These spring windy days are costing you: Ontario’s Wynne government pays millions for power it can’t use including wind, produced exactly when we don’t need it.
More than $13 million wasted on windy last day of March
By Parker Gallant
March 2016 left like a lion with the wind roaring mightily. Wind on March 31st could have generated over 90% of its IESO posted capacity of almost 3,900 MW— but it didn’t. Demand was relatively low in Ontario that day, with users requiring only 359,000 MWh. That meant the IESO folks were busy getting nuclear to steam off (about 26,000 MWh), spilling hydro, and actively curtailing wind.
Curtailed wind generation on that day exceeded both Ontario’s net exports of 31,400 MWh, and wind-generated electricity actually delivered to the grid. Our exported surplus was sold at a negative average price of the HOEP (hourly Ontario energy price) as we paid New York, Michigan, Quebec, and others $1.71/MWh to take our excess power.
We also paid wind power generators in the neighbourhood of $120 per MWh to curtail an estimated 40,500 MWh.
Our production costs for the month of March are collectively estimated at $117/MWh, suggesting the Global Adjustment (GA) will average about $112/MWh and the HOEP will average around $5/MWh. That means the cost of the day’s full generation of 400,224 MWh (Ontario Demand + exports) at an estimated $46.8 million. Included in that figure are costs for net exports, steamed off nuclear, spilled hydro, curtailed wind, and idling gas plants, needed to back up wind and solar.
The one-day costs included in the $46.8 million are: an estimated $1.5 million for Bruce Power to steam off nuclear; $3 million to pay idling gas plants; $3.7 million to pay for our exported surplus; and about $4.8 million for curtailed wind.
Without including costs for spilled hydro, the total costs for energy not needed for just one day came to about $13 million. We should be grateful the sun wasn’t shining too or we would have been paying for solar generation at even higher prices. We also saved about $15/MWh or $600,000 March 31st by curtailing wind generation or the $13 million daily cost would have been higher.
Now, try to imagine how that $13 million might have helped out our health care system, perhaps by retaining nurses at many hospitals such as Windsor, North Bay, etc., where recent staff reductions have occurred. No wonder an Ontario Health Coalition study a year ago stated: “we have been deeply disturbed at the devastating cuts we are seeing to needed public hospital care all across Ontario.”
The money that should be earmarked for health care is finding its way into the pockets of the mainly foreign wind turbine and solar panel developers instead of actually helping out Ontarians.
Time to scrap the acquisition of more intermittent wind and solar generation and earmark the money where it belongs. Ontarians don’t want to see $13 million wasted daily, just to pretend wind and solar are better than emission-free nuclear and hydro.
April 3, 2016