The secret is out: wind power costs plenty

This past weekend’s stats are not kind to the wind power cheerleaders

The wind power trade association, the Canadian Wind Energy Association or CanWEA, uses every opportunity to push for more wind power development, and often uses “selective facts” to promote their claims.   One of the latest relied on investment firm Lazard by stating:  “A December 2016 report from the U.S. investment firm Lazard found that wind energy is the lowest cost option for new supply in the United States without any subsidies. Wind energy costs continue to fall, offering an attractive electricity source to provinces seeking to clean and diversify their electricity systems.”

That statement is included in CanWEA’s recently released brochure “The Secret is Out, Wind is in”.

Had the unknown author(s) at CanWEA simply looked at the Ontario Energy Board’s (OEB) semi-annual Regulated Price Plan they would have noted Table 2 on page 21 of the April 20, 2017 report that the cost of a wind-generated kilowatt hour (kWh) in Ontario is shown as 17.3 cents ($178/MWh), as the cost of “curtailed” (not added to the grid) wind is also included as a cost input.

Had the author(s) also simply looked at IESO data they might also have noticed that maybe wind energy costs are not continuing to fall!   Saturday, November 25th was an example: it was a very windy day in Ontario with an especially windy night. Unfortunately for the wind power cheerleaders, our demand for power from 12 AM until 7 or 8 AM was relatively low, but the wind was really blowing. That meant the 4,200+ MW of wind capacity were running at 90% (approximately) of their capacity, at the same time as Ontario’s demand for power was hovering mid-way between 11,000 and 12,000 MW. That’s very close to what our nuclear plants can provide on their own without help from other generation sources.

As a result, IESO ordered wind’s curtailment, hydro’s spilling and nuclear steam-off. At the same time, they were exporting whatever the market would take.

So, all together on November 25, the IESO curtailed 35,600 MWh of grid-connected wind and accepted 30,600 MWh into the grid, while scrambling to prevent brownouts or blackouts by exporting about 50,000 MWh over the day.

Industrial-scale wind power developers get paid $120/MWh for curtailed wind and $135 MWh for grid-accepted wind.

Quick math on all that means:

Ontario’s ratepayers picked up the costs of almost $8.6 million for curtailed and grid-accepted wind power produced when it wasn’t needed.

The cost of the grid-accepted wind (30,600 MWh) was therefore just over $280/MWh or 28 cents per kWh or, 10.7 cents more than the OEB reported back in April. On top of that, we ratepayers also ate the costs of spilled hydro, steamed off nuclear and the losses on the 50,000 MWh exported at a price close to zero.

Now if that author or authors who cranked out the latest CanWEA “selective facts” brochure were brutally honest, they would immediately change the title to:

“The Secret is out: wind is horribly expensive, intermittent and unreliable!”

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7 thoughts on “The secret is out: wind power costs plenty”

  1. On my little computer phone thingy here i have a calculator…. a real one that does old school math…. for example…..
    2 + 2 = 4……
    Here’s another….
    50000 MW is …
    50000 X 1000 = 50000000 kwh
    So…. if our government gives away
    50000000 kwhs of hydro per day and the average Ontarion home uses
    750 KWH per month….
    50000000 ÷750 = 66666.
    66666 Ontarion homes could have had free power for one month… in one day…. our elected officials controlling our power grid gave away enough hydro in just one day to give over 66000 hard working tax paying ontario homes free power for one month….
    Does anyone out there other than me think this is wrong????? Why are Ontarions not picking up on this???? In one day the ontario liberal party has given away enough power to give free hyrdo to over 66000 ontario homes… this is absolutely 100% a hijacking of an essential service….
    You as tax and rate payers are being asked to subsidize states like Michigan and New York… they pay between 1 cent and 2.5 cents per kwh for hydro that you pay maximum for!!! Wake up folk!!!!

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  2. Your calculations are reflected on my own experience.
    The following are my Hydro One invoices from August to October 2017. First figure is monthly kW/hrs consumed, second figure in brackets, is the charge for actual wattage I consumed per meter readings/TOU (time-of-use rates). Third figure is the final amount of invoice. (I should add I live exceptionally frugal to keep my electricity use this low, with about 80% used at the “Off-Peak” rate. My house now is usually around 15 to 17 degrees C. Air conditioning last summer was never used. Very few Ontarians likely to make these sacrifices. My base heating system is forced air electric).
    August: 319 Kw/hrs ($24.68) $73.53
    September: 353 kW/hrs ($26.73) $76.32
    October: 320 kW/hrs ($25.06) $73.87.

    Two facts can be arrived at from the above figures.
    First, it is readily apparent “Delivery +HST” charges are inordinately high (approximately 300% additional) on top of metered electricity. Two, dividing the monthly Kw figures by the actual invoiced cost yields the following real world rates:
    August: 319,000watts/7353cents = 43.4 cents per kW/hr.
    September: 353,000watts/7632 cents = 46.3 cents
    October: 320,000/7387 cents = 43.3 cents.
    A recent Toronto Star chart showed San Francisco having the highest hydro charges in North America at 31 cents/kW/hr.
    What we Ontarians are being forced to pay far higher.
    The final insult is I live about 25 km from Bruce Nuclear Power Development, (BNPD). Which routinely supplies Ontario with 30% of provinces electricity. Yet I am billed by Hydro One at a higher rate as a “Remote” or rural classification. A rate 25% higher than the Town of Kincardine which townline is less than 500 meters away.
    On a personal note, I am totally disgusted with what I can only conclude is a legalized extortion racket with we, captive victims forced to pay for an essential service.
    Kathleen Wynne, as premier, should either be in jail (along with her equally venal mentor; Dalton McGuilty) or at the very least removed from office. We need to be protected from her stubborn agenda pushing the proven disaster of “Greed” energy, (wind and solar), as it has been rolled out in Ontario. Causing the worst electricity rate in ALL North America. Conclude as well, the OEB; our so called public watchdog is either incompetent or bought off.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes but

      Even Ontario’s recent push toward green energy was not based on the lowest cost. Rather, it was an attempt to create a wind and solar industry during an industrial recession by offering high-priced long-term contracts.

      reveals the problem for Ontario ratepayers. Those “long-term” contracts have many more years to run! We are paying for the stupidity, if not collusion, of Wynne and her government who are responsible for the Green Energy Act and the big fat wind and solar contracts they signed on our behalf.

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  3. Reblogged this on ajmarciniak and commented:
    y

    This past weekend’s stats are not kind to the wind power cheerleaders

    The wind power trade association, the Canadian Wind Energy Association or CanWEA, uses every opportunity to push for more wind power development, and often uses “selective facts” to promote their claims. One of the latest relied on investment firm Lazard by stating: “A December 2016 report from the U.S. investment firm Lazard found that wind energy is the lowest cost option for new supply in the United States without any subsidies. Wind energy costs continue to fall, offering an attractive electricity source to provinces seeking to clean and diversify their electricity systems.”

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    1. Actually wind advocates tout such numbers as evidence that wind is the future. What they forget to mention is that’s for intermittent power that needs to be buffered so as to be dispatchable where and when that generated power is being demanded. It’s the cost of that buffering that is rising as wind generation costs decline.

      What wind generators should be compensated for is dispatchable power, not just the generated power. It should be their responsibility to have the required buffering in place and if they want to provide power where and when it isn’t needed, too bad, they should be paying for the required curtailment. And if the required buffering costs too much, too bad, they go out of business. The current situation where they get to externalize the costs of buffering/curtailment is simply untenable.

      Like

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