Wynne hydro policy “insane”: editorial

Kathleen Wynne

Billions wasted on deeply flawed energy policy: more disaster to come

Toronto Sun, July 31, 2015

EDITORIAL

To understand the mess Ontario’s Liberal government has made of the hydro file, one only needs to look at how electricity was produced in our province on Wednesday, the hottest day of the year to date.

At 4 p.m., there were 21,863 MW (megawatts) of electricity being generated.

Of that, 10,761 MW, or 49%, was being supplied by nuclear power; 5,296 MW or 24% by hydro and 4,715 MW, or 22%, by natural gas.

As for the “renewable” energy sources on which Premier Kathleen Wynne, and before her Dalton McGuinty have wasted billions of public dollars, according to the Auditor General?

They were generating 4.7% of Ontario’s electricity supply: 925 MW, or 4% for wind; 72 MW, or 0.3% for solar; 94 MW, or 0.4%, for biofuels.

These numbers demonstrate that contrary to what they claim, the Liberals did not eliminate coal use in Ontario, which used to supply 25% of electricity generation, through renewables.

Obviously, you can’t replace 25% of the system with 4.7%.

Rather, the Liberals replaced coal with non-emitting nuclear power and low-emitting natural gas.

Further, there is no environmental benefit from having 4.7% of the system supplied by renewables, in which the only significant contributor is wind at 4%.

That’s because wind has to be constantly backed up by natural gas, since wind is intermittent and cannot deliver base load power to the electricity grid on demand.

Worse, in order to accommodate wind when it’s available, the rest of the system has to be operated less efficiently, including dumping far cheaper sources of power, like hydro, or selling it to Quebec or the U.S, at a loss.

Finally we have to pay wind producers first for their power (under 20-year contracts), even though we don’t need it because Ontario has an energy surplus.

That was caused by the decimation of Ontario’s manufacturing sector due in part to high hydro prices, caused in part by the billions of dollars the Liberals wasted on wind.

And yet Wynne is doubling down on this disaster, bringing more and more wind power online over the furious objections of rural municipalities, that we do not need and which is not doing the environment any good.

Simply put, this is insane public policy. Utterly insane.

Wind power no-show means more CO2 emissions for Ontario

 

Ontario's gas plants ran at near full tilt during heat wave; wind was a no-show
Ontario’s gas plants ran at near full tilt during heat wave; wind was a no-show

 

Wind power slump causes CO2 spike

The Independent Electricity System Operator’s (IESO) summary report for July 28, 2015 demonstrated how it was an atypical day for Ontario’s industrial wind generators.   The Toronto temperature reached 33 degrees Celsius meaning Ontario’s electricity demand was high.  Demand averaged 19,515 MWs per hour and peaked at 22,471 MWh.

Wind generators were playing in the sandbox for the whole 24 hours, producing a miserly 2,180 MWh which equaled 2.9% of their (IESO posted) capacity and less than a half percent (½ %) of total Ontario demand of 462,144 MWh.  For two of those hours (9 and 10) wind produced less than 10 MWh — that probably meant they were drawing more power than they produced.

Picking up the slack for wind generators fell to Ontario’s 9,200 MW capacity of the gas plants.  For several hours those gas plants were running close to their maximums, and in the 24 hours produced 94,386 MWh. That’s slightly more than 20% of Ontario’s total demand.

What this all means is that, on most high-demand, hot summer days, wind can’t be counted on to reduce emissions as wind power advocates claim it does.  Those 94,386 MWh of gas generated electricity cranked up Ontario’s CO2  emissions on July 28, 2015 by approximately 47,000 tons, thanks to wind’s absence!

Simply put, this confirms the inability of wind to generate electricity when it is needed.

The time has arrived for the Energy Minister, Bob Chiarelli, to recognize the facts and cancel any further additions to Ontario’s wind turbine fleet.   Electricity generated from industrial wind turbines should be recognized as 130-year old technology that simply can’t be counted on when needed.

Pull the plug!

©Parker Gallant,

July 30, 2015

Toronto photographer documents wind farm destruction in Ontario’s North

Wind is green, wind is good: photo shows blasting for access roads and turbine foundations in Algoma Highlands Photo: Gord Benner
Wind is green, wind is good: photo shows blasting for access roads and turbine foundations in Algoma Highlands Photo: Gord Benner

Toronto area resident and photographer Gord Benner took a circle tour of Lake Superior this summer and was astonished to see the damage being done by wind “farm” construction in Ontario’s formerly pristine North, especially the iconic Algoma region which was so often the subject of paintings done by the Group of Seven. The Algoma region attracts visitors from around the world.

Today, Benner says, they will see roads and transmission lines, and turbines to generate power where before there was Nature.

Benner writes:

“We started the Lake Superior Circle Tour at Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan and proceeded clockwise through Wisconsin and Minnesota. Didn’t see any wind turbines until after we entered Ontario. The IWTs [industrial wind turbines] installed near Dorion were not visible from the highway, but sure enough, there they were along the most scenic section of the Trans Canada Highway 17, from Lake Superior Provincial Park south to Sault Ste. Marie. Cottages and camps that we visited at Bow, Negick and Trim Lakes were surrounded by these huge machines.

“Sadly, nature, tourism and Group of Seven landscapes are taking a real beating.”

With woodlands cut away, and hilltops blasted flat, the damage caused by wind “farm” construction will be irreversible.

windconcerns@gmail.com

Huge turbines dwarf the landscape; here, a truck travels over a new road built for the power project in Algoma
Huge turbines dwarf the landscape; here, a truck travels over a new road built for the power project in Algoma

Ontario Mayor says wind power process is extortion

wind turbines and lines

Lovely, aren’t they? Friendly, too. Extortion required for community support now in Ontario

 

“The process stinks,” mayor says of money offered by developers for municipal support

Petrolia Independent, July 29, 2015

Warwick Mayor Todd Case says the latest process to bid for wind energy projects amounts to extortion and his municipality won’t be part of it.

Four wind energy companies are in the process of bidding for industrial projects in Warwick, Brooke-Alvinston and Enniskillen. As part of the process, the companies are approaching municipalities to talk about what is going on and hoping to gain some form of support to improve their chances of approval.

Under the new process approved in June, companies receive bonus points for some forms of municipal approval. There is a form to say they have met with the municipal government which bears no points. If a company signs an Community Commitment Agreement with a municipality, it receives points which make the project more likely to be approved. Municipalities can also endorse projects; those projects are mostly likely to be approved.

Suncor Energy and NextEra, which are both preparing bids for projects in Warwick, are pressing the community to sign Community Commitment Agreements which include compensation for having the turbines in the community.

But Mayor Case says Warwick is not about to sign anything and shouldn’t be penalized financially because of it.

“The process, in my opinion, stinks,” he tells The Independent. “The province says it now gives municipalities a chance to weigh in but there are points for the companies if you sign (for compensation). That’s extortion in my point of view.”

Case says it is clear Warwick is not a willing host but because of the way the process is not structured, it can only get compensation for the projects if it helps the companies by signing the required forms making the project more likely.

“Wind turbine companies come in and say ‘sign on the dotted line if were approved you’ll get this huge amount of cash. If you don’t sign and we’re approved, you get nothing.”

So Case says Warwick is getting creative – and political – to point out the flaws in the new system. It’s had lawyers draft a letter which has been sent to the companies outlining what the municipality expects for compensation should the projects be approved. There is about $45,000 to reimburse the municipality for legal costs, $6,000 for every turbine they put up and flat fee of $200,000 among other things.

“They like to put things in front of us to sign…if you really want to talk the talk, walk the walk,” says Case. “We could sit back and do what were doing,…but let’s throw something back at these guys…this is what you’ll be paying if it’s approved against our wishes.

“If the process is going to disrespect our community we feel you should pay compensation anyway.”

So far, Case says one of the companies has refused to talk about the letter, the other has spoken to them but made no commitments.

The municipality is hoping to catch the province’s eye with the move hoping to change the process. “The Green Energy Act where everything is laid out and it’s mucked up.”

Case has asked for a meeting with the Energy Minister during the annual Association of Municipalities conference in mid-August. He’s just been told that won’t happen and he’ll be meeting with the parliamentary assistant instead.

“This is a big enough issue for rural Ontario right now, you’d think the minister would meet with us,” says Case. “We’ll take the meeting …but I’m totally disappointed of the total disrespect for rural Ontario.”

Wind farms controversial in Eastern Ontario

Is Big Wind going to win out over community concerns?

Is Big Wind going to win out over community concerns?

Cornwall Standard-Freeholder, July 27, 2015

Can communities say no to wind turbine installation? The answer, my friend, may be blowing in the wind.

The Township of North Stormont will hold a council session on Tuesday where they will be receiving a report from chief administrative officer Marc Chenier and community planner Amy Doyle on proposed renewable energy projects in the region.

Three companies presented their plans for energy projects in North Stormont at the council meeting on July 14. The proposals are available online via North Stormont’s council’s agendas. (https://oc-tns.vbiz.ca/index.php/s/8wArNG2DW9FqGOu)

EDF proposed a substation to funnel energy from a project in The Nation Municipality and have secured a lease with a landowner south of County Road 9.

Leader Resources is planning a 61 MW wind turbine operation on the east side of the township, around Crysler and Berwick. According to their proposal they will build no more than 21 turbines.

EDP is looking to build turbines on the west side of the township, proposing a 100 MW operation of 29-50 turbines. EDP will host a community meeting on Aug. 6 at the Finch Community Arena to meet with the public and discuss the large renewable procurement (LRP) process.

Council will have to decide whether or not to support the projects, however, they will have little say over whether or not the projects go through.

As noted in the report, townships can declare themselves unwilling hosts, while this has been perceived as opting out of having projects take place in the region, this is not how the application process works. Ontario’s Green Energy Act allows all decisions regarding the placement of renewable energy projects to be carried out at the provincial level of government. According to the report, municipalities have little to no say in whether or not they will have renewable energy projects in their region.

“Almost all of those who declared themselves as an unwilling host still received a renewable energy project (i.e. wind turbines),” the report reads.

The projects have received backlash from the community. When Crysler local Todd Brazeau got the notice about companies looking to put wind turbines in, he contacted his municipal council and MPP to protest.

“It seems like the community doesn’t have a say and the politicians aren’t being honest at all,” Brazeau said.

MPP Jim McDonell started a petition requesting “that the Ministry of the Environment revise the Green Energy Act to allow full public input and municipal approvals on all industrial wind farm developments.”

According to McDonell, the petition already has hundreds of signatures.

“People are upset,” McDonell said. “We don’t benefit from (these projects) in general.”

EDP Renewables has taken the brunt of the negative response from the community. Leaflets distributed with McDonell’s petition in May made specific mention of the plan to put in 29-50 turbines. EDP declined to answer questions regarding public response to their proposal.

North Stormont mayor Dennis Fife said that almost all of the township’s council are opposed to the installation of wind turbines, but noted declaring as an unwilling host will do nothing to stop the project, only cut down on the cents per kilawatt incentive for the renewable energy companies.

“I don’t think it is a good thing,” Fife said. “Wind will never replace nuclear.”

Twitter.com/BrentHolmes240

Wind turbine efficiency drops as much as 20 percent a year, industry says

While the wind industry likes to boast of a 30% efficiency rate (Algonquin Power claimed 40% for 20 years in its prospectus for the Amherst Island project) the truth is somewhat different.

In fact, says an industry insider in the current issue of North American Clean Energy, efficiency decline is a major concern for the wind power industry, and it is well known that “erosion” of the turbine blades alone can lead to a 20-percent drop in annual power production.

The author of the article works with 3M and his intent was to flog the company’s products to reduce blade erosion.

“The heart of the issue is the fact that wind blades come into contact with rain, hail, salt spray and other debris in the air at rotation speeds of up to 250 mph, leading to erosion in the form of pitting, gouging, and delamination of the edge of the blade,” writes Santhosh Chandrabalan. “this erosion not only compromises the integrity of the blade, but also impacts its aerodynamic efficiency, causing a significant loss in AEP [annual energy production].”

 

 

 

Wind flat as power demands peak in Ontario heat wave

Don't count on wind power to help during a heat wave: it's not there.
Don’t count on wind power to help during a heat wave: it’s not there.

Wimpy wind falls flat

Just as Ontario suffered from a heat wave   our 3,217 megawatt (MW) capacity of wind suffered a failure, producing a miniscule 13 MWh (hours) at 10 AM on July 27, 2015, as demand ramped up.

Ontario’s numerous industial wind developments were producing at .004% of their rated capacity.

To look at this in more detail, during hour “10” of that day, wind produced .00066% of total Ontario demand of 19,469 MWh.

The only good news in this is the wholesale price of electricity (HOEP) during that hour was almost $82.00/MWh so it only cost ratepayers about $700.00 — if one assumes those 13 MWh were exported!

Hardly reliable and hardly dependable.

So, why is Energy Minister Chiarelli seeking another 300 MW of capacity in his latest directive to the IESO?

Parker Gallant

July 28, 2015

1. Highest ever recorded tempature in Ontario on July 27th was in 1919 when it reached 36  C

 

Editor’s note: the Ontario Ministry of Energy may be reached here.

Ontario electricity customers: in pain with more to come

Anybody watching as Ontario circles the drain?
Anybody watching as Ontario circles the drain?

Ratepayers to Queen’s Park: we have a problem 

Wind power costs plenty for only 4% of generation

In the past six months, reports from the Canadian Manufacturers and Exporters, the C.D. Howe Institute, the Association of Major Power Consumers of Ontario, the Canadian Federation of Independent Business and the Ontario Chamber of Commerce have all called for “competitive” electricity prices.

A few of the members of some of those associations already benefit from absorption of some costs by residential and small business ratepayers, but still complain their electricity bills are too high and not competitive with competing jurisdictions in Canada and the U.S.!

Ontario is cursed with probably the most complex electricity system in the world even though 80% of our electricity is generated by nuclear and hydro.  Both of those generation sources produce power at an average of about 6-7 cents per kilowatt hour (kWh), yet Ontario’s delivered electricity prices are among the highest in North America.   Why? Most of the reasons relate to the Global Adjustment Mechanism (GA)NB 1: which has increased every year since its creation in 2005. The GA absorbs a plethora of ratepayer costs that are billed out via the “electricity” line on our bill. In the first six months of the current year, the GA accumulation is $4.6 billion versus only $2.2 billion in the comparable six month-period of 2014.

Here are some of the reasons for the increasing cost of electricity to Ontario’s ratepayers.  Note that many have nothing to do with generating electricity.

Some current ratepayer costs:

  1. Moving two gas plants (Oakville and Mississauga) at a cost of $1.1 billion
  2. Smart meters costing $2 billion to enable time of use (TOU) billing with no benefit
  3. The shift in costs (estimated at $422 million for 2012 by the C.D. Howe Institute) from Class A ratepayers to residential and small commercial enterprises
  4. Cost overruns on the Niagara tunnel (“Big Becky”) of $500 million
  5. Supporting the employee pensions of Hydro One and OPG pensions by contributing $4. for every $1 contributed by the employeesNB 2:
  6. The $200 million cost of Hydro One’s messed up billing system
  7. The costs for the 1.2 million letters and postage ($600K) for the CEO of Hydro One to apologize to their ratepaying customers for messing up their billing system
  8. The $120 million annual cost of the Northern Industrial Electricity Rate Program to reduce electricity rates by 2 cents/kWh for industry in Northern Ontario
  9. The $35-40 million annual cost of the Northern Ontario Energy Credit to assist single and family households with their electricity bills
  10. The $2.6 billion it cost for the Lower Mattagami run of river project to principally produce expensive hydro electric power in the Spring when Ontario’s demand is at its lowest level
  11. The Low-income Energy Assistance Program with an annual cost of $4 million to assist households living in Energy PovertyNB: 2
  12. The annual costs (currently estimated at $40 million annually) associated with the development of a “smart grid” (smart grid entity charge) estimated in 2010 to cost $1.5 billion
  13. The costs of the Net Revenue Requirement (NRR) for gas plants estimated to be a minimum of $650 million annually for them to sit idling so they can back up wind and solar generation
  14. The annual costs of $30 million for the recovery of OPG’s expenses related to the conversion of one unit of Thunder Bay to biomass from coal
  15. The $170 million costs of converting Atitokan from a coal generation unit to biomass together with the annual operating costs (operation, maintenance and administration) to sit idle for most of the time
  16. Annual Conservation spending of $400 million that provides grants for people to purchase high efficiency air conditioners, LED bulbs,  etc., and for businesses to retrofit their lighting system, purchase high efficiency refrigeration units, etc. and for municipalities to switch their street lighting systems and municipally owned arenas to LED, etc. etc.
  17. The costs (unknown) of the “Lost Revenue Adjustment Charge” to allow your LDC to recover revenues (via the “delivery” charges) lost because your community has used less electricity
  18. The costs of spilling clean hydro (3.7 terawatts in 2014 for OPG), constraining wind and solar generation, steaming off Bruce Nuclear, all at an estimated annual cost of $400-500 million.
  19. The costs of subsidizing utility-scale wind power generation, which represented about 9% ($700 million + unknown amount for constrained wind generation) of the GA costs but only 4% (6.8 TWh) of total electricity generated
  20. The costs of erecting and maintaining meteorological station for IESO to measure constrained wind at every wind development with a capacity rating of 10 Megawatts or more
  21. The actual generation and costs of (an average of $500. per MWh) of solar panels NB: 3 to generate electricity usually when not needed.  With 2,000 MW of capacity IESO doesn’t disclose what they produce yet claim they are transparent.  An estimate of costs to ratepayers at 15% of rated capacity suggests ratepayers absorb in excess of $1 billion annually or 15% of the total GA costs but they produce less than 2% of total generated electricity
  22. The costs associated with exporting Ontario’s surplus electricity production which was about $1.2 billion in 2014 and appears headed to $2 billion in 2015

Some future ratepayer costs:

  • The Ontario Energy Support Program, estimated to cost $200 million annually commences January 1, 2016 and will support 570,000 household’s currently living in “energy poverty”
  • Also effective January 1, 2016 the Ontario Clean Energy Benefit will no longer exist raising electricity bills 10%
  • Another 500 MW of capacity from wind (300 MW) and solar (200 MW) is to be added to the grid raising annual costs by about $200 million
  • The further shift of smaller industrials from Class B to Class A ratepayers will effectively transfer costs (estimated) of $300/400 million from clients with peak energy needs of 3MW under the “High 5” system
  • Lump sum payments and free Hydro One shares (after privatization) to Hydro One and OPG employees.  Cost to ratepayers is an unknown at this time
  • The costs to convert the Toronto Zoo’s “zoo poo” to electricity
  • The costs of research and grants related to “energy storage.”  The Energy Storage Association‘s members appear to be the beneficiaries of the grants but haven’t registered as lobbyists with the Ontario Registry.   Costs are unknown!  Members of the Association include:  NextEra, Northland Power, MaRS Discovery District and even Ontario Sustainable Energy Association.
  • Another 1,500 MW of wind capacity scheduled to be in place by December 31, 2016 that will add a further $500 million annual cost to the system.

Future Ratepayer Savings:

As of January 1, 2016 the Debt Retirement Charge will no longer be levied saving an average ratepayer (residential) about $70 annually.  The DRC will continue to be charged to businesses!

Net Ratepayer Increase:

The additional future costs coupled with the demise of the Ontario Clean Energy Benefit will see residential rates increase by a minimum of $400 annually, based on a quick estimate, and raise overall rates to rival those of Alaska and Hawaii. 

Taxpayer-related costs:                                                                                                                                   

  • The Ministry of the Environment and Climate Change will continue to incur costs associated with the legal fees to defend the issuance of their approvals of industrial wind developments via the Environmental Review Tribunal! Costs are unknown.
  • The Ontario Ministry of Transportation (MTO) will continue to experience costs associated with grants of $8,500 to individuals, etc. purchasing electric vehicles for those who can afford luxury Tesla automobiles, etc! Overall costs are unknown.
  • The MTO will continue to incur costs associated with the installation of charging station for electric vehicles!  Costs are unknown.
  • Various municipalities will eventually experience declining property value assessments from their residential taxpayers associated with industrial wind turbines driving down property values and municipal tax revenue and require additional funding from the Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing or higher municipal taxes.  Costs are presently unknown!

Taxpayer related benefit:

The one and only taxpayer benefit relates to the end of the Ontario Clean Energy Benefit on January 1, 2016, saving taxpayers about $1 billion annually.  The taxpayer savings will however increase ratepayer bills by a like amount and will also generate about $130 million via the cost of the HST for the additional cost of electricity.

Premier Wynne and her Minister of Energy, Bob Chiarelli seem to believe we can continue on this path of destruction of the province in an effort to have Ontario save the world from “climate change” as she noted when her Environment Minister Glen Murray announced their “cap and trade” plans back on April 13, 2015 by stating:  “The action we are taking today will help secure a healthier environment, a more competitive economy and a better future for our children and grandchildren.”

The Liberal government may feel it has created a “healthier environment” but that has come at the expense of what was once a thriving economy and the envy of the developed world.  The debt they have created coupled with the highest electricity rates of competing economies will continue to undermine the future for our children and grandchildren.  There goes “the better future for our children and grandchildren” that Premier Wynne claims.

©Parker Gallant

July 23, 2015

NB 1:  The GA was originally established to capture the difference between the contracted rates for power and the actual market value given via the hourly Ontario electricity price (HOEP) but has become the dumping ground for anything that doesn’t fit elsewhere.

NB 2: Energy poverty reflects itself when energy costs are 10%, or more of a household’s total income.

NB 3: Solar panels on your neighbour’s roof, the farmer’s barn, your municipally owned arena, IKEA, Loblaws, Toronto District Public Schools, etc., etc.

The opinions expressed are those of the author and do not necessarily represent Wind Concerns Ontario policy.

Look at what can be lost: Ontario Landowners to farmers contemplating wind farm leases

OPINION: Is Ontario allowing nuisance to become lawful?

Ontario Farmer, July 21, 2015

Letter to the editor, excerpted

In the past few months, the Ontario Landowners Association has been asked to enter the fray regarding renewable energy projects, particularly wind turbines.

It is not the practice of the OLA to become involved with disagreements between neighbours. That is for one neighbor to  apply to the courts, launching a tort, if they feel their neighbor is harming them, or their property, in some way.

Recently, though, one gentleman, who does have turbines on his land, stated that he could do with his property as he saw fit. What was missing from his statement is that he is not to do harm to his neighbours, and this is found under common law.

With what is happening in Ontario, the province, and its mandate, is allowing trespass and nuisance to become lawful. This also includes allowing an expropriation to become lawful without compensation, considering the legislation is allowing trespass, nuisance, and set-backs to interfere with someone else’s property. …

…anyone who is contemplating leasing land for a renewable energy project should look to what any or all of his/her neighbours may do in future. There may be torts where the owner of the land may lose more than just his project, he may lose his property. They should also think about why the costs are going up and up, as well as the loss of “off-farm jobs” for family members. This all boils down to government interfering and causing neighbours to pit themselves against other neighbours, ensuring that rural economy is not sustainable.

Agree or not, one should not only look at the immediate financial gain, but should also look to what can be lost.

Elizabeth Marshall,

Director of Research

Ontario Landowners Association