Using the term “wind beats coal in Ontario” in a “Google” search gets 3 million hits, meaning the IESO press release of January 11, 2013 announcing wind production was 3% of Ontario’s generation versus 2.8% for coal in 2012 was noticed. Why wind beat coal is not explained;it is simply cited as a fact. Wind is granted “first-to-the-grid” rights, which means it must be accepted. In Ontario beating coal is not a big feat as coal is only significantly called on when our peak demand is closing in on record levels, meaning it is presented asthe last generation source that will be used. By this time next year that option will be unavailable in Ontario.
If one is to believe the constant and consistent views emanating from CanWEA, AWEA, and all the other WEAs (wind energy associations) from around the world, wind energy is great: wind is free, wind is non polluting, wind is non-evasive, wind turbines are ascetically pleasing, wind turbines are a tourist attraction, wind does not kill as many birds as cats, noise from wind turbines doesn’t cause health problems and wind turbines don’t cause property values to fall and above all wind development creates jobs.
The CanWEAs of the world tell us to look at Germany, Spain or Denmark as prime examples of their preaching. The latter of course is the modern birthplace of electricity generation from wind turbines and hosts two major manufacturers; Vestas and Siemens. According to a recent article Vestas and Siemens together employed slightly more then 12,000 people in 2010. Now if one travels back a decade ago, another article “The Danish Dilemma” published in 2002, reported that there were almost 14,000 people employed in the wind turbine manufacturing sector in Denmark. At the end of the year 2000 Denmark had installed wind capacity of 2300 MW and at the end of 2012 this had grown to 4,162 MW yet the number of jobs had dropped. Despite the foregoing evidence from the “birthplace” of the modern wind turbine market, CanWEA in their “WindVison 2025” paper, was forecasting 52,000 jobs if Canada would simply target the 20% level of production they alluded was the amount of electricity the Danes generated from wind turbines. The trouble is the Danes only consume about 7% of the electricity generated from wind turbines and the rest is exported at cheap prices because it generally presents itself when its not needed. Germany is the main beneficiary of that cheap power and sells expensive power back to the Danes when those wind turbines are fallow.
Many of our ruling elected politicians actually believe the rhetoric from the CanWEAs of the world about job creation, emission free renewable energy, particularly when wind turbines are mentioned. The Ministry of Energy has consistently ramped the job numbers up in their press releases beginning from the day former Energy Minister, George Smitherman claimed Ontario would create 50,000 jobs by the end of 2012 through the the Green Energy Act. The last press release that spoke about jobs was from current Energy Minister, Chris Bentley dated December 14, 2012 where he claimed 28,000 jobs had been created. Trying to find those jobs however is impossible whereas examples of jobs reputedly created and then lost are quite visible. One example is WindTronics where the Provincial Liberals handed them a grant of $2.7 million in September 2009 but by March 2012 they had left Ontario to do their manufacturing in Michigan. Another is Siliken who closed their Windsor solar manufacturing plant in May 2012 and yet another is DMI who closed their tower manufacturing operation in Fort Erie. Collectively those three closures represented 600/1,000 jobs which this writer assumes are still included in the 28,000 claimed by Minister Bentley.
Of course the falsehood about job creation is only one aspect of renewable energy and for rural Ontario the bigger issues relate to health and the effect on property values when those turbines suddenly pop up. The WEAs of the world all claim no effect is felt for either of those issues but from the dated “Danish Dilemma” report it would appear that those claims have been around for well over a decade. The wind proponents, using their wealth, have managed to hide the negative news from the gullible politicians. The following is an excerpt from that decade old Danish report that shows those effects on health and property values have been around for quite a while:
In addition come complaints from the immediate neighbours of wind turbines, electricity consumer organisations, and knowledgeable and less knowledgeable citizens. There are warnings to solicitors and estate agents about reduced property values close to turbines (LNtV, 2000a) and also mounting protests against specific site developments (Andersen, 2001a). In this country of only 5.3 million people, over 600 complaints to the Environmental Complaints Board about wind turbines were submitted between 1998 and August 2000, of which 60 cases were upheld. In rural areas, most complaints related to impacts mainly associated with aesthetic and environmental considerations, shadow cast, glinting effects and noise, although a few cases were concerned with infringements of local regulations (Pihl-Andersen, 2000).
The IWTs being erected in Ontario would dwarf most of the 6,200 turbines (Danish Energy Agency) that were then located in Denmark at the start of this century and germinated those 600 complaints. Those 6,200 turbines had a total rated capacity of about 2,400 MWs meaning their average individual capacity was less then 400 kWs or only 50% of the iconic 350 foot 700 kWh Exhibition Place turbine. Their height was approximately 50 metres (195 feet) which is less then half of most 1.5 MW turbine heights. The 2 MW or 2.5 MW industrial wind turbines being erected throughout Ontario are taller still; reaching over 500 feet in many installations. To put the latter in context for people in urban communities, the City of Toronto has only 28 buildings taller then 500 feet.
Now for many people in Denmark the problems caused by those [little] wind turbines back in the late nineties led to regulations being established by some of the Danish counties as the following excerpt from that “Danish Dilemma” report indicates:
“In an assessment of the location of a turbine in the landscape an evaluation must be made of the interaction between the turbine and landscape elements such as churches, burial mounds, characteristic landscape forms and the distance to groups of buildings”]. Turbines may no longer be erected within 500 metres of dwellings.”
So even though some Danish counties were establishing 500 meter setbacks over a decade ago, for wind turbines half the height and a quarter of the capacity of current IWTs, the best Ontario’s politicians and bureaucrats could come up with for setbacks was 50 meters more!
It becomes painfully obvious that the concept of research never crossed the minds of those Ontario bureaucrats or their Liberal political masters when they were rushing to set Ontario’s ratepayers up; to reward the developers, cause health problems, reduce property values, kill birds and bats, damage our tourism industry and drive our electricity bills up! In Denmark over a decade ago they even upheld 10 percent of the complaints submitted, whereas in Ontario thousands of complaints are simply ignored by the Ministries of Health, Natural Resources, Environment and Energy.
At least the residents of Denmark have retained some democratic rights unlike Ontario where we have seen ours exorcised by the current authoritarian government.
February 5, 2013
The Independent Electricity System Operator (IESO) put out their press release January 11, 2013 that summarized the state of our electricity system for the year 2012. The release included statistics on where our kilowatt hours (kWh) came from, how much we consumed, how much we produced, what they cost us and how much we exported and imported. The release talks about kWh and also uses the term TWh (terrawatt hours) which is equivalent to 1 billion kWh.
During 2012 Ontario consumed 141.3 TWh, a slight decrease from 2011 when we consumed 141.5 TWh and our generators produced 151.8 TWh from various generation sources including nuclear, hydro, gas, coal, wind and other. As several articles have noted wind outproduced coal with production of 4.6 TWh versus 4.3 TWh from coal. Environmentalists cheered the news claiming a victory for what they perceive as somehow winning a race, or a gold medal, but they fail to acknowledge key aspects of their claimed right to ascend the podium. Wind production is treated special with wind granted “first to the grid” rights whereas coal is relegated to “last to the grid rights”. Coal is only called on to produce when we need it to protect the integrity of the system and avoid blackouts. The victory is therefore a hollow one, boosted by those steroids given the developers. Further, coal was there when we needed it, coming off the bench to stop the grid from being overwhelmed on those hot summer days when the giant blades on those turbines were just too weak to spin. Those 4.3 TWh that coal produced cost Ontario’s ratepayers about $100 million or about 2.6 cents per kWh versus over $600 million or about 13 cents per kWh for the wind production. Coal also didn’t need to be backed up by gas generation which wind needs when it fails to produce.
Wind also has a penchant for producing when we need it least being very productive in the Spring and Fall when our peak demand is at its lowest levels. As an example in April wind has operated at 41% of its capacity but we didn’t need it. In July it produced at only 14%. As a result of these bad habits wind production is often surplus to our demand and it or other generation must be either sold in the export market or clean hydro is spilled to protect the grid. We also steam off nuclear power (but still pay for what it might have produced) or pay those gas plants for simply sitting idle.
The IESO report noted that in 2012 Ontario exported 14.6 TWh of surplus power out of our total production of 151.8 TWh (2011 it was 149.8 TWh). If one quickly looks at what cash that might have generated for the ratepayers of Ontario it is a simple process to calculate. The IESO press release discloses that the wholesale price for electricity averaged 2.41 cents per kWh in 2012 equivalent to $24.1 million per TWh so exports generated revenue of about $351 million. The cost of those exports averaged 7.37 cents a kWh hour or $73.70 million per TWh according to that press release. So the cost to ratepayers to produce those exports was $1.076 million meaning Ontario’s ratepayers provided subsidies of approximately $725 million. That subsidy was equal to approximately 0.5 cents per kWh and is included in the “electricity” line of our hydro bills.
In addition to the foregoing, the ratepayers of the province picked up additional costs meant to provide cheaper rates to our largest industrial users. Starting in January of 2011 consumers were divided into two classes with large industrial electricity consumers referred to as Class “A” and the rest of us as Class “B”. What this class definition did was shift 5% of the GA (Global Adjustment) costs from large industry to households and small/medium sized commercial users. While 5 % doesn’t sound like a lot it is both significant and growing. The GA is the pot into which billions of dollars accumulate and includes the excess cost of wind, solar, gas, nuclear and other long term contracts. The GA is primarily the accumulation of the additional amounts paid to the generators in excess of the wholesale price (2.41 cents per kWh in 2012). As an example if we pay a wind developer 13.5 cents a kWh, 11.09 cents per kWh found its way into the GA. In 2011 the GA was $5.310 billion and in 2012 it was $6.456 billion. So in 2012 the GA grew by $1.146 billion or about 0.8 cents per kWh and is now almost double (at 4.6 cents per kWh) the wholesale price. If we look at the 5% the Class “B” customers picked up for 2012 it is about $320 million or 0.2 cents per kwh of total consumption.
If one couples the export support we provide of 0.5 cents per kWh with the 0.2 cents per kWh ratepayers pick up for the big industrial users it equals 0.7 cents per kWh which co-incidently is the same rate we pay for that other line on our hydro bills; the never ending “Debt Retirement Charge” (DRC) and in total added another $1 billion plus to our bills in 2012 under the “electricity” line!
Maybe its time for our local distribution companies to add an additional line to our electricity bills that highlights just how much we pay each and every month for those subsidies. There is hope that we may eventually see the dreaded DRC disappear however, there is little hope that the EAS (exports and class A subsidy) will. Looking ahead we will see it grow annually, much as it did during 2012.
Now that the Finance Minister and former Minister of Energy, Dwight Duncan has demonstrated how to make $3 billion disappear from our Provincial deficit he could perhaps find some more of that financial magic dust to rid our electricity bills of the GA which is accelerating as fast as he says the deficit is decelerating!
November 22, Ottawa
Wind Concerns Ontario president Jane Wilson was awarded the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee medal in Ottawa as a “Champion” of rural communities. Presenting the medal was the Member of Parliament for Nepean-Carleton Pierre Poilievre, who has been very supportive of constituents’ fight against a large wind power development which will be close to hundreds of homes.
“Jane is a registered nurse and the current president of Wind Concerns Ontario,” he said. “She has been a powerful advocate for health and safety in the rural communities when it comes to the development of industrial wind turbines.”
“I am very honoured to receive this award,” Wilson said, “and it has been my privilege to speak on behalf of the communities and people whose lives are being altered by these huge power projects. There are many, many people working to protect our homes and families, and quality of life in Ontario. We will continue.”
Other recipients at the ceremony was a past-president of the Ottawa Federation of Agriculture, the former Mayor of Rideau Township and member of Ottawa City Council, and a teacher who advocated the Agriculture in the Classroom program in Eastern Ontario.
A few weeks ago an article I penned noted a former employee of the Ontario Power Authority (OPA) was quoted in a Toronto Star article that, in my opinion, appeared to indicate that the former employee, Jason Chee-Aloy, was lobbying on behalf of his company’s clients who included; Samsung, NextEra, Pattern and IPR-GDF North America. It also appeared on the surface, at least, to put him in a conflict of interest position. Following up on that worrisome thought took me to the Conflict of Interest Commissioner website and that was followed by an enquiry suggesting they investigate the matter under the Public Service of Ontario Act 2006, Regulation 381/07. What I got back in response was the following: “The Commissioner’s jurisdiction is limited to public servants in Ontario government ministries and agencies, known as public bodies. The list of public bodies that are governed by the PSOA and its regulations are set out in Ontario Regulation 146/10”.
A search of that list (194 names) confirmed that the OPA was not on it, and neither was Hydro One, Ontario Power Generation, IESO, MaRS Discovery District or Friends of the Greenbelt. I did note that the Premier’s Climate Change Advisory Panel was on the list along with the Ontario Energy Board (OEB) and Ontario Electricity Financial Corporation (OEFC). Others that I didn’t know existed like the “Ontario Geographic Names Board”, the “Owen Sound Transportation Committee” and even a “Rabies Advisory Board” were on the list. As it turns out the “Crown Corporations” under the “Electricity Act 1998” are charged with developing their own Governance and Structure By-Laws via their Board of Directors. Searching the records was an exercise in futility as the search only turned up the “conflict of interest” guidelines for directors and in the search of the OPA site the Board Resolution only focused on the “directors” as being caught up in the By-Law whereas the IESO Board Resolution also referred to “employees”. The next port of call was the Office of the Integrity Commissioner and a check in at the Lobbyist Registry. Needless to say Mr. Chee-Aloy was not registered nor was his employer, Power Advisory LLC so I duly sent my opinion to the Lobbyist Registry by e-mail. The response back was atypical in that it stated “the Act does not contain a complaint and investigation procedure.” The best they could do was to advise me they would contact Mr. Chee-Aloy so they could “raise awareness and encourage compliance,” Despite the tepid response from the Integrity Commissioner they claim “ULTIMATELY the Commissioner can lead a new investigation if not satisfied with the response to a referral .” In the past I had occasion to refer the Ontario Sustainable Energy Association (OSEA) and their Executive Director, Kristopher Stevens to the Commissioner which simply resulted in both Stevens and OSEA suddenly appearing on the Lobbyist Registry.
So one must ask what exactly do these two entities really do to protect the public from abuses that reflect themselves in either potential conflicts of interest or ignorance of the “Acts” meant to protect the taxpayers from abuse by favoured parties? The answer is apparently not much!
Interestingly enough travels though the internet disclosed a “Conflict of Interest and Post-Service Directive” dated September 9, 2000 which on Page 9 under “H 21.” had the following to say;
“The government of Ontario maintains a legal interest in the post-service activities of former public servants. As such, public servants shall not, after leaving employment with the Crown, take improper advantage of their past office. For example, a public servant shall not do the following, including:
(a) allow prospects of outside employment to create a real or potential conflict of interest while in public service with the Crown
(b) seek preferential treatment or privileged access to government after leaving public service with the Crown
(c) take personal advantage of information obtained through official duties and responsibilities that is not available to the public”.
Its not clear if this directive remains in force but in the opinion of the writer it appears that Mr. Chee-Aloy is in a clear conflict with the text outlined therein. If this directive has been abandoned by the McGuinty Liberals to ensure their push for industrial wind turbines permeate the Ontario landscape it is the ruling party that should be found in conflict—but who exactly will exert their authority and punish the guilty party? This is something that escapes the writer as it is obviously neither of the two Commissioners mentioned above.
If someone does undertake the task they should also look at some other related past actions that smack of conflict such as the appearance of Ben Chin as the VP, Communications at the OPA. His sudden appearance at the OPA came following his defeat by Peter Tabuns in the Toronto-Danforth riding by-election in 2006 after a stint as a “senior adviser” to Premier McGuinty. The Sunshine List reported that Chin earned $186,000 in 2009 and $246,000 in 2010 while acting in the capacity as head of the communications team at the OPA which was much better pay then he would have received as an MPP. Chin has since left the OPA and moved to BC.
Another individual that seems (in the writer’s opinion) to be up to his UWO neck in either blatant nepotism or outright conflict is Mike Crawley, the newly elected President of the Liberal Party of Canada. Crawley’s daytime job is as the CEO and President of International Power Canada Inc. (IPC), a wholly owned subsidiary of International Power plc UK; a company with annual revenue in excess of 3 billion Euros. Crawley was one of the founders of the predecessor company, AIM PowerGen. International Power plc acquired that company from Renewable Energy Generation Limited who originally purchased AIM for $29.1 million, Mr. Crawley would appear to have benefited from the acquisition if he was a significant shareholder. As a former banker I would assume the company would have been valued not so much on it’s income statement, but on the above market contracts they obtained from the OPA for their many industrial wind developments around rural Ontario.
The recent creation of the “Clean Energy Task Force” by the Minister of Energy included two (2) IPC employees, a foreign company; perhaps because of the position of Mr Crawley as CEO of IPC and his prior position as Chair of the Management Committee of the Liberal Party of Canada (Ontario) for seven (7) years. Was Crawley owed a favour by Minister Chris Bentley or was Bentley seeking one when Dalton McGuinty resigns? Bentley has signalled his interest in the past in leading the party and presumably Crawley could deliver some delegate votes but that is pure speculation on the writer’s part..
Crawley also sits on the IESO’s Market Development Committee and was the Chair of the RPS Implementation Working Group within the Renewable Energy Task Team (RETT). RETT was the catalyst in the push for renewable energy in the Province when “global warming” was still the buzz word before the IPCC was discredited. The link to their report of November 14, 2003 reflect many of the recommendations implemented by Dwight Duncan in 2004 via (Bill 100) changes to the Electricity Act 1998 and those were further exacerbated by the Green Energy and Economy Act in 2009. One section of the November 14, 2003 report had the following to say:
“The RETT believes that the private sector is willing to assume the financial risk and burden of new power supply development, in addition to permitting, construction and operation risk. The only risk that the private sector is currently unable to accept is the electricity market risk. The financial community’s profound unease about the Ontario electricity market due to the inconsistency of the previous Government’s electricity policy means that power purchase agreements from a credit-worthy entity (i.e. A body of the Government) is the only way to facilitate private sector financing of new power plants.”
We now know that the “Working Group” proposal resulted in the creation of the OPA through Bill 100 and in 2009 the Green Energy and Economy Act bumped up the rates paid to wind and solar developers via the FIT and MicroFIT programs on the backs of Ontario’s ratepayers.
That IPC (or its predecessor) and presumably Mike Crawley, personally, benefited from the actions of the Liberal Government is a conclusion that one must assume and it is no small coincidence that the underwriting of their concepts through legislative changes created wealth for the original AIM PowerGen founders.
The eventual outcome of the path that the Liberals have taken Ontario’s electricity sector down, will prove to be a cost to Ontario’s ratepayers, taxpayers, employers and workers that will make the e-Health scandal look like chump change with costs in the tens of billions and will stretch out for two decades or more.
Its time to amend the PSOA Legislation to protect Ontarians from this type of abuse and time for a task force to investigate and assign blame to this complicit wealth transfer from the pockets of the 4.5 million ordinary ratepayers.
July 3, 2012
April 12, 2012 was an eventful day in the eyes of the McGuinty government with a press release at 8.45 AM announcing the appointment of fourteen (14) “members of the Ontario Clean Energy Task Force (CETF) and then minutes later at 9.21 AM another release proclaimed the “McGuinty Government Launches Clean Energy Economic Development Strategy” (CEEDS). The second release declared CEEDS would “create even more new jobs in the clean energy sector.” and CETF would “help broaden Ontario’s energy focus by facilitating collaboration within Ontario’s clean energy industry to identify export markets, marketing opportunities and approaches to identify export markets,” and said CETF will include energy experts and “lead cleantech trade missions to support domestic manufacturers by showcasing Ontario’s clean energy solution in key markets”.
All of the rhetoric was intriguing but the appointees to the CETF who will lead those offshore trade missions to “Asia, the Middle East and the United States” was something that is the key to creating exports so it is important to look at the appointees. That is examined in the following chart:
|Ontario’s Clean Energy Task Force respresenting?||Of the 14 Appointed how many are:|
|Bruce Lourie related||9|
|Investors/Developers or Beneficiaries of the Green Energy Act||8|
|Foreign Owned Companies||6|
|Related to GEEA or OSEA (see below)||5|
|On the Ontario Climate Change Advisory Panel||4|
|Tides Canada Related||4|
|Not for Profits, Environmental NGOs and Charities||4|
|Mike Crawley Related||2|
|Canadian Owned Private Companies||2|
|Ontario Taxpayer Owned Companies||1|
|Have a demonstrated expertise in the Export Market||0|
|NB: GEEA is the acronym for Green Energy Act Alliance and OSEA for Ontario Sustainable Energy Association|
Obviously many of those on the list of 14 show up in several of the categories yet in the writer’s humble opinion none of them have demonstrated an ability to generate exports or domestic jobs that reputedly flow from the billions of ratepayer dollars the McGuinty Liberal Party have deigned to throw at the renewable energy marketplace. If one actually examines the entities represented by the government appointments it is impossible to locate even one company that has actually exported anything (beyond taxpayer or ratepayer cash) that would create jobs and tax revenue for the benefit of Ontario. The fact that 9 of the individuals can in some substantial fashion be found related to Bruce Lourie is a testament to his influence. Mr. Lourie’s influence on the energy ministry and the resultant creation of the Green Energy and Economy Act speaks volumes about his ability to successfully lobby for his concepts.
Lourie’s influence goes back a couple of decades when he was a major contributor to a report titled “Degrees of Change: Steps Towards an Ontario Global Warming Strategy” prepared for the Ontario Ministry of Energy and the Ontario Ministry of the Environment in 1991. The report was prepared by the Ontario Global Warming Coalition (before “climate change” became the new buzz word) and presented to the NDP Government of the day led by Premier Bob Rae. Shortly after that event Maurice Strong was appointed as Ontario Hydro’s CEO and busily went about executing some of the recommendations in the report along with his ideas of how Ontario Hydro should be restructured including buying 35,000 acres of forest in Costa Rica.
That many of the recommendations contained in this report were ultimately enacted in one form or another is a testament to the influence that Lourie has exerted on past and present governments.
As can further be seen on the chart, out of the 14 members appointed to the CETF, not one came from any Ontario based company that actually has a manufacturing base in the Province with the exception of Siemens Canada. How these appointees will magically do anything to leverage Ontario’s “clean energy experience” is a complete mystery as the province has not proven to be the panacea of clean energy manufacturing that George Smitherman, when Minster of Energy or the Premier, Dalton McGuinty has promised it would be.
With electricity prices more then 100% higher today then when the Liberals came to power, with 600,000 manufacturing jobs gone (some directly caused by high electricity prices), electricity prices to rise by a further minimum of 46% in the next three years, electricity exports subsidized by Ontarians and the status of a have-not province firmly under the Liberal belt why would any jurisdiction in Asia, the Middle East or the USA believe we actually know what we are doing. Europe is moving away from renewable energy subsidization leaving Ontario shining as a beacon of government handouts and standing out as someone who arrived too late for the party.
That the McGuinty government would first announce who they appointed to the Task Force and later let us know what they would be charged with doing is indicative of how the management of the Liberal Government does everything backwards. As the Auditor General’s report highlighted; the concept and completion of a cost/benefit analysis is a step all Liberal Energy Ministers seems reluctant to undertake. The effects of this lack of proper planning will be felt for decades.
Parker Gallant, June 25, 2012
A Samsung consultant, Jason Chee-Aloy spoke out recently to John Spears in the Toronto Star about the Independent Electricity System Operator (IESO) and how they are giving his clients a rough time. He infers that his clients; Samsung, Pattern Energy Group, NextEra Energy Canada and IPR-GDF North America need to get IESO’s blessing sooner to ensure their planned investments are not impacted. Chee-Aloy said “Things have to move faster,”. What Chee-Aloy sees as a risk is the possibility that industrial wind generation may be curtailed. He is also annoyed with the slowness of the approval process. The not so subtle, innuendo, is that these foreign entities will take their money and go home meaning, promised jobs wouldn’t happen nor would targets for renewable energy, in the Long-Term Energy Plan (crafted as a “guide” by former Energy Minister, Brad Duguid) be achieved.
The missing part of Mr Chee-Aloy’s concern was that consulting fees for his employer “Power Advisory LLC” (of Carlisle, Massachusetts) may also be at risk. Mr, Chee-Aloy’s past life found him as the Director of Generation Procurement at the Ontario Power Authority where he was responsible for procuring over 13,000 MW of generation (the 2010 Sunshine list shows Mr. Chee-Aloy earned $132,176 and in 2009 he earned $176,931). Mr. Chee-Aloy also worked for IESO and should have been well aware of the issue he now says is causing all of the problems. It is labelled as SE-91 by IESO and is a committee that seeks to deal with the intermittent nature of wind generation (and our surplus power problems) perhaps even constraining IWTs without payment. So when Mr. Chee-Aloy was negotiating those OPA contracts would he have ensured that the Ontario ratepayers were protected by framing the contracts to do that; as his position would demand? One wonders if protecting Ontario ratepayers was on his mind or whether he was having visions of a bigger personal payday! One also wonders what the “conflict of interest” rules are that apply to Ontario’s public service sector. My research on this took me to the Ontario Lobbyist Registry but a search for both Power Advisory LLC and Mr. Jason Chee-Aloy produced no results. Are our watchdogs watching is something that certainly came to mind as a visit to the Conflict of Interest Commissioner on Ontario’s website states that former public servants are prohibited from a number of activities. In my opinion this appears to be a situation that needs to be looked at to determine if Mr. Chee-Aloy breached the “conflict of interest” rules.
The interesting part of the quote above is that when Mr. Chee-Aloy uttered the words on June 14, 2012 that “Things have to move faster,” did he realize that the following day the Environmental Registry would suddenly bless both the Haldimand (140 MW) and the South Kent (270 MW) applications. Both of these have Samsung written all over them. So Samsung is now ready to proceed with the capital expenditures to establish both the 410 MW of wind and 100 MW of solar.
The estimated capital costs of those three projects will be approximately $600 million based on the “levelized unit energy costs”or LUEC ($1 million per MW for wind and $2 million per MW for solar) issued by the Institute for Energy Research. That $600 million investment may also qualify Samsung for those cheap industrial rates announced June 12, 2012 by Chris Bentley, Minister of Energy. Those 20 year guaranteed rates are set at 5.5 cents per kWh under the proviso that an investment of $250 million dollars is made. The $600 million of capital costs would therefore seem to bestow that benefit to Samsung, meaning the 1300 jobs they are reputedly obliged to create under the Smitherman negotiated contract will ensure that Samsung’s Ontario factories are not harmed by increasing electricity rates. That sure begs the question—will Ontario’s ratepayers wind up subsidizing the Samsung electricity rates while they face all of the other, economic, health, nature, property value declines, etc. that wind turbines impose?
If one examines the capital costs of the three Samsung approved generation facilities to determine how quickly they will recover their investment you must look to the actual production that will be generated from the 410 MW of wind and the 100 MW of solar capacity.
The 2011 Ontario experience for wind generation is that it will produce 27.8% of its rated capacity and for solar the accepted norm is approximately 13% at Southern Ontario’s latitude but the latter statistics are not available in Ontario’s public domain.
Allowing for the foregoing the calculation to produce the anticipated revenue for those two Samsung generation sources can be calculated easily as per the following.
410 MW X 27.8% X 8760 (hours in a year) X $135.00 per MWh (the contracted amount to be paid per MW delivered to the grid.
The foregoing calculation would indicate that the 410 MW of wind generation should, on average, produce revenue of approximately $134 million for each of the next 20 years or $2.68 billion over the life of the contract.
100 MW X 13% x 8760 X $446.00 per MWh produces an annual value of approximately $51 million or $1.2 billion over the full 20 years of the contract.
So those three approved renewable generation sources will produce gross revenue of almost $3.9 billion dollars allowing Samsung/Pattern to recoup their capital costs in only 6 1/2 years, The other 12 plus years will be pure gravy.
In the writer’s opinion it would appear that Mr. Chee-Aloy will enjoy the benefits of some significant consulting fees for his new employer all at the expense of Ontario’s ratepayers. Was that on his mind while he went about contracting for those 13,000 MW while gainfully employed at the OPA?
The story behind the Samsung contracts is something that demands a public enquiry but it presumably is something that the Liberals don’t want and something that the NDP won’t endorse given their penchant to believe that renewable energy will eventually resolve climate change.
June 19, 2012
Just days ago the Ontario Energy Board issued their press release that raised the price of electricity for the “average” ratepayer in Ontario by 7% for the six months starting today, May 1, 2012. The press release inferred the increase was a mere 3.3% on the “total bill” however electricity only represents about 45% of the bill that ratepayers receive monthly and this same line will be reset again in October for the ensuing six months commencing November 1, 2012. This increase pushed the “electricity” line rates up 12% from May 1, 2011.
In 2011 Ontario consumed 141.5 terawatt hours (TWh) or about 141 billion kilowatt hours (kWh) and the OEB increase represents about a half a cent per kWh. That doesn’t sound like musch but it is an increase of $4.9 million per TWh. Assuming we consume 141.5 TWh again in 2012 the increase will extract close to $700 million in after tax dollars from Ontarian’s pockets. That $700 million will also mean increased HST payments of $90 million. The latter will be partially offset by that 10% OCEB (Ontario Clean Energy Benefit) which will be deducted from ratepayer bills but will add more debt for Ontario’s taxpayers. With 4.7 million ratepayers in Ontario the additional cost adds (on average) $168.00 each although the larger consumers; small and medium sized businesses and farmers will bear a higher portion. This will drive up their costs and cause them to raise their fees/charges for their services and for food the farmers produce.
The OEB also recently issued their “Guidelines for Electricity Distributor Conservation and Demand Management” or CDM. This guideline is an endorsement of the conservation targets established by the Ontario Power Authority (OPA) under a directive issued March 31, 2010 by the Minister of Energy, Brad Duguid instructing the OPA to achieve a reduction in consumption of 6000 gigawatt hours (6 billion kWh) over the four years 2011 to 2014. That directive sought a consumption reduction of 1,330 Megawatts of capacity that would generate about 11.6 million megawatt hours and provide power to 1.2 million homes. Under the directive issued by the Minister the local distribution companies (LDC), charged with executing it, are able to obtain rate increases to recover lost revenue due to the ratepayers reduction in demand. Along with that recovery the money spent to promote (about $300 million annually) conservation is also recoverable. The delivery costs represent about 35% of ratepayers bills so the effective lost revenue by the LDCs will be about 6.3 cents per kWh or $6.26 per MWh. The monies recoverable, should the LDCs achieve their conservation targets, will be about $750 million. Couple that with the monies spent promoting conservation of $300 million (by the OPA) and ratepayers will be saddled with increased costs of $1,020 million. The $300 million will be put in the Global Adjustment (GA) pot and the $750 million will appear on the “delivery” line.
The CDM program and the recent rate increase will add $1.8 billion annually to the costs of electricity in the province and push electricity rates up a further 1.34 cents per kWh adding an average of $380.00 annually to those 4.7 million ratepayer bills. At that time Ontario’s all-in electricity rates will be on the cusp of 20 cents a kWh putting Ontario in first place for the cost of electricity in Canada.
May 1, 2012
The Registered Nurses Association of Ontario (RNAO) on March 3, 2012 released a paper titled “RNAO Position Statement on Healthy Energy Solution” which effectively was a rehash of ideas and other papers issued by the likes of Environmental Defence, Pembina and Greenpeace Canada. In summary the RNAO suggests, nay recommends; that Ontario immediately close all coal-fired plants (well, not quite: they suggest we put them on standby while we erect more wind turbines), abandon any thoughts of building or refurbishing new nuclear plants, and use gas generation plants as peaking power until we have enough renewables (wind, solar and biomass) to supply our needs.
The RNAO also suggests wind could supply 20% of our needs while recommending closing down nuclear which supplied 57% of Ontario’s consumption in 2011. Where the difference of 37% will come from is anyone’s guess but perhaps they see the difference coming from conservation which they also push. A “tongue in cheek” report prepared by Aegent Energy estimated that Ontario would require approximately 12,000 industrial wind turbines (IWTs) to replace our existing nuclear plants and those 12,000 IWTs would use up 14,000 square kilometres of Ontario’s land mass. Presumably much of that land mass would be valuable farm land which would effectively reduce our ability to produce cheap abundant food for consumption.
Their report points to the heavy costs of coal-fired generation citing the same worn-out DSS report prepared in 2005 that is used by the Liberal Energy Ministers and the same groups that the RNAO cite as their primary sources of “studies.” That DSS report was prepared for the Liberal Government and provided four scenarios with the one always used as the “worst case” which was when coal-fired generation was contributing 25% of our consumption without the benefit of “scrubbers” to remove most particulates related to asthma related medical conditions. The study by DSS was never peer reviewed and the modelling estimates of environmental related deaths was severely criticized by Professor Ross McKitrick of the University of Guelph. His review concluded: “Overall the DSS05 Report does not provide credible support for the decision to close the Ontario coal-fired power plants. As has been found previously the pollution increments attributable to OPG facilities are extremely small across Southern Ontario except in the immediate vicinity of the power plants themselves.”
The closing of the nuclear generation plants in the province as the RNAO recommends would entail replacing that power with unreliable, intermittent power from wind and solar that would require fossil fuel generation (gas) to back it up. The net effect would be to push up the cost of electricity even further. This would exacerbate the current effect on many Ontario residents putting more and more people into energy poverty. Does the RNAO want Ontarians to choose between feeding themselves or trying to keep warm. The burden placed on people living on fixed incomes would require massive social benefits to sustain them in a province that is burdened with increasing deficits and debt and can ill afford even our current levels. The effect of higher electricity prices; drives out industrial plants from the Province, increases unemployment, and makes Ontario an unattractive destination for any investment that may create new jobs.
Does the RNAO not recognize that Ontario will be unable to support the investment in hospitals they work in, the cost of medical care and their salaries if the government follows through on their recommendations? Does the RNAO, as the Auditor General noted in his report, not consider the cost/benefits associated with charging ahead with unreliable and intermittent energy generation by the many sustainable energy groups who use our tax dollars to further their causes when the rest of the world is questioning the science behind climate change.
This is a blinkered report without substance and ignores both the costs of the proposition they are expounding and the increasing evidence pointing to the health effects of industrial wind turbines on the rural population of this province. The lack of understanding and compassion contained in this report on the part of the RNAO is not in keeping with the nursing profession.
Parker Gallant April 23, 2012
The OPA: Gone without the Plan