Does Alberta’s latest grid alert mean its electrical system is unbalanced?

By Darcy Ropchan

Albertans are being asked to do their part to conserve electricity after Alberta Electric System Operator (AESO) issued a grid alert Monday.

While the grid alert has since lifted, AESO says conditions are still tight.

Extreme temperature, low winds and problems with power transmission from British Columbia strained the system.

It was Alberta’s second electrical grid alert this summer.

“Doesn’t mean that power’s about to be interrupted but it’s a warning to folks to let them know we are taking action,” said Leif Sollid with AESO.

“We can ask B.C. to halt the maintenance and allow power to flow on that line at a higher capacity, so that’s something we’re looking at.”

Critics are pointing to the grid alert as proof the province’s electrical system is unbalanced.


Premier Danielle Smith used the alert to push back on Ottawa’s net-zero emissions goals.

“Albertans must be able to turn on their lights, furnaces and A/C when they need it. They also need to be able to afford the electricity they use,” Smith tweeted Tuesday.

“To do this we need more natural gas generation brought online asap while we develop and implement nuclear, hydrogen, geothermal and other emerging technologies that can provide the base load power we need by 2050.

“Ottawa’s 2035 net zero regs will make this impossible to achieve. That is why our UCP government won’t let this terrible federal plan be implemented here.”

Alberta’s Opposition NDP says a moratorium on renewable energy projects from the premier is preventing more power on the grid.

“The demand and the supply have to match, and right now, the Alberta Electrical Systems Operator is being handcuffed by the government from being allowed to bring new energy on,” said Kyle Kasawski, the Alberta NDP’s critic for municipal affairs.

CityNews reached out to the province for a response to the NDP’s claims but did not immediately hear back.

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