July 12, 2012
Air conditioners have been humming steadily this month as the prairie region, along with the rest of North America, has been baking through a prolonged and very expensive heat wave.
Power utilities in both Manitoba and Saskatchewan are proposing rate increases, but they should be getting more serious about doing business with each other.
‘Rider Nation’ – Saskatchewan – needs more electricity to service a growing population, but they are reluctant to cash in their uranium chips and go nuclear. Their number one solution continues to focus on the burning of coal.
To do more of that requires huge investments in very questionable technology like carbon capture and storage. Those hundreds of millions of dollars would be much better spent on buying renewable hydro power from Manitoba.
The NDP government of Greg Selinger is pressing ahead with massive hydro dams in the north on the premise that export sales of power to the U.S. will cover the cost and keep rates low for the folks at home.
It is becoming increasingly evident that the economic model is seriously flawed. For a variety of costly reasons that are becoming all too clear, Manitoba Hydro is basically giving the power away to U.S. customers, and it will get worse in the years to come.
A much better strategy for the future would be for Manitoba to improve its ability to transmit electricity both east and west, rather than to the south.
The Harper government in Ottawa could play much more of a leadership role in the process. Instead of investing millions in technology of questionable value like carbon capture, they should be helping all provinces develop an east-west power grid.
Power bills are certain to rise, but let’s ratchet them up for reasons that make more sense.
I’m Roger Currie
Roger Currie is a Winnipeg based writer, blogger, storyteller