Clean air day for Ontario means cleaned out wallets for ratepayers

Ontario’s cleanest day: too bad it cost you

The heading on Cold Air energy blogger Scott Luft‘s article read:  “September 20th: Ontario electricity’s cleanest day in my lifetime.”   He was talking about the fact that emissions from the electricity sector in Ontario produced almost no emissions last Saturday.  Why? Low demand meant clean nuclear, clean hydro and clean wind produced more than enough power to satisfy the 13,593 MW average Ontario demand for electricity, as reported by IESO in their Daily Market Summary.

Here are the details: on September 20th, nuclear produced about 270,000 MWh, hydro 82,000 MWh and wind over 40,000 MWh.  Taken together, they produced about 81,000 excess MWh of power which Ontario simply exported.  Ontario was also busy steaming off Bruce nuclear power, and probably spilling hydro and paying those gas plants for sitting idle.   It’s obvious Ontario didn’t need that 40,000 MW of wind but with the “first to the grid” rights of wind and solar, IESO was obliged to accept it.

As it turned out the hourly Ontario electricity price or HOEP performed badly on September 20th and averaged .82 cents per MWh or .00082 cents per kWh.  So, Ontario’s ratepayers were paying wind generators $135.00 per MWh while IESO were busy selling it off to our neighbours in NY and Michigan for .82 cents meaning (without counting in the steamed-off Bruce nuclear, the gas plants $500 per MW of capacity for idling, non-utility generators or NUG-contracted utilities for curtailment, solar generators, etc.) we were losing $134.18 for every MWh of power that those wind turbines produced.

What that means to you is, the 81,000 MWh we sold to our neighbours cost each of Ontario’s 4.5 million ratepayers as our Energy Minister, Bob Chiarelli, might say, a large “Timmies” coffee and a donut!  Please don’t stop your conservation efforts, however, as the Ontario Liberal government would like us to do this more often!

Ontario: truly a great neighbour!

©Parker Gallant

September 23, 2014

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

Note: Neither Wind Concerns Ontario nor author Parker Gallant is opposed to conservation in power use—it would just be nice if Ontario had an electricity policy that made sense and provided affordable, reliable power for all.

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