Deerland Peaking Station
Most of the text on this page (all, except the updates dated 2007 09 04)
was originally sent out via e-mail on August 10, 2007. The text of the
e-mail was published as a letter to the editor in the Lamont Leader, 2007 08
28, p. 4
Deerland Peaking Station [North of Bruderheim]
By accident, I came across the following information:
MAXIM is proposing to construct and operate a 190 MW natural
gas-fired power generation facility on a site immediately south of the
existing Deerland high voltage substation in Bruderheim, Alberta. The
company has obtained an option for the site and commenced a public
consultation process on July 26, 2007. MAXIM anticipates that the first
phase (95 MW) will be operational in 2009. The facility will use
state-of-the-art combustion turbine technology.
Corp. ("MAXIM") Announces Second Quarter 2007 Results
Marketwire, 2007 08 09
Update 2007 09 04: It appears that Maxim Power Corp.
informed some residents and property owners within a 3 km radius of its
proposed site for the peaking station. However, it did not inform
all residents and property owners that will be affected by the emissions
the peaking station will produce.
I own property close to the proposed Deerland
peaking station and was not informed of an open house to be held by
Maxim Power Corp. There are many other residents in the
neighbourhood of the proposed power station that were not been informed
The emissions (including sulphur-dioxide) produced by the power
station south of the Deerland substation will travel far beyond a 3 km
radius and add substantially to the escalating and increasingly
visible air pollution in the air-shed
of the Fort Air Partnership,
especially in the NW corner of Lamont County. Acid rain, acid snow
and acid fog are becoming ever more prevalent.
I am not aware that the design of the Deerland peaking station
includes a desulphurization process or whether the natural gas to be
used by the station is of sufficient purity to alleviate all concerns
about sulphur-dioxide. Nevertheless, even if that should be the
case, that still leaves a large amount of emissions of nitrogen-oxides
to worry about.
As long as no new major power generating plants are being built in
Alberta (none are in the making, except for a 1.2 GW ENMAX natural-gas-fired
plant near Calgary)*, it is very profitable to cover energy-generating
shortfalls through natural-gas-fired generation. That is true not only for
natural-gas-fired generating plants but even more so for coal-fired
generating plants and the much less costly energy generated by them, as
energy produced by coal-fired generating plants can be sold at a price set
through the cost of natural-gas-fired energy production.
* Update 2007 08 27:
announced that it intends to construct a nuclear power plant at Lac
Cardinal, near Peace River. The plant will generate 2.2 GW of
electric energy, of which 70 percent will be sold to an undisclosed
consumer. That will leave 660 MW to be delivered for general consumption
into the Alberta transmission network.
The Lac Cardinal power plant is scheduled to go into operation
early in 2017.
The cost of nuclear power generation is cheap and comparable to that of
power generated by coal-fired thermal power generating plants.
Isn't deregulation of the electric industry a great thing for energy
producers and electric energy marketers?
The "letters" section of today's Edmonton Journal (Aug. 10, 2007, p. A17)
has a good sampling of letters addressing the issue of wind-power
generation. The letter written by Warren Frost, vice president operations
and reliability, Alberta Electric Systems Operator, is the one that outlines
most realistically what the implications are of large increases in
....When wind suddenly ramps up or down, conventional generation such
as coal, gas or hydroelectricity must be immediately dispatched or power
exchanged with other provinces to offset the imbalance. There are limits
to how much generation can be held in reserve, how fast it can be
dispatched and how much power can be imported or exported to accommodate
wind variability. Additionally, there is currently no cost-effective
means of storing large amounts of power....
What that means for Alberta is that for every unit of new wind-powered
energy production another unit of natural-gas-powered energy production must
be constructed for standby capacity to be ready to cover shortfalls in
wind-powered energy production when the wind fails. That will keep the cost
of energy sold to end users high, and higher yet as the increasing scarcity
of and demand for natural gas causes natural gas prices to rise ever higher.
Presently about 5 percent of Alberta's energy demand is covered through
wind-powered generation. [That is just about the amount of power to be
produced by the proposed peaking station.]
At any rate, the continual construction of natural-gas-fired generation
capacity reduces the incentives to build coal-fired or nuclear generating
plants and will keep the cost of electric energy sold to end-consumers high
That will not change until we run out of natural gas or until the
costs of natural gas become prohibitive. However, there is a solution in the
making, the production of synthetic gas that will be fed into the gas
distribution system (e.g.: the construction of the coal mine and coal
gasification plant near Ryley and Tofield, south of Highway 14, at a cost of
about $1.5 billion, financed by Shell and by the Ontario Teachers Union
And by the way, desulphurization of natural gas and of synthetic
gas will produce every-increasing amounts of sulphur that need to be stored
somewhere near the source of production because the world market for sulphur
is glutted and cannot absorb the increasing production of sulphur.
At this year's Annual General Meeting of the Alberta Federation of Rural
Electrification Associations, a representative of the Alberta Government
told the audience that deregulation is working fine and as intended, and
that we can expect that the retail price of electric energy will soon be in
the range of 20¢ - 40¢ per kWh.
Update 2007 09 21:
If Maxim's proposed power station is approved, it will
cause increased incidents of dense fogs during some winter days on
Highways 45 and 38, in the vicinity of the Junction of Highways 45 and
38. Those dense fogs will be extremely dangerous to traffic when they
occur, especially during the morning hours when people drive to work
(including school buses carrying children) and in evenings. In fact, on
some days the dense fogs will make driving on the roads in that area
completely impossible; in every single winter. Maxim's proposed project
would increase the dangerous density of such fogs as well as their
The fogs caused by Maxim's proposed power plant will not only happen on
account of the enormous amount of water vapour contained in the exhaust
of the power plant, they will be acidic. More acid fog and drizzle,
just what we need, right?
Those problems will become compounded by the fact that the peaking power
station will most likely be in operation during early morning and late
evening hours, when winds are light or non-existent and fogs are most
likely to happen.
Posted 2007 09 04