Wind: worst value for Ontario consumers

The wind power lobby continues to claim power from wind is great value and contributes to “affordable” electricity bills. But the facts of October tell a different story.

Ontario turbines near Comber: not helping

Right after Ontario Energy Minister Glenn Thibeault released his version of the LTEP (Long-Term Energy Plan), “Delivering Fairness and Choice,” CanWEA (the Canadian Wind Energy Association) issued a news release with the following statement:  “New wind energy provides the best value for consumers to meet growing demand for affordable non-emitting electricity.”

To back up that claim, CanWEA president Robert Hornung had this to say: Ontario’s harnessing of wind power can help fight climate change while keeping electricity costs low. Without new wind energy, costs to electricity customers and carbon emissions will both continue to rise.”

Brandy Giannetta, CanWEA’s Regional Director for Ontario also had a quote: “CanWEA supports competitive, market-based approaches to providing flexible, clean, and low-cost energy supply, to meet Ontarians’ changing needs.”

The expression “I wish I had a dollar for every time I heard that,” immediately comes to mind but here’s the truth: industrial-scale wind turbines have failed miserably in producing anything resembling “low-cost” energy and is instead one of the reasons consumers’ electricity bills “will continue to rise”!

If Hornung and Giannetta had waited just five days, they could have visited my friend Scott Luft’s spreadsheet and noticed how wind performed in October.   They would have discovered it was pretty dismal: 37.9% of possible grid-connected (Tx) wind power generation was curtailed (paid for but not used).  

The IESO (Independent Electricity System Operator) was concerned that too much wind power generation could cause repercussions such as a blackout or brownout, so 481,243 MWh (megawatt hours) were not accepted throughout the month. However, Ontario’s ratepayers will still pay for those undelivered MWh at a cost of $120 each, meaning the GA (global adjustment) increased by $57.7 million (481,243 MWh X $120. = $ $57,749,160).

Add that $57.7 million to the 787,627 MWh of the Tx  generation accepted into the grid, the total costs rise to $165 million or $208.32/MWh — the equivalent of 20.8 cents/kWh (kilowatt hour).   (That calculation is 787,627 X $135/MWh = $106,329,645 + $57,749,160 = $164,978,805.  Simply divide the latter amount by the Tx accepted generation and you get the $208.32 MWh or the 20.8 cents/kWh.)

It is important to note that the costs calculated and reported here do not include the transmission charge, delivery charge, regulatory charge or the HST.  Additionally, another 158,609 MWh of wind were delivered to local distribution companies (Dx) at a cost of $135/MWh, bringing IWT costs for the month to $185 million — for power we didn’t need.  No doubt during the month we were also steaming off clean nuclear power from Bruce Nuclear and spilling clean hydro power from OPG’s hydro generation units. In both cases the cost of the steamed off nuclear and the spilled hydro will be added to the Global Adjustment pot and find its way to our future bills.

I hope Mr. Hornung and Ms Giannetta will rethink their claims and simply admit wind power generation is high-cost, and frequently displaces low-cost non-emitting nuclear and hydro power.

You can’t hide October’s facts!


Author: parkergallantenergyperspectivesblog

Retired international banker.

7 thoughts on “Wind: worst value for Ontario consumers”

  1. The 2017 LTEP includes the following improvements that OSPE(Ontario Society for Professional Engineers) has called for:
    “More Realistic Load Forecasting
    Conservation plans and rising electricity prices have reduced demand for electricity in Ontario. OSPE was the first organization to identify this trend and signaled to government that the 2010 and 2013 LTEPs had load forecasts that were too high. Actual demand later confirmed that OSPE’s concern about an excessive load forecast was correct. The 2010 and 2013 plans resulted in the procurement of too much generation that is difficult and expensive to integrate into Ontario’s grid.”
    This part of the report begs the questions: Why did this government not heed the “excessive load forecast”? Why is this government not ordering curtailment of the turbines known to be harming residents in Huron County or in any county where complaints have been addressed to all who are responsible for the harm?
    Is this actually a ‘forced relocation’ agenda and are these turbines the tools being used to bring about the evacuation of rural Ontario?


  2. If this is not a ‘forced relocation’ agenda, intended to harm, kill and /or get rid of residents, then why are the offending turbines sited in clusters surrounding peoples’ homes not being turned off/’parked’ during weather episodes where wind speeds and barometric pressure fluctuations are such that the turbines cause harm from excessive noise, low frequency noise modulations and infrasound radiation? After all of the reports that the MOECC and all who are responsible collectively within this government have received from residents, including weather conditions, it ought to be quite obvious when the turbines should be seriously curtailed in order to not cause harm.


  3. The true cost of wind:

    $130 per MWh. Then we need to include the curtailed numbers we are paying double for half the power: so almost double:

    So $250 /MWh. Now we need to add on the extra costs from Hydro One to hook it all up. Since approximately 1/3 of Hydro One’s spend is on the Green Energy Act, which supplies 15% of our power, thats another $150 or so (I am being generous here)

    Up to $400 per MWh.

    Now comes the fun part. The companies that install wind are getting huge tax breaks up and down the system, they are avoiding billions in taxes by hiding behind wind. They can write off all sorts of normal office expenses against wind. $100 per MWh

    So $500 per MWh.

    Then add another $50 /MWh to cover IESO, Queens Park, Hydro One execs, trials and battles with the rural people this horrendous act is being foisted on and we are at

    $550 / MWh

    For Solar the same costs are

    $2000 / MWh.

    This (weighted ) averages out to $1 per kWh – which is exactly how much green power costs:

    Sorry about the math here:

    $0.12 is the price for ‘normal power’ – nuclear, coal, natural gas, hydro in various mixes

    $1 is the price for green power.

    Poland 100%$0.12 = $0.12/kWh
    Quebec 100%$0.12 = $0.12/kWh
    Michigan 100%$0.12 = $0.12/kWh

    With Green at 50% in south Australia
    South Australia 50%*0.12 + 50%*1.00 = $0.55 final price
    Germany 70%*0.12 + 30%*1.00 = $0.40 final price
    Ontario 80%*0.12 + 20%*1.00 = $0.28 final price
    Denmark 55%*0.12 + 45%*1.00 = $0.50 final price

    Its pretty clear that Green power is $1 per kWh, unlike the apologist pricing.


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