Parker Gallant: let’s cap electricity trade in Ontario

SOLD! Ontario's expensive renewable power sold off to the highest bidder (in frequent times of excess supply). What did it cost YOU?
SOLD! Ontario’s expensive renewable power sold off to the highest bidder (in frequent times of excess supply). What did it cost YOU?

Let’s cap Ontario’s trade in electricity
Comparing 2008 to 2015 shows significant losses to Ontario’s electricity consumers 
On Wednesday, November 19, 2008, the year before the Ontario Legislature passed the Green Energy and Green Economy Act (GEA), the total demand for electricity in Ontario for the day was 434,000 MWh and, according to IESO’s summary, the market (hourly Ontario electricity price or HOEP) placed a value on that demand just shy of $30 million.  Ontario exported 24,600 MWh and received $1.6 million for those exported megawatts.  At the time the average price Ontario ratepayers were paying for a kilowatt hour (kWh) of power was 6.02 cents according to the Ontario Energy Board.
Seven years later on Thursday, November 19, 2015 IESO reported Ontario’s total demand was 351,000 MWh (83,000 MWh less) perhaps reflecting the 78% increase in the average cost per kWh to 10.7 cents/kWh in those seven years!   The market value IESO recorded for the day of  the “Total Market Demand” (425,000 MWh) had a negative value of -$1,092,000.
That day IESO reported Ontario exported 75,000 MWh paying New York, Michigan, and others $2.57 per MWh to take it off our hands. That means it cost Ontario’s ratepayers an additional $200,000 over and above the monies paid to the generators of $9.4 million for those exports.  The $9.6 million estimated cost doesn’t include monies paid to generators for idling gas plants, steaming off power from Bruce Nuclear, spilling hydro or paying wind generators to curtail their production.
In the latter case, wind1. could have produced about 73,000 MWh, or almost 100% of the day’s exports; however, it appears that IESO forced/asked the generators to curtail 27,000 MWh for which they were paid just a few dollars short of their contracted2. price.   An estimate of the cost to ratepayers for the day’s generated and curtailed production would put it close to what it cost ratepayers for those exports, in the neighbourhood of $9 million.
While annual Ontario ratepayer demand fell over 5% in the seven years from 2008 to 2014 from 148 terawatts (TWh) to 139.8 TWh, the price increased at a rate exceeding inflation by a factor of 5:1. Much of it has to do with the addition of wind and solar generation to the grid, requiring it to be backed up with gas plants (a couple of which have been moved at a cost of $1.1 billion), transmission builds to bring both generation sources to urban communities, and spending (in excess of $3 billion) on conservation programs … all of these costs are absorbed by Ontario’s ratepayers!
Couple that with the cost of exporting our surplus generation to our neighbours and you have today’s outlook: Prices of electricity in Ontario are high and heading higher!
Time to cap the addition of more wind and solar generation, instead of burdening Ontario with a carbon price to further impact disposable income(s) while we are all trying to cope with the relentless climb in electricity prices.
Throwing $10 million a day over the fence to our neighbours has gone on long enough!
© Parker Gallant

  1. In 2008 wind generated .9 TWh and in 2015 to the end of September it has produced 5.9 TWh.
  2. IESO has not disclosed what wind generators are paid for curtailed production but rumour indicates it is only a couple of dollars less than the contracted rate.

The opinions expressed are those of the author and do not necessarily represent Wind Concerns Ontario policy

What's your reaction?


  • Pat Cusack
    Posted November 27, 2015 9:35 am 0Likes


  • Bob Lyman
    Posted November 27, 2015 11:47 am 0Likes

    As Parker has shown many times in his comments, IESO is far below the standard of “openness and transparency” that Wynne likes to claim are the hallmarks of Liberal government in Ontario. It is outrageous that IESO will not publish what it pays to curtail power generation from each source and that the Ontario Energy Board does not require it to do so.

    • Scott Luft
      Posted November 27, 2015 2:28 pm 0Likes

      it’s okay now Bob.
      IESO has a new vision:
      “Operating and shaping the electricity system and market in an effective and transparent manner”
      I assume a return to reporting monthly revenues from exports (as they did during Bentley’s term as Energy Minister), noting curtailed generation regularly, and finally reporting production and costs of distributed energy, are all just around the corner.
      It’s 2 of six bullet points after all:
      “Sharing relevant and valued information, data, analysis and expertise”
      Must be about to happen. right?

  • Tracy
    Posted November 28, 2015 3:29 pm 0Likes

    Smoke and mirrors, on and on and on.
    The Liberals are wasting $billions of taxpayer money. It goes into the bank accounts of the Liberal headed companies.
    IESC iawarded 9 energy storage projects to who????
    The people of Ontario, the Liberals, which includes a great part of the TORONTO population have been STUPID enough to enable this to happen – put the Liberals in power, Ontario is about to get just what it deserves for being so stupid, lazy, entitled, complacent; call it what you want. This is HORRENDOUS. What is going on is actually a take over, it is a WAR unlike any of the great wars of the past.
    The next phase of this brilliant scheme will be acquisition of rural Ontario; much waterfront, which includes the largest fresh water system in the world and prime agricultural land. Food and water will be the next to sky rocket, and, the cycle will continues. Tax, tax, tax. We are well on our way to becoming a truly communist province governed by the scum of the Liberal IWT companies.
    This is a very complex scheme running over a course of decades.
    People as myself who cannot live close to iwts that DO PRODUCE LOW FREQUENCIES, will have to move far, relocate in order to survive.
    The new immigrants coming into Canada will be frail, vulnerable, frightened and in perfect condition to groom and mold their minds into the submissive followers; a fresh batch of lambs going straight to yet another slaughter.
    Sounds crazy?!!! Darn right it is. The reality in your world will become frightening, grim, and very pathetic. So long Ontario.

    • Barbara
      Posted November 28, 2015 8:27 pm 0Likes

      Add on the $2.65 billion the federal government has pledged to tackle climate change over five years.
      Send this pledge bill to the GTA and add this amount onto their hydro bills! They voted for this kind of thing so let them pay for it.

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