When wind power rises so do exports and electricity costs: Parker Gallant
Wind output up, exports up, cost of electricity up— no coincidence
Five years ago, in 2009, George Smitherman, Minister of Energy during the McGuinty reign, rammed through the Ontario Legislature the Green Energy and Green Economy Act. The Act ushered in the FIT (Feed In Tariff) and MicroFIT programs, attracting corporations from around the world who wanted the lucrative power contracts being let by the government-mandated Ontario Power Authority.
The result of the Act is now evident with huge chunks of rural Ontario covered with solar panels and spiked by 500-foot industrial wind turbines cranking out intermittent electricity, surplus to our demand, 99.9% of the time.
Early in 2010, the Independent Electricity System Operator (IESO) advised us of electricity generation for Ontario by fuel type for 2009. The headline in their press release stated: “Wind Power in Ontario Generates a New Record in 2009.” Wind produced 2.3 terawatt hours (TWh) or 1.6% of Ontario’s total demand of 139 TWh. The same press release noted Ontario exported 15.1 TWh, and wind’s percentage of those exports was 15.2%. The release also disclosed the average HOEP (hourly Ontario electricity price) for 2009 was $31.6 million per TWh, and the Global Adjustment (GA) $30.6 million/TWh.
That means, the costs of power generation (on average) were $60.2 million per/TWh.
Wind significant share of the loss
In 2009, Ontario exported 15.1 TWh generating revenue of $477.2 million (15.1 TWh x $31.6 million), but the TWh exported cost Ontario ratepayers $909 million (15.1 TWh X $60.2) — that means Ontario lost $432 million. The cost of power production from wind was $283 million (2.3 TWh X $123 million/TWh), representing 65.5% of the losses on the exported TWh.
Fast forward five years to January 2015: IESO’s announcement indicated Ontario’s demand in 2014 was 139.8 TWh. Wind was 6.8 TWh, or 4% of all generation. Exports grew to 19.1 TWh and wind’s percentage of exports shot up to 35.6%. HOEP was $36 million/TWh and the GA jumped to $54.6 million/TWh, making the all-in-cost to Ontario’s ratepayers $90.6 million/TWh. The cost to produce 19.1 TWh was $1,730 million (19.1 TWh X $90.6 million), and revenue generated from the sale was $688 million (19.1 TWh X $36 million). That left Ontario’s electricity ratepayers to pick up the $1.042 billion shortfall. The cost for 6.8 TWh of wind was $836 million plus another $42 million1. for curtailed wind bringing its cost to $878 million, representing 84 % of export losses.
The all-in-cost of Ontario’s electricity generation jumped from 6.2 cents/kWh in 2009 to 9.06 cents/kWh in 2014, an increase of 46%. Ratepayers picked up an additional burden of $4,048 million for 139.8 TWh.
The extra .8 TWh (800 million kWh) Ontario ratepayers consumed in 2014 versus 2009 cost us over $4 billion or $5.06 per/kWh, much of it was caused by the push for renewable energy and the need to have back-up power plants for when the wind is not blowing or the sun isn’t shining.
Imagine how many subway stations or hospitals $4 billion might have built.
April 13, 2015