Ontario wasting clean energy with its renewables program: engineers

The Ontario government’s energy policy, which pays high prices for renewables contracts, is actually wasting clean, efficient and reliable power from other sources, says the Ontario Society of Professional Engineers, in its blog late last week.
Here is the posting:
Society Notes by OSPE
Following a detailed analysis of year-end data issued by the Independent Electricity System Operator (IESO) and Ontario Power Generation (OPG), the Ontario Society of Professional Engineers (OSPE) is reporting that in 2016, the province wasted a total of 7.6 terawatt-hours (TWh) of clean electricity – an amount equal to powering more than 760,000 homes for one year, or a value in excess of $1 billion.
“This represents a 58 per cent increase in the amount of clean electricity that Ontario wasted in 2015 – 4.8 TWh – all while the province continues to export more than 2 million homes-worth of electricity to neighbouring jurisdictions for a price less than what it cost to produce,” said Paul Acchione, P.Eng., energy expert and former President and Chair of OSPE.
OSPE shared these findings with all three major political parties, and will be at Queen’s Park this morning to speak to media regarding the importance of granting professional engineers more independence in the planning and designing of Ontario’s power system.

So why is Ontario wasting all this energy?

“Curtailment is an industry term that means the power was not needed in Ontario, and could not be exported, so it was dumped. It’s when we tell our dams to let the water spill over top, our nuclear generators to release their steam, and our wind turbines not to turn, even when it’s windy,” said Acchione.
“These numbers show that Ontario’s cleanest source of power is literally going down the drain because we’re producing too much. Speaking as an engineer, an environmentalist, and a rate payer, it’s an unnecessary waste of beautiful, clean energy, and it’s driving up the cost of electricity.”
In addition to curtailment, surplus hydroelectric, wind, and nuclear generation was exported to adjoining power grids in 2014, 2015, and 2016 at prices much lower than the total cost of production. This occurs because Ontario produces more clean electricity than it can use, so it is forced to sell off surplus energy at a discounted rate. Total exports in 2016 were 21.9 TWh compared to 22.6 TWh in 2015, and a significant portion was clean, zero-emission electricity.
“Taken together, those total exports represent nearly enough electricity to power every home in Ontario for an entire year,” said Acchione. “OSPE continues to assert that the government must restore the oversight of professional engineers in the detailed planning and design of Ontario’s power grid to prevent missteps like this from happening.”

Engineers have solutions

Because Ontario is contractually obligated to pay for most of the production costs of curtailed and exported energy, OSPE believes it would be better to find productive uses for the surplus clean electricity to displace fossil fuel consumption in other economic sectors. In the summer of 2016, OSPE submitted an advisory document to the Minister of Energy and all three major political parties detailing 21 actionable recommendations that would deliver efficiencies and savings, including reducing residential and commercial rates by approximately 25 per cent, without the creation of the subsidy and deferral account under the Ontario Fair Hydro Act.
OSPE also recommended the establishment of a voluntary interruptible retail electricity market in order to make productive use of Ontario’s excess clean electricity. This market would allow Ontario businesses and residents to access surplus clean power at the wholesale market price of less than two cents per kilowatt-hour (KWh), which could displace the use of fossil fuels by using things like dual fuel (gas and electric) water heaters, and by producing emission-free hydrogen fuel.
Ontario is currently in the process of finalizing its 2017 Long Term Energy Plan (LTEP), a multi-year guiding document that will direct the province’s investments and operations related to energy. This presents a key opportunity for the government to reduce Ontarians’ hydro bills by making surplus clean electricity available to consumers.
“It is imperative that we depoliticize what should be technical judgments regarding energy mix, generation, distribution, pricing and future investments in Ontario,” said Jonathan Hack, P.Eng., President & Chair of OSPE. “We are very concerned that the government does not currently have enough engineers in Ministry staff positions to be able to properly assess the balance between environmental commitments and economic welfare when it comes to energy.
Professional Engineers must be given independence in planning and designing integrated power and energy system plans, which will in turn benefit all Ontarians.”

About the Ontario Society of Professional Engineers (OSPE)

OSPE is the voice of the engineering profession in Ontario, representing more than 80,000 professional engineers and 250,000 engineering graduates, interns, and students.
OSPE’s 2012 report Wind and the Electrical Grid: Mitigating the Rise in Electricity Rates and Greenhouse Gas Emissions detailed the mounting risk of hydraulic spill, nuclear shutdowns, and periods of negative wholesale electricity prices during severe surplus base load generation.
While curtailment will decrease during the nuclear refurbishment program that began in October 2016 and the retirement of the Pickering reactors scheduled to occur from 2022 to 2024, it will rise again when the refurbished reactors return to service, unless the government takes action.
OSPE’s Energy Task Force has provided strategic engineering input to Ontario’s Ministry of Energy for more than ten years. The majority of OSPE’s recommendations have been fully or partially implemented over the past five years, saving consumers hundreds of millions of dollars per year. But more can be done if government engages Ontario’s engineers to optimize the use of the province’s clean electrical power system.
The Toronto Sun picked up on the analysis from the engineers and posted this editorial which called the Wynne government’s energy policy “incompetence” and the “ultimate absurdity.”
With all this data and analysis at hand, Wind Concerns Ontario once again calls on the Ontario government to:

  • cancel the wind power contracts given in 2016 under LRP I
  • halt wind power projects such as Amherst Island that are not yet operating
  • cancel other contracts in limbo such as White Pines in Prince Edward County.



What's your reaction?


  • Barbara
    Posted July 3, 2017 11:41 pm 0Likes

    UNCTAD / United Nations Trade and Development
    The Green Economy: Trade and Sustainable Development Implementations
    8-10-November 2011, Geneva, Switzerland
    2.2, p.7
    “Often, national policy frameworks also use complementary regulatory and market based-instruments to reorient firms and consumers in a transition. For instance, within the electricity sector, feed-in-tariff regulations can accompany market-based incentives to encourage individuals and firms to invest in renewable energy systems and become independent power producers.”
    “Phased performance and technology standards can also promulgate through regulation in order to force new private investment in green technologies over time.”
    More at:

  • Notinduttondunwich
    Posted July 4, 2017 8:13 am 0Likes

    You can’t really argue that now can you…… unless you’re the lieberal party of Ontario!!!!
    Again like other fact based science this report will be filed under Glenny Glen Glen
    Thibeaults ministry as …….
    Anecdotal information….. thank you OSPE but you folks don’t understand how to run the grid…. you best stick to engineering other things you understand..

  • Sommer
    Posted July 4, 2017 8:19 am 0Likes

    “It is imperative that we depoliticize what should be technical judgments regarding energy mix, generation, distribution, pricing and future investments in Ontario,” said Jonathan Hack, P.Eng., President & Chair of OSPE.
    I agree 100% with this statement. I’ve been saying that this needs to be an election issue. Having people who are incompetent and unable to assess an ongoing situation, in order to make the ‘necessary changes’ has led us into this mess.

    • Barbara
      Posted July 4, 2017 1:56 pm 0Likes

      IMO, the Canadian and U.S. UN situations run in parallel with sub-national activities crossing the border. The Canadian and U.S. UN situations are separate issues?
      Is/was the Green Energy an accident?

  • Notinduttondunwich
    Posted July 5, 2017 5:32 pm 0Likes

    Sommer…. if you listen tho minister of energy Glenny Glen Glen Thibeault…… he has stated in the past that the lieberal party of Ontario is just doing what the citizens of Ontario request of them….

  • Notinduttondunwich
    Posted July 5, 2017 6:26 pm 0Likes

    Oh oh here’s one of Glenny Glen Glen Thibeaults new energy contracts!!!! Ontario’s will pay maximum for their hydro all while the Ontario lieberal Governments clients pay below cost…..

  • Notinduttondunwich
    Posted July 6, 2017 5:36 pm 0Likes

    Can you imagine what a pickle we will be in when 60 million governments clients’ clients need more and more cheap power!!! We will be locked into a guaranteed contract and rolling blackouts will become a reality… again…. the amount of debt we will / are accumulate and we will basically become power slaves to the lieberals clients’ clients….

  • Sommer
    Posted July 10, 2017 9:06 am 0Likes

    Why does WCO not say anything in response to this OSPE’S Energy Task force report regarding the harm being experienced by people who are right now being forced to deal with the loss and the safety, security and pleasure of their homes?

  • Stan Thayer
    Posted July 16, 2017 9:40 am 0Likes

    The grid is getting worse.
    On Wednesday July 12th 2017 my equipment measured the largest flucuations I have ever seen. At approximately 4:30 pm there was a 37 volt variation on the single phase 120 volt grid supply. It went from 104 to 141 over a period of 15 minutes. Usually during the summer months flucuations are early morning and late evening by a few volts as factories and businesses ramp up and shut down.
    This could have been an aberration or perhaps so many companies have closed that the remaining consumers are not enough to balance the grid. I can only imagine what a spike it was on the higher voltage lines!
    Stan Thayer Alexandria On

    • Sommer
      Posted July 20, 2017 8:39 am 0Likes

      Are these fluctuations related to low frequency noise modulations and the dramatic health episodes that are so frightening for people in close proximity who are functioning normally one minute then incapacitated/impaired the next for no other apparent reason?
      When this happens, it can be very unsafe for a person, especially if they are alone or taking care of children and suddenly unable to function.

    • Barbara
      Posted July 25, 2017 1:14 pm 0Likes

      JCM Capital, Toronto
      Re: The Lake Erie 1,000MW HVDC transmission line.
      “An additional private transmission route would provide energy traders with a guaranteed means of selling power at a fixed price over the long term.”
      Tom Heintzman is the COO of JCM and on the Board of Greenchip Financial Corp., Toronto
      More on the Lake Erie Connector Project at:
      LEPC already approved in Canada and the U.S.

      • Barbara
        Posted July 25, 2017 4:23 pm 0Likes

        Douglas Capital
        Notable Principal Investments
        Includes: Lake Erie Power Corp., 2012, HVDC, 1,000MW Connector Project.
        2013, additional capital from JCM Capital
        Notable Investment projects at:

      • Barbara
        Posted July 26, 2017 11:33 am 0Likes

        There are ways of locating incorporation records.

      • Barbara
        Posted July 26, 2017 1:12 pm 0Likes

        JCM Capital /JCM Power
        Our Team’
        “Our team is made up of world-class energy and emerging market professionals, including leadership from Engie (GDF Suez), IFC Infrastructure Group (World Bank), Vestas, Recurrent Energy, Ontario Power Generation, and the African Development Bank.”
        Projects include: Lake Erie Clean Power Connector.

  • Tracy
    Posted July 28, 2017 3:10 pm 0Likes

    That’s a good question Sommer, why does WCO not say anything … In regards to people that are being harmed?

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