Overkill: Ontario actions to replace closed coal plants cost billions every year

The annual cost of closing Ontario’s coal plants 

Part II of Parker Gallant’s series on how Ontario continues to mismanage the energy file.

The cost of over-replacing the limited capacity of coal power generation blows away the supposed health care savings
The cost of over-replacing the limited capacity of coal power generation blows away the supposed health care savings

The previous article in respect to Ontario’s decision to close our coal plants examined the MW (megawatt) capacity and the type of generating capacity added to our electricity grid since 2011. The added capacity replaced the 4,484 MW of coal-fired generation at the end of 2011 in anticipation of increasing demand.

What I’ve done is approximate the costs of the added capacity versus the 4.1 TWh generated by the 4,484 MW of coal-fired plants, which cost only $135 million (3.3 cents/kWh) in 2011. 

Nuclear instead of wind and solar

As an example, the 1,532 MW of emissions-free Bruce Nuclear refurbished generation, at a capacity factor of 90% supplying 12.08 TWh, easily covered the loss of 4.1 TWh of coal-fired generation and left 8.7 TWh for added demand due to its flexibility to steam off or bypass the turbines. The 12.08 TWh could have supplied most of the 2015 solar generation of 3.04 TWh and the 10.2 TWh of wind, which proved to be unneeded.   The latter two alone in 2015 added an additional $2.7 billion to generation costs before curtailment (wind) costs of $88 million.

Bruce Power supplies from the 1,532 MW would have cost ratepayers $800 million, reducing the ratepayer burden by almost $2 billion annually.  Additionally “nuclear maneuvers” (reductions),  of 897 gigawatt hours added about $60 million during surplus baseload periods, caused mainly by (unreliable) intermittent power generation from wind.

Too much gas? 

Let’s look at the gas plant addition of 602 MW:  In 2011 the 9,549 MW of gas generation produced 22 TWh,  operating at a capacity factor of 26.3%.  Fast forward to 2015: the 10,151 MW generated 15.5 TWh  operating at a capacity factor of 17.5%.  Gas plants are quite capable of operating at a capacity factor of 40% to 60% (combined or single cycle).  In either case, they are regarded as peaking plants and for that reason investors know they will be called on when needed. Their contracts pay them for simply being “at the ready.”  Those costs vary but generally payments are $7,000 to $15,000 per MW per month.  The additional 602 MW of gas added about $100 million annually to the costs.  With gas generation falling from 22 TWh in 2011 to 15.5 TWh in 2015, ratepayers were burdened with the costs of the drop of 6.5 TWh at a cost of approximately $100 million per TWh, raising the cost of gas generation by $750 million since 2011.

Adding costly hydro

The bulk of the 754 MW added to the grid since 2011 came from the Niagara tunnel, (“Big Becky”) with a promise of 150 MW, and the Mattagami expansion added 438 MW of run-of-river hydro. Both of these projects by OPG were hugely expensive, costing ratepayers $4.1 billion plus interest on the money borrowed to fund the projects. If one amortizes those costs over 50 years it adds about $80 annually to ratepayer bills and the interest costs annually add about $120 million at 3% per annum. So that is $200 million for those two projects, without adding their OMA (operations, management and administration) costs.

As well, OPG is frequently forced to “spill” water under SBG (surplus baseload generation) periods mainly due to excessive intermittent wind and solar generation. In 2015 the latter was 3.4 TWh which cost ratepayers $150 million.  The other event affecting hydro costs was an amendment to change “unregulated” hydro to regulated pricing.  This change added $474 million to ratepayers’ bills for 2015 for the 30.4 TWh generated by OPG versus 2011.  So hydro costs in the four years from 2011 jumped from a cost of $37.7 million/TWh to $53.3/TWh.  The total additional costs of hydro (OPG only) in 2015 was therefore over $800 million.

Coal conversion 

The Ontario Energy ministers also issued directives instructing conversion of the 200-MW Atikokan and the 300-MW Thunder Bay coal plants operated by OPG.  A 2005 directive from Dwight Duncan was the first and told OPG to convert Thunder Bay “to operate using a fuel source other than coal”.  Later on when Brad Duguid sat in the energy chair he ordered it converted to gas but in the end it became a shareholder direction from Bob Chiarelli, ordering it to be converted to “advanced biomass” and agreed to cover the annual $30 million operating costs.  As disclosed by the Auditor General, if Thunder Bay produces any power, it will cost $1,500 per megawatt hour (MWh).  In respect to the conversion of Atikokan it may produce cheaper power in the 20 cents/kWh range but will probably operate at 10% of capacity and generate an annual cost of about $35 million.  So collectively, both of these conversions will produce almost no power but will add approximately $65 million annually to ratepayers’ bills.

Conservation is expensive 

The long-term conservation budget for 2015-2020 is $2.6 billion, meaning IESO will allocate spending of $433 million annually to local distribution companies (LDC) to reduce consumption by 7 TWh.   Should the LDC be successful, their delivery revenue will drop.  Assuming the delivery charge represents about 35% (on average) the revenue drop for all LDC would be approximately $300 million.  Then the LDC will be entitled to apply for a rate increase based on the drop in revenue, meaning the $300 million may be fully recovered.  Adding that to the monies spent annually convincing us to reduce our electricity consumption via the “conservation budget” adds another $483 million annually ($433 million + [$300/6 years = $50 million] = $483 million).

$4 billion … a year

So the cost of replacing the 4.1 TWh of coal generated at a cost of about $135 million in 2011 is in excess of $4 billion annually.

Confirmation of the foregoing cost can be simply calculated. If one reviews the “average” cost of a kWh on the OEB “Historical Electricity Prices” as of November 1, 2011 was 7.57 cents/kWh versus 10.70 cents/kWh on November 1, 2015.  The increase of 3.13 cents/kWh (+41.3%) translates to an increase of $31.3 million per TWh and applied to the 143.6 TWh consumed in 2015 provides an annual cost increase of $4.5 billion to ratepayers since 2011.

The cost blows away the purported healthcare costs supposedly caused by coal generation.   At the same time, it removes about $1,000 of after-tax money from the pockets of the 4.5 million ratepayers in the province every year.

This is a sad commentary on what the Ontario Liberal government has done to Ontarians.

Parker Gallant,

August 29, 2016

Also available at Parker Gallant Energy Perspectives.

Comments

Sommer
Reply

If this sort of mismanagement was happening in the private sector, these people would lose their job. Would they not?
Why are people in Ontario putting up with this?

Thank you Parker, for applying your math skills to exposing this information!

Put this information out on social media.

Pat Cusack
Reply

Contrary to what was broadcast on CBC’s 10:00 news the other night about energy. I agree with Sommer.

Jjoe
Reply

Nuclear is not emmisions free. Billions have been\will be spent handling the radioactive emmisions. With nuclear emmisions they are captured and not released.

R Budd
Reply

No sure what emissions you mean, but if its spent fuel, that is already costed. NWMO has very good info a their site. Works out to roughly 1/10 cent/ kwh over life of reactor. That spent fuel could potentially see reuse in future generation reactors and right now we have a list of communities hoping to be chosen as DGR sites.
Big variable in costs is the degree to which anti-nuclear/ fossil interests can use courts and gov’t to delay and unnecessarily complicate the process.

Jjoe
Reply

A claim was made that nuclear is emmisions free. It is not. Spent fuel rods are a form of emmisions. I suspect that, like everything else related to nuclear power in Canada, cost estimates for disposing of spent fuel is way under estimated. If the safety of the plans to handle the spent fuel are sound we have nothing to fear from the courts.

R Budd
Reply

You were trying to suggest that the cost of spent fuel (emissions?) wasn’t included in the cost Mr Gallant used. It was. Re. the cost related to courts and gov’t decision making…it has little to do with how robust the plan is. Courts take time and money and delays are very expensive. Ironically wind developers can proceed thru ERT hearings.
Greenpeace ran OPG thru a protracted court challenge over a spurious aspect of spent fuel being a fed. matter. The DGR plan for The Bruce is held up by McKenna due to a silly NA wide email campaign. Folks from Colorado, where they live with super high background radiation were emailing about this innocuous DGR that will affect no one.
Now they have to go back to the drawing board and calculate the cost of moving the whole thing to northern On.. So no Jjoe its not simply a matter of being safe.

Jjoe

Nuclear power has emissions. To state otherwise is wrong. There are cost involved in dealing with these costs in a democracy people have access to the courts.

Jjoe

R Budd. So if someone goes to court to stop a wind farm that is ok? But using the courts by the other side is not?

Barbara
Reply

Good point, since “renewable is doable” is being promoted!

Barbara
Reply

This is a cost analysis. Does not advocate for nuclear power.

Explains to the public why power costs have risen so much in Ontario.

Jjoe
Reply

Barbara. I am a nuclear power supporter. However, you can’t do a cost analysis without looking at the cost of dealing with the nuclear emissions. The cost of dealing with spent nuclear fuel is huge. To call nuclear power emmisions free is wrong.

Barbara
Reply

Am under the impression that greenhouse gas emissions are what the article is dealing with. And primarily CO2.

No mention of radiation emissions cost/storage from spent fuel.

Jjoe
Reply

Barbara. Sorry if this is a repeat. My tablet froze and my reply vanished. The author of the article refers to “As an example, the 1,532 MW of emissions-free Bruce Nuclear refurbished generation…” My reply was aimed at this statement. Nuclear is not emmisions free so in any cost analysis this must be taken into account.

Barbara

Then the costs of transmission lines, substations, storage, peak generation , etc needs to be included for renewables. And all of these figures are not available yet.

An estimate for transmission lines cost per km for renewables can be made.

There is a little information online as to what lithium battery storage might cost. Toronto has a lithium storage project cost and so does California.

At least there is some information on the cost of nuclear spent fuel storage.

Jjoe

Barbara. Almost all the expenses you list are expenses incurred no matter how the electricity is generated. Transmission lines, as an example, are needed for wind power or hydro power.

Barbara

I’ve had cost accounting and there is no way that all these cost issues can be addressed in the amount of space provided on this board.

Tracy
Reply

“Why are people in Ontario putting up with this? That is a very good question Summer. Seriously, why is that?
Maybe they don’t believe our government would be guilty of such a crime; just like I didn’t believe the government would subject me to harm and negative health impact, by permitting the development of an industrial wind industry 400 meters from and surrounding my home. I lived there for over a year believing the government was acting in good faith. I was very foolish. 
The developer doesnt give scrap; he’s pulling in millions from the turbines…
I have been speaking out since 2008, receiving many insults and have had absolutely no help from all levels of government. (Norfolk county is pro turbine development btw.) 
At this point, people are starting to wake up and are telling me something I have been screaming for years, “the negative health impact infrasound from industrial wind turbines have on human health.” 
When I continue to see very little regard for human health, yes that is what it is people. Their primary concern is on money and wildlife. This makes me realize what type of society I live in. Perhaps there is the answer to our question Sommer.
Speaking of Norfolk County, Port Dover has been promoted as and has been developed into a “retirement community”. City folk have been flocking to spend their golden years to this beautiful lakeside community. From the proceeds of the sale of their homes in the city, they can live very comfortably in Port Dover  Those who are aware of the people speaking out about the negative health impacts from exposure to infrasound, either ignore this, don’t believe it or simply don’t care; after all it only effects ~20% of people! How could that be?? 
There are many variables including gender and age, number of turbines and proximity. 
Sensitivity to infrasound doesnt immediately slap you in the face. It sneaks up on you. Once you have developed this, it is with you forever. For those who do not understand why some people are effected: Why doesn’t everyone who smokes tobacco get cancer? Why do some people have allergies to peanuts and shellfish? Why do some people have asthma while others don’t? 
Have you noticed the number in widowers increasing? In the past, usually the husband died before the wife. 
Children, seniors and women are most susceptible to the negative health impact caused by exposure to lfn.
Since the Green Energy Act, I have observed turbine developments are approximately 4 km from villages. This is not far enough. Infrasound travels distances further then that. Whales, dolphins, and elephants are able to communicate to each other for great distances via lfws. 
Turbines built at four km: it will take longer for those susceptible to experience the negative health impacts. These may include loss of hearing, vision, fatigue, lesions in the brain, poor bones, increased levels in blood pressure and cortisol and weight gain. Illness associated with exposure are stroke, heart attack, dementia and diabetes. 
Expect to hear “these people were old people; illness is not due to exposure to infrasound. These people would have gotten sick (and possibly died) anyway.  Seriously, I’ve heard it a few times. 
Medical costs will increase significantly as well. Hey, maybe this will create more jobs-bring new medical drs. and services to the area..
WAKE UP ONTARIO. There is absolutely nothing good about industrial wind turbines. STOP THE INSANITY.

Barbara
Reply

Why would people retiring from the GTA buy any property anywhere near IWTs?

They should ask local realtors if IWT options have been signed in the areas they are interested in locating at. Ask the person they want to buy from as well.

Ask local town governments too.

Sommer
Reply

Prior to the turbines coming to the shoreline of Huron County, the towns and villages were being revitalized. There was and still is county wide effort to do this work. This was and still is the perfect destination for retirees who were sick and tired of the fast paced, expensive lifestyle they had lived throughout their career in urban settings. Our shoreline is gorgeous! The pace of life out here is humane and pleasant.
All we have to do is get rid of the turbines.

windbuddy
Reply

The population of Huron County has remained steady for the last ten years. The total number of private residential houses has increased. The value of building permits (less those for IWTs) has shown steady increases. The value of buildable property has exploded. Where do you get the idea that turbines have harmed the area? Do you think those retirees would not do their homework before spending hundreds of thousands of dollars to build their homes and move to the County?

Barbara

Perhaps not. City residents may not be aware of IWT issues. So it’s in their own best interest to make inquiries and then make their own decisions.

In many cases, their homes are their life savings which they depend on for their retirement years.

Jjoe

City residents visiting Huron County would almost invariably see wind turbines.

notinduttondunwich

How come Huron County is on the non willing host???

R Budd

windbuddy…Population of Huron County is one of very few in southern On. either static or dropping . Stands out, particularly when you consider On. as a whole has been growing at a rate close to 12%/year.
Retirees that are moving here are going to places like Seaforth, Goderich, Bayfield, not the wind development areas in ACW or Bluewater. Go have a first hand look at ACW and tell me if you would invest your life saving to live in the midst of that blinking, spinning, avian destroying mess?
Property values for res. is not strong. And if you have res. in a wind development area you will suffer in the marketplace..no question. Land values for ag. have stayed high driven by commodity values and speculators. A wind developer told me that he knows of inside investors buying raw land in advance of wind development.
So your comments about property values need further assessment.

notinduttondunwich

Windbuddy again……. do YOU live in Huron county!!!!????

Jjoe

Where Windbuudy lives is of very little relivence to this discussion.

notinduttondunwich

Jjoe it does matter actually!!! Windbuddy has before stated that all is peaches and cream with the IWT in his area…. if he is from Huron then I ask why has your municipality declared itself a non willing host!?? That’s all. Simple question…. yes no?????

Jjoe

R Budd. Windbuddy states one thing you state another about Huron county population. Neither has provided any citations to back up the claims. Provided proof would help me decide who is correct.

Jjoe
Reply

Goderich is located near the Kingsbridge wind farm. And no, I would not want to live near one.

Barbara
Reply

But city residents can’t see options.

Lynda
Reply

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The primary concern might be money, but it sure as heck isn’t wildlife. If they were worried about wildlife, Amherst Island wouldn’t be in the mess they are in right now.

Richard Mann
Reply

Wind and Solar are not reducing C02. Ontario’s own Engineering Society is telling us this. See the report, “Ontario’s Electricity Dilemma – Achieving Low Emissions at Reasonable Electricity Rates”. Ontario Society of Professional Engineers (OSPE). April 2015.
(Archived at: http://www.wind-watch.org/docviewer.php?doc=OSPE-PEO-2015_Ontario-Electricity-Dilemma.pdf)

Page 15 of 23. “Why Will Emissions Double as We Add Wind and Solar Plants ?”

– Wind and Solar require flexible backup generation.

– Nuclear is too inflexible to backup renewables without expensive engineering changes to the reactors.

– Flexible electric storage is too expensive at the moment.

– Consequently natural gas provides the backup for wind and solar in North America.

– When you add wind and solar you are actually forced to reduce nuclear generation to make room for more natural gas generation to provide flexible backup.

– Ontario currently produces electricity at less than 40 grams of CO2 emissions/kWh.

– Wind and solar with natural gas backup produces electricity at about 200 grams of CO2 emissions/kWh. Therefore adding wind and solar to Ontario’s grid drives CO2 emissions higher. From 2016 to 2032 as Ontario phases out nuclear capacity to make room for wind and solar, CO2 emissions will double (2013 LTEP data).

– In Ontario, with limited economic hydro and expensive storage, it is mathematically impossible to achieve low CO2 emissions at reasonable electricity prices without nuclear generation.

Jjoe
Reply

Richard. How many grams of co2 emmisions/kWh did coal fired power stations produce. I as only out of curiosity. Thank god coal is gone.

Bert
Reply

@ Jjoe “Thank God coal is gone” ?
Coal is not gone! Two years after the government closed the Nanticoke coal plant for emission reasons. CBC news Toronto reports that US Steel the neighbour of the closed coal plant, among others, is exempt from the new pollution limits. (Kathleen Wynnd is very committed to clean air, but also to partisan fundraising you know)
Electricity generation in Ontario is one of the cleanest in the world!
The stupidity is that this government is replacing clean electricity generating with unreliable wind with polluting natural gas backup.

Jjoe
Reply

Bert. Thank god coal is gone. The subject was thermal generation of electricity in Ontario. The pollution exemptions you cite have been discussed in a recent article posted on this website. Exemptions have been granted for up to 10 years. This is to give industries time to meet the new standards. No carbon exemptions were listed. Do you have a citation to show that carbon has been exempted?

Bert

Jjou; Thestar.com 25 feb 2016. Vanessa Lu
“About 100 companies and organisations will receive exemptions over the first four years from carbon emissions such as cement, petrochemicals, steel and mining.”

Jjoe

Bert. Thanks. The exemptions are for four years. This will allow these industries to transition to the new rules. Seems to make sense.

Barbara
Reply

Came across a discussion about cement production in California. According to the discussion very little cement is now being produced in California

Cement is imported into the state. But this issue needs further inquiry.

Jjoe

Barbara. Why is very little cement being produced in California? Was, in the past, California a big cement producer?

Jjoe

I found some answers to the cement questions I posed. “Emissions from cement plants, made up of
fuel combustion and clinker process
emissions, grew 10 percent in 2012,
correlating with the growth in the economy. After 2010, cement production and GHG emissions have grown steadily again since the recession. Longer term trends show that emissions peaked in 2005 with a decrease beginning in 2006 and continuing through 2010. Between 2006 and 2010, cement plant emissions declined 44 percent, reflecting both a large
decrease in demand and the closure of three cement plants over the period8. This decline continued in 2010 with California cement plants operating at 51 percent capacity9.” Page 6.

https://www.arb.ca.gov/cc/inventory/data/misc/ghg_inventory_trends_00-12_2014-05-13.pdf

Barbara
Reply

One consulting website reports 40% cement imports for California.

Companies will look at all the cost factors and decide where they can do business and not the government.

Jjoe

Barbara. The citation I provided shows cement production increasing now that the economy is doing better there.

Barbara
Reply

Most of the newer more efficient cement plants are located in other parts of the world such as India and China.

If it’s too expensive to upgrade older plants, then they can be closed down.

Just cheaper to import cement from lower cost countries.

Jjoe

Barbara. What you say about more efficient plants is probably true. But cement production in California is on the rebound as the economy improves.

Barbara
Reply

If a company can remain viable in Ontario, then they can remain.

Carbon leakage has now entered the business picture in Ontario and there are ways around this which include moving.

Again, governments can set policy but this doesn’t mean that businesses can’t escape these policies by different means.

Jjoe

They face many challenges. The industry will have to adapt. I hope that cement brought in from elsewhere would be charged a duty if it was not produced meeting our standards. If not, a subsidy for being dirty.

Barbara
Reply

Even if a duty is imposed, it still raises the price of cement and increases construction costs.

NAFTA could enter the picture when it comes to duties.

Building/infrastructure codes can be changed to provide for cement substitutes.

The important issue here is that the public has information as to what changes may have to be made.

Barbara
Reply

CAC

‘An Important Sector of Canada’s Economy’

Ontario with 6 has the most member cement plants in Canada.

In 2012, over 13 million tonnes of cement were produced by our member plants with 3.4 metric tonnes exported primarily to the U.S.

http://www.cement.ca/en/Economic-Contribution.html

R Budd
Reply

Wish you were as worried about the more problematic aspect of increasing natural gas reliance in On., that the Green Energy Act has brought about.

Jjoe
Reply

Natural gas is not perfect. It is better than coal.

R Budd

Not if you replace a small amount of coal with a long term commitment to a much greater amount of natural gas. Fracked gas with even a modest amount of methane leakage has emissions comparable to coal. Are you a big a fan of fracking, pipelines and reliance on a system with storage challenges? Not a very rational choice in Ontario’s case.

Jjoe

Fracking is a dirty method. I am not in favour of it. I never have been.

notinduttondunwich
Reply

Infrasound… noise pollution. … dangerous. ….. anywhere!!!!

Pat Cusack
Reply

You got that right, notinduttondunwich!

notinduttondunwich
Reply

Had the pleasure of meeting Hydro One ombudsman Fiona Crean last night at a meeting sponsored by the honorable Jeff Yurek MPP Elgin Middlesex….
There were around 250 people in attendance…. some really heartbreaking stories from people losing their houses, to seniors suffering from heat stroke because of hydro costs…. improper billing was mention at least a dozen times…. again not sure how this meeting will resolve anything… when Fiona’s report comes out in the spring of 2017 the liberals will just toss it aside…
I was very happy to see all the people there… we are not alone and neither are any of you folks out there fighting your own hydro battles… you are not alone!!!! Go and raise your voices to all levels of government….. OEB…. IESO…. HYDRO NONE… OMBUDSMAN. …. MPP … MP… . hell even give Ole Katty Wynnd a call and let them know that this must stop immediately before they completely decimate the environment…. the economy and the lives of hard working Ontarians! !!
NO MEAN NO IESO!!!! Cancel all wind and solar projects now!!!!

notinduttondunwich
Reply

Barbara. … funny how Mr treadeau doesn’t measure the amount of greenhouse gasses produced from windturbine construction….. but he will keep an eye on it with the pipelines….
what a joke this whole demockery has become….

Barbara
Reply

If and when oil and gas companies transition more into renewable energy then those wind and solar projects will have to be installed somewhere.

How much more will rural Ontario be affected by this?

Increased renewables and carbon taxes in exchange for oil and gas production and pipelines. Let’s make a deal!

Barbara
Reply

TIME, Aug.22, 2011

Scroll down to: ‘Standing Against Oil Sands – and Standing for the Climate’

Then scroll down to:

“It might be better to make a deal for the pipeline – investment in alternative energy or fuel efficiency standards in exchange for Canadian
oil sands.”

http://www.science.time.com/tag/tar-sands

Barbara
Reply

An Alberta oil and gas companies shift to renewables also explains why wind developers are moving to Alberta.

windbuddy
Reply

Jjoe, you wanted me to support my numbers. I don’t believe RBudd’s number at 12% for population growth in Ontario, but if it is correct, that’s a clear statement that people see Ontario as a great place to build a home, raise their families, and work. They don’t believe the crap about IWT health affects, devaluation of property, or cost of living challenges. The population of Huron County is listed at 59,325 in 2006 and at 59,100 in 2011. That is a steady number in my books. Population growth in ACW increased by 3.2% from 2001 to 2011. As far as land values, RBudd says that values increased because of an increase in commodity values. Untrue!! Values for cash crops and non-regulated livestock have decreased in the last few years. The average price for a single family dwelling increased by more than 10% in the last two years in Huron County. As Phillip has stated in one of his replies, these anti-winders have a packaged reply ready for almost any challenge that is put to them. Like the old story of Don Quixote, they are tilting at windmills. Their days are over.

Jjoe
Reply

I actually wanted both of you to support your assertions. You’ve laid out your case. I do not know where your numbers come from. I am not trying to be rude but citations would bolster your assertions. The same goes for R Budd.

R Budd
Reply

So nice Jjoe that we have someone with little enough other life, that they have become the unofficial WCO moderator.

Jjoe
Reply

R Budd. It would be nice that if you could support your claims.

Parker Gallant
Reply

Median family income in Ontario is not keeping up with the rest of the country in respect to growth and we are falling further behind several other provinces. Loss of skilled jobs in the manufacturing sector is having a negative effect. Electricity price growth are driving those jobs away.

http://www.statcan.gc.ca/tables-tableaux/sum-som/l01/cst01/famil108a-eng.htm

R Budd
Reply

Nice little rant Windbuddy. I hope you feel better now. Yes of course 12% growth per year was incorrect, we aren’t doubling our population every 6 years. It’s roughly 1.2% per year, my typing error. I doubt though you can find another county in southern On. that has seen the population drop while the province has grown to that degree. The cause is multiple factors for sure, but does 400+ wind turbines make an area an one attractive for people to move to? Obviously not. Like I said go visit either ACW or Bluewater and honestly tell me those areas haven’t been degraded relative to non-development areas.
It’s not like the effect a nuclear plant has that provides hundreds of high paying long term jobs. With wind you get almost nothing in term of local employment benefit. And whether it’s a doubling of background noise, the red strobe lights at night, or the outrageous amount of transmission lines running past houses, it’s not so fascinating for buyers. Why is that hard to understand?
You appear to be intentionally trying to cloud the issue in that saying ACW increased population from 2001 to 2011. That’s irrelevant. K2 wasn’t even built, and the vast majority of ACW home builds are either Saltford or the lakeshore, well outside of the wind developments.
My point is that big wind development drives down residential values, but can also drive up ag. value. One would have to be brain dead not to get that. Folks may say they like turbines, till they see a map with the measle like red dots of a proposed wind development surrounding their dream property. Then they run someplace else.
As far as ag., yes of course raw land value has been driven up by both commodity prices and the increased demand for places to put turbines and solar arrays. No question there. The province knows big wind helps sterilize residential in prime ag. areas and they are using it that way.
And yes a farm operation with revenue from 6 turbines can out bid his neighbour who may be a better farmer but doesn’t have the same “mad money” that needs to get spent before taxes every year. Neither of those realities are good for agriculture or rural communities.
So Windbuddy you must feel the wind development we have seen and apparently are going to see more of is good for Ontario. What I see is that On. bleeds money out of province whenever the wind blows . We’ve degraded vast areas for agriculture, wildlife and people. Read the comments to the National Post story WCO just reposted. Has there ever been a time in your memory when On. residents have been so disgusted with their home province over energy policy and the grim fiscal outlook that’s been created? How do you defend this?

Jjoe
Reply

I was referring to the claims made regarding Huron County. Two different. pictures have been painted. I have no way of knowing which one, if either, is correct.

windbuddy
Reply

…so says Gallant…and naturally wind energy is at the root of all that is wrong with this country. Income taxes, HST., Unions wanting more than is available by the manufacturer, Canadian dollar, do not factor in????

Parker Gallant
Reply

The dollar’s drop should be a boon to manufacturers but that hasn’t happened. Simple economics-labour costs go down relative to our neighbours to the south which should drive up our competitiveness but instead we are loosing manufacturing jobs to many of the US states who have lower unemployment levels. The costs of manufacturing are greatly influenced by the cost of labour and input costs such as elecltricity. The unions that have benefited the most in Ontario have been those supplying government services including those affecting businesses. The current government has continued to award those unions to entice their vote come election time. Public sector unions have supported the Ontario Liberal government with more donations than the Ontario NDP & the Ontario PC parties combined.

Sommer
Reply

Regardless of the out migration/in migration most current statistics, check out how Huron County presents itself on its website: http://www.huroncounty.ca

Does anyone see any mention of the lure of living within an industrial wind turbine power station?

Barbara
Reply

People can write all the books and journal articles about the new green economy they want to, but that’s not going to keep business in Ontario.

Bert
Reply

@ Jjoe, from the Annual Energy Conservation Report from the Environmental Commissioner of Ontario.
“Natural gas is usually considered the cleanest
of the fossil fuels. However, the greenhouse
gas benefits of natural gas are very sensitive
to the leak rate of unburned natural gas
(which is mostly methane). Methane is a
powerful GHG, with a climate forcing effect
28 times more potent than carbon dioxide
over a 100-year period, and 84 times more
potent in its first 20 years in the atmosphere.4
Methane is also a chemically reactive gas,
leading to ozone formation in the lower
atmosphere. Ozone in the lower atmosphere
is likewise a greenhouse gas, and is toxic to
both humans and ecosystems.5
While Ontario tracks provincial methane
emissions from sources like landfills and
natural gas equipment, and requires methane
capture from some landfills, it does not track
methane leakage from the entire natural gas
supply chain or from other sources such as
agriculture or sewage treatment.
The proportion of Ontario gas supply
coming from the U.S. Appalachian Basin
(i.e., Marcellus and Utica plays), where
hydraulic fracturing is used and may result in
a higher release of methane gas, is expected
to increase from an 18 per cent share in 2016
to a 71 per cent share in 2021.6 The U.S.
considers methane emissions from natural gas
production and distribution to be a significant
climate concern, and is developing regulations
to control them.7 While most studies agree
that replacing coal with natural gas has
climate benefits over the very long term,
some studies estimate that in the nearer
term, the greenhouse gas break-even point
for natural gas, as compared to coal, is a
leak rate no higher than 3 per cent. And they
conclude that the U.S. natural gas sector leak
rate is higher than 3 per cent.8 Other studies
suggest that much leakage comes from a small
number of “super emitters.”9
Most methane leaks reportedly occur during
production and processing of the gas, very
little of which occurs in Ontario. According
to the Ontario Energy Board, losses during
distribution of natural gas in Ontario
(known as Unaccounted-for Gas, which
Ontario gas utilities are compensated for
as part of their regulated rate base) are
less than 1 per cent and lower than the
U.S. average. Leaks from the distribution
system are an unknown portion of
Unaccounted-for Gas. Enbridge and Union
estimate that most of Unaccounted-for Gas
is due to metering variations, not leaks.”

Jjoe
Reply

Bert. As I have stated earlier, natural gas is not perfect. Methane is one of its problems. Coal mines also release methane.

Jjoe
Reply

R Budd wrote. “Not if you replace a small amount of coal with a long term commitment to a much greater amount of natural gas”

Well, the amount of coal that was replaced in Ontario was not a small amount. “Weaning economies off of coal, as Ontario learned, is no small feat. In 2003, Ontario generated 7,500 megawatts of coal-fired electricity, a quarter of its power supply. Ontario’s coal consumption peaked that year at 18.6 million metric tons.”

http://e360.yale.edu/feature/how_ontario_is_putting_an_end_to_coal-burning_power_plants/2635/

Barbara
Reply

Do you happen to know who/ what 360.org is?

Check this out:

Natural gas considered to be an intermediate necessary step in the transition to all renewables to produce electric power.

Barbara
Reply

Yale School Of Forestry & Environmental Studies

GEM Initiative

Advisory Board includes:

David Runnalls, International Institute For Sustainable Development, Canada
James Gustav Speth, also World Resources Institute and Board of 350.org

Also see: Faculty Associates

https://environment.yale.edu/gem/advisory-board/#gsc.tab=0

Environment 360 is a publication of the Yale School of Forestry & Environmental Studies.

Barbara
Reply

Environment 360

About Us

Partly funded by:

Gordon & Betty Moore Foundation
John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation

http://www.e360.yale.edu/aboutus.msp

Barbara
Reply

The North-South Institute, Ottawa, 1999

‘Civil Society And Global Change’

Chapter 3, P.29: A Shared Environmental Challenge

Who Are The ENGOS?
Strategies For Change
Climate Change Issues

Chapter 9, P.95: The Art Of Making Change

How things can be done by ENGOS in the environmental movement.

http://www.nsi-ins.ca/wp-content/uploads/2013/01/CDR-1999.pdf

Barbara

And published 17 years ago.

R Budd
Reply

Jjoe…the article addresses coal use from 2011 not 2003. Coal use was actually very low in On. way back in ’95 (cleaner than we will be in 2025 unfortunately) but as I pointed out earlier, the scheduled refurbs at The Bruce were put off and coal filled that hole as the economy grew.
The Green Energy Act was repeatedly described as necessary to replace coal,when in fact coal was truly an irrelevant emissions contribution by ’09 (the year the GEA passed the legislature). Transportation and heating and heating were ~5X larger emissions contribution than the whole provinces electricity generation. That’s where the money should have been spent.
By ’09 the four reactors at the Bruce were all back coming on line (thank Liberals for that at least) and replaced 85% of that ’03 coal generation. ~6000mw of natural gas had been added by then as well. To suggest that wind or solar could or would replace the peaking role of the coal plants at that point was silly to anyone who had any grasp of how the grid worked. I’m ok with replacing coal if its the best bang for the environmental buck (it wasn’t) but be honest about what actually replaced it.

Jjoe
Reply

Yes, as coal use declined the amount emmisions declined. That makes sense. Thermal plants began shutting ex. Lakeview in 2005. In 2010 there was still 4487 MWof thermal capacity still available. But the plants actual use was being cut. I also agree that wind and solar are poor substitutes for coal generated power.

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