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.
©Parker Gallant,
October 27, 2014

What's your reaction?


  • Scott Luft
    Posted October 28, 2014 10:08 am 0Likes

    “spasmodic production” is right – despite the expense of that production, Ontario’s industrial wind turbines weren’t putting out much during the peak demand hour (7-8pm Sunday). Wind was less than 10% of nameplate then, and solar was, of course, at 0.

  • Trackback: Wind farms: another $20 million gone in a weekend | Ottawa Wind Concerns
  • Aussieblue
    Posted October 30, 2014 9:11 pm 0Likes

    Really? Was the power produced by the wind generators earmarked for export? Or was there just a window of opportunity to export power due to demand fluctuations? Or is there, hopefully not, a general over capacity? If you want to help your cause don’t publish such nonsense. Do not swamp us with nonsensical figures.

    • Wind Concerns Ontario
      Posted October 31, 2014 9:02 am 0Likes

      Of course it was not “earmarked” for export. Why on earth would you pay over $100 a megawatt and then sell it for pennies? Beyond dumb.

      • Aussieblue
        Posted October 31, 2014 9:38 am 0Likes

        Do you understand the concept of a power grid?

        • Wind Concerns Ontario
          Posted October 31, 2014 10:12 am 0Likes

          Yes. Also, T-R-O-L-L

          • Aussieblue
            Posted November 1, 2014 6:04 am 0Likes

            OK, do you have a sense of humor or is getting abusive (beyond dumb) your standard response? I stated that your figures don’t make sense, then you are calling me a troll. Yet, they don’t make sense. What you are saying is that the financial losses are due to wind power. And I doubt that. According your figures the overcapacity must be around 4 GW. However, your wind power capacity right now would be only 0.5GW (5GW in the year 2025). What’s the retail price per kWh in ON anyway? I pay $0.25/kWh. Have a good day.

  • Parker Gallant
    Posted November 1, 2014 9:24 am 0Likes

    On average Ontario is exporting about 20% of its demand–about 2500 MWh each and every hour of the day. At the same time we run with a “capacity” surplus that IESO indicate is anywhere from 50% to over 100%. Than to make matters worse we usually have several hours of the day when SBL is forecast to exceed demand meaning we spill cheap clean hydro, steam off nuclear, pay wind, gas, biomass, etc generators to either curtail production or to not produce. Our all in rates for electricity vary depending on the local distribution company and our “rate class” meaning rates are about 17/18 cents per kWh on the low side and 30 cents/kWh on the high side.
    Hope this gives you what you were looking for

    • Aussieblue
      Posted November 1, 2014 9:45 pm 0Likes

      Thanks, our off/on peak price is 12.7/47.4 Cents, even if coal and gas is abundant here. With all your inefficiencies you are still doing much better than us. And our system is pretty obscure while yours is quite transparent really. I’d swap with you any time. Puts things in perspective doesn’t it?

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