Quebeckers are Hopefully Grateful for Ontario’s Natural Gas Plants

The past couple of days in Ontario have demonstrated the ups and downs of energy demand both from those of us in Ontario and our neighbours tied to us via the intertie grids.

February 2, 2023

Starting with February 2, 2023, examining IESO data, clearly demonstrates the ups and downs of demand for electricity coupled with the market price variation (HOEP) of overproduction of IWT (industrial wind turbines).  The wind was blowing hard all through the day but with baseload nuclear and hydro providing most of the demand what wasn’t needed was most of the power being generated by IWT.  IESO forecast IWT would generate 94,503 MW over the full day (80.3% of capacity) but it wasn’t needed. Recorded output was 72,115 MW (61.3% of capacity) meaning IESO instructed IWT owners to curtail almost 22,400 MW. As most Ontario ratepayers know the IWT contracts provides them with “first-to-the-grid” rights and also pays for curtailed power at the rate of $120/MWh and $135/MWh for the accepted power. For the full 24 hours on the day the price allocated for accepted and curtailed IWT generation amounted to over $12.4 million in costs to Ontario’s ratepayers/taxpayers and about $172/MWh in costs for the accepted power.

Coupled with the foregoing; as demand was low for most of the day, the market price (HOEP) averaged $3.12/MWh so IESO were busy disposing of unneeded power for pennies of its costs.  Even at the daily peak hour (Hour 19) the HOEP was only $5.18/MWh.  For the full day exported power was 41,911 MW representing 58.1% of the generation IESO accepted from IWT.  If one assumes the unneeded power from IWT represented all of the exported power or caused it, the cost added to the 30,200 MW of IWT generation consumed by Ontario ratepayers is another $7.1 million bringing the cost of the 30,200 MWh, added to the grid, to $11.2 million or $370/MWh (.37cents/kWh).

The happenings on February 2nd once again demonstrate how we Ontarians continue to provide cheap power to our neighbours. We do that by absorbing the costs of those intermittent and unreliable IWT sprinkled throughout the province allowing our neighbours to buy our surplus energy for pennies on the dollar while we eat the costs.

February 3, 2023

February 3, 2023, turned out to be a “Top 10” Ontario peak demand day reaching 21,388 MW and 24,821 MW for the “market peak” at Hour 19! The result was the HOEP for the full day averaged about $41.70/MWh. While that represents a large jump from the prior day those IWT were still costing us a lot more then the aforementioned HOEP average. 

To put the foregoing in context, IESO data in the first 5 hours forecast IWT generation would be 18,795 MW but they only accepted 13,838 MW meaning about 5,150 MW were curtailed and the HOEP over those 5 hours was a piddly 0.62 cents/MWh.  If one, then calculates the HOEP for the remaining 19 hours in the day it becomes $56.60/MWh so, much higher than the first 5 hours! Continuing to look at those 5 hours it becomes apparent we Ontarians absorbed the costs of almost $2.5 million to generate those 13,715 MW. Hopefully our neighbours in NY, Michigan and Quebec appreciate our generosity for those MW which was very close to the IESO accepted IWT generation. 

Looking at the full day, IWT were forecast by IESO to generate 69,174 MW but their output was 62,940 MW meaning we paid for around 6,200 MW of curtailed generation but as noted in the preceding paragraph only about 1,000 MW more were curtailed in the following nineteen hours.  Over the day IESO were busy selling off approximately 87,000 MW to our neighbours in Michigan, NY and Quebec with the latter taking well over a third of them.  The last point should be no surprise as Quebec is a winter peaking province and on February 2nd  Hydro Quebec asked their customers to reduce their electricity consumption due to the anticipated cold starting late Thursday night.

The other interesting happening related to generation on February 3rd was how much gas generation there was over the day. Ontario’s natural gas plants produced 88,172 MW which coincidently was only slightly higher than our total exports.  It is worth pointing out when a MWh of natural gas is generated ratepayers are only paying the raw costs of the natural gas plus a small markup as the capital costs and the approved ROA (return on assets) have been included in the price of electricity since those plants were originally commissioned.  In other words once a gas plant is operating it generates power that is very much cheaper compared to both wind and solar.

Quebec Support

About 60% of households in Quebec heat with electric furnaces or electric baseboards so are dependent on electricity to stay warm during cold winter days. For that reason we should suspect Ontario’s natural gas plants may have played a key role in ensuring those Quebecers were able to avoid a blackout on the recent very cold days we have just experienced.

The other thing Ontario’s natural gas plants may well be doing is allowing Quebec EV owners to recharge their EV batteries. Approximately 10% of all new cars registered in Quebec* are EV possibly due to the large $8,000. grant the province provides to purchase them.  Interestingly, while Hydro Quebec tells households to turn down their heat and avoid using certain appliances during peak hours, they say nothing about when you should or shouldn’t charge your EV.

The generosity of Ontarians is astounding due to the treatment of IWT and the contracts in place providing those “first-to-the-grid” rights. On top of that, if we are subsidizing the sales of our IWT surplus power to other markets where it may be used to charge EV it just doesn’t seem quite right!

Maybe the Ford Government should ask Quebec to provide Ontario with carbon credits to offset the “emissions” of our natural gas plants that keep their people warm in the winter!

*A September 22, 2022 New York Times article stated the following about EV in Quebec: “Quebec has 150,000 electric vehicles on the road, compared with 113,000 in New York State, an indication of how ubiquitous charging can encourage ownership.“

Five ENGO Demand More Government Bureaucracies to Execute the Just Transition

Five ENGO* (BLUEGREEN, Ecojustice, Environmental Defence, Equiterre and IISD) recently issued a 28 page proclamation labelled: “Proposals for the Canadian Just Transition Act”.  Needless to say they push the Justin Trudeau led Federal Government and all the provincial governments to jump on board the “Just Transition”.  They want the Federal Government to establish a “Just Transition Ministry” and equip it with bureaucrats ensuring the utopia of a “carbon-free” Canada with lots of low carbon, sustainable “green jobs” as the outcome!

If one does a word search in the 28 pages using the symbol “$” or the word “dollars” you come up with a big “0” but if you plug in “Net-Zero” you get 3 hits and if you try “emissions” it will generate 28 hits.  As one would expect searching the words “transition” and “just transition” respectively generated 391 and  293 hits. The proclamation is sprinkled with examples the authors feel exemplify what should be done in Canada.  They cite Spain, Scotland, New Zealand and Germany as examples of countries moving in the “Just Transition” direction but don’t bother to mention those countries are all suffering from high energy prices coupled with climbing energy poverty. You certainly won’t find any concerns expressed about the costs of the Just Transition on families or households in the 28 pages. 

The word “objective(s)” can be found 32 times and aligns with the word “Tables” found 27 times as the proclamation insists the Federal and Provincial governments establish objectives via those tables that must be adhered to under legislation set by the federal and provincial governments.  Naturally these objectives  require “monitoring” by more bureaucrats.

We should all be troubled by the fact that four of the five ENGO (more on BLUEGREEN below) are registered charities and all of them seem somewhat dependent on handouts (grants) and contracts from all three levels of government.  A quick review of the four and their CRA charity filings indicates over the five years of CRA records they have reported receiving over $27 million tax dollars, mainly as grants. IISD is one example with grants committed of almost $40 million.  Equiterre is another example reporting having received almost $7.7 million in grants/donations in their CRA filings over the past five years from Federal and Provincial governments.  Equiterre was reputedly co-founded by Steven Guilbeault, current Minister of Environment and Climate Change. Additionally two of them (Environmental Defence, IISD) have been contracted by government Ministries or subsets. It is also worth noting IISD also gets millions of dollars from UN Agencies, International Governments and their agencies as well as Foundations as noted in their Consolidated Financial Statement of March 31, 2022.

Now, let’s take a look at BLUEGREEN a not-for-profit whose membership consists of four charities (Pembina Institute, Environmental Defence, Columbia Institute and Clean Energy Canada), one not-for-profit (Broadbent Institute) and two unions (United Steelworkers and Unifor)!

BLUEGREEN

BLUEGREEN”s homepage states: “We can create good jobs across the country by making renewable energy, using energy more efficiently, decarbonizing manufacturing, and building more public transit.

The above statement seems incongruous with what most would imagine, the two biggest private sector unions in Canada, would buy into, should their leaders reflect on how accomplishing the foregoing would impact their members. Interestingly no one from either of the unions were cited as “Contributors” to the “proclamation” paper but two of them from Unifor were named as “reviewers”!

If one looks at their respective websites for their views on “climate change” they appear somewhat less committed, then the proclamation in the “Proposal”. One senior individual within the United Steelworkers Union (USU) at an event last year stated:  “In the past, we knew that investments in our plants would provide long-term benefits. Today, the same logic must apply to the environmental question.“ Identifying those investments is not an easy task as a major ingredient attracting investments is cheap energy but that is what the “Transition” will affect the most so, “long-term benefits” appear elusive.  That should send a not-so-subtle message to PM Trudeau and his Ministers! 

USU sent two observers to COP 27 in Egypt and one of the issues they noted was the Carbon Border Adjustment Mechanism and their synopsis stated: “This measure involves the introduction of a price (tax) on high-carbon products entering Canada. Other countries are preparing for the implementation of such a measure.“ Obviously this has implications for Canada’s trade relationship with other countries, but it appears the USU recognizes the impact it may have on their members unless we implement it too!

In respect to Unifor an article on their website emphasized: “Revenue from carbon pricing be invested in ensuring that transitions for workers and communities are appropriately managed through training and matching displaced workers with new opportunities.“ That statement suggests the Federal Government abandon the current carbon tax rebate program and instead “invest” it to create those “transitions” the Proposal recommends.

The Broadbent Institute is of course named after Ed Broadbent the former leader of the Federal NDP and as one would expect they are gung ho on the Just Transition and push Canada to spend lots more!  Rick Smith who has become an icon of the “climate change” push wrote an article for the Broadbent Institute saying “we should be spending in the hundreds of billions, not just billions in the single digits.“ 

The four charities include Environmental Defence where Rick Smith was the head honcho for 9 years but now he is the President of CICC, a taxpayer funded ENGO pushing the “net-zero” initiative on behalf of the Trudeau government.  Needless to say ED has received grants and contracts over the years from us taxpayers.

The Columbia Institute in its CRA filings does not claim any contributions from any of the three levels of government seemingly obtaining most of its revenue from other “charities”. 

Clean Energy Canada is a “climate and clean energy program” within the confines of Simon Fraser University so doesn’t report on an individual basis to the CRA charities. As one would suspect SFU on the other hand in it’s March 31, 2022 filing with the CRA reportedly received over $358 million (38.3%) of its gross revenue from the three levels of government. A search of Federal contracts disclosed many to SFU from the Ministry of Environment and Climate Change which we should assume went to Clean Energy Canada.

Now examining the Pembina Institute’s CRA filings one sees they claimed to have received $5,576K in grants from three levels of governments.  A search of the Federal Governments “Grants and Contribution” site however indicates they handed out $10,450K to Pembina! That is almost double the information filed with the CRA but with the CRA Union suggesting they will go on strike in early April they are unlikely to investigate.  The Pembina Institute also were handed $963K in contracts by the Federal Government over the same five years.

Conclusion 

The objective of ENGO employees, numbering in the tens of thousands, receiving huge support from taxpayers both via donations they receive (providing tax benefits to contributors) and via the various handouts from Federal, Provincial and Municipal Governments is self evident!

Those ENGO employees are concerned events happening around the developed world countries with costs of energy rising to historical levels are creating pushbacks on their views the “net-zero” target may be abandoned. The result is their jobs are in jeopardy so for that reason they continue to push the narrative about climate change and the “Just Transition” objectives. The bulk of those employed by ENGO fail to do proper research but have been hugely successful at manipulating elected politicians in Canada and those appointed to organizations, such as the United Nations, convincing them mankind are in full control of the weather. 

We, here in Canada and elsewhere around the world need to continue the pushback or we and our children and grandchildren will suffer the consequences!  Spending “the hundreds of billions“ proposed by Rick Smith in the Broadbent Institute article is beyond belief with energy poverty spiralling around the world.

The time has come to put an end to the Just Transition!

*ENGO are Environmental Non-Government Organizations

Winds Nebulous Contribution at Peak Hour Demand

Inspired by a friend’s graph on his twitter page led me to examine IESO data for the full day. The post was on Scott Luft’s Cold Air twitter page and the graph was inclusive for the first 18 hours of Ontario’s generation from wind, solar, gas, hydro and nuclear on January 28, 2023.  Wind over the 18 hours continued to shrink in output while gas and hydro generation expanded as Ontario’s demand increased and the graph displayed it so nicely it was hard to ignore

Hour 1 (hour ending at 1 AM) as happens almost every day saw Ontario demand falling which it did so, peak demand was 14,914 MW at that hour and IWT (industrial wind turbines) generation was running at 88.2% of their capacity and generated 4,324 MW or 29% of that hour’s demand. That output was their highest over the remaining 23 hours. At that hour, IESO reported our net-exports (exports minus imports) were 3,176 MW and total exports were 3,686 MW or 85.2% of wind generation. The HOEP (hourly Ontario energy price) market price at that hour was a miserly $4.15/MWh! What that suggests is if the 3,686 MW sold were all IWT generated power they earned $15,297, but the cost to us Ontarians was $497,610.  Our neighbours in Michigan, NY and Quebec must love the fact our energy mix has lots of IWT connected to our grid with the ability to deliver them cheap power.

Hour 18 (hour ending at 6 PM), the last hour on Scott’s graph, IWT generation was 467 MW contributing 2.5% of Ontario’s demand (18,314 MW).  The following hour peak demand for the day was reached at 18,493 MW and IWT generation at that hour fell to 141 MW or 0.8% of demand. Luckily hydro and gas generation were both available to increase their output with hydro generating 5,979 MW (32.3% of peak demand) and natural gas plants 2,576 MW (13.9% of peak demand).  The balance was produced by our nuclear power plants with a tiny amount from biomass.

For the full day IWT were forecast to generate 49,294 MW but IESO reported output at 46,966 MW implying they curtailed about 2,300 MW. Net exports over the full 24 hours were approximately 42,300 MW and at the average HOEP for the day of $20.62/MWh would have generated revenue of $872,000. If we attributed the IWT generation was either the full amount of the exports or the cause of other generation being exported; the net cost of that would have been close to $6 million for the full day.  We should also suspect their high “middle of the night” generation may also have caused hydro water spillage for our must-run hydro plants which would add further to the costs.

Just another day to remind us of the mess caused by the McGuinty/Wynne Ontario led governments and their compliance with the recommendations of Gerald Butts, Trudeau buddy, and former right-hand man until resigning due to pressuring the Attorney General in respect to the SNC-Lavalin scandal.

NB: I misspelled the word graph on the post by using the word “graft”. I guess I was using that word spelling to reflect what the IWT owners have done to our electricity system

Unreliable and Intermittent: well, why pick Industrial Wind Turbines for Full Electrification

Those IWT in Ontario were in full swing showing off their unreliable and intermittent nature on January 24th and the 25th during the first seven (7) hours (from 12 AM to 7 AM) of each day.

On the 24th over the first seven hours those IWT were humming and IESO forecast they would generate 27,980 MWh which would represent 81.6% of their capacity but IESO scaled back what they actually delivered by curtailing about 2,000 MWh as they were obviously not needed in the middle of the night when nuclear and must-run hydro were pretty well supplying all our needs.  The result was our net exports (exports minus imports) over that 7 hours were 22,934 MWh or 88% of what was accepted from those IWT. The average HOEP (hourly Ontario energy price) during the 7 hours was $8.13/MWh so their sale generated $186,453. If we logically assume the bulk of them were either all IWT generated power or caused by their excess generation; the cost to us Ontarians was $3.096 million ($430K per hour) for what they generated plus another $240K for what IESO curtailed.  Their frequent habit of generating unneeded power with us taxpayers/ratepayers forced to pay them for it at ridiculous prices continues!

Now if we traverse to the first 7 hours on the 25th, IESO forecast they would generate 4,526 MWh (13.2% of capacity) but they actually accepted 3,591 MWh meaning approximately 1,000 MWh were curtailed. The good news: for those 7 hours they kind of acted as they would if they were rammable power (similar to our gas plants and hydro). As a result the average HOEP was $32.16 for the net exports of 9,636 MWh we sold to our neighbours meaning the costs for us Ontario taxpayers was only about $500K for the IWT generated power.

To put the above in perspective the 27,980 MWh those IWT were forecast to supply on the 24th is about equal to the daily average consumption of 930,000 Ontario households whereas the 4,526 MWh forecast on the 25th is only enough to power 150,000 households for one day. 

What the foregoing suggests:

1.Without the 11,433 MWh our natural gas generators supplied during those 7 hours on the 25th we may well have experienced a blackout, and

2.Without natural gas supply EV owners would have been unable to charge their batteries meaning they may have been unable to use them to go to work the following day!

Full electrification is a pipedream but based on a letter from Ontario Energy Minister, Todd Smith, our politicians fail to detect the flaws!

Minister Smith’s letter to the OEB dated October 21, 2022, carried the following message:  “The government has a vision for the energy system in which Ontario leverages its clean energy grid to promote electrification and job creation while continually enhancing reliability, resiliency and customer choice.“ 

We should all expect the “vision” will fail in many ways including; electrification, job creation, reliability and resiliency!

PS: No solar generation to report from 1 AM to 7 AM on either day.

Climate Change, the Road to Net-Zero and some Recent Eye-Catchers

Over the past week or so those with an interest in what has been going on in Davos, Switzerland, at the WEF conflab may have missed a few interesting happenings.  Here is a brief review of a few of them.

New York state to forgive $672 million of overdue gas, electric bills

A January 19, 2023 article in Reuters carried the news, New York Governor Kathy Hochul was going to forgive $672 million of unpaid electricity and gas bills for almost 500,000 customers. She said it was “the largest utility customer financial assistance program in state history.” The forgiveness will provide “one-time credits to all residential non-low-income customers and small-commercial customers for any utility arrears through May 1, 2022.“ Governor Hochul went further and “launched a pilot program that guarantees its low-income participants will not pay over 6% of their incomes on electricity, and set aside an additional $200 million in discounts on electric bills for over 800,000 New York state residents who make less than $75,000 who are ineligible under the current discount.“  As a matter of interest New York state has the 9th highest residential electricity rates of all US states and the $672 million is only about 10% (without currency conversion) of the $6.5 billion Ontario taxpayers absorb annually to keep our electricity rates at current levels. Ontario’s huge cost increases were caused by the McGuinty/Wynne led governments and their renewable energy push with high contract prices driving rates up by over 100%. It is worth noting wind and solar contributed only 6% of NY’s total generation in 2021 and Governor Hochul has set 2030 as their carbon free targets at 70% and 100% by 2040. We should have serious doubts those targets are attainable without more financial pain to New Yorkers!

For all their ferocity, California storms were not likely caused by global warming, experts say                                        

The foregoing headline was from the LA Times January 19, 2023 edition, and as one should suspect the Times is considered a MSM news outlet.  The article was related to the outcry from ENGO blaming the recent “drought-to-deluge” cycle that impacted California causing floods, property damage and 19 deaths on (as one would expect) “climate change”! It is so refreshing to see the reporter actually did research and this particular paragraph stands out in the article: “Although the media and some officials were quick to link a series of powerful storms to climate change, researchers interviewed by The Times said they had yet to see evidence of that connection. Instead, the unexpected onslaught of rain and snow after three years of punishing drought appears akin to other major storms that have struck California every decade or more since experts began keeping records in the 1800s.“

It’s so nice to see a few MSM journalists actually consult with real weather “experts” not just those like Al Gore or Greta who push for mankind to stop using fossil fuels to save the planet!

It’s Armageddon: Media Silent on Biden Admin Plan to Snatch Public Land For Solar Farms

The captioned headline was from the Washington Free Beacon a few days ago and noted:  “In December 2022, Interior Secretary Deb Haaland announced that her department would expedite plans to build solar energy farms across tens of thousands of untouched public land in 11 Western states. The announcement has garnered little to no national attention, save for the occasional report that the Biden administration is expanding renewable energy production.“ The article, linked to a presentation by the US Department of the Interior Bureau of Land Management (BLM), referenced those 11 Western States and specifically provided details on six of them.  The public land identified in those six states totalled 440,200,000 acres of which 97,921,069 acres (22.2%) were designated as “Available for Development by BLM! One acre could potential hold up to 2,000 panels so at that level for just those 6 states there could be as many as 19 billion solar panels installed. We should all wonder after their “end of life” where would those solar panels wind up. A Harvard Business Review article about solar panels suggested: “In an industry where circularity solutions such as recycling remain woefully inadequate, the sheer volume of discarded panels will soon pose a risk of existentially damaging proportions.“ The article went on to note;  “The International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA)’s official projections assert that “large amounts of annual waste are anticipated by the early 2030s” and could total 78 million tonnes by the year 2050.“  The Harvard article goes on to say: “With the current capacity, it costs an estimated $20–$30 to recycle one panel. Sending that same panel to a landfill would cost a mere $1–$2.“ Perhaps solar panels are not the nirvana pushed by those eco-warriors who want us to completely abandon fossil fuels including US President Biden! 

It’s hard to spot any solar panels on the roof of President Biden’s beachfront home pictured below.

The Biden Administration Finally Admits Its Mistake in Canceling the Keystone XL Pipeline

Last but not least was a great article disclosing how the US Department of Energy quietly released a report about the effects of President Biden’s cancellation of the Keystone XL Pipeline right after his inauguration. As the article discloses; the cancellation; “has already cost the United States thousands of jobs and billions in economic growth while families suffer under the weight of record high energy prices.“ The article was written by Tom Harris and posted in Real Clear Energy just a few days ago. The article included specific details from the report noting: “the pipeline would have created between 16,149 and 59,000 jobs and would have had an economic benefit of between $3.4 and 9.6 billion.“ What the foregoing also suggests is there was an effect on Canada as the crude oil that would have been carried in that pipeline would have been from Canada and have generated both royalties and taxes to government coffers. The sale of that crude would have benefited the economy and increased the value of the Canadian dollar giving it more buying power and have helped to reduce our inflation rate.

The article goes on to state:  “Two years into sowing its Green New Deal policies, the administration is reaping a bitter harvest. Due to Biden’s folly, oil, natural gas and electricity prices have more than doubled in just a single year. Meanwhile, more than 28 percent of Americans abstained from purchasing food or medicine to pay an energy bill in 2021.“ Additional points in the article clearly outline the cascade caused by the cancellation and its effect on global energy prices that hit the European community even harder then North America.

The follies of the Biden Administration’s mistakes will undoubtedly go down in history in a negative way as will our Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau, who didn’t fight back on behalf of Canadians after Biden’s decree.

We should all recognize and note the damage being done on a collective basis by the WEF, the UNIPCC, etc. but we mustn’t forgive or ignore the damage being caused by our local politicians be they municipal, provincial or federal!

As has been highlighted in the foregoing four above brief synopsis the road to “Net-Zero” is paved with bad intentions and bad outcomes.  

IWT Delivered a Meagre 1.1% of Peak Demand on January 18,2023

Those IWT (industrial wind turbines) along with solar panels once again demonstrated their inability to provide Ontarians with reliable power when it’s actually needed!

Peak hour on January 18th came at Hour 18 (hour ending at 6 PM) when Ontario’s peak demand reached 19,250 MW and those 4,900 MW of grid connected IWT managed to only generate 218 MWh or 1.1% of peak demand and 4.4% of their capacity.  At that hour the sun wasn’t shining so no solar generation occurred. Our natural gas plants however, filled in the gap providing 4,038 MWh or 21% of peak demand while the balance came from our nuclear and hydro generation sources.

If one travels back in the day and notes what IWT were doing, they once again demonstrated their nasty trait of generating unneeded power. From Hour 1 to Hour 13, IESO forecast they would generate 29,859 MW (46.8% of their capacity) but accepted only 25,040 MW meaning just over 4,900 MW were presumably curtailed. Due to the “first-to-the-grid” rights and the generous contracts granted the owners of those IWT we taxpayers and ratepayers paid for both the accepted and curtailed power.

Over those same 13 hours our net exports (exports minus imports) were 19,827 MW (79.2% of accepted IWT generation) and the intertie price only averaged $17.47/MWh or 1.7 cents/kWh over those hours. As IESO were selling the surplus power off we were paying $135/MW for the IWT accepted power and $120/MW for what was curtailed.  The foregoing suggests it cost us (ratepayers/taxpayers) about $3.5 million for that unneeded IWT generation over those 13 hours.

While natural gas stepped up when needed in Ontario, we should also understand it’s importance by simply seeing what most of Europe is experiencing without natural gas. Many households are suffering from the lack of reliable electricity generation due to their various government’s endorsement of wind and solar while exiting fossil fuel generation except for a little bit of natural gas. That push coupled with Russia’s curtailment of natural gas sales into Europe has driven up their costs of power and is even creating energy poverty for many “middle class” households!   In some instances rationing of electricity is happening as charging EV and running your heat pumps could cause the electricity grid to collapse.

We Ontarians should take a moment to thank Alberta for providing us with natural gas which in addition to helping keep the lights on and power our businesses also provides heat for over 60% of all our households in the province.

Why wasn’t MMG Limited’s Mining Rights Cancelled by Industry Minister Champagne?

Back on November 2, 2022, François-Philippe Champagne, Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry announced: “the Government of Canada has ordered the divestiture of the following investments by foreign investors in Canadian critical mineral companies:

  •  Sinomine (Hong Kong) Rare Metals Resources Co., Limited is required to divest itself of its investment in Power Metals Corp.
  • Chengze Lithium International Limited is required to divest itself of its investment in Lithium Chile Inc.
  • Zangge Mining Investment (Chengdu) Co., Ltd. is required to divest itself of its investment in Ultra Lithium Inc.”

The divestitures Minister Champagne ordered were all China controlled companies. For some reason however, another Chinese controlled company; MMG Limited, wasn’t included in the order despite the fact their mining rights include both copper and zinc. Copper is considered a “critical mineral” associated with the manufacture of EV batteries and zinc appears to be an upcoming “critical mineral” based on some recent news and patents filed! Zinc based batteries reputedly offer improved intrinsic safety over lithium-ion batteries aligned with a high energy storage capability.

Hmm; was the omission of MMG Limited intentional or simply missed?

One should note the Trudeau government was certainly aware of MMG’s longstanding mining rights as pointed out in a September 19, 2021 article about the Strathmere Group. The article said: “suddenly back on August 13, 2019 Marc Garneau, Minister of Transport announced a project: “$21.5 million to complete preparatory work necessary for the first phase of construction of the Grays Bay Road and Port Project. The proposed 230-kilometre all-season road would be the first road to connect Nunavut to the rest of Canada.“ 

That project, co-incidentally, was seen as the means to cash in on the opening of the Arctic, something China had attempted to accomplish back in 2011 via a Chinese company with mining rights (MMG Limited) and whose principal shareholder was the Chinese government.  At that time MMG backed away from further plans as the cost of the roads and port made it too costly! As noted in an article in the Walrus on January 4, 2021, “The vast mineral deposits of zinc and copper near Izok Lake, in the Northwest Territories, lay glittering but ultimately untouchable“ until Garneau’s pledge. Shortly after the pledge by Garneau, Mr. G. Gao, CEO of MMG in a press release said; “On behalf of MMG, I would like to extend my sincere thanks to the Canadian government for their support and funding,”.

The Walrus article went on stating: “CHINA’S GROWING INTEREST in the Canadian Arctic, one of the least defended regions on earth, has been a calculated move. In 2013, de­spite not being one of the eight Arctic nations, China gained official observer status at the Arctic Council, an intergov­ernmental forum, and later declared it­self a “near­-Arctic state”—a phrase that seems to ignore the 5,000 kilometres between its northern­most point and the Arc­tic Circle.

It seems ironic Garneau’s Bill C-48 designed to halt Canadian fossil fuel exports from Canada’s west coast was passed just two months earlier before he turned around and catered to Chinese interests in obtaining critical minerals associated with EV battery manufacturing by China. With Champagne announcing the required divesture of critical mineral mining rights by those three Chinese companies one should wonder; why wasn’t MMG Limited included?  Don’t these ministers talk, or do they simply take orders from above?

MMG’s website states: “MMG’s major shareholder is China Minmetals Corporation (CMC). Founded in 1950, CMC is one of China’s major multinational state-owned enterprises. CMC’s subsidiary China Minmetals H.K. (Holdings) Limited (Minmetals HK) currently owns approximately 67.68% of the total shares of MMG, with the remaining 32.32% owned by public shareholders including global resources and investment funds.”   

MMG’s Press Release after Garneau made the announcement had this to say: 

The Izok Corridor Project includes the Izok and High Lake deposits located in Nunavut in the Canadian arctic within a geological formation known as the Slave Geological Province. Izok is a zinc/copper deposit with a Mineral Resource of 15 million tonnes at 13% zinc and 2.3% copper. The High Lake deposit, located north of Izok, has a Mineral Resource of 14 million tonnes at 3.8% zinc and 2.5% copper. The Izok Corridor Project offers the potential for significant socio-economic contributions to the Nunavut, Northwest Territories and Canadian economies.

The press release went on to note: “Project development requires construction of a 325-kilometre all-weather road, as well as a deep-water port on the Arctic Ocean to facilitate transportation of metal concentrates to overseas markets. MMG also holds several other base metal deposits and exploration tenements in this highly prospective region.

It seems obvious MMG will not finance either the road or the port and will not exploit their mining rights unless they are complete and paid for by Canadian taxpayers.  On the question of costs to complete the road and the port it is extremely difficult, nay impossible, to find factual estimates. A 2021 Government Environmental Scan however did state: “Steady growth is expected on the Territories’ construction sector as a number of new  projects are expected to begin shortly. For instance, the Kitikmeot Inuit Association is proceeding with its Grays Bay Road and Port project in Nunavut following a nearly two-year delay as a result of COVID-19 and rising construction costs. The estimated $550M project includes a 227-km all-weather road and a deep-sea port at Grays Bay on Coronation Gulf.“ One should note the Government of Canada’s “scan” suggests their estimated cost covered only 227-km of the 325-km “all-weather road” touted by MMG and it wasn’t specific on the individual costs of either the road or the port! No matter, though if all the costs are paid by the Federal and Territorial governments it will be the Canadian taxpayers who are paying for both!

If the foregoing costs of the road and the port fall on the backs of Canadian taxpayers, we should view it as the Trudeau government simply handing out our tax dollars to China so that can mine our resources, ship them to China for processing and use them to manufacture EV batteries. This may well happen despite the billions of dollars the Federal and Provincial (Ontario and Quebec) have promised to auto makers and future battery manufacturers.

When the foregoing happens, we taxpayers can sit back and repeat what our PM Trudeau said: “There’s a level of admiration I actually have for China. Their basic dictatorship is actually allowing them to turn their economy around on a dime“. The last few words of his comment might be altered to; “to turn their economy around on a few billion of Canadian taxpayer dollars

Solar Panels Support Combined with Deforestation and using Farmland by Eco-Warriors is Hypocritical

The foxes are truly running the henhouse as expressed in an earlier article related to the eco-warriors and their push for renewable energy from intermittent and unreliable industrial wind turbines (IWT)! Those same eco-warriors are also sold on solar panels but once again they seem unable to grasp the very old idiom from the 1500s; “Can’t see the forest for the trees”.

One of those eco-warriors, Ecojustice, a charity who in their October 31, 2021, filing with the CRA claimed they spent $5.6 million on charitable activities and $5.5 million on compensation which respectively represents 68% and 67% of gross revenue ($8.2 million). The foregoing presumably doesn’t include the $700K spent on advertising and promotion. Quite the charity; and further claiming, “Solar and wind” power are now the cheapest sources of power on the planet” but fail to provide facts to back up the spurious claim. Seems a stretch for a charity stating they are an “environmental law charity”!  Ecojustice are the legal representatives fighting the Government of Newfoundland on behalf of the CAC (Citizens Against Clearcutting) in respect to 11 square kilometres that will be clearcut as blessed by an environmental assessment. They seem to blatantly ignore, “the rule of law”!  It seems humorous Ecojustice in a post on their website in February 2022 in the opening paragraph states: “Going vegan will save the world!” headline there’s another that warns of deforestation done in the name of soy or how much water goes into making almond milk.”  Confusion reigns supreme!

While the Ecojustice post is about “climate change” and what they are doing to end fossil fuel use, it brought to mind issues related to California who reportedly produce 80% of the world’s almonds. The article (from 2015) noted growing those almonds annually in California uses three (3) times the water the city of Los Angeles uses.  One should expect the use of that amount of water would surely impact the aquifers in a state frequently experiencing droughts!  Why not simply use the land for solar farms as much of state already does?

A later article (August 6, 2019) then the one referenced above refers to a report from Nature Conservancy suggesting, “estimates the state will need to cover an area at least twice as large as Yosemite National Park (747,946 acres) with solar panels and wind turbines” should it plan to meet its goal of 100% clean energy by 2045. The article also notes “A state law now requires water regulators to figure out how to balance their accounts so that groundwater levels stop dropping. (For the past 50 years California has been pumping far more water out of the ground than filters back into aquifers.) To comply, farmers would have to stop irrigating at least half a million acres, according to a study by the nonpartisan Public Policy Institute of California.

Along the foregoing lines, a posting on “ElectricRate.Com” on October 2022 titled “California Solar Facts in 2023” states; “California is currently the No.1 state for solar power in the U.S, with over 32 GW of solar capacity installed.“  To put that in perspective 32 GW is 32,000 MW and is currently very close to the total of Ontario’s grid connected capacity. As if to top things off California’s climate plan, (according to an article on June 23, 2022) “will need about 30 times more electric vehicles on the road, six times more electric appliances in homes to replace gas appliances, 60 times more hydrogen supply and four times more wind and solar generation capacity.“  We should be pretty sure that will require quite a few acres which could well include farmland and deforestation but it will make the eco-warriors happy!

If one then travels east in the U.S.A. to Massachusetts, you discover an article in the Boston Globe discloses deforestation has occurred as “misguided state incentives have encouraged building solar farms on undeveloped land.” The article was dated July 12, 2020, and at that date they quoted one individual who said “about 10,000 acres of the state’s forests have been cleared for solar farms“.  Interestingly Massachusetts also claims it is a national leader in solar power in the same article. The following picture and description is from the same article demonstrating how deforestation in the state is happening to create “solar farms”! Massachusetts currently has about 4 gigawatts (4,000 MW) of installed solar capacity so at 5 to 10 acres per MW some 20 to 40 thousand acres of Massachusetts land containing forests or used as farmland have been converted to generate electricity with solar panels that were probably manufactured in China.  Hard to understand how this is beneficial to humanity and will do anything to reduce emissions!

Much of a forest in Brimfield has been transformed into a solar farm

It appears a significant portion of Canadian farmland is also being covered with solar panels according to an article in the Western Producer noting; “22,500 farms nationally reported having renewable energy production on their operations, up from a little more than 10,000 in 2016”. The following picture is posted on the website of the Canadian Climate Institute (CCI) giving credence to the foregoing strongly suggesting the area covered with solar panels was formerly farmland.

As one would expect, the CIC is an outgrowth of the Trudeau government’s largesse and their 2021 report filed with the CRA indicates 98% of their gross revenue came from Government Grants (taxpayers) so naturally they fully support the push for “net-zero” emissions from wind and solar electricity generation.

The CIC is now headed up by none other then Rick Smith, a close alumnus of Gerald Butts, former Principal Secretary to PM Justin Trudeau.  Both Butts and Smith were “head honchos” of two members of The Strathmere Group back in 2009 and signatories to the agreement signed between the American and Canadian eco-warrior groups!

It sure appears obvious those eco-warriors, fully supported by the current Justin Trudeau led government truly; “Can’t see the forest for the trees”!

PS: My new computer crashed and the reason for my absense over the past couple of weeks.

IWT Support Combined with Deforestation Alarmism by Eco-Warriors is Hypocritical

The numerous eco-warriors in Canada and elsewhere around the world continue their push to end the use of fossil fuels despite the damage now being felt in most European countries. Europe’s climbing energy poverty rate was where 36 million European people in 2020 were unable to keep their homes adequately warm during the winter. We should have no doubt winter 2023 will undoubtedly increase those numbers considerably!

Those eco-warriors are sold on the concept that wind and solar generation coupled with EV (electric vehicles) are the magic formula for full electrification. At the same time as they advocate for full electrification of transportation, they ludicrously reject the need to mine for the materials used in the manufacturing of EV batteries, solar panels and IWT (industrial wind turbines). In the latter case they frequently exhibit their “hypocrisy” as those 300-foot blades evident on most IWT are made from composites that are not recycled such as fibreglass and balsa wood. “Balsa wood’s characteristics as a light and soft, yet highly resistant wood – strong and light at the same time – make it perfect for the manufacture of cladding for cruisers, skis, bridges… and especially for wind turbine propellers.“ It seems ironic the advocates of IWT; ie: those same eco-warriors such as WWF Canada and Greenpeace, are frequently the ones demanding retention of the Amazon rain forests in South America where those balsa trees grow. The WWF declared: “there’s no way we can slow climate change without stopping the destruction of our forests, and the Amazon is our planet’s biggest rainforest.“ Greenpeace Canada went well beyond that sending a petition in October 2020 to the Federal Minister of Foreign Affairs Melanie Joly stating: “prioritize the Amazon rainforest! Canada needs to immediately halt the Canada-Mercosur free trade negotiations and speak up for Amazon protection.”

Many of the IWT in Canada and around the world are reaching their end of life and being retired or refurbished. Disposal of the old blades is having a negative impact as they are not recyclable and are piling up in landfills as the following picture shows and presumably includes balsa wood from the Amazon rainforests.

As noted above much of the balsa wood used in the fabrication of those IWT blades emanates in Amazonian Indigenous communities and makes its way to China, Denmark, etc. Those countries then manufacture those IWT blades that find their way to countries around the world whose politicians have bought the eco-warrior’s objectives to create electricity (unreliable and intermittent) from IWT.  At this juncture it is interesting to point out, Sir James Blyth of Scotland was the first to generate electricity from a wind-powered generator back in 1887.  Blyth’s invention never really caught on until recently when the eco-warriors started shouting about “global warming” sic “climate change” in recent times.

We should all ask the question of those eco-warriors and our politicians supporting their demands: 

How is this saving the world from climate change and how will it achieve your “net-zero” targets when you knowingly ignore the effects those IWT have including the generation of electricity that is both intermittent and unreliable?

The foxes are truly running the henhouse and from all appearances and actions are clearly hypocrites!

Battery Storage Would Cost Ontario Billions to Replace Natural Gas Generation on December 20, 2022

Ontario’s Minister of Energy, Todd Smith should think seriously about December 20th and contemplate; if we were without natural gas generation, how would the province have avoided blackouts?  What would we need to have in place to provide the 124,792 MWh (what 4.1 million average Ontario households consume daily) our gas plants supplied on that December day?

More wind, more solar?  If he picked those two intermittent and unreliable sources, we would need a multiple of at least five times current capacity. Even then, if they only generated five times the 232 MWh, they did at Hour 3, we would have experienced a blackout in the middle of the night during a low demand hour. Natural gas generators at that hour produced 4,003 MWh (26.8% of demand).

Throughout the day grid connected wind generated about 21,000 MWh and solar 547 MWh. At peak demand, Hour 18 ending at 6 PM, wind generation neared its peak for the day generating 1,341 MWh (6.8% of demand) whereas our gas plants generated 6,033 MWh or 30.4% of peak demand. Because demand was relatively high and wind failed to generate less than an average of 900 MW per hour the market price (HOEP) averaged $82.88/MWh over the day so the 39,000 MW we sold to our neighbours in NY, Michigan and Quebec generated a reasonable price compared to days when the wind is blowing hard and the sun is shining.

If Smith said hydro, it would be sensible, however Ontario has pretty well exhausted its hydro sources near population centers so that’s not an option. We would need to open up the northern reaches of the province and spend billions of tax dollars to build roads, transmission systems and the hydro plants themselves to get the power to where its needed. Not feasible for well over a decade!

Nuclear would be a good and logical source, however the only possible new nuclear we might get in the next 10 years is a 300 MW capacity SMR (small modular reactor) now in the planning stage by OPG.

What’s left then for him to contemplate is either hydrogen or storage. The former is still in early test stages and unlikely to be scaled up for a decade or more. Despite the foregoing the push for it by many European countries is on as they view it as the solution to achieving “net-zero”.  The big concern about hydrogen is associated with possible leaks as a recent article noted: “Scientists have warned that hydrogen could be a significant “indirect” contributor to the greenhouse effect when it leaks through infrastructure and interacts with methane in the atmosphere.

One should wonder does Minister Smith have a belief “storage” is the option and if so, how much will be needed?  In the near term he seems to have somewhat recognized the fallibility of our electricity system as his Ministerial Directive of October 6, 2022 directs IESO to secure a minimum of 1,500 MW of storage generation and a maximum of 1,500 MW of natural gas generation.  On the former he had already directed IESO to negotiate a 250 MW battery storage contract with Oneida on August 27, 2022 despite the need for a cost/benefit study as noted in a earlier article.

Minister Smith had also asked IESO to prepare a plan to allow Ontario’s electricity system to be fully “decarbonized” by 2050 and in their response titled: “The Pathways to Decarbonization” they included 2,507 MW of storage capacity in 2035.

The full costs of that capacity will be in excess of $2.4 billion based on a recent well researched article suggesting battery costs are a minimum of US$700K (CA$950K) per MW of capacity. Battery storage capacity results in about only 80% of it as being available when it’s needed on the grid, but, it can deliver the rated capacity for three hours.  That means 2,507 MW of battery storage at a capital cost of $2.4 billion could deliver approximately 6,000 MWh before having to reload.

Now, if we consider the generation provided by Ontario’s natural gas plants on December 20, 2022, one notes we would need twenty-one times more battery storage to generate the almost 125,000 MWh they delivered. The capital cost would be astronomical and amount to about $50 billion. Repaid over the 10-year lifespan of the batteries (including a profit margin of 10%), it would result in adding $5.5 billion of annual costs to ratepayer bills. 

What the IESO chart suggests is natural gas capacity coupled with; “New Capacity Online by 2035” in the form of; Demand Response, Solar, Wind and new Nuclear, we will not need additional storage.  Let’s hope their forecast is accurate despite the “Disclosure” on Page 2 stating:

The information, statements and conclusions in this report are subject to risks, uncertainties and other factors that could cause actual results or circumstances to differ materially from the report’s findings. The IESO provides no guarantee, representation, or warranty, express or implied, with respect to any statement or information in this report and disclaims any liability in connection with it.”

The 2035 scenario depicted by IESO also contained the following suggesting they had some faith in part of their report: “New large hydroelectric and nuclear facilities were not selected due to lead times that extended beyond the horizon of this scenario. As firm imports from Québec would require resource development in that province, they proved to be costly and were also not selected. Finally, with 2,500 MW of battery energy-storage systems included in the base supply mix, the value of additional storage diminished, hindering its selection.

Hmm, kind of makes one wonder if the “Pathways” report is delivering what Minister Smith has in mind?

An article written by Allison Jones of the Canadian Press and dated December 26, 2022 reputedly confirmed Minister Smith’s directive to IESO to obtain the additional 1,500 MW of natural gas generation along with the “2,500 megawatts of clean technology such as energy storage”. The article went on to claim, “Smith said in an interview that it’s the largest active procurement for energy storage in North America.“ Another quote in the article came from Katherine Sparkes, IESO’s director of innovation who apparently said: 

As we look to the future and think about gas phase-out and electrification, one of the great challenges facing all energy systems in North America and around the world is: How do you address the increasing amounts of variable, renewable energy? resources and just make better use of your grid resources,” she said.

“Hybrids, storage-generator pairings, give you the ability to deal with the variability of renewable energy, meaning storing electricity when the sun isn’t shining or the wind not blowing, and then using it when you need it.” 

We ratepayers should all be troubled if the foregoing is a quote from IESO’s director of innovation! In that position she should know if the sun isn’t shining, or the wind isn’t blowing there is no energy that can be stored! 

On the other hand, if it’s a misquote by the author of the article, its what we have come to expect from the MSM reporters who seem to frequently fail to do any fact checking. The latter is evident in other parts of the article where obtuse comments are made and accepted with one of them suggesting their company will “make power plants obsolete” using EV and another suggesting “the provincial and federal governments need to fund and install bidirectional chargers in order to fully take advantage of electric vehicles.” No indication was in the article as to what sources of energy would be used to power up those EV batteries nor does the author question those making the statements.

It is readily apparent the author of the article failed to either question those interviewed or to seek other views that might challenge their claims.  Unfortunately, investigative journalism is no longer within the purview of those associated with the mainstream media.

Conclusion

Natural gas is a fossil fuel that benefits mankind in many ways and the cold December day we Ontario residents recently experienced clearly demonstrated how it is needed until something better comes along. It is self-evident the “something better” is clearly not battery storage.

Let’s turn up the heat on our Ministry of Energy and the many reporters in the media who message us with the propaganda perpetrated by those who want us to freeze in the dark!