Renewable sources of electricity continue to increase in market share across all jurisdictions. New wind and solar energy projects in Alberta will be the main drivers to reach the province’s 2030 target to have 30% of its electricity derived from renewable sources. Alongside these projects the power generation companies like TransAlta Corporation will need to look at energy storage solutions to help these intermittent sources of electricity provide reliable and consistent power to the consumer.
Energy companies are in the business of turning energy from one form into another. For example, a gas-fired power station turns chemical potential energy stored in the natural gas into electrical energy. A natural gas storage facility allows energy (held in the form of natural gas) to be stored at one point in time and recovered at a later time. A gas pipeline moves energy from one location to another. The result is that the financial risks faced by an energy company involve a large portfolio of spreads â differences between energy prices.
Power prices are a significant contributor to the overall risk of almost any large-scale industry. In particular, energy companies such as TransAlta who are active participants in many regional power markets have a strong interest in understanding the long-term risks they are exposed to. This project seeks to develop a model that will help TransAlta to understand some of the uncertainty in medium to long-term power prices in California, the Pacific northwest, and Alberta.
Wind turbines in cold coastal climate experience frequent icing events. Icing may result in a variety of problems which can affect the production rate and availability of the turbines. The main focus of the proposed research is on how to deal with the icing issues at Kent Hills wind farm located in New Brunswick. Total loss of production revenue due to icing events at this wind farm was estimated to be around $2 million.
Electricity generation is one of the largest sources of carbon dioxide production in Canada. The combustion of fossil fuels (coal and natural gas) release carbon dioxide which contributes to rising global temperatures. Wind energy is considered to be an alternative to the traditional methods of generating electricity, producing electricity when the wind blows strong enough to move the turbines but not so strong that the turbines shut down for safety reasons. Although wind energy can be used to produce energy, its production is both variable and uncertain.
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