As Ontario loses millions in one day due to cheap power exports, while hospitals are cutting services and laying off staff, who’s really in need of energy education?
Energy Literacy: great idea, but it’s the government that needs training
The Media Release issued by the Ontario Ministry of Energy February 19, 2016 could not have come at a worse time for them. The release stated the Ministry was investing $1.35 million in “Energy Literacy to Help Fight Climate Change.” The money is aimed at educating our children from kindergarten to grade 12 about how to “conserve energy and help fight climate change.” One assumes the cost of the program will be picked up by Ontario ratepayers.
February 19, 2016 was a day to make that particular announcement as it turned out to be quite the day for power generation by industrial wind turbines (IWT). The wind seemed to be blowing hard in Turbine Ontario but demand was relatively low. That meant the intermittent and unreliable energy generated by the IWTs out of phase with demand was surplus to Ontario’s needs.
As the weekend proceeded things grew even worse for the Energy Ministry as the wind kept blowing on February 20th and demand was very low. Market watchers such as Scott Luft noted that, and posted a “Worthless Wind” article on his website. Shortly after, I found myself on Steve Aplin’s website where he posted an interesting parable comparing IWT generation in Ontario for January to a very unreliable car.
Electricity generation from IWT on news release day was large, reaching over 48,000 megawatt hours (MWh) and another 26,000 MWh were curtailed (not generated), but resulted in costs for ratepayers. Curtailed generation is paid for and charged to ratepayers.
As it turned out, Ontario was also exporting a lot of surplus generation with almost 70,000 MWh leaving the province via the grid to support our neighbours in New York, Michigan, etc. The lack of demand in Ontario and the surplus generation had the usual effect on the price of that exported power as the HOEP (hourly Ontario export price) had a negative value of 9 cents per MWh. The exported surplus cost $7,000. The actual production cost, however, was over $100/MWh so total cost to Ontario’s ratepayers was $7 million dollars.
The actual source of the exported power is indeterminable, but we can reasonably suggest the cost of the electricity generated by IWTs and the cost of the curtailed generation from those IWTs.
The best estimate of the average price of a MWh of IWT generated electricity is $123.50/MWh, so the 48,304 MWh that wind generated on February 19, 2016 cost Ontario ratepayers $5,965,544 and curtailed generation of 28,805 MWh, estimated at $120/MWh means electricity NOT generated cost ratepayers $3,096,600. In total, wind cost Ontario’s ratepayers $9,062,144 for power we didn’t need—in just one day. That is without factoring how much hydro may have been spilled, how much nuclear may have been steamed off, and how much its excess production may have driven the HOEP market down, depressing export earnings.
When you realize we also paid gas plants to idle, etc., you would be justified in asking, Who in hell designed this system as they obviously can’t be “energy literate” or know anything about conserving energy or ratepayer dollars!
The $1.35 million earmarked for energy literacy should be used to train the various politicians in the Wynne cabinet starting with the Energy Minister.
February 22, 2016
The views expressed are those of the author and do not necessarily represent Wind Concerns Ontario policy.
EDITOR’S NOTE: What could that $7 million lost do for Ontario’s health care? According to the pre-budget submission prepared by the Ontario Nurses’ Association, many Ontario hospitals and health units are facing serious budget shortfalls and their ability to provide care is compromised. For example, “Quinte Health Care is predicting a $12 million gap between expenses and operating funding for 2015-16.” Ontario lost half the amount Quinte Health would need for one year in ONE DAY on February 19th.