Sunday, October 25, 2009

Use electricity? Bill 50 robs you blind

Pastoral scene!
Bill 50 would authorize $8.1 Billion worth of misguided 'upgrades' to the electrical system and pass the cost on to Albertans. That doesn't include the $12 Billion worth of other upgrades that would make these high voltage upgrades useful.
The existing Alberta grid is currently valued at about $2 Billion for the whole thing. These upgrades would cost 4x to 10x the value of the entire grid, and we already have power. Not a good buy.
These expensive upgrades would lock us into an old-style centralized electrical production system, and set the stage for private companies to sell electricity to the US and stick Albertans with the bill for the transmission infrastructure and the environmental consequences.
If Bill 50 passes you will be on the hook for these transmission upgrades in your electrical bill, but that's just the beginning. Everybody else will have to pay too.
Every retail business and every Alberta manufacturer will be paying through the nose for these unnecessary transmission lines. Businesses would then have to charge higher prices for everything, which would drive business out of Alberta. Say goodbye to the Alberta Advantage.
Corporate power plays and sky-is-falling scare tactics are not a responsible way to upgrade the grid.
Instead, build additional generating capacity when necessary in Southern Alberta. Cogeneration plants and small scale renewables can meet the electrical needs of Albertans into the indefinite future for vanishingly less cost. Producing electricity much closer to the demand means far less money would be wasted on transmission.
Install smart grid technology that allows for time of day and demand based pricing. Make it easy for anyone with a few solar panels to sell power to the grid. The grid should be more like the internet, with everyone sharing local electricity, and less like cable TV, where we just sit back and take it. One system unleashes innovation, the other locks us into an expensive, tired old model.
Establish feed-in tariffs, where small-scale producers of green power are paid a premium for their electricity. These are already being successfully used in Europe to jump start the installation of clean renewable electrical supply, like solar electric panels.
The existing power players are invested in the old way of doing business, and they want to ram this uncomfortable, unnecessary pill down your throat. They certainly won't pay for it themselves.
The time for doing things the old way is over.
Tell your MLA that you like the Alberta Advantage. Tell your MLA that you won't be robbed by the utility companies. Tell your MLA to oppose Bill 50.

For more information visit: for the Government of Alberta's info page on this. The Enmax Town Hall series of videos (there's six) explains more.
Calgary Herald: Getting bogged down in a flawed Bill 50.
Feed In Tariffs would jump start renewable installation, providing renewable power without the 'nimby' problem. Ontario is already doing it.
The pushback that they are receiving seems to be working. Alberta's controversial Bill 50 isn't a done deal. The armwrestling isn't over yet. Let your MLA know how you feel.

1 comment:

  1. Ontario's Feed In Tariff program: