Nuclear Plants Need Backup Generators

A power utility has to have the capability of calling into service enough power to make up for the loss of its largest generator on short notice. For a nuclear generator, this would be between 300 and 2000 MW. In our home province of Saskatchewan, the largest single generator SaskPower has to keep backup capacity for currently is a 300MW coal unit. However, if the entire Boundary Dam facility went down, the Saskatchewan system could be missing as much as 813 MW of power.

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Feed-In Tariff Proposal for Saskatchewan

A Feed-in-Tariff is a policy mechanism designed to provide an incentive for development of a desired type. Typical implementations of feed-in-tariffs for power generation usually involve guaranteed long term prices for electricity generated and guaranteed grid access. This means that if a person or company builds this type of desired generation, they are guaranteed to be able to sell their power, and guaranteed a minimum price for their power.

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Nuclear Power: The Whole Story

Electrical power production using a nuclear power source is accomplished through the heat produced by bringing greater than a specific amount of radioactive material together. Water is heated to create steam, which in turn spins turbines to generate electricity. Greater quantities or concentrations of nuclear material produce more heat. The higher the temperature of the heat source, the more efficient the production of electricity from it becomes. If the core becomes too hot, it is possible for core material to melt. If the reactor core is kept relatively cool, the energy production is not thermodynamically or economically efficient. Combinations of different fuels, fuel cladding, and coolants have been tested to optimize reactor cores for efficient power production while remaining very safe. Many different combinations are in use today, each with it’s advantages and disadvantages.

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Energy: Key Terms and Definitions

Energy is a concept that represents the amount of physical work that can be done by a certain system. For instance, a tank of gasoline has a certain amount of energy that can be released by burning it to achieve useful results, like moving a car a long distance. The concept of energy is very useful when talking about subjects as broadly different as climate change, electrical power plants, car collisions, explosives, and food diets. Energy exists in two forms, kinetic and potential.

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Energy Storage

Energy storage is the saving some form of energy for later use. Energy is critical to every accomplishment of humans. This energy can take many forms. Some examples include potential, kinetic, chemical, and nuclear energy.

Energy storage is critical to the stable function of a power grid. Inevitably, power stations have to be serviced or have failures. Even failures that are a fraction of a second can be disastrous for certain applications, such as monitoring systems for heavy machinery, computers, and other sensitive electronics. Stability of power is a key factor in the design of an effective power grid. Stability requires that there be backup systems in place in case of a baseline power failure. Energy storage is required for most backup systems to be effective.

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Hydroelectricity

Hydroelectric power generation is the act of using moving water to generate power. Historically this was done using paddle wheels in streams to turn grinding stones for making grain flour. Today, most hydroelectric dams are of a larger scale. A hydro dam location is chosen because it has a large amount of flowing water that can exit the dam at a much lower height than it was taken at. As in a waterfall, the waters falling through the dam generators speed up and drive turbines, generating power.

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Coal Power

Generating Electricity Coal is used to generate electricity by burning it. The heat is then used to run a heat engine, which utilizes water steam to turn electric turbines. Coal was the fuel that started the industrial revolution, and it’s use continues to grow today. Coal-fired electricity production accounts for more electricity than any other […]

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