Turbine components waiting for delivery to Nation Rise wind power project. Another $450 million to go on your hydro bill. [Photo: Leanne Baldwin]*
October 24, 2019
Ontario Premier Doug Ford gave his first interview after the federal election today, with host Bill Carroll on Ottawa talk radio CFRA.
The topic was how Ford could work with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau after an acrimonious election campaign in which Ford was repeatedly used as an example of Conservative government dedicated to budget cuts, but the conversation included the cost of electricity in Ontario, and why hydro bills are set to go up next week, when the Ford government had promised to get them down.
“[The electricity file] has been very frustrating,” Ford told Bill Carroll. He put some of the blame on the McGuinty-Wynne governments which cut lucrative deals for wind and solar with “cronies” Ford said, and Ontarians are now stuck paying above-market rates for electricity.
“We’re trying to get a handle on it,” he said.
Meanwhile, despite a citizen appeal that cost the people of North Stormont, south of Ottawa, about $100,000 in legal fees as they brought forward numerous, serious concerns about the impact of grid-scale wind turbines on people and the environment, the 100-megawatt Nation Rise wind power project is under construction.
It will cost Ontario electricity customers more than $450 million over its 20-year contract.
And, in Chatham-Kent, another wind power project is being built: Romney Wind is being built by EDF of France. That will add over $250 million to electricity bills.
“If you set out to destroy the electricity file in Ontario, you could not have done a better job than they[McGuinty and Wynne] did,” Ford said.
*Note the pickup truck in the lower left corner of the photo—an idea of the scale of the wind turbines
With more electricity bill increases to come, the Wynne government still planning to give out contracts for more wind and solar that the province doesn’t need, and the privatization of Hydro One ongoing, today’s proposed 8-percent rebate on electricity bills is nothing more than a “Band-Aid.”
Christine van Geyn of the Canadian Taxpayers Federation says that real change is needed to halt the dramatic rise in consumer electricity bills, including the halting of new contracts for wind and solar. See her statement from today, here.
Wind Concerns Ontario president Jane Wilson (also chair of Ottawa Wind Concerns) said that real changes to programs are needed. Contracts that could be cancelled now, should be, and the government should halt the new Large Renewable Procurement program, scheduled to begin in 2017.
Patrick Brown of the Progressive Conservative Party of Ontario told Evan Solomon on Ottawa Now (CFRA) that the Wynne government needs to stop giving out expensive contracts for wind power, and reverse the Green Energy Act.
Locally, councilor George Darouze, who has been collecting signatures for MPP Lisa MacLeod to take to the Legislature on blending Hydro Ottawa with Hydro One’s rural Ottawa customers, said the 8-percent rebate was a “joke.” Rural customers pay 30 percent more than urban Ottawa customers. “An 8 percent rebate isn’t going to close that gap,” he said on CFRA.
Meanwhile, Ontario municipalities have been passing resolutions and endorsing resolutions to demand the Wynne government return local land-use planning, removed by the Green Energy Act. Now 111 municipalities — one-quarter of all municipalities in Ontario — are asking that no contract for wind power be given without municipal support of the power project. Ottawa councilor Scott Moffatt, in presenting an motion to Ottawa City Council, said that municipalities are required to have an Official Plan, and that they know best what development is appropriate, and sustainable.
Wind almost 40% of exported power; cost of surplus export $437 million in just 3 months
The first quarter of the current year indicates Ontario is exporting record quantities of surplus electricity.
It appears to be part of the Liberal government plan as this excerpt from Finance Minister Sousa’s budget “Building Ontario Up” claims: “Through our four-part economic plan, we are supporting greater investment in productivity and innovation, providing a renewed focus on international exports, encouraging the transition to a low-carbon economy and creating more jobs for Ontarians.”
It would be better if our surplus electricity was exported profitably, instead of a cost to ratepayers, but alas, that is not the way the Liberal Energy Ministers past and present have structured the portfolio.
The first quarter of the current year saw Ontario export a record 6.65 TWh (terawatts) — that’s enough to power 690,000 average households for a full year.
Export costs up 75% in first quarter
The 6.65 TWh sold to our neighbours was up 75% from 3.81 TWh in 2014′s first quarter. We sold that surplus at prices well below what we received. Exports represented 17.5 % of Ontario’s demand in 2015 versus 10% in the same period in 2014. Wind (generated and curtailed) in 2014 was 2.05 TWh and 53.7% of Ontario’s exports; in 2015, wind grew to 2.61 TWh and was 39.2 % of our exports.
The concept of exporting is one that economists encourage; however, they expect it will be profitable, create jobs, and not burden the rest of the economy though subsidization. Subsidizing exports is often referred to as “dumping” and frequently challenged under the WTO (World Trade Organization) rules.
Cost to ratepayers is shocking
Examining the cost to Ontario ratepayers for the 3.81 TWh exported in 2014 and the 6.65 TWh exported in 2015 using data from the Independent Electricity System Operator’s (IESO) “Market Summaries” is shocking.
The 2014 first Quarter exports cost (average of $102.6 million/TWh) ratepayers $391 million to produce and was sold via the HOEP (hourly Ontario electricity price) market at an average of $75.54 million/TWh. That cost Ontario’s ratepayers $103 million. In 2015, the 6.65 TWh exported cost Ontario’s ratepayers $672 million (average cost of $101 million/TWh), and sold at an average of $35.4 million/TWh, costing Ontario ratepayers $437 million.
To put some context to the latter, the money lost exporting the 6.65 TWh was equal to 6.6 cents per kilowatt hour. The foregoing subsidy does not include other costs Ontario’s ratepayers pick up including: spilled hydro, steamed-off nuclear or payments to idling gas plants. The subsidies supporting exports is double what Energy Minister Bob Chiarelli suggests is needed to assist almost 600,000 “low-income” households to pay their hydro bills. Ontario’s ratepayers will start paying the latter January 1, 2015.
This analysis would not be complete without noting the cost of wind generation (two quarters) in 2014 was $252.7 million (average cost of $123.5 million per/TWh) and $322.5 million for 2015!
Perhaps our Finance Minister should “focus” on the harm to Ontario’s ratepayers instead of dumping our surplus electricity on our neighbours who are happy to take it and not raise the issue with the WTO. If the first quarter of 2015 is indicative of the full year, ratepayers will pick up $1.8 billion in subsidies to supply our neighbours with cheap electricity, while Ontario’s citizens struggle.
Parker Gallant, April 28, 2015
The views expressed here are those of the author and do not necessarily represent Wind Concerns Ontario policy.
EDITOR’S NOTE: Parker Gallant will be on the Rob Snow show on radio CFRA, Friday May 1st, to discuss this. Listen in an AM 580 or online at cfra.com
After “boasting” that projected electricity bill increases will result in $120 more on electricity customers bills a year yesterday in Toronto, Ontario Energy Minister Bob Chiarelli is a guest on CFRA’s The Home Page at 1 p.m.
Morning show host Steve Madely disputed Chiarelli’s math on his CFRA show this morning, saying by his calculation, the increase in electricity bills will be at least $140…and that Ontario consumers can ill afford it.
Chiarelli acknowledged that the increases are due to Ontario’s “investment” in “green” energy.
That doesn’t make economic sense, says Ottawa Wind Concerns Chair Jane Wilson. “Wind power which is today less than 4% of Ontario’s power capacity, actually represents 20% of the utility cost,” she says. “And because Ontario has a surplus of power, we are exporting a significant part of that at a loss to the United States, while we are paying wind power developers billions. Yet consumers are being asked to pay more–this is just nuts.”
Ontario opened its new contracting process for large renewable power projects on March 10; it is not clear whether a large wind power generation project will be proposed for the rural Ottawa area. The City passed a resolution in 2013 saying it did not support a wind “farm” in North Gower, and demanded a return of local land use planning powers that were removed by Ontario’s Green Energy Act.
Call in to the radio station at 613-521-8255, and listen at 580AM in Eastern Ontario, or live online at cfra.com
Former CEO of the Ontario Power Authority Dr Jan Carr, will be Rob Snow’s guest on CFRA today, immediately following the 5 PM news.
Dr Carr has said that the power industry was “aghast” at the awarding of the renewables contract to Samsung, a company that had “no demonstrated expertise” in wind or solar power generation, and that the contract remains a horrific example of government procurement gone wrong.
The Samsung contract should be cancelled, he said in a letter to The Financial Post last week.
In an interview with Ottawa-area radio station CFRA, Ontario Energy Minister Bob Chiarelli stated that it will now be very “difficult” for a wind power proponent to get approval, without “significant” support from the hosting municipality. Ottawa is where a 20-megawatt wind power project has been proposed for over five years, and where residents of the North Gower community have been working on a petition to be recognized as “Not A Willing Host,” as the potential “host” community within the City of Ottawa.
Speaking on CFRA this morning, Ottawa Wind Concerns chair and Wind Concerns Ontario president Jane Wilson said the community needs to see what the new application rules are, in black and white, and determine what “significant” support from a city would look like.
When told by the CFRA host Steve Madely that there is pushback on Council to a motion being put forward by the councillor for the area, she said, “I would hope that Ottawa City Councillors would do the right thing for all citizens of the city.”
The report on the interview with Minister Chiarelli is here.
Chiarelli: approval not likely for North Gower wind farm without city support
By: Alison Sandor
Energy Minister Bob Chiarelli says without the city’s consent, it’s unlikely Prowind Canada will be able to build a wind farm in North Gower.
Chiarelli told CFRA they’ve changed the regulations for companies applying to build wind turbines.
“We have set up a process for wind farm applications now that require the proponent, the energy proponent, to actually have an engagement with the municipality and have some level of consent or cooperation with the municipality before they can actually even submit an application for the approval,” said Chiarelli.
Several city councillors have expressed worry about wind farms being built within city limits.
Opponents of wind farms say the turbines have negative health effects.
There have been some interesting TV news stories and radio interviews lately, let’s catch up, shall we?
MPP asks Premier to halt wind power project: CTV news, Kitchener. Note that MPP Pettapiece speaks of a referendum conducted in his riding, the results of which were that 96% of those surveyed said NO to the wind project. Note also the proximity of the turbines to a public school which has a special program for autistic children, who will be very affected by the noise and shadow flicker. The wind power developer doesn’t care. The province doesn’t care.
The last two days, CFRA’s morning show has been running interviews on the negative effects of wind turbines and wind power projects. Monday was an interview with Ottawa Wind Concerns/Wind Concerns Ontario chair Jane Wilson and the Globe and Mail’s Roy MacGregor. The topic was the wind power projects proposed for the scenic Algoma Region of Ontario, which is visited by countless tourists from around the world annually, who come to see the unparalleled beauty, made famous by Group of Seven painters.
Tuesday, CFRA’s Steve Madeley interviewed biology prof and executive director of the Long Point Waterfowl Conservancy on the negative impacts of turbines on wildlife. Note that Dr Petrie says Ontario’s setbacks are inadequate, that some areas of Ontario have been the “worst possible” place to put turbines, and further that because wind power developers do the environmental assessments themselves, they “always come up with the right answer.”
This interview is important coming as it does in the midst of the Environmental Review tribunal for the project at ostrander Point, a “globally significant” area for migrating birds.