Despite a full appeal of the Nation Rise wind power project by community group Concerned Citizens of North Stormont, which raised serious issues of concern about human health and the environment, and despite a final appeal and request for a Stay of construction, the 100-megawatt wind power project is under construction in the Finch, Berwick, and Crysler areas.
Construction updates are to be provided by the developer EDPR on its website here
There have already been citizen complaints about dust and noise during construction, as well as a couple of mishaps with trucks and trailers delivering turbine components, and citizens have reported concerns about road safety.
EDPR at its construction update meeting in Finch last week said anyone concerned about safety, or who notices a worksite where there are no flagmen, should contact the company at: Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Phone: (613) 240-0348
The Ottawa Citizen recently ran an article by Kelly Egan which outlined community concerns. Ontario does not need more intermittent or variable wind power, which is produced out of phase with demand (source Auditor General Ontario). The Nation Rise project will cost Ontario electricity customers $450 million over its 20-year contract.
While the Canadian Wind Energy Association, the trade association for the wind power industry and vested interests, continues to maintain that wind power cannot be contributing to Ontario’s rising and unsustainable electricity bills, the facts indicate otherwise. The figures for April 2017 show wind power produced out-of-phase with demand, causing power from other, clean sources to be wasted, and wind power producers paid not to add power to the Ontario grid.
Here is Parker Gallant’s analysis.
The Independent Electricity System Operator or IESO’s 18 month outlook report uses their “Methodology to Perform Long Term Assessments” to forecast what industrial wind turbines (IWT) are likely to generate as a percentage of their rated capacity.
The Methodology description follows.
“Monthly Wind Capacity Contribution (WCC) values are used to forecast the contribution from wind generators. WCC values in percentage of installed capacity are determined from actual historic median wind generator contribution over the last 10 years at the top 5 contiguous demand hours of the day for each winter and summer season, or shoulder period month. The top 5 contiguous demand hours are determined by the frequency of demand peak occurrences over the last 12 months.”
The most recent 18-month outlook forecast wind production at an average (capacity 4,000 MW growing to 4,500 MW) over 12 months at 22.2%, which is well under the assumed 29-30 % capacity claimed by wind developers. For the month of April, IESO forecast wind generation at 33.2% of capacity.
April 2017 has now passed; my friend Scott Luft has posted the actual generation and estimated the curtailed generation produced by Ontario’s contracted IWT. For April, IESO reported grid- and distribution-connected IWT generated almost 703,000 megawatt hours (MWh), or approximately 24% of their generation capacity. Scott also estimated they curtailed 521,000 MWh or 18 % of generation capacity.
So, actual generation could have been 42% of rated capacity as a result of Ontario’s very windy month of April 2017, but Ontario’s demand for power wasn’t sufficient to absorb it! April is typically a “shoulder” month with low demand, but at the same time it is a high generation month for wind turbines.
How badly did Ontario’s ratepayers get hit? In April, they paid the costs to pay wind developers – that doesn’t include the cost of back-up from gas plants or spilled or steamed off emissions-free hydro and nuclear or losses on exported surpluses.
Wind cost=22.9 cents per kWh
For the 703,000 MWh, the cost* of grid accepted generation at $140/MWh was $98.4 million and the cost of the “curtailed” generation at $120/MWh was $62.5 million making the total cost of wind for the month of April $160.9 million. That translates to a cost per MWh of grid accepted wind of $229.50 or 22.9 cents per kWh.
Despite clear evidence that wind turbines fail to provide competitively priced electricity when it is actually needed, the Premier Wynne-led government continues to allow more capacity to be added instead of killing the Green Energy Act and cancelling contracts that have not commenced installation.
* Most wind contracts are priced at 13.5 cents/kilowatt (kWh) and the contracts include a cost of living (COL) annual increase to a maximum of 20% so the current cost is expected to be in the range of $140/MWh or 14cents/kWh.
“Assertions are complete nonsense … only wilful blindness would suggest that wind and solar are low cost”
Recently, energy analyst and occasional columnist for The Financial PostParker Gallant wrote that the Canadian Wind Energy Association (CanWEA) was hitting back at allegations that wind power was contributing to Ontario’s rising electricity bills.
Ontario representative Brandy Gianetta said wind power was a low-cost energy source, and she referred to University of Waterloo professor Jatin Nathwani for support.
Trouble is, she was wrong.
Professor Nathwani took the time to correct CanWEA’s statements in an email to Parker Gallant, published on his Energy Perspectives blog today.
Here is Professor Nathwani’s email:
Dear Mr Gallant:
In your Blog, you have cited Ms. Giannetta’s post on CanWEA’s website on April 24, 2017 as quoted below:
Her article points to two articles that purportedly support the “myth” she is “busting,” but both require closer examination. She cites Waterloo professor Natin Nathwani’s, (PhD in chemical engineering and a 2016 “Sunshine list” salary of $184,550) article of March 6, 2017, posted on the TVO website, which supports Premier Wynne’s dubious claims of “a massive investment, on the order of $50 billion, for the renewal of Ontario’s aging electricity infrastructure.” Professor Nathwani offers no breakdown of the investment which suggests he simply took Premier Wynne’s assertion from her “Fair Hydro Plan” statement as a fact! It would be easy to tear apart Professor Nathwani’s math calculations — for example, “The total electricity bill for Ontario consumers has increased at 3.2 per cent per year on average” — but anyone reading that blatant claim knows his math is flawed!
First and foremost, the record needs to be corrected since Ms Giannetta’s assertions are simply incorrect and should not be allowed to stand.
If she has better information on the $50 billion investment provided in the Ministry of Energy’s Technical Briefing, she should make that available.
The breakdown of the investment pattern in generation for the period 2008-2014 is as follows:
Wind Energy $6 Billion (Installed Capacity 2600 MW)
Solar Energy $5.8 Billion (Installed Capacity 1400 MW)
Bio-energy $1.3 Billion (Installed 325MW)
Natural Gas $5.8 Billion
Water Power $5 Billion (installed Capacity 1980 MW)
Nuclear $5.2 Billion
Total Installed Capacity Added to the Ontario Grid from 2008-2014 was 12,731 MW of which Renewable Power Capacity was 6298MW at a cost of $18.2 Billion.
For the complete investment pattern from 2005 to 2015, please see data available at the IESO Website.
In sum, generation additions (plus removal of coal costs) are in the order of $35 billion and additional investments relate to transmission and distribution assets.
I take strong exception to her last statement suggesting that the 3.2 percent per year (on average) increase in total electricity cost from 2006 to 2015 in real 2016$. The source for this information is a matter of public record and is available at the IESO website.
Ms Giannetta’s assertion is complete nonsense because she does not understand the difference between electricity bill and generation cost. Let Ms Gianetta identify the “blatant flaw.”
As for the electricity bill that the consumer sees, there is a wide variation across Ontario and this is primarily related to Distribution.
The Ontario Energy Board report on Electricity Rates in different cities provides a view across Ontario:
For example, the average bill for a for a typical 750kWh home Ontario comes is $130 per month.
In Toronto it is $142, Waterloo at $130 and Cornwall at $106. On the high side is Hydro One networks is $182 and this is primarily related to cost of service for low density, rural areas.
Your Table 2 Total Electricity Supply Cost is helpful and correctly highlights the cost differences of different generation supply.
Only wilful blindness on Ms Giannetta’s part would suggest that wind and solar are coming in at a low cost.
Jatin Nathwani, PhD, P.Eng
Professor and Ontario Research Chair in Public Policy for Sustainable Energy
Executive Director, Waterloo Institute for Sustainable Energy (WISE)
Faculty of Engineering and Faculty of Environment Fellow, Balsillie School of International Affairs (BSIA)
Nepean-Carleton MPP Lisa MacLeod addressed Energy Minister Glenn Thibeault in an evening session of the Ontario Legislature, to express concern about the plight of Ontario farmers and growers whose livelihoods are suffering due to high electricity bills.
She used the examples of the Manotick-based greenhouse operation SunTech, Osgoode Mushroom, and North Gower Grains to show how different growers are being affected by unrelenting increases in electricity bills, much of which is due to the government’s push for wind and solar power.
See MPP MacLeod’s speech and the Energy Minister’s response here.
Even though her riding will soon split, MacLeod said, she will “always” stand up for Ontario farmers.
With the Ontario government introducing a new program severing the link between the cost of power and the price of power so it can shift 25 per cent of household power bills today to future generation by way massive new debts, it seems like a good idea to know why Ontario’s power rate crisis developed.
Ontario’s power rates were relatively stable until 2008, when they started steep yearly increases. With the fastest rising rates in North America since then, Ontario’s rates surpassed the U.S. average years ago. The largest single factor driving this increase has been new generating capacity from wind and solar renewable generation.
The Ontario government and its supporters commonly report the costs of different types of generation counting only payments made directly to particular forms of generation.
But, when renewable energy costs trickle down to consumers, those costs are much more than just payments to renewable generators. While it is true that the payments to generators for wind power – 14 cents per kilowatt-hour (kWh) – is cheaper than for gas power — 17 cents/kWh – not all electricity has equal value. (For context, the average rate households pay for the commodity portion of their bill is about 11 cents/kWh.)
Why don’t we replace wind power with gas power, save money and cut emissions?
Where gas power is delivered on demand, wind is fickle. Eighty per cent of Ontario’s wind generation occurs at times and seasons so far out of phase with usage patterns that the entire output is surplus and is exported at a substantial loss or squandered with payments to generators to not generate. Gas power in Ontario backs up unreliable wind and solar, a necessary function if the lights are to stay on, but we pay twice for the same service.
Direct payments to solar generators average 48 cents/kWh, but the output is similarly low value. Except for a few days per year, Ontario’s peak usage of power is just as solar panels shut down – in the evening.
Massive losses through exports
Not only is Ontario’s renewable energy production driving massive losses to subsidize exports and payments to generators to not generate under the terms of contracts that obligate consumers to buy even useless power, but it is also driving costly but low-value “smart grid” projects required to accommodate renewables.
Rising power rates have driven down usage. Spreading rising costs over declining sales has amplified the pace of rate increases.
Again, government and its supporters have pumped their claim that using less will save us money. What has actually happened is that conservation in Ontario is indeed saving money but mostly for utilities and their customers in Michigan and New York State on the receiving end of our subsidized exports.
But didn’t renewables enable Ontario to get off coal, saving us from smog days, and slash health-care costs? Although endlessly repeated by the government and its supporters, none of these claims bear scrutiny.
Coal’s replacement in Ontario was achieved with increased output from nuclear and gas generators. Improvement in air quality in recent years has been the result of a massive conversion to gas power in the mid-western states upwind of Ontario as well as improvements in transportation fleets and industry. Most of the coal power Ontario produced in its last years came from plants with good new scrubbers, delivering effectively smog-free energy. Predicted health-care savings from the coal phaseout never materialized.
But isn’t the cost of renewable energy plunging?
Ten years ago, the average payment to Ontario wind generators was around 8.3 cents/kWh. Taking into account inflation, the average today is up 50 per cent.
Wind and solar aren’t the only renewable energy ripoff. Recent additions to Ontario’s hydro-electric capacity have added billions in new costs but no additional production. Ontario’s most costly generator is a converted coal-fired station in Thunder Bay, now fueled with a wood product imported from Norway.
Punishing contracts in place for 20 years
A bad smell emanates from renewable politics at Queen’s Park. Renewables developers who made the biggest donations to the provincial Liberals have tended to win the biggest contracts.
Ontario’s renewable energy program is not the only disaster on consumers’ bills. Excessive payroll costs and wasteful conservation programs also lurk, but no single factor has contributed more to the compounding semi-annual increases in rates since 2008 than renewables.
Most of the punishing cost consequences of Ontario’s radical renewables program are locked in with 20-year contracts. Children today will be paying these irresponsible contracts long into the future, along with current costs that the Wynne government has now decided will be added to this future burden.
Tom Adams is an independent energy and environmental advisor and researcher focused on energy consumer concerns, mostly in Eastern Canada. He has worked for several environmental organizations and served on the Ontario Independent Electricity Market Operator Board of Directors and the Ontario Centre for Excellence for Energy Board of Management.
This past week, Zoomer Media hosted a panel discussion on Ontario’s growing electricity rates which the media organization (affiliated with the Canadian Association of Retired Persons/CARP) says is adversely affecting seniors and others on fixed incomes.
Energy analyst Tom Adams was one of the panel members, who called on the government to rescind the Green Energy Act, which he says is at the core of the problems today. Wind power produces only 6 percent of the Ontario supply, he said, but at 30 percent of the cost.
Wind: 6% of the power for 30% of the costs
McMaster University professor Marvin Ryder agreed that expensive contracts were a problem but he said the damage has been done, and it will be 10 years before Ontario can climb out of the hole.
NDP leader Andrea Horwath said she still supports the Green Energy Act, but suggested creating subsidies for everyone having problems paying their electricity bills. (The cost of that would be …. added to the bills…)
The Ontario government awarded five contracts for new wind power generation in 2016, including two in the Ottawa area. The cost of these projects is about $1.3 billion. If the projects proceed (they do not yet have Renewable Energy Approvals/REA), the cost will be a further addition to Ontario electricity ratepayers’ bills.
Special guest will be Parker Gallant. Mr Gallant’s commentary on energy issues is regularly published in The Financial Post and other media; he is a former international banker and vice-president at Toronto Dominion Bank. He is vice-president of Wind Concerns Ontario.
The second event will be in early March, location TBA.
A report from energy analyst Scott Luft, released today, shows that curtailment of wind power in Ontario reached record levels in 2015. If the government proceeds with its plans to contract for 300 more megawatts of wind power under the Large Renewable Procurement (LRP) plan for 2015, and another 200 megawatts in 2016, this disastrous trend will continue.
A 2015 year-end review of my hourly estimates indicate the curtailment of output from industrial wind turbines (IWTs) soared in 2015. I show total curtailment exceeding 1 million megawatt-hours, which I assume Ontario ratepayers paid ~$127 million for regardless.
I show the potential supply curtailed rising to 10% from 6%.
The increase in curtailment in the Bruce region is galling as an examination of output from one IWT location there revealed that during the peak electricity demand of summer it was often a net consumer of grid power rather than a contributor to supply.
Note in the above graphic that only the Northwest breaks a trend that sees higher curtailment equate to lower market valuation of the output of the zone’s IWTs, with a doubling of curtailment in the Bruce region matched by a halving of market value of production.
The increase in curtailment in 2015 is particularly relevant because the Large Renewable Procurement which the IESO (operator of the system) intends to proceed with in 2016 used about 6% as the level of curtailment it anticipated.
If more IWTs are added, they’ll be increasingly wrong.
In 2015 potential output from IWT’s could have increased by about 2,500 gigawatt-hours (GWh), while I estimate curtailment increased by about 575 GWh – which indicates 22% of new supply ended in curtailment of wind.
There are other reasons curtailment would change, particularly in 2016. Up until January 1, 2016 flexible nuclear at Bruce Power was dispatched previous to IWTs, but the rules have now been rationalized.
We may look back at 1 million MWh of wind curtailment as the good ol’ days. …
April 2015: surplus wind power costs Ontario millions
Energy Minister hiding his head over consumer losses due to surplus power, lots of it wind
Electricity exports cost heading for $2 billion in 2015
The continued costs to Ontario’s ratepayers for the oversupply of electricity generation in Ontario continued in April 2015; we exported another 2 terawatts (TWh) of power to our neighbours. April’s exported TWh brings exports for the first four months of 2015 to 8.65 TWh — that’s enough to supply 900,000 average Ontario ratepayers with power for a full year.
Surplus exports represented over 19% of Ontario’s total demand for the month; that figure doesn’t include curtailed wind, steamed-off nuclear or spilled hydro.
The cost (Hourly Ontario Electricity Price + Global Adjustment) to ratepayers for exported power in April was $223 million. We sold it for 1.57 cents per kilowatt hour, thereby generating only $32 million. Ontario’s electricity ratepayers had to eat $191 million in losses that will find their way to the Global Adjustment pot and the “electricity” line on our bills.
As noted in a prior article, the first quarter of the current year generated losses (costs to ratepayers) of $437 million. So now, with the April figures, those costs to date are $608 million or $135 per ratepayer.
We still have eight months left in the year: at the current pace, our bill to support surplus exports will amount to over $400 for the average ratepayer.
Wind power generation for April represented 39% of the exported volume as it produced about 850,000 MWh (megawatt hours) at an average of $123.50 per/MWh, meaning its cost of $104 million represented almost 50% of total export costs.
Energy Minister Bob Chiarelli doesn’t seem to notice our growing surplus*; however, he has directed the IESO to acquire another 500 MW of renewable energy from wind and solar in 2015, and mandated conservation of another 7 TWh by 2020.
The views expressed are those of the author and do not represent Wind Concerns Ontario policy.
Editor’s note: speaking at a wind power information evening in Finch, Ontario, on May 6th, Ontario Federation of Agriculture president Don McCabe said there is no surplus of power in Ontario. This is a lot of lost power and a lot of losses to electricity consumers—including farmers—to deny.
Parker Gallant, the former banker who several years ago launched FP Comment’s prophetic Ontario’s Power Trip campaign against the province’s expensive and pointless electricity industry reforms, has some new advice for the government. As the price of electricity soars, Ontario industries and consumers are being hammered by rate increases that seem never-ending. In an open letter today to Energy Minister Bob Chiarelli, Mr. Gallant lists a few easy initiatives the government could undertake to stop some of the madness and save consumers billions of dollars. Terence Corcoran
LETTER FROM PARKER GALLANT
April 1, 2015
The Honourable Bob Chiarelli, Minister of Energy,
Legislative Building, Queen’s Park, Toronto ON, M7A 1A1
Dear Minister Chiarelli:
Re: Dropping Ontario’s Price for Electricity
I have noted the difficulty you have experienced over the past several months trying to convince the media and the general population of Ontario they should simply bite the bullet and accept the fact that electricity prices will continue their above inflation climb. Having studied the situation I believe I have come up with some suggestions that would allow you to move things in the opposite direction.
First I suspect that Premier Wynne and Finance Minister Sousa exerted considerable pressure on you to come up with a scheme to help out the 500,000 to 700,000 “low-income” households in the province experiencing what is generally referred to as “energy poverty.” While the plan recommended came from the Ontario Energy Board and was altered somewhat by yourself I believe I have a better plan.
More on that later in this letter.
I also suspect that the Premier and Finance Minister told you unequivocally the OCEB was finished at the end of the year as they wish to wave better deficit numbers in front of those pesky credit rating agencies. The $1.2 billion that went to keep electricity rates down, a little bit, would no longer be available and they made that clear to you.
While you did your best to dance around the issue associated with the upcoming big jump in our electricity bills I could see the criticism was troublesome for you. As a result I believe my suggestions on what you should do will put some spring back in your step.
Here they are:
Recommendations to reduce future ratepayer bills
Conservation spending for the period 2015 to 2020 is forecast and budgeted at $1,835 million so drop it and that will provide close to $400 million annually that can go to reduce electricity prices.
Next, cancel the acquisition of the 500 MW of renewable wind and solar that you instructed IESO to acquire. That will save an estimated $200 million annually in future costs that would increase our rates.
I note there are 510 MW of wind generation contracts awarded that have not yet obtained their REA from the MoE and I recommend you also cancel those. I estimate that would provide relief from future increases of another $200 million per annum. I would suspect the costs of exiting these will be nominal.
Needless to say the cancellation of the above 1,010 MW of renewable energy will reduce future power surpluses meaning the HOEP might show some upward movement. That would allow all the dispatched wind and solar, spilled hydro, steamed off nuclear and idled gas to be sold via the market place to our neighbours. I estimate we could sell anywhere from 10/15 TWh annually at a price of somewhere around $40 million per TWh which would earn revenue of $400/600 million annually.
I would also cancel the new OESP plan which is estimated to cost $200 million (including a new administrative bureaucracy costing $20 million) annually.
Now if you do the math on the above the amount of money your portfolio would save in the future and also generate new income it totals $1.7 billion.
You could than use some of that $1.7 billion to both decrease electricity prices and provide relief for those suffering from “energy poverty.”
My recommendations on those two issues follow:
Recommendations to relieve “energy poverty”
First you should instruct the OEB that the .12% allocated to the LEAP program be increased immediately (providing you have completed the other recommendations) to 1% which will immediately make over $30 million available to the social agencies for relief purposes. You should also increase the maximums per household to $1,000 and instruct the OEB that the Return on Equity and/or Return on Assets for the LDC are to reflect a reduction to accommodate this.
Second you should drop the TOU off-peak rate from 7.7 cents per kWh to 5 cents per kWh. The cost of this would be about $350 million. It would also benefit many of those “low-income” households meaning they would no longer suffer from “energy poverty.” The other benefit is that the ratio of offpeak to on-peak would be much closer to the 3 : 1 ratio that the Auditor General suggested it should be and get more people to shift their use. It would also benefit our business community.
The cost of the two above recommendations are less than $400 million meaning ratepayers will be better off by avoiding future rate hikes and seeing some relief on existing rates. At the same time the TOU pricing will provide a clear signal that usage should shift preserving the “conservation” theme.
I certainly hope you will give my suggestions some serious thought and I do look forward to your response.