Here is a comment from Ottawa economist Robert Lyman, who is reflecting on a recent post by energy blogger Scott Luft.
Luft believes that citizen opposition to giant wind power projects has resulted in substantial savings for Ontario.
I thought I might extract a few of the more salient points that would be of interest to Wind Concerns Ontario.
The article is intended as a status report on industrial wind in Ontario, measured three years after the last batch of feed-in tariff contracts were awarded. Three years ago, the contracted capacity from wind generators increased from around 4000 MW to around 5800 MW, according to the Ontario Power Authority (OPA). The OPA showed 1958 MW “in service” in 2011.
The Independent Electricity System Operator (IESO), in contrast, currently reports that “installed generation capacity” for wind is 1824 MW, well below the OPA’s figure for 30 months ago. The discrepancy between the two agencies is unexplained. Scott Luft’s interpretation is that actual generation from wind sites has been only about 12.5 % of the grid-connected wind sites. He also estimates, based on OPA data, that Ontario currently has about 2800 MW of generation capacity from industrial wind turbine generators. This is less than half the capacity that was contracted for three years ago.
He believes that the delays in construction of the contracted capacity is clearly the result of “rural NIMBYism”; in other words, the strong efforts of rural communities to push back against wind developers.
How much has this saved Ontario ratepayers?
The feed-in tariff contracts were to pay $135 per MWh. At 2850 MW, a delay of one year in construction pushes back about $1 billion in contract payments. However, the savings to be realized from wind opposition go further. Contracting, which was planned to go to about 8000 MW of capacity, was curtailed below 6000 MW three years ago, and the 2013 Long Term Energy Plan rolled back wind plans by an additional 1200 MW. The deferral on contracting 2000 MW of wind for three years is worth about $2.5 billion, and cancelling 1200 MW altogether could be worth another $8.5 billion over the 20 years of the contract term.