Ontario: wind farms contribute to $20-million power sell-off
Another $20-million autumn weekend with Ontario power sold off cheap to neighbouring states and province
Another October weekend has come and gone—and so has at least another $20 million of Ontario ratepayer dollars, due to selling off surplus Ontario power cheap.
This past weekend of October 24-26 saw Ontario sell off another 189,000 megawatt hours (MWh) of electricity to our neighbours in Michigan, New York and Quebec. Those MWh went for a song generating, $4.31 each and earning about $820K. The flip side is, ratepayers paid over $110 per MWh for that power generation. We lost $106 for each MWh (10.6 cents per kilowatt hour); that means the subsidized cost of those megawatt hours was over $20 million, or a one-time hit of about $4.50 for each of Ontario’s average electricity ratepayer. The trouble of course is that it is not a one-time hit, as this situation occurs frequently during spring and fall when demand for power is low.
Included in that $20 million we paid to export our surplus is the cost for the spasmodic production of electricity from thousands of industrial wind turbines throughout the province and, presumably, some solar production. Wind turbines produced over 52,000 MWh Octover 24-26, and wind power producers were paid for not producing another 17,000 MWh. That 69,000 MWh cost Ontario’s ratepayers half of the $20 million. It doesn’t include what Ontario Power Generation spilled in hydro, what gas generators were paid to idle, or what Bruce Nuclear was paid to steam off nuclear power.
What this past weekend and others before it should be telling the Ontario Liberal government and the Minister of Energy Bob Chiarelli is that Ontario’s ratepayers are consuming less of this expensive commodity. Premier Wynne’s “Conservation First” initiative, as Tom Adams notes in a recent post titled “Crock of Conservation,” has driven demand down but the energy ministry keeps adding more inefficient renewables to Ontario’s grid.
During the past weekend, Ontario exported 20% of its average electricity demand. If each Ministry of the Ontario government wasted 20% of their budget, the main stream media might pay attention but it seems that the Minister of Energy is allowed to waste ratepayer dollars without any serious oversight because the money is simply extracted, without effect on the Ontario deficit.
We can only hope for the day when it is recognized that ratepayers are also taxpayers, and that their money is being wasted with regularity due to Ontario’s energy policy.
October 27, 2014