Hurricane Patricia: rain, wind and money to Ontario’s wind generators
All the talk about Hurricane Patricia’s potential devastation faded quickly, but the media forgot to note the hit to Ontario ratepayers caused by the storm as it made its way across the continent. The devastation to electricity ratepayers wasn’t caused by the rainfall, it was due to heavy winds and their ability to generate cash for industrial wind power projects.
In the two days Hurricane Patricia’s lashed Ontario, the generation of electricity from wind turbines set numerous records of an hourly and daily basis. My good friend Scott Luft documented the records over October 28th and October 29th and found three of the top 20 hourly records were produced on the 28th, and 10 were set on the 29th with the highest being hour 16 when 3,297 megawatt hours (MWh) of power were generated. October 29th also set the daily record of 70,003 MWh surpassing October 28’s 65,421 MWh.
Wind power lobbyist CanWEA is sure to brag about this as combined production from those two days indicates wind generation produced 132,424 MWh, or 18.1% of Ontario’s total demand.
Spring and Fall in Ontario are generally times when power demand is lower as air conditioners and furnaces etc. are not running. In July, for example, total wind power production in 31 days was only 395,800 MWh; in just two days in October, the wind turbines generated 33.4% of what it took them to generate in all of July! Also, in July, average Ontario demand was 16,270 MW per hour and the peak demand was in excess of 22,500 MW, whereas in the two days of wind’s record generation Ontario’s peak demand was 17,391 MW and average demand was 15,250 MW. Once again, we have a demonstration that wind power is produced out-of-phase with Ontario demand.
Looking at the relative costs is key to get a sense of the “value for money” that wind generation presents. If one looks at the 65,421 MWh of generation from IWT on October 28 the cost of that production (to ratepayers) was $127/MWh, so production costs were $7.9
Million, but the market valued that production via the hourly Ontario electricity price (HOEP) at only $23.80/MWh—that’s a value of just $1.5 million but it cost ratepayers $6.4 million.
On October 29, power production from wind of 70,003 MWh cost ratepayers $8.9 million, but the HOEP value was only $1.2 million, meaning a loss of $7.7 million. For just those two October days ratepayers were forced to absorb $14 million in costs.
The post-Patricia events of those two days include the export of 100,752 MWh of power surplus to our needs; if we attribute all of those exports to wind the revenue generated from selling it to our neighbours in New York, Michigan, etc. would be about $2 million but the costs would have been $12.8 million. That means Ontario’s electricity customers absorbed another $12 million because of surplus production.
How many nurses Ontario could have rehired, or diabetes strips provided, or cataract operations performed for the $12 or $14 million blown away in just those two windy October days? The Wynne government has no idea how to manage the electricity sector.
© Parker Gallant,
November 1, 2015