Glenn Schneider, Manitoba's Hydro's spokesman, claims "wind energy is not dispatchable" (Trim Hydro plans: ex-minister, Dec. 20). He's right. Wind energy has to be "firmed" so it can be used when needed, not only when the wind blows.
That's exactly why Manitoba Hydro has a huge advantage in its water storage. When the wind blows and we don't need the power, Hydro can shut down turbines and "store" the wind energy in the potential energy of water. That's what Hydro does in winter when it buys power at night from the States; it shuts down turbines and starts them up again in the daytime.
Hydro has even traded away some of our valuable water storage capacity to North Dakota. Here's what the Free Press reported last Jan. 28 (State approves deal with Hydro): "The agreement... also calls for Minnesota Power to have the ability to store excess wind energy... with Manitoba Hydro when wind production is high... maximizing the value of its wind production."
Not only does this make wind "dispatchable," it means Hydro has sold its storage to American interests instead of supporting Manitoba wind industries.