The secret is out: wind is wimpy

Big Wind lobby group president Robert Hornung claims wind contributes to steady power supply: the facts say different
Big Wind lobby group president Robert Hornung claims wind contributes to steady power supply: the facts say different

IESO confirms wind is wimpy during On-peak use periods

 The IESO’s 18-Month Outlook was posted on their website September 21st and includes various forecasts that attempt to project what Ontario’s demand for power will be and also estimate what our various generating sources will provide.

The forecasts for power generation from wind tell a story: wind power generation occurs when its not needed!

The two charts featured below project what wind is expected to generate for the January 2016 to December 2016 period and the first chart (Table 4.4:) is an estimate of “Monthly Wind Capacity Contribution Values. On average, wind is forecast to generate electricity at 25.9% of their rated capacity which appears low as most wind development companies claim they produce at the 30% level.

Another claim was made March 3, 2014 by Robert Hornung, President, Canadian Wind Energy Association (CanWEA) when he stated: “Procuring a stable and steady stream of wind energy complements Ontario’s new energy conservation measures, and provides the province with unprecedented flexibility to align electricity supply needs with changing economic and environmental circumstances”.

What exactly can he mean by “stable and steady”?   Wind power production in the early hours of October 3rd, 2015 from 1 am to 5 pm was 12,481 megawatts, when it was not needed. On Monday, October 5th, 2015 wind produced just 99 MWh in the five hours from 9 am to 1 pm, when demand for electricity is ramping up. Is that CanWEA’s idea of “stable and steady” and “unprecedented flexibility”?

Jan     Feb     Mar     Apr   May     Jun     Jul     Aug     Sep   Oct     Nov     Dec

37.3% 37.3% 28.9% 28.5% 21.3% 12.6% 12.6% 12.6% 17.3% 28.8% 36.7% 37.3%

Table 4.4: Monthly Wind Capacity Contribution Values

 

As if to emphasize the point, the IESO Outlook produced another chart (Table 6.1) which forecast the percentage of production that was likely to be produced by wind during “Time-of-use” (TOU) “Off-Peak” hours. The chart highlights what those of us who follow the system have suspected—wind generation presents itself at the wrong time of the day and the wrong time of the year!   As can be seen by comparing the highlighted seven months from March through September, wind produces more electricity in those off-peak hours when demand is low and overall operates at a higher “Capacity Contribution” level of 26.1%, failing miserably during the hot summer months. It also produces power at higher levels during the Spring and Fall when Ontario’s demand is at its lowest.

 

Off-Peak WCC (% of Installed Capacity)

Jan     Feb     Mar     Apr     May     Jun     Jul     Aug     Sep     Oct     Nov     Dec

33.5% 33.5% 31.5% 34.2% 24.1% 15.4% 15.4% 15.4% 21.6% 28.4% 33.1% 33.5%

Table 6.1: Monthly Off-Peak Wind Capacity Contribution Values

 

IESO has an additional chart (4.1) “Existing Generating Capacity as of August 14, 2015” which provides a “Forecast Capability at Outlook Peak (MW)” suggesting it is based on historical data. IESO estimates the 3,209 MW of installed wind capacity will produce 445 MW. That suggests that only 12.6 % of its production is generated in times of Ontario’s peak energy needs!

Tell me again, why is our Energy Minister, Bob Chiarelli seeking more wind when IESO suggests it is unreliable, intermittent and produces power when it’s not needed?

©Parker Gallant

October 7, 2015

Comments

John Vincent
Reply

Good figures. Ironically, the more wind that is installed won’t improve the positive numbers for wind. Wind blows , or doesn’t blow , across a swath of the province at a time, putting even more windmills under a calm and making their numbers looke even worse.

Gord Schneider
Reply

I would love to attend the Resign Wynne Day rally at Qeens Park but unfortunately I’m committed elsewhere. I offer my best wishes that this is a smashing success. Good luck.

Johana
Reply

I’m really sorry you can’t find a way to rearrange your commitment which is > 3 weeks away. I was hoping to meet you. Thanks for the good wishes and hope your commitment resolves without a glitch.

Richard wakefield
Reply

I found this out in my analysis 5 years ago. Nothing has changed with regards to output, just more of them not performing as promised.

John Vincent
Reply

Richard: I agree, I did the same thing myself. t didn’t take a lot of research and a knowledge of the power system to figure it out, but it seems to take a long time to sink in.

Richard Mann
Reply

See the report, “Ontario’s Electricity Dilemma – Achieving Low Emissions at Reasonable Electricity Rates.”
Ontario Society of Professional Engineers (OSPE), April 2015.
http://c.ymcdn.com/sites/www.ospe.on.ca/resource/resmgr/DOC_advocacy/2015_Presentation_Elec_Dilem.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 genera,on 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 CO 2 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.

Mark S
Reply

I once did some calculations based simply on cost efficiency and this is how the numbers played out. If you take standard sources of power at a cost of roughly 3.5 cents per kwh and green energy at 55 cents per kwh – using just one percent green energy our typical cost rise is close to 15 percent with no added value to service. Why pay 15 percent more for nothing?

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