Out of sync: power demand and wind power in Ontario

…and Ontario electricity ratepayers pick up the tab, as last weekend’s $17-million demonstrates, says Parker Gallant

Wind trumps Darlington and ratepayers pick up the bill

The love affair the current Ontario government has for industrial wind turbines (IWTs) took a turn for the worse recently. Because wind power from turbines appears at high level in the Spring and Fall seasons (when demand for power is low), Ontario was forced to shut down a Darlington nuclear reactor with a rated capacity of 880 MW.

The Independent Electricity System Operator (IESO) claims that “wind curtailment” (or preventing wind power from reaching the grid when it’s not needed) helps to avoid nuclear shutdowns, the past weekend dispelled that notion. The shutdown of Darlington G 4 and the frequent steaming off at Bruce Nuclear is due to wind forecasts combined with low demand, and “first to the grid” rights given to IWTs via the Green Energy Act.

On April 9 and 10 wind turbines could have generated over 81,000 megawatt hours (MWh) of power, but IESO curtailed over 29,000 MWh on that typical “shoulder season” weekend in Ontario. Demand was low and averaged about 350,000 MWh over the two days.  As a result, export of power to Michigan, New York and elsewhere was about 77,000 MWh, or almost the full amount that wind would have generated without curtailment, and about half of what the Darlington unit could have provided.

Those surplus exported MWh generated revenue of $3.65/MWh on April 9 and a miserly 6.5 cents/MWh on the 10th producing revenue of about $144,000. That was for electricity billed to ratepayers at close to $120/MWh for a cost of about $9 million.  At the same time Ontario ratepayers were picking up the costs of that shut down Darlington unit, which added about $3 million to the weekend’s costs.

$12 million price tag for Ontario electricity customers

In short, Ontario ratepayers had their pockets picked for $12 million for power they didn’t need or demand.

Additionally ratepayers were paying gas plant generators over $5 million just to idle in case the wind stopped blowing or the sun disappeared behind the clouds. That’s a price tag of $17 million for power that wasn’t needed.

To sum up the weekend Ontario ratepayers were:

  • Subsidizing the sale of surplus electricity to our neighbours
  • Paying for the curtailment of wind generated electricity
  • Paying for power that a nuclear plant might have produced, and
  • Paying for gas plants to idle.

Ontario ratepayers’ energy demand and wind’s inability to deliver at the right time are becoming more and more out of sync. The cost to ratepayers keeps going up, without any visible benefit. Time for Minister Bob Chiarelli to stop hobnobbing with Big Wind lobbyist CanWEA and pay attention to his abysmal management of the Energy portfolio.

© Parker Gallant,

April 12, 2016

hornung-chiarelli-campbell

Left to right: CanWEA President Robert Hornung, The Honourable Bob Chiarelli, Ontario’s Minister of Energy and Bruce Campbell, the President and CEO of Ontario’s Independent System Operator (IESO) at the CanWEA Spring Forum in Gatineau, QC, on April 5, 2016. Photo by Teckles Photo Inc.

Comments

Pat Cusack
Reply

And yet we who toil in the home have to pay attention to when we use electricity! It’s all a plot to either make us very, very angry or broke!

Ed
Reply

Parker,
How much would that be per person or per family?

Where is the media on this topic – asleep or….?
Ed

Parker Gallant
Reply

It would be about $4.50 per ratepayer household or as Chiarelli would say — just the price of a couple of “Timmies”

F Steen
Reply

As per picture, Mr Cherelle? is a small man, both in stature and intellect and honerable should not be used.

Andre Lauzon
Reply

If we had a responsible press Mr. Gallant’s comments should make first page news every time.

Pat Cusack
Reply

Are you sure you want Mz Wynne and Mr Chiarelli helping design a nah program for the schools? Bernie

Parker Gallant
Reply

Thanks Grant. It is interesting that this came out today. I asked the question if G 4 was the first unit scheduled for refurbishment and got this reply: “No – just a planned shoulder season outage – first unit for refurb is Uni2 in October”

I asked the question yesterday afternoon. It would appear they forgot to issue a press release so I must have spurred them on to get it out. Perhaps they were too busy defending their TV ad

http://business.financialpost.com/fp-comment/not-as-advertised-why-ontario-power-generations-new-3-million-tv-spot-raises-eyebrows

Barbara
Reply

Notice the big TV screen behind the guys in this photo and what it’s showing?

Doug Dingeldein
Reply

How our government can justify continually wasting these tax dollars while turning an indifferent eye to the plight of First Nations is a disgrace. Surely, the billions wasted on gas plant cancellations, renewable energy boondoggles and ineffective and expensive energy conservation programs could have been far better used to improve the lives of indigenous peoples. The moral bankruptcy at Queen’s Park is infuriating. An earlier post asked the question: Where is the main stream media on this scandal? Have they been sucked in by the “green” propagandists? When will they take a hard, investigative look at Ontario’s catastrophic contribution towards fighting climate change. We need real solutions not Ontario’s sham.

A. Phillips
Reply

This new information does not surprise me. We have known for years that the presence of wind farms suppresses property value, financially brings communities to their knees and causes countless health issues both physically and mentally. We have known for a long time that the province was selling and/or giving away electricity at taxpayers expense. Why do we continue to believe that the government has any interest in issues that concern the people. Big businesses call the shots and our spineless leaders follow blindly.

Grant Church
Reply

The three wise men they aren’t. More like three blind mice, who don’t have a clue as to what they’re doing.

Peggy Hutchison
Reply

While Wynne fiddles, Ontario burns. Doug Dingeldein has hit the nail on the head – as I watched the neighbourhood wind turbines start and stop today, because they were producing too much power, millions of dollars were still being paid to wind companies and mega watts of energy was being sloughed off on the US for free. The wasted money could help struggling communities. It could also refit buildings for energy efficiency and considerable cash savings. Stop fiddling and start saving energy.

wgulden
Reply

Grant – even more damning, maybe they do know what they are doing.

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