Spain’s attempt to create a “green” electricity grid required paying wind and solar power producers up to 12 times the going rate for electricity. The initiative destroyed jobs and led to a US$29-billion bankruptcy, throwing 24,000 out of work.

Germany’s massive program to develop wind and solar power paid green energy producers up to eight times the cost of conventional power, yet still foundered due to a cloudy and calm climate in which solar and wind chronically underperform. Now Germany is building gas- and coal-fired facilities to mask the catastrophe and greenhouse-gas emissions have increased.

The U.K. made similar attempts to green its grid, with similar results. Ontarians recently learned they have paid $37 billion too much for power, largely to prop up green alternatives.

Despite this mountain of evidence, Alberta’s New Democratic Party government has opted to do the very same things. The NDP will increase carbon taxes on industrial emitters and lower thresholds to ensnare smaller companies; tax gasoline and diesel; and forcibly remove coal from Alberta’s electricity-generating equation. The NDP intends to transform Alberta’s electricity grid into one based on “renewable” power sources such as wind, solar and hydroelectricity. This is certain to impose billions of dollars in avoidable costs on a population reeling under a deep economic downturn, yet will yield not even a blip in the world’s temperature or CO2 concentrations.

Alberta has more than 1,000 megawatts of installed wind-power capacity, becoming a national wind-power leader almost 15 years ago, thanks to the previous Conservative government’s policies of deregulating electricity markets and ramming new power lines past protesting landowners – all of which the NDP opposed. Today, wind turbines provide a material although modest proportion of Alberta’s electricity – and that’s the level at which they should remain. Even in the province of “four strong winds,” wind power is unreliable, intermittent and typically runs full tilt at the wrong times.

The NDP, however, intends to stud virtually every windy ridgetop with turbines, mimicking the unsightly horrors of Germany and Britain, while adding solar farms hither and yon. It’s unclear whether anyone has explained to Premier Rachel Notley that Alberta is largely dark for six months of the year. As for hydroelectricity, the sole form of “renewable” energy sufficiently versatile and large scale to provide reliable base-load power, much of Alberta is simply too dry. Our pretty mountain rivers are relative trickles compared with the gigantic hydraulic machines created by Ontario and Quebec’s topography and climate. There is hydro potential in Alberta’s north. But the NDP spent the previous four decades opposing any northern dams for the usual overblown environmental fears.

The NDP is planning the wholesale destruction of one of North America’s most competitive and efficient electricity grids in favour of failed schemes. The costs will be ruinous and borne by Albertans. All while having no effect on the world’s climate. Alberta’s handful of coal-fired facilities are barely a rounding error in the global installed generating base plus the estimated 1,200 new coal-fired plants being planned globally (as of 2012). Unravelling the lunacy will take many years.

More of George Koch’s writing can be found at

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