CanWEA: Locked and Loaded

The Canadian Wind Energy Association (CanWEA) were prepared for the Fraser Institute’s report of April 11, 2013 as within hours of the release of that report they issued a press release headlined “Wind energy a good deal for Ontario” which attempts to dispute the findings of the Fraser report.

CanWEA’s secret weapon was prepared by Power Advisory LLC whose Canadian subsidary is headed up by Jason Chee-Aloy, a former employee of the Ontario Power Authority (OPA) where he was the Director of Generation Procurement. A couple of earlier articles had explored the “conflict of interest” issues surrounding his position with Power Advisory LLC as their client list included OPA wind contract holders; Samsung, NexTera, Pattern and IPR-GDF North Suez. Contact with the Office of the Integrity Commissioner and the Lobbyist Registry, at that time, disclosed the former couldn’t do anything because the OPA wasn’t on their list of Provincial entities their Act governed nor were Power Advisory registered on the Province’s Lobbyist Registry. As of yesterday they still appear unregistered.

The Power Advisory report prepared for CanWEA is dated February 15, 2013 and was obviously the secret weapon held by them to dispute upcoming reports that might prove (as the Fraser report does) that wind generation is a useless and expensive way to generate electricity in Ontario; doing harm to humans, nature, destroying property values and producing power when we don’t need it (80% of the time).
The unleashing of the CanWEA secret weapon to counter the Fraser Institute’s report does nothing to dispel the principal facts as it simply looks at electricity generated by industrial wind turbines (IWT) in isolation claiming the production of wind energy represents only 5% of total supply costs on an average Burlington Hydro ratepayer’s bill.

What the Power Advisory report doesn’t refer to are the effects caused by the addition of wind generation to the grid that were highlighted by the Fraser Institute report. The Power Advisory report fails to note that wind requires backup from gas plants (which are paid to not produce), spilling of cheap clean hydro when wind produces power we don’t need (depleting revenue to OPG) , steaming off of nuclear plants (which are also paid to not produce), the expenditure on transmission lines to hook up IWTs and of course the costs of exporting excess generation. Wind’s costs, including the foregoing would easily double what their report claims without considering the other destructive attributes of IWTs.

The Power Advisory report is nothing more then the same old smoke and mirrors that the Liberal politicians have accepted as gospel.

CanWEA’s secret weapon only serves to bring out the fallacious nature of their spin about IWTs and undermines their cause but it presumably gives the Energy Minister some talking points in the Legislature.

Parker Gallant,
April 12, 2013

Comments

Bob Lyman
Reply

The forces driving higher electricity rates in Ontario go beyond the high prices offered under FIT. They certainly include increases in transmission and distribution costs, driven both by surprisingly high increases in O&M costs and, potentially, by moves to centralize the organization of distribution systems in the province, as Mr. Gallant has written elsewhere. Fundamentally, in my view, they derive from the current pattern of public ownership and control of all electrical utilities and the lack of market competition and discipline. The current government’s curtailment of the authority of the Ontario Energy Board to regulate rates in the interests of consumers only makes matters worse. One of the key arguments being made by CANWEA and by the Pembina Institute, however, is that the alternative sources of new generation would cost just as much as wind and (presumably) solar. I do not have the facts to dispute this now, but one has to wonder why, if this were so, virtually all the electrical utilities in North America, which also must replace aging generation equipment, are able to do so at lower cost than utilities in Ontario.

SEGUE_C
Reply

“surprisingly high increases in O&M costs”

IS THIS DUE TO THE PEAKY AND DISRUPTIVE DIRTY ELECTRICITY FROM THE “UNRELIABLES” ON A DECREPIT GRID?

Bob Lyman
Reply

I think that it is due to the growth in personnel (permanent, part-time and contracted) by the major utilities and the very high salaries and benefits paid. At a time when electricity sales have either declined or stabilized, O&M costs have risen between 30 and 40%.

SEGUE_C
Reply

SO THOSE ARE THE “GREEN JOBS” WHICH ARE SO EXPENSIVE THEY KILL JOBS IN OTHER SECTORS

Bob Lyman
Reply

No, I think the so-called “green jobs” refer to the construction jobs involved in building wind and solar plants in the province. As noted by the Ontario Auditor General in his 2011 report, studies done in Europe (the U.K., Germany and Spain) indicate that, for every green job created, two to four jobs are lost in other parts of the economy due to the effects of higher electricity prices.

Parker Gallant
Reply

It’s a bit of a mug’s game as a big chunk of both the labour costs and future benefits are actually allocated to “capital costs” so the growth in OMA is tempered while the allocation to capital allows for the ratepayers to pick up those costs through the rate increases associated with the capital expenditures. Many would simply call that smoke and mirrors. This is from Hydro One’s 2012 report:
“The Company follows the cash basis of accounting consistent with the inclusion of pension costs in OEB-approved rates. During the year ended December 31, 2012, pension costs of $163 million (2011 – $153 million) were attributed to labour, of which $76 million (2011 – $93 million) was charged to operations and $87 million (2011 – $60 million) was capitalized as part of the cost of property, plant and equipment and intangible assets.

Bob Lyman
Reply

Thank you, Scott. That is quite revealing.

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