The recent cold snap saw Alberta's electrical power grid put to the test. 

With a peak energy demand of 12,000 megawatts (MW), The Alberta Electric System Operator (AESO) put out province-wide grid alerts as the risk of rolling blackouts heightened, with temperatures nearing -40 degrees. 

“Working with industry partners, AESO successfully ensured all Albertans had the power they needed during very challenging conditions on the grid,” said Leif Sollid, a spokesperson with the AESO. 

No blackouts were recorded, and power consumption dropped significantly within minutes of the grid alerts being issued. 

AESO is reviewing the conditions that led to the recent grid alerts and what can be learned from them to prevent them in the future. 

With the risk of future cold snaps as well as the increasing strain on the power grid with the rise of EV vehicles, many are wondering if the power grid has the infrastructure in place to handle the change. 

“From a supply perspective, Alberta is well positioned to meet growth in demand going forward. In 2023, 2,400 MW of new generation were added to Alberta’s market; in 2024, the AESO is forecasting 3,400 MW of additional generating capacity; these additional supplies will ensure the reliability of Alberta’s grid going forward,” AESO said in a statement.

Despite the challenges posed by the recent extreme weather, ongoing infrastructure enhancements by AESO signal what they believe to be a resilient and reliable energy future for Alberta's power grid. 

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