More bites from Ontario’s power system (2)
More from Parker Gallant on the pesky goings-on in Ontario’s power system.
Oxymorons and the Ministries of the Environment and Climate Change & Natural Resources
Renewable Energy Approvals (REA) for wind turbine projects have been issued at a furious pace by the MoE&CC who declare: “By law, you will need a Renewable Energy Approval (REA) from the Ministry of the Environment and Climate Change for most solar, wind or bio-energy projects in Ontario.” The odd thing about this is, it is the Ministry of Natural Resources (MNR) that maintain the “species at risk” list! It would appear the current Environment Minister, Glen Murray, outranks the Minister of MNR, Bill Mauro.
Murray’s Ministry gleefully handed our recent REA to encompass the full dimensions of the significant and Important Bird Areas (IBA) in Eastern Ontario by granting approvals to the White Pines Wind Project (29 bird and bat choppers) and another one to Windelectric’s Amherst Island Wind Energy Project (26 bird and bat choppers). This completely covers most of the IBAs in Eastern Ontario: Prince Edward County’s South Shore, Amherst Island and Wolfe Island. It seems completely at odds with both Ministries mandates: to save the environment and protect species at risk, all for the purpose of saving the world from “climate change”.
The Ontario answer is to sponsor the erection of bird and bat choppers producing intermittent power when its not needed and usually exported and backed-up with fossil fuel generation.
A oxymoronic event of crazed destruction with no benefit to the environment!
Nepotism? or just a happy coincidence?
As most Ontario taxpayers know MaRS Discovery District, a registered charity, was bailed out by the provincial government in respect to their Phase 2 building which failed to attract sufficient tenants. It was recently reported some of the space in the building is now being used by the resident tenants (public service employees) for them to unwind playing ping pong and foosball. The bailout was estimated to cost taxpayers $400 million, even though MaRS annually receives grants from the Provincial Government. Since the MaRS charity was activated by Premier Dalton McGuinty in September 2005 those grants have totaled approximately $240 million yet they still needed a bailout.
The bailout for the Phase 2 debacle was provided by another arm of the Provincial Government under the guidance of Brad Duguid, Minister of Economic Development Employment and Infrastructure via another entity: Infrastructure Ontario (IO), that received a $200 million repreive of its debt by the same ruling party back when David Livingston was the CEO and before he was appointed as Premier McGuinty’s “Chief of Staff”! The new CEO of IO is Bert Clark who just happens to be the son of Ed Clark who in June 2015 was appointed as Premier Wynne’s “Business Advisor” and had previously chaired two panel reports for the Premier with the latest one recommending the partial sale of Hydro One. Hmm, an interesting co-incidence! IO was also examined by Ontario’s Auditor General Bonnie Lysyk, who noted in the 2014 annual report: “according to Infrastructure Ontario’s estimates, the tangible costs are still almost $8 billion higher than if the public sector had been able to contract out the projects to the private sector and oversee their successful delivery.”
MaRS Discovery District’s March 31, 2014 annual report under Note 7 states: “The organization holds a 100% interest in Phase 2 Inc., at a cost of $1 dollar.” That should give the taxpayers a warm fuzzy feeling knowing that the value of that building is not enough to even buy a small “Timmies” coffee!
Summing up the above we have, in my opinion, what appears to be nepotism, a “charity” dependent on grants from the province and who value their large expansion project at $1 dollar backstopped by a loan from a provincial entity managing PPP (public private partnerships) by handing out an extra $8 billion of taxpayer money.
Keep moving folks, nothing to see here!
OPG, now being paid to spill clean hydro
OPG just released their 2nd Quarter financial results and profits (after PIL [payments in lieu of taxes]) were up 64% to $189 million even though they were forced to spill 1.2 terawatts (TWh) or enough to power 125,000 average Ontario households for a full year. As noted in their report OPG now receive payment for those spilled TWh caused by SBG (surplus baseload generation) raising the final costs of their generation to ratepayers. What that means for ratepayers is that we now pay for:
–all spilled hydro,
–all constrained wind generation
–all constrained solar-power generation
–all steamed-off nuclear and those
–idling gas plants
It would be a delightful act of “transparency” if IESO were to tell us ratepayers how much all of the foregoing cost ratepayers but they seem reluctant to do so (see above under IESO’s view of transparency). A rough guess by this writer would suggest an annual cost north of $1 billion!
OPG also reported on Total Ontario Demand for the first six months and it reportedly was 69 TWh, down from 71.1 TWh in the comparable 2014 period. Conservation must be working as the 2.1 TWh reduction would have been enough to power 219,000 average Ontario households. Perhaps this should be a signal to IESO that they needn’t spend $400 million annually telling us to “conserve”! With the prices rising ratepayers have done what they can to stop the incessant climbing of their hydro bills.
(C) Parker Gallant
Last installment tomorrow!