Join the Liberal “Conversation” but don’t believe they will listen!
The July 10, 2013 press release from the Ministy of Energy announcing how Ontario was kicking off the Long-Term Energy Plan Review was relatively short but contained quotes and some “Quick Facts” that were obviously meant to impress the reader.
The release invited the reader to “join in the conversation” by “Taking part in one of the information sessions that will be held in communities across the province” and to complete an “online survey” or; “Submit[ting] comments in response to the discussion guide, Making Choices Reviewing Ontario’s Long-Term Energy Plan.”
What the press release didn’t say was: the “information sessions” were all in urban communities, the “online survey” led the reader to only choose results favourable to the Green Energy Act (GEA) without the actual opportunity for input and that the “Making Choices” link took the reader to the Environmental Registry.
The other interesting fact the press release didn’t disclose is that preceding the “information sessions” are “roundtable discussions” that invited local “energy companies and municipalities” and “is an invite only event” according to an e-mail this writer received from a member of Wind Concerns Ontario. The message came from the “LTEP Team” who are presumably charged with pulling all the activities together to present the Minister with recommended revisions to the LTEP.
The “roundtable” excluded the “general public” but interestingly enough did include officers from Environmental NGOs (ENGO) such as Gideon Forman of CAPE (Canadian Association of Physicians for the Environment) and presumably others from groups like Environmental Defence Pembina and OSEA. Another WCO member secured a copy of the invitation to Gideon Forman of CAPE allegedly signed by Minister Bob Chiarelli in which he “strongly encourage[d]” them to “make submissions to the Environmental Registry.”
The Ministry’s press release then goes on to cite what they refer to as “QUICK FACTS” including the following gems;
Over the past 10 years, Ontario has brought more than 3,300 megawatts of renewable energy online — enough to power 900,000 homes each year.
This writer assumes that the inference here to “renewable energy” is the wind and solar that has been built and may (although not mentioned) include the addition of Big Becky (140 megawatts) a hydro project which cost ratepayers $1.6 billion ($600 million over budget) and perhaps a few other small hydro projects. The balance would be wind and solar and the 900,000 homes referred to would infer that wind and solar collectively would produce at the rate of 30% of its rated capacity. The latter is a fallacy as wind might produce at 28% of capacity and solar at a average of 12/15% (more in May and June and almost nothing in the Winter) whereas wind produces at high levels in the shoulder seasons (Spring and Fall) when we don’t need the power but produces at very low levels when we really need generation on those hot summer days when Ontario’s demand peaks.
Ontario’s Green Energy Act has attracted billions in investment and created 31,000 jobs.
What the press release fails to say is that over 90% of the jobs they claim have been created are short term construction jobs and as noted by the Auditor General in his 2011 report have cost Ontario 2 to 4 jobs for each one created. The “billions in investment” attracted is approximately 1/3rd of the billions that will flow from ratepayers to the investors over the 20 years of the wind and solar contracts. Those billions attracted are basically a reference to the capital costs of the wind and solar developments and add absolutely nothing towards creating either meaningful jobs or adding to Ontario’s GDP (gross domestic product).
Since 2003, approximately 12,000 megawatts (MW) of new and refurbished generation has been added to Ontario’s energy supply.
The reasoning behind the Liberal push to add new generation was directly related to closing the coal generators by 2007 (promised by the Liberals in their 2003 election campaign). In 2003 Ontario had 7,500 MW of coal generation capacity but 1200 (Lakeview) of that was already scheduled to close in 2005 by the Harris/Eves PC led government meaning that approximately 6,300 MW of capacity was to be closed. While another 3,500 MW of coal has been shut down since 2005 there are still 2800 MW of capacity that provides valuable peaking power for when the wind doesn’t blow and the sun doesn’t shine. NB: See below to see what it took to shut down the 3,500 MW of coal generation.
Between 2006 and 2011, Ontario conserved over 1,900 MW – enough to take over 600,000 homes off the grid.
Fact; in 2005 Ontario’s energy consumption was 157 terawatts (TWh) and in 2011 it was 141.5 TWh for a drop of 15.5TWh or enough to take 1.5 million homes off the grid. The question that this claim highlights is; did the 5.7 TWh claimed as “conservation” really represent what they state or was it simply a result of our manufacturing base shrinking? Based on the Auditor General’s 2011 report the loss of jobs in the manufacturing sector was probably the cause of the “conservation” that is claimed by the Minister rather then Ontario’s ratepayers doing their laundry in the middle of the night.
By the end of 2014 the use of coal for electricity generation will be discontinued completely.
As noted about 3,500 MW of coal generation has been closed since 2005 but exactly what did it take to achieve those results? Well according to the Chart on page 2 of the “Status, Outlook and Options for Electricity Service, In Support of the 2013 LTEP Consultation” it required 13,930 MW of new capacity to replace the 3,500 MW of coal that has been shut down. The reader should bear in mind the fact that Ontario ratepayers during that period reduced consumption by approximately 15 TWh which is the equivalent of approximately 1800 MW of generation running at 100% of its capacity. That 1800 MW is not included in the 13,930 MW of additional capacity noted on the aforementioned Chart. That new capacity noted in the aforementioned “Chart” consisted of;
- 1,500 MW of refurbished nuclear generation,
- 700 MW of hydroelectric generation,
- 2,500 MW of wind generation,
- 130 MW of bio-energy generation,
- 1,100 MW of solar generation,
- 5,600 MW of gas generation, and
- 2,600 MW of “Conservation”
” It’s critical that we plan Ontario’s energy future with input and advice from every corner of the province. Together, we’ll continue to build a clean, modern and reliable electricity grid.”
That “input and advice” apparently wasn’t critical in the past but Minister Chiarelli now suggests it is for the future. This writer, however, is more inclined to believe that joining the “conversation” will once again simply mean that Ontarian’s “input and advice” will be ignored and the governing Liberal Party will instead revise the Long-Term Energy Plan to suit the likes of the Gideon Formans, the Kristopher Stevens and David Suzukis who were instrumental in the creation of the Green Energy and Economy Act.
The “conversation” with the Liberal Party will be the same one we have had for the past 10 years and will simply fall on the deaf ears of the Energy Minister. Let’s hope the voters are paying attention and join in the conversation!