Our previous analysis showed that the Boundary Dam complex cost $1.35-billion and would provide power for 130,000 households (i.e. a cost per household of $10,400). By comparison we said that the cost for achieving the same with wind would be $0 per household. We have received a number of comments about this and as a result have made the following changes - which are reflected in the graphic shown above.
Exclude Cost of New Generation. The $1.35-billion previously mentioned includes an undisclosed amount spent to purchase new generating capacity at Boundary Dam Unit #3. It was pointed out, correctly, that we cannot reasonably include that amount in the carbon and sulphur CAPTURE costs. Fair point! We estimate the amount for new generating capacity to be $480-million: consequently the capital spend on just the carbon and sulphur capture equipment was $875-million.
Exclude the Parasitic Load. It has been pointed out that a significant amount of electricity is required to run the carbon and sulphur capture equipment - this electricity, called the 'Parasitic Load', will obviously not be available to be sold. The size of the Parasitic Load is not public: however, and based on various pieces of information, we have been able to estimate it. After that figure is deducted, the amount of electricity available for sale will be sufficient to power 79,000 average Saskatchewan households. In other words $875-million divided by 79,000 households = $11,100 per household.
Include Wind Energy Balancing Costs. Previously we had said that, because wind turbines release no carbon or sulphur during operations, there is no cost to capture it. Someone noted that, because the output of wind turbines is variable, they require a certain amount of electrical balancing capacity to ensure that there is electricity when the wind is not blowing. Another fair point!
The amount of balancing capacity increases as the amount of wind energy on the system increases. The amount of electricity used by 79,000 average Saskatchewan households would be only about 3 percent of the Saskatchewan total. Although this amount is quite low we have nonetheless assumed a balancing cost of $5 per megawatt hour of generation. This amount is more typical for wind energy penetration of 20 percent and consequently, we believe, is too high. But we don't want to be accused of being soft on wind!
$5 per megawatt hour works out at a total balancing cost of about $70-million over 20 years or $880 per household.