Jack Downey Comments on Canadian Issues
Photo by Julie Ann Biggs
Alberta Robbing British Columbia of its Resources?!
In the southwest corner of Alberta, an almost constant wind comes roaring through the Crowsnest Pass
and, out of this BC venturus, spreads across the Foothills and on to the Great Plains. The last major
North-South ridge of the Livingston Range of the Rocky Mountains is at Cowley Alberta. The Cowley Ridge
runs across the Pass and is studded with huge, wind powered electrical generators. One cannot help
but be impressed with these pollution free, silent, electrical colossi. They are churning out free
electricity for Alberta's Power Pool. Each 15-story high wind turbine produces enough energy for
300 homes. With the high cost of gas and coal for steam generated power, and few if any Dam sites
left for Hydro generation, we are faced with large development projects for Wind and Tidal solutions
for power sources. It is estimated that the potential for wind generated power worldwide,
with present technology, is five times current Global electrical use.
Just over the Alberta-BC border, a short drive to the west, Sparwood sends masses of coal by rail to
Robert's Bank where ship loads of it go to Japan for coal power generators in the Land of the
Rising Sun. Japan pays BC for the coal. Pollutants from Japan are sent back at no charge on Trans
Pacific winds. Alberta steals BC winds for their electrical needs, and pays not a Groat for this
BC resource! Not only does Alberta get the wind free, but we send pollutants from our 57%
Coal fired electrical generators to Saskatchewan. Before you send the men with the Butterfly nets
looking for me, please hear me out.
According to Enmax (a Calgary based Alberta Utility Corp.), 57% of Alberta's power is produced by coal,
32% by natural gas, 9% by hydro and 2% by wind generation. Every one of these methods are subsidized by
Federal and Provincial tax dollars in one form or another, including rail and pipeline networks.
Before Electric Power Deregulation, Albertans received their electricity at a reasonable rate.
Now electricity is so costly that there may be serious research projects in many basement labs where
the entrepreneurs seek to power their PCs with the likes of beeswax candles. Some think that "Macs"
could be run on Okanagan Valley apple juice, or so I've heard. Since all these electricity producing
commodities, including candles and apple juice, have an export price and tax subsidies, why
does BC not demand payment for it's wind? They should at least be in line for a government Energy
Depletion Allowance, as are those provinces using up their Natural gas and Oil. The constant flow of the
BC wind through the gut of the Crowsnest Pass is eroding away, or in effect depleting, the sides and bottom
of this natural venturus.
This einfart (German for "way in") erosion will eventually widen the Pass and drop the present
high velocity "ausfart" (German for "way out") until, in a few million years, a soft breeze will be
all that is left blowing into Southern Alberta from BC. If BC runs out of wind, you'd better not think that Alberta will give BCers gas like it does to Eastern
There is a precedent for receiving payment for surplus wind. Politicians, sales persons, TV sports
announcers and many others receive payment for blowing off wind. Soon after the deregulation
of Alberta's power industry by the Premier Klien government, every taxpayer in Alberta received
two cheques of $150 each, to help defray the extraordinary increase in the cost of electricity. This
payment was, in effect, a government subsidy to the Free Enterprise companies that took over the
Power Distribution Grid. It was just a smarmy political way of covering a big blunder. An honest
politician (oxymoron) would have used these funds to build more publicly owned Wind Turbines for
long-term power cost reduction.
Since we use BC wind for 2% of Alberta's power it would have been a friendly gesture to give BC 2% of
the cash windfall (pun intended). Alberta, with a population of 2.5 million, one third of whom pay taxes,
should have given half a million dollars to BC for breaking wind. We will not even touch on BC's Chinook
winds that raise Alberta's winter temperatures and reduce Albertans' heating bills. Albertans are so
blatant in their non payment of BC Chinook winds, that they even go so far as to call them ALBERTA
Chinooks. What cheek! Most Albertans are honest law abiding citizens and would certainly support
payment for these BC commodities and for sure a Federal Energy Depletion allowance to BC. What's good
for Alberta is good for all according to our government!
Many Canadians look to Alberta for the way their governments should operate.
Be careful what you wish for, unless you have a lot of oil and gas, you may get it. Deregulation
tripled our electricity bills, which, in turn, increased the cost of all goods and services. The
government covered it's blunder by giving us our own tax money back to make us think this was Manna
from Edmonton. Both the government and the Private Enterprise power companies say, "Deregulation will,
in three to five years, bring a decrease in electrical costs." When's the last time you saw prices go
The city of Calgary's major electricity supplier is a FREE ENTERPRISE CORPORATION called Enmax. They have
set up an infomative little branch called Greenmax. With their tripled power bills, the residents find a slick
little insert extolling the use of Wind Turbine electrical power. No sane person could be against this
pollution free, readily available, source of power. We need many more generators to wring out
every ounce of power from BC's wind before it slips through our windmill blades to Saskatchewan. Enmax has
a Web site touting their concern for the environment (www.enmax.com). Their facts are accurate, but
their logic has serious flaws, in my opinion. They actually panhandle their, grossly over-charged
customers for donations! Keep in mind that they are a "For Profit" company,
that has already taken over the publicly paid-for infrastructure. Enmax/Greenmax is not a charity. Donations
are not tax deductible.
After talking at length to a senior person at Greenmax, I was told that
these public donations (to a Free Enterprise company) go to help offset the surcharge for wind
generated power! Another Private Company owns most of the wind generators and sells power from the
Wind Turbines to Enmax and other Alberta power suppliers. How much of the 2% "Green Power" production
goes into each home? If wind power cannot compete in a free market, then reverse the blades and
blow the stuff back to BC! The donations of $5-10-15 imply another load of cod's wallop. The company
inferes that each donation is "like saving." The part that really tugs at those environmental heart
strings is that a donation of $5.00 is "like planting 120 FULLY GROWN trees in a local park", $10.00
got you 250 fully grown trees, and $15.00 "about 400". Greenmax only says, "like planting". To my
knowledge, Greenmax has not planted one scabby little shrub, anywhere. If what they imply were to
happen, Calgary would have to import the entire Amazon Rain Forest to cover its donations to a free
We do not care much for trees in Alberta; they block the view of Saskatchewan. All those trees Greenmax
talks about should be planted out in BC to act as a Windbreak and keep that surcharged wind power source
out where it belongs. In fair exchange, BC can keep supplying winter Chinooks to us at no
If Greenmax, or any other Private Enterprise Utility Company, wants to solicit public donations they would be wise to invest them in putting up Wind
Turbines of their own and donate the money earned to Breast Cancer Research or other humanitarian project.
PS: Wind power is viable in very few places. The velocity of the wind is not as important as the
number of hours a year the wind blows. Wind generated power also can be used to convert water to hydrogen
and oxygen, the hydrogen is stored, then used to run a hydrogen motor to produce electrical power during
times when there is no wind. Hydrogen motors give off water vapor as a byproduct so both the generator
and the motor are pollution free, plus distilling the exhaust gives you pure water!
Signed; the Galloping Geezer
Jack C. Downey CD
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