plants are down to skeleton crews. Battle River power generation station is who I am going to talk about specifically.
Battle River and Sheerness are on the same natural gas pipeline. When something happens to the supply of natural gas both power generation stations go down. For example a compressor on the line going down in the -47 weather takes out both power plants. During last week Battle River received a call from the pipeline operator saying that they had to curtail the amount of natural gas in the pipeline. It is -47. The coal mining equipment has not been running. The coal handling facility at the power plant is all froze down. The electric dragline for uncovering coal cannot be started. Remember last week when level 1 and 2 emergencies were issued for the power grid? This is why. We have now made our power grid far more vulnerable to faults. Whereas coal fired, from coal mined next door at each plant, takes away that risk.
Wind and solar were non existent when we needed them most. We needed coal and it has been shuttered to the point were we couldn’t get it running quickly or at full capacity. This was only one week of a cold snap. We have made our lives far more vulnerable.
Indeed. A temperature of -47 (pretty much the same in F or C) has real world effects.