Turbines at the 100-megawatt Samsung Belle River power plant–power when we don’t need it
Friday October 6th, 2017 was a work day just before the Thanksgiving weekend. At 10 AM that morning, Ontario’s electricity ratepayers had much to be thankful for. Power generation from wind amounted to just 27 MWh, but that 27 MWh wasn’t really needed as nuclear, hydro and a little gas were providing all the power we needed. And, both hydro and gas were capable of producing lots more if Ontario demand required it.
The hourly Ontario energy price (HOEP) during that hour was $13.50/MWh (megawatt hour) so the value of the 27 MWh that wind produced in that hour cost ratepayers about $365.
Two days later, Thanksgiving Sunday was a different story: at 3 AM wind power was working in the night, generating 1,145 MWh with another 2,797 MWh curtailed (wasted, held back, not added to the grid). Ontario’s ratepayers were paying $135/MWh for the grid-accepted wind and $120/MWh for the curtailed wind.
The HOEP was a negative $3/MWh so the grid-delivered wind was costing ratepayers $415.95/MWh or 41.6 cents/kWh! In total, that one hour cost ratepayers $476,274 for unneeded generation. On top of that, because Ontario demand for power was low (most of us were fast asleep so the LED lights were out), Bruce nuclear was steaming off excess generation (we pay for that), OPG was probably spilling water (we also pay for that), and we were exporting 2,802 MWh to Michigan, New York and Quebec and picking up the $3/MWh cost.
So, comparing the two hours suggests we didn’t need wind generation on October 6th during a business day and we didn’t need it on October 8th in the middle of the night!
This is more proof that wind power is produced out of sync with demand.
The time has come to stop all contracting for additional wind generation and to cancel any that are not under construction.
“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)
ENDANGERED TURTLES WIN PROTECTION FROM WIND FARM IN ONTARIO, CANADA
The Environmental Review Tribunal determined the Blandings Turtle was endangered by the wind farm
Landmark legal decision overturns government approval of large power project
WELLINGTON, ONTARIO, CANADA, April 27, 2017 /EINPresswire.com/ —
A years-long legal battle over a wind power project by Germany-based wpd in Ontario, Canada, resulted in a ruling by the provincial government’s Environmental Review Tribunal yesterday, in favour of protecting an endangered species of turtle.
In the Tribunal ruling, government approval for 18 of 29 industrial-scale wind turbines in the “White Pines” project was reversed. With 60 percent of the project removed, it may be impossible for the power developer to meet its contractual obligation.
The citizens of Prince Edward County, about two hours east of Toronto, where the project was to be located, fought the wind turbines for almost 10 years, and spent almost $2 million CAD in legal fees.
“The County” as it is called, on the shores of Lake Ontario, is a stopping place for hundreds of thousands of birds migrating in eastern North America, and was identified as an Important Bird Area by conservation groups. The area is also a habitat for the endangered Blandings turtle, and home to the Little Brown Bat which is on the verge of extirpation.
“This [decision] is clearly a victory for the survival of the Blanding’s turtle and many other animal and plant species,” said Alliance to Protect Prince Edward County president Gordon Gibbins. “Although the Tribunal decision was specifically concerned with protecting the turtles and their habitat, we are very pleased that indirectly as a result of this decision there will be no turbines in the Prince Edward County Important Bird and Biodiversity Area.”
“The Tribunal decision has made it clear that this wind power project was never about protecting the environment,” said Jane Wilson, president of Wind Concerns Ontario, the coalition of community groups concerned about wind power projects.
“The wind power project was always about money. The citizens of Prince Edward County fought hard to protect the environment and wildlife against our own Ministry of the Environment.”
Citizen evidence was crucial in bringing forward evidence of harm to the environment in the various appeals of the power project, Wilson says. “The government did little or no oversight on how wildlife is to be protected, and it was the people of Prince Edward County who brought the information to the Tribunal. As a result, in Ontario now, wind power does not automatically override environmental concerns.”
Economic impacts were also a concern for the community. The County is a tourist destination with dozens of wineries and cheese establishments; winery owners were concerned about the negative impact of the huge power-generating turbines on the County with its quaint villages and pastoral views as a tourist attraction.
Prince Edward County Mayor Robert Quaiff said, “Our community has been fighting this project for quite some time. I’m glad to see that the Environmental Review Tribunal has recognized and given credence to our concerns.”
The 100-megawatt project will cost more than $400 million, while Ontario already has a surplus of power
EDP Renewables, headquartered in Madrid, has posted the site plan for its 100-megawatt “Nation Rise” wind power project, in North Stormont, about 40 minutes south and east of Ottawa.
Project Name: Nation Rise Wind Farm
IESO Reference Number: L-006351-WIN-001-100
Project Location: The proposed Nation Rise Wind Farm will be located on private and public lands in the United Counties of Stormont, Dundas and Glengarry in the western portion of the Township of North Stormont, Ontario, and bounded to the south by the Township of South Stormont and to the west by the boundary of the Township of North Dundas. The north portion of the site is delimited by the municipality boundaries of Russell and the Nation. Courville Road and MacMillan Road are the east boundaries of the project.
Dated at: the Township of North Stormont this 17th day of March 2017.
Other project documents including the draft noise impact assessment are available on the Nation Rise wind “farm” website here.
Residents interested in learning more about the impact of the power project on the area’s homes, environment and wildlife, and in supporting the group’s activities and legal fund, should contact the Concerned Citizens of North Stormont*, whose website is here.
The 20-year contract with the Independent Electricity System Operator (IESO) will cost Ontario electricity ratepayers about $436 million.
The Minister of Energy, Glenn Thibeault, has stated, meanwhile, that Ontario currently has a surplus of power (which is being sold off at prices below what power developers are paid). The Nation Rise contract could be cancelled under a pre-construction liability clause for $600,000, according to IESO documents.
Minister Thibeault told a business audience in Toronto last year that the government’s “arbitrary” selection of wind power led to “sub-optimal siting” and “heightened community concerns.”
North Stormont is a Not A Willing Host community.
Concerned Citizens of North Stormont leader Margaret Benke, at a recent information event in Finch, Ontario
The Premier of Ontario put out a news release on March 2, claiming the government was going to reduce Ontario’s electricity or “hydro” bills substantially.“I’ve heard from you loud and clear,” Kathleen Wynne said in her statement. “Nobody should have to choose between keeping the lights on or buying groceries.”
The Ontario Liberal government still claims the high electricity prices were because of improvements it “had to” make to the system. The news release concluded with these statements.
“We are – and always will be – committed to making Ontario a fairer and more inclusive place for everyone. And fairness means ensuring government investments don’t disproportionately affect today’s electricity ratepayers. One generation of ratepayers should not have to pay for the sins of the past and for a system that will benefit Ontario for decades to come. So our plan reduces costs today and stretches out costs over the long term so rates are fairer for everyone.”
Fairness. We’ve heard that before, like “transparency.” But again, the government is being disingenuous. Its latest move is simply stretching out the costs of its policy decisions, not taking action to reduce costs. (Our favourite pronouncement on this comes from electricity analyst Bruce Sharp who calls this tactic, “delay and pray.”)
Not reducing costs
The truth is, the government has signed more expensive wind power contracts for power the province doesn’t need.
At the moment, these six contracts, awarded in 2016, total $3.3 billion in costs over 20 years. In addition, there are five more contracts for wind power projects that were approved but which are not yet on the grid –including White Pines, Amherst Island and Fairview Wind which are all in legal contests– that add up to another $1.8 billion.
The total for wind power contracts awarded, which represents new costs no yet on Ontario electricity ratepayer bills, is $5.1 billion.
That is not “reducing costs today”.
The government needs to cancel the 2016 wind power contracts (which contain clauses for pre-construction liability should the government cancel), and buy out of other contracts.
Wind power contracts should be cancelled to control electricity costs: Mike Baggott of Ottawa Wind Concerns
Ottawa Wind Concerns was an invited guest speaker this week at a pre-budget consultation event held by Nepean-Carleton MPP Lisa MacLeod, at the Alfred Taylor Centre in North Gower.
Executive member with the group and North Gower resident Mike Baggott told the audience that while Ontario’s electricity bills are among the highest in North America, more costs, specifically expensive wind power contracts awarded to power developers, were yet to come.
“Everyone wants to do the right thing for the environment,” Baggott explained, “but has the Ontario government done the right thing?” Two Auditors General said there was never any cost-benefit or impact analysis for the province’s green energy plan, and the Wynne government pays twice as much for renewable energy as other jurisdictions do. The expensive wind contracts are among the factors pushing electricity bills up.
“As high as our bills are now,” Baggott said, “they will get worse if projects in Ontario recently awarded contracts are allowed to proceed.”
He noted the power projects in La Nation, east of Ottawa, and North Stormont –both opposed by the local communities — will cost Ontario ratepayers over $600 million for the 20-year contracts.
In all, Ontario is facing $5 billion in new wind power contracts, at a time when the province has a surplus of power. Wind power also cannot demonstrate any benefits to the environment, Baggott said.
“It’s time to stop digging the hole,” Baggott concluded.
The main speaker at the event was Parker Gallant, a former banker whose energy sector analysis is frequently published in The Financial Post, who explained line by line, “What’s in Your Hydro Bill.”
MPP MacLeod outlined steps that can be taken to control electricity costs, and answered questions from the audience.
“It’s hard not to get depressed when you hear, line by line, how we got here with our electricity bills,” commented Rideau-Goulbourn councilor Scott Moffatt.
Parker Gallant: what’s in your hydro bill? A lot of government mistakes
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.
While Ottawa’s Bob Chiarelli, Ontario Minister of Energy, insists that paying high and selling low is a good economic strategy (meanwhile inflicting dramatic increases in bills to consumers), economic analysts don’t seem to agree. Here from Forbes. com is a view of Ontario’s handling of the electricity sector.
Ontario’s high electricity prices are bad for business
Jude Clemente, Forbes/Energy, March 30, 2016
“Ontario is probably the worst electricity market in the world,” Pierre-Olivier Pineau, University of Montreal
Ontario’s auditor general just reported that the province paid an extra $37 billion for electricity from 2006-2014, likely the most ludicrous energy story that I’ve ever read (here). Ontario has gone from having some of the most affordable electricity in North America to having some of the most expensive. From 2013-2015 alone, industrial electricity rates increased 16%.
In 2003, the provincial government decided to phase-out coal-fired generation by 2007 (later extended to 2014), perhaps the most cost effective source of power.
This necessitated investment in new sources of electricity. For example, more expensive wind has provided less than 4% of Ontario’s power but accounts for 20% of the cost of electricity. In January, Ontario Power Generation unveiled plans for a $13 billion refurbishment of four nuclear reactors, which could crush ratepayers to recover the total costs.
2016 off to a great start as ratepayers pay hundreds of millions for surplus power (mostly wind)
March 27,m 2016
By Parker Gallant
The Independent Electricity System Operator (IESO) released the February 2016 Monthly Market Report and it is full of more bad news for Ontario’s beleaguered ratepayers.
Combined with the bad news in the January 2016 report, the average commodity price for the first two months of the current year jumped from $85.37 per megawatt hour (MWh) in 2015 to $108.17 per/MWh. This could translate to an average household increase of as much as 27% in electricity rates levied, when we get the news from the Ontario Energy Board (OEB) mid-April about effective rates for the ensuing six months. If “commodity” cost jumps $22.80/MWh, the average Ontario household (consuming 800 kilowatts (kWh) per month) would pay an additional $220 annually and $28.00 more in HST.
So, what caused the 27% jump in the first two months compared to a year ago?
Wind 63 % of wasted power
First, the weather in 2016 was milder meaning demand dropped 6.5%, and many generators were paid to not generate. My friend Scott Luft does a great job at estimating the power we steam off (nuclear), spill (hydro), curtail (wind), etc.; he estimates the first two months of 2016 saw that class of surplus power was 675,000 MWh versus 332,000 MWh in 2015. Wind was 63% (425,000MWh) of 2016’s wasted power and 28.5% (95,000 MWh) in 2015. Ratepayers pick up the full cost of that power!
Additionally Ontario’s exports were significant both years; the price achieved excludes the Global Adjustment (GA) or $95.02/MWh for 2016 versus $45.34/MWh in 2015. The GA cost is paid for by Ontario ratepayers and was more than double 2015. Also, a large chunk of the GA for “Class A” ratepayers (large industrial clients) is paid for by “average” ratepayers who also picked up the costs of the newly launched Ontario Electricity Support Program for ratepayers living in “energy poverty.” The OEB estimated the annual cost would be $175/$225 million.
If this continues, electricity costs will jump $2.5B … in one year
In all the first two months of 2016 extracted an additional $410 million dollars out of Ontario ratepayers’ pockets, compared to the same 2015 time frame — despite reduced demand. If this pattern continues, electricity costs will jump $2.5 billion in just one year.
This is despite the promise made by Minister Chiarelli in an article in the Windsor Star June 24, 2015: “Rates are going to continue to go up everywhere. There was a blip in rate pressures because of the investments that we made but starting in 2016 that will be flatlined very significantly.”
Minister Chiarelli seems unable to comprehend the cause and effect of adding unreliable, intermittent wind and solar generation to the grid when they are not needed. In just the first two months of the current year, the costs of decisions by ministers of Energy (past and present) appear to have added billions to ratepayers’ bills without any perceptible environmental or economic benefit.
“About 1,400 MW of new supply – 950 MW of wind, 300 MW of gas and 140 MW of solar generation – will be added to the province’s transmission grid over the Outlook period. By the end of the period, the amount of grid-connected wind and solar generation is expected to increase to about 4,550 MW and 380 MW, respectively. The embedded wind generation over the same period is expected to increase to about 700 MW. Meanwhile, embedded solar generation is expected to increase to about 2,180 MW. “
Communities may have “more say” in the wind power project selection process but they still can’t “say” NO. Meanwhile, Ontario is set to dole out contracts for 300 more megawatts of wind power generation, despite a surplus and the fact the Auditor General says we’re paying way too much
Ontario will press ahead with more wind farms despite calls from critics for a halt to the multi-billion dollar projects in the face of energy surpluses.
A spokesperson for the Independent Electricity System Operator said Wednesday that Ontario will award contracts within weeks for another 300 megawatts of wind power after receiving proposals for more than 100 projects.
“Originally, we said we would award contracts by the end of the year, but that wasn’t possible given the number that we received so that was pushed back to March. We are on track to announce it this month,” said IESO spokesperson Mary Bernard.
No specific date for announcing the contracts has been released.
After facing an intense backlash from many communities opposed to wind farm development, especially in Southwestern Ontario that’s home to the province’s largest wind farms and its largest number of turbines, Ontario overhauled the process, requiring companies submitting bids to consult with municipalities.
Many communities bristled when the province, in its plunge into green energy, took away their zoning control over where the giant highrise-sized turbines can be built.
This time, companies also stand to be given preference if they can win backing of municipalities, local landowners or First Nations communities.
The 300 megawatts of power — equivalent to about what four large-scale industrial wind farms would produce — to be awarded this month is a relatively modest amount compared to earlier procurements that pushed installed wind energy capacity in Ontario to more than 3,200 megawatts in 2015.
It’s estimated one megawatt of wind power can supply enough electricity to power about 270 Ontario homes. Besides contracting for additional wind power, Ontario is set to award contracts for 140 megawatts of solar energy, 75 megawatts of waterpower and 50 megawatts of bioenergy.
Jane Wilson, president of Wind Concerns Ontario, a coalition of groups opposed to wind energy, said the 300 megawatts Ontario plans to contract through IESO will be intermittent and unreliable power that isn’t needed. …
EDITOR’S NOTE: There are seven wind power projects proposed for Eastern and East-Central Ontario, from Nation Township through to Addington Highlands and North Frontenac. Almost every single wind power project approved in Ontario has been appealed by communities.