Ontario’s $16-million Christmas power giveaway

Ontario's energy policy: gifts for somebody---just not you
Ontario’s energy policy: gifts for somebody—just not you

Lumps of coal for everybody else…

Christmas was great day for Michigan and New York, courtesy of Santa Claus Ontario and wind power: Ontario exported 16.5 % (about 66,000 MWh) of our total demand for power on Christmas Day, and those two neighbours got $500,000 in cash along with the 56,000 MWh of power we gave them.  Power generated from wind energy was 36,000 MWh or 51% of total exports—if the curtailed wind production was included that would be 77% of the surplus power exported, so the wind power developers must be happy with their Christmas presents from Ontario, too.
In fact, Ontario’s electricity ratepayers picked up the cost of the cash payments to Michigan and New York, along with the actual cost of the production which was $7 million.  And, we paid about $2 million for “curtailed” wind (17,000 MWh), close to $3 million for “steamed off” nuclear (49,000 MWh) and more than $3 million to the gas plant generators for their “net revenue requirement” while the gas power plants idled.  That’s $16 million… and it doesn’t include the cost of Christmas Day “hydro spillage” as the Independent Electricity Systems Operator or IESO doesn’t report on it.
Total demand for power in Ontario Christmas Day was only 325,000 MWh, perhaps due to mild weather or maybe everyone barbecued their turkeys.  The hourly Ontario energy price (HOEP) value of the total demand of 390,000 MWh was negative (-$2,900,000) based on the average negative price of $7.45/MWh, but Ontario ratepayers still paid the $40 million needed to produce that power.
So our Premier and her chief Elf in the Energy portfolio, Bob Chiarelli, rewarded Ontario’s ratepayers with lumps of coal on Christmas day while doling out goodies to our neighbours!
©Parker Gallant
December 26, 2014
Contact Wind Concerns Ontario at 1-855-517-0446 or

What's your reaction?


  • Grant Church
    Posted December 28, 2014 2:27 pm 0Likes

    $5.84 billion per year at that rate. What a disaster.

  • Digger Dan
    Posted December 28, 2014 10:48 pm 0Likes

    Premier Wynne come clean on the Solid Gold scandal, then resign

  • Rod Bilz
    Posted December 29, 2014 8:13 am 0Likes

    While I agree that the method being used to promote Green Energy is flawed in Ontario, I do not agree that it is the only model or that we should stick our heads in the sand and pretend that we do not need to develop this resource. My preference would be for the government to work together, regardless of party stripes to develop a better model. If we are just going to point fingers, there could be a lot of finger pointing at the Alberta tar sands that we are now selling our oil to foreign interests at a loss with massive government subsidies as well.

    • Wind Concerns Ontario
      Posted December 29, 2014 8:59 am 0Likes

      Part of the problem is that the Green Energy Act was engineered right down to the last details by the wind power development lobby, for the wind power development business. Completely left out of that “solution” was any regard or support for smaller scale initiatives such a retrofitting office buildings, homes, etc. (which really would have created jobs for the long-term) or other technologies such as boosting the efficiencies of Ontario’s small hydro, for example (again, a real technology that would have created jobs). Instead, the focus was on the money to be made from government subsidy of large- or utility-scale wind power development which is neither efficient nor reliable. And certainly not appropriate for location near Ontario communities, or in pristine wilderness where miles of transmission is required at significant power loss. We agree, there are more answers to the question of appropriate power sources, but utility-scale wind wasn’t one of them. As described in a 2002 consulting report for the Suzuki Foundation, wind is high impact for low benefit.

    • Bob Lyman
      Posted December 29, 2014 11:22 am 0Likes

      Mr. Blitz, please explain how you consider that Alberta producers are selling oil to American refiners “at a loss”, and what exactly you consider to be subsidies. The Alberta oil sands producers paid over $3 billion in taxes and royalties to governments last year and injected over $12 billion into the Canadian economy. Unlike wind and solar energy, the oil sands producers do this with no government preferences, no guaranteed tariffs, no exemptions from provincial environmental regulations or land use planning requirements, and certainly no exports priced in negative dollar terms.

  • Greg Latiak
    Posted December 29, 2014 1:26 pm 0Likes

    The ‘green’ in Green Energy Act is what the well-connected wind companies expect to get from the people and businesses of Ontario with the collusion of the government. There never has been any interest in improving the state of the planet or the Province — as substituting gas turbines for clean nuclear and hydro shows. This might be a problem in jurisdictions where government officials and their friends are not allowed to profit privately from policy, but apparently not here. And there are still rumors that the open market for power is still waiting in the wings — where speculation in future power costs will be mandatory (think Enron). As has been pointed out by others, facilitating local power solutions, as the US has done, and avoiding massive grid and management investments would have been a better solution for both Ontario and the planet. But no, the welfare of Ontario and the environmental laws and treaties it is a party to are a distant second to this policy of take the money and run.

  • Barbara
    Posted December 29, 2014 4:04 pm 0Likes

    Try reading this paper published June 2013
    “Role of Incentives on Energy Conservation” funded by the Tides Foundation.
    Provides much insight as to why Ontarians are not being allowed to access the cheaper electricity production which has to be curtailed or sold at a loss and is paid for by all Ontarians.
    This study involved natural gas consumption but the same kinds of methods are being used in Ontario to control electricity consumption.
    The policy is energy consumption has to be controlled by the government to get the desired amount of conservation.

  • Butcher99
    Posted December 29, 2014 7:01 pm 0Likes

    so would you have been happier if it was 20 below and zero wind and the gas plants had not been able to keep up and brow outs had occurred? You are great for complaining but where is your solution?
    The wind blows and generates electricity. That is good.

    • Parker Gallant
      Posted December 29, 2014 7:09 pm 0Likes

      If it was 20 below we would probably be under the influence of a high pressure weather system meaning the wind wouldn’t be blowing and the wind turbines would be useless. Wind and solar are weather dependent!

  • Butcher99
    Posted December 29, 2014 7:04 pm 0Likes

    “$5.84 billion per year at that rate. What a disaster.”
    Yes, but it is not at that rate. That is an anomaly. One day out of 365.

    • Parker Gallant
      Posted December 29, 2014 7:12 pm 0Likes

      Unfortunately it is not just one day, It is many and particularly when its not needed. Check out Professor Ross McKitrick’s studies. Wind generation presents itself 80% of the time its not needed!

  • Mary
    Posted December 29, 2014 7:24 pm 0Likes

    This is ludicrous. What the hell is the matter with the Provincial government and Ontario Hydro or whatever it’s called now. Why should we pay for power for people in the US. I barely get food on the table since the federal government gave me my retirement windfall of $563.00 per month. What a crock of shi*

  • Barbara
    Posted December 29, 2014 10:20 pm 0Likes

    The present Ontario government is engaged in electricity conservation.
    So if you allowed electricity consumers to use any of the electricity that has to be sold or curtailed this would not be conservation for consumers.
    Conservation has to be forced on to consumers so they get used to doing without electricity. And there are different methods/ways of doing this.
    People are going to need to find out what is really taking place in Ontario about the electricity situation.
    Curtailing or selling surplus power is not the issue as far as the government is concerned. Forced conservation of electricity is the issue and the long term goal.

  • Erich
    Posted December 30, 2014 2:34 am 0Likes

    Funny how you don’t lead with the huge amount of unnecessary nuclear that was produced that day, at a HUGE real cost (when you include the total cost of original build plus refurbishment plus lifelong subsidies plus debt retirement). Wind is a drop in the bucket compared to the amount of nuclear we are locked into buying, whether we need it or not. It is this huge non-varying nuclear supply which is the elephant of oversupply and forces us to pay others to use our power.
    Also funny that you imply there is a cost to “hydro spillage”, by which I presume you mean water going over the dam instead of through the turbines if the power isn’t needed, yet you don’t seem to think there would be any cost of “wind spillage” if the same happened with wind turbines.
    The simple reality is that Ontario has over-built the amount of supply for what’s needed on winter holidays because we are trying to have enough domestic capacity to meet peak summer demand. The alternative would be to have less domestic supply in place, and have to buy more costly imports at times of peak demand, which could be even more expensive.
    Because, as you note, all forms of electric supply have contracts, which is why on a lowest-demand day, we have to pay some idling fees to all forms of generation (nuclear, hydro, gas, wind). So it’s not like wind is some kind of special problem.

    • Parker Gallant
      Posted December 30, 2014 9:38 am 0Likes

      Wind is not base-load power-that is the big difference yet it is treated as such. Its availability stinks compared to hydro (over 90%) and nuclear. On the latter Darlington’s availability is 98% and Pickering 80%. We need power when we need it not when it decides to present itself. With wind turbines providing power we would only be able to turn on the lights 30% of the time and 80% of the time we wouldn’t want or need the lights to come on. If we paid for power generated by wind turbines when it would prove useful we would only be paying for 6% of its output. Gas plants are in place to back up the other 94% of the time and also provide peaking power for those high demand days in the winter and summer. We can’t store wind by putting a dam in place as we can with hydro and they can’t be ramped up or down like gas plants or hydro plants..

      • Butcher99
        Posted December 30, 2014 10:55 am 0Likes

        Actually technology to store wind and solar power is advancing. Like all technologies it needs time to advance. You certainly are not driving the same technology your grandpa did nor does your computer work at the same speed your machine of 10 years ago did.
        Was the plan for wind power in Ontario great? By no measure at all was it great or even good. However your children or children’s children will reap the benefits of the early move to sustainable power and that is a positive.
        Once the storage of power technology comes of age you will understand. If there are no early adapters of the technology it can never advance.

        • Parker Gallant
          Posted December 30, 2014 1:52 pm 0Likes

          The solution should come before we destroy the economy. Electricity from wind was developed by James Blyth in the 1880’s and storage used then was batteries! http://scienceonstreets.phys.strath.ac.uk/new/James_Blyth.html
          It still is the only reliable storage as all of the other forms of storage being worked on have not proven themselves!
          The horse should still come before the cart and politicians can’t get that right. Why do you think they can?

          • Butcher99
            Posted December 30, 2014 2:26 pm 0Likes

            The solution is coming. No pun intended. Look it up.

  • Rural Grubby
    Posted December 30, 2014 10:35 am 0Likes

    Funny how Erich can’t seem to understand that nuclear “oversupply” is the result of wind being forced on the grid FIRST over any other generation as a result of the sweet deal the GEA and Libs have created for the wind industry. This first to the grid for wind and solar is actually forcing our reliable generation to spill in the case of hydro and vent off in the case of nuclear (which BTW is the core of our baseload power meaning it needs to be generating 24/7). Too bad again, that Erich doesn’t seem to catch on that “wind spillage” is indeed paid for in this province as Parker has outlined above “And we paid about $2 million for “curtailed” wind (17,000 MWh)”.
    Funny also how Erich doesn’t seem to comprehend how nuclear and hydro is part of OPG, therefore owned by the province and instead applauding that these sources of generation should be making $$$ for the province to help recoup our investment as a taxpayers, it would appear that he would rather see wind (which are often offshore companies, Nexterra, GDF Suez, Acciona etc) get the $$. This leads me to think that Erich’s might have an invested interest in wind energy. Say it ain’t so!!! because heaven forbid that wind proponents would have any kind of bias towards hard core data that shows that wind is indeed “a special kind of problem”

  • Barbara
    Posted December 30, 2014 12:35 pm 0Likes

    As a result of the December 2013 ice storm in eastern Canada some of TransAlta’s IWTs were down for 7-12 days.
    There is no backup electricity storage for IWTs that can last for this length of time now and maybe not for a very long time.
    But you don’t find this kind of information in the MSM. You have to read corporate documents to find out things like this.
    This Ontario situation of spilling electricity or giving it away does not make sense but it is what it is.
    Maybe it makes sense to those who can profit from this situation in one way or another.

    • Butcher99
      Posted December 30, 2014 2:24 pm 0Likes

      Of course there is no storage that lasts that long yet. Usually you would be talking 8-48 hours storage. Anomalies happen.

      • Parker Gallant
        Posted December 30, 2014 7:06 pm 0Likes

        Kind of like the battery for your cell phone eh because that is the best they have now.

        • Butcher99
          Posted December 30, 2014 8:51 pm 0Likes

          The new technologies do not use batteries.

          • Butcher99
            Posted December 30, 2014 9:07 pm 0Likes

            Amend that last post to say not all new storage systems use batteries.

  • Barbara
    Posted December 30, 2014 3:21 pm 0Likes

    So as of now there would be only 8-48 hours of storage. Glad you brought this up as many think that there now is storage that can be used to supply power for maybe up to 14 days.
    The January 1998 Quebec ice storm took out 130 transmission towers and thousands of kilometers of lines. Power outages lasted for up to a month.
    IWTs are exposed to the weather in Ontario and therefore unreliable sources of power.
    Read the corporate papers for companies that are in the renewable energy business and weather factors are considered to be risk factors for investors. And as such have to be revealed to the investing public.

  • Pattie
    Posted December 30, 2014 4:54 pm 0Likes

    Thank God for the sanity of Parker Gallant. So many of the posts have not got a clue what they are talking about.

  • Pattie
    Posted December 30, 2014 4:55 pm 0Likes

    Does Butcher99 know what the word anomaly means?

    • Butcher99
      Posted December 30, 2014 6:29 pm 0Likes

      Actually, yes I do. Therefore I will supply you with a definition as you don’t seem to have a firm grasp on the concept.
      something that deviates from what is standard, normal, or expected.
      Transaltas iwts being down for that length of time is an anomaly as would the Quebec towers. It certainly does not happen often, it is not expected is out of the norm.
      Who would have thought 10 years ago that you could buy a 4 terabyte hard drive for just over $100-150. Technology advances. The 8 hour storage that works now if technology was to advance at anywhere near the same rate would be far in advance of 14 days in 10 years.
      Whether you like it or not, green energy is here to stay. It is the wave of the future. Certainly the Ontario roll out was flawed(understatement) however rather than whine and complain how about your solution.

      • Parker Gallant
        Posted December 30, 2014 7:03 pm 0Likes

        Those technology advances did not come about because of government mandates or subsidies picked from the pockets of taxpayers or ratepayers. Governments traditionally do a horrible job of picking winners or picking technology that actually works. Perhaps you have read about the screw-ups of the current Liberal government in this province who have managed to screw up: E-health, Ornge, Pesto, MaRs Discovery District, gas plants, smart meters (Hydro One in particular) and recently issuing social support payments to mention a few.. Had they supported developments though research instead of picking the winners with taxpayer supported largesse we might now have a better mouse trap. Green energy is simply a money grab benefiting mainly foreign companies and Liberal friendlies like Mike Crawley, former President of the OLP. Come back when the storage capabilities have been developed by the private sector but not before. Please test those capabilities though before purchasing!
        That 4 terabyte hard drive came from the work of the private sector driven by a profit motive not from taxpayer monies being thrown at it by inane politicians..

        • Butcher99
          Posted December 30, 2014 8:49 pm 0Likes

          Just a little cut and paste about subsidies to one of the largest chip makers in the world. No subsidies? You should try that Google thingy before you post.
          “Ninety-nine of these subsidized companies have received awards totaling $1 million or more. Five have been awarded more than $1 billion. Among them: Intel ($5.9 billion) – See more at: http://inequality.org/subsidizing-forbes-400/#.dpuf

          • Parker Gallant
            Posted December 30, 2014 11:24 pm 0Likes

            Small potatoes compared to renewable energy:
            ‘The federal government spent $24 billion on energy subsidies in 2011, with the vast majority going to renewable energy sources, according to a government report.” Link is here: http://money.cnn.com/2012/03/07/news/economy/energy-subsidies/
            Oh, and a big chunk of what you note on subsidies went to companies like Telsa ($1.3 billion) for their high end electric cars that will be charged with power produced by wind turbines that also got 2.3 cents per kWh.http://www.forbes.com/sites/kensilverstein/2013/12/06/energy-subsidies-fan-the-flames-but-all-sectors-share-in-the-federal-pie/
            Did you confirm that the Intel grant money went to research and development of hard drives? I somehow doubt it. In all likelihood the money was for military spending. My guess would be drones but hey research is only as deep as you want to take it eh?

          • Butcher99
            Posted February 18, 2015 7:16 pm 0Likes

            Speaking subsidies..
            Determining how much of a subsidy fossil fuel industries receive in Canada isn’t easy. The federal government estimates that fossil fuels have received a direct subsidy of $508 million over the past five years, and additional direct tax breaks of $1.5 billion. The government’s numbers contrast sharply with a recent study, little reported in Canada, by the International Monetary Fund, which estimated that Canada is subsidizing the fossil fuel industry by $25 billion a year.
            These subsidies artificially keep the real costs of fossil fuels low, making it extremely difficult for renewable energy developers to compete. The entry of renewable production into the market is essential in order that we begin to wean ourselves off of climate changing fossil fuels. Yet, in Ontario, the energy production market is grossly distorted in favour of nonrenewable energy as a result of subsidies to fossil fuels and nuclear. Nuclear producers are not paying the full life-cycle costs of energy production, mainly because they have failed to price the safe, long-term storage of nuclear waste. The Nuclear Waste Management Organizations estimates that taxpayers will on the hook for the $25 billion needed to construct and maintain a nuclear waste repository, likely to be located in Northern Ontario.

  • Pattie
    Posted December 30, 2014 6:54 pm 0Likes

    You do not know when to quit.. We all know what anomaly means. Do you not realize just how often Ontario PAYS Quebec or Michigan or New York to “take” the hydro we have all paid such a high price for? No-one is whining but you & you have yet to offer any solution.

    • Butcher99
      Posted December 30, 2014 8:32 pm 0Likes

      I was accused of not knowing what anomaly meant. I showed that actually my use of the word was proper so that leads to the obvious conclusion that the person who said I did not does not know the meaning
      I am not whining at all. I know that although this government screwed up the implementation of green energy it is the correct track.
      What did the $500,000 actually cost you? The population of Ontario is getting on towards 14,000,000. You do the math.
      Green energy is the solution not the problem. The problem lies elsewhere and if the conservatives had any kind of a platform that a sensible person could vote for maybe a move could have been made to address the problem.

      • Parker Gallant
        Posted December 30, 2014 8:56 pm 0Likes

        Reread the article! The cost was $16 billion. the $500K was simply a bonus for us providing zero (0) cost energy! 66,000 MWh or enough to power about 7,000 households was given away for nothing yet it cost all of Ontario’s ratepayers $16 million for just the one day.
        You and our Energy Minister, Bob Chiarelli must have had the same math teacher.

        • Butcher99
          Posted December 30, 2014 9:11 pm 0Likes

          And that power was hydro, nuclear gas fired and wind. The weather is too warm. Would you rather have brown outs when it gets to cold or hot?

          • Parker Gallant
            Posted December 30, 2014 11:28 pm 0Likes

            Read the article again and listen to the podcast with Dale Goldhawk. You’re just not getting it! Are you parading under a alias and you are really Rick Smith or David Suzuki or even Al Gore?

          • Butcher99
            Posted December 31, 2014 10:42 am 0Likes

            May I suggest you reread it. I just did It was all forms of power except the gas plants which were idle.
            You had good warm weather. There was excess electricity from all forms. So much so that the gas plants were idle.
            Quit telling me to reread the article, or that I don’t know what words mean. Each time you do I look it up and find I am correct.
            ” And, we paid about $2 million for “curtailed” wind (17,000 MWh), close to $3 million for “steamed off” nuclear (49,000 MWh) and more than $3 million to the gas plant generators for their “net revenue requirement” while the gas power plants idled”
            The weather was to warm. Every part of the system was over producing. Projections are made and when the weather does not cooperate you get over production.
            What is your solution? Shut down the wind and solar? Build more gas plants? Build more nuclear? Instead of attacking me for pointing out the obvious come up with solutions.

          • Pattie
            Posted December 31, 2014 8:14 am 0Likes

            We are getting “brownouts ” sometimes daily , and we are getting power cuts lasting hours & days, the last this month. We almost never had them, only in winter & for a short time, before wind & solar came on line, now it is a way of life.

          • Butcher99
            Posted December 31, 2014 10:29 am 0Likes

            Then I guess we just pull wind and solar offline and the brown outs go away.

          • Parker Gallant
            Posted December 31, 2014 11:33 am 0Likes

            Wind and solar are the problem because they are weather dependent and forecasting their production is causing the problems. The wind swings can be 1,000 MW in an hour which puts the grid at risk. For solar its cloud cover! So ya, shut them down and stop putting them up or those brownouts will continue. The reason we steam off Bruce, spill hydro and pay gas plants for idling is caused principally by wind and solar generation.
            Wind and solar should be used only off-grid in remote areas without hookups to the main transmission lines. Put in lots of batteries to store the power and/or small gasoline or diesel generators to jump in when the wind dies or cloud cover forms.
            By the way if you look at wind generation it usually presents itself when our demand for power is low. The Spring and Fall seasons are when they produce at much higher levels but in the summer they often sit idle and their average generation falls to 10% of less!
            Today they are cranking it out:
            and we are exporting http://reports.ieso.ca/public/IntertieScheduleFlow/PUB_IntertieScheduleFlow.xml
            all of it but picking up the cost of the Global Adjustment for power we can’t use. That makes a lot of sense to anyone without a modicum of economic knowledge.

  • Pattie
    Posted December 30, 2014 6:55 pm 0Likes

    You do not know when to quit.. We all know what the word means. Do you not realize just how often Ontario PAYS Quebec or Michigan or New York to “take” the hydro we have all paid such a high price for? No-one is whining but you & you have yet to offer any solution.

  • Barbara
    Posted December 30, 2014 9:45 pm 0Likes

    When big storms do occur they don’t take out conventional power plants.
    Big storms can and do take out wind and solar which is the power plant itself along with power lines.
    Where and when are you going to get the replacement IWTs, parts and solar units. In a few hours or a few weeks? Bad enough trying to replace lines without having to replace these “power plants”.
    This is why they are investment risks that are required to be revealed to investors.

  • Barbara
    Posted December 30, 2014 10:44 pm 0Likes

    Conventional power plants require a significant amount of capital which can be tied up for years.
    Developers and money lenders don’t have to tie up capital for that long with renewable projects. Build them and sell them at a profit and move on to more projects. Or bundle and spin off these projects in investment packages sold as bonds or yieldcos to investors. The money lenders get their money back quickly by doing this.
    Plenty of money to be milked off from these projects.
    Then a market gets developed to trade these bonds and yieldcos where more money is made on fees for trading these kinds of securities.
    All this will be at the expense of Ontarians who buy electricity and maybe onto all of the rate payers.

  • Barbara
    Posted December 31, 2014 11:41 am 0Likes

    Renewable energy is first in line to be purchased.
    Renewables have to be first in line to get the guaranteed flow of cash from them to pay back the money lenders, developers and investors. Otherwise there would be few or no renewable energy projects.

  • MattiR21
    Posted December 31, 2014 3:29 pm 0Likes

    I watched ‘Down Wind’ documentary … finally….. I totally agree with the thrust of the film….. HOWEVER….. I was left with one big problem….. You notice that the people doing the most crying in this show are ret’d teachers, and nurses etc….. ex-members of the most militant unions Ontario has to offer…. I well recall their history of extortion and Liberal Party support …. and now they’re crying because the policies they supported with no/no research has come back to bite them in the ass….. poetic justice I call it….. However if I’m wrong …. show me….

  • Randy
    Posted January 1, 2015 6:21 pm 0Likes

    Don’t worry …. Premier Wynn will look to cuts in wages, benefits and staffing in the OPS to off set some of the cost. The OPS contact ended Dec 31st.

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  • Jim Sinclair
    Posted January 10, 2015 6:40 pm 0Likes

    Who in this forum understands about the subsidy paid by Hydro One to power Generators? Ths explains why Power Generators are surging ahead to build more and more power supplys. W pay for it under the Global Adjustment on our bills.

  • Frank DeBresser
    Posted January 12, 2015 3:47 pm 0Likes

    This looks good on ANYBODY and EVERYBODY who voted Liberal at the last provincial election.
    Liberal voters did not pay attention to the issues and only voted for WYNN because they (the voters) are extremely stupid. I am surprised that a few deer hunters have not taken out a few windmills yet. It should be easy since the windmill generators are in one spot and don’t run away like deer do.

    • Butcher99
      Posted January 12, 2015 7:21 pm 0Likes

      So people are stupid if they do not vote as you want them to?
      If there is an award for stupid remarks you would get it. I do not understand how anyone could vote for the lame platform the cons poy out and apparently a majority of the people agree with me.
      However, that does not make you stupid, just ill informed.

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