Grand claims about wind power’s role in Ontario not borne out by the facts
September 18, 2018
The Canadian Wind Energy Association (CanWEA) has a new web posting titled “Ontario Wind Energy Market Profile” that is pure hyperbolic spin.
The four-page report says: “Ontario is our nation’s leader in clean wind energy with an installed capacity of 5,076 MW, about 40 per cent of Canada’s total installed wind energy capacity. There are 2,577 wind turbines currently operating in Ontario at 96 separate facilities.” It goes on to say “Supplying 7.7 per cent of Ontario’s electricity demand today, wind energy helps to diversify Ontario’s electricity generation mix.”
What CanWEA’s report doesn’t say is that wind represents over 12% of grid-connected generation and that the 7.7% supply it adds to the grid is intermittent, unreliable and frequently (65% of the time it is actually generating power) out of sync with demand. As an example, on Friday September 14, 2018 at hour 18 (6 PM), when demand in Ontario was near or at its peak, the 4,400 MW of grid-connected wind generated a miserly 10 MWh.
That’s 0.23% of capacity.
To put the 10 MWh in context, that is enough to supply one average household with electricity for a year. At the same time as wind was probably consuming more electricity than the turbines were generating, gas plants (installed to back up wind capacity) were generating 3,862 MWh.
Total generation for hour 18 was 19,274 MWh, not including net imports (imports less exports) of 1,249 MWh, representing Ontario grid demand of 20,523 MWh.* That means the 12% of grid-connected wind generation contributed 0.05% of grid demand. For the full 24 hours of the 14th of September, wind generated just over 3,500 MWh which equates to 3.3% of their capacity. If that isn’t bad enough, 2,500 MWh of that generation occurred from 12 AM to 7 AM when demand is lowest. Needless to say, nuclear, hydro and gas supplied the bulk of Ontario demand for the day.
What this all means is that industrial wind capacity does nothing more than add to the costs of the generation of electricity in Ontario, and, actually, pretty well everywhere else in the world.
Ontario can’t and shouldn’t fall for the hyperbolic self-interested wind spin, so hopefully our politicians recognize it for what it does—drive up the cost of electricity while killing birds and bats and inflicting harm to humans in rural communities due to the audible and inaudible noise emitted.
*IESO’s Daily Market Summary indicates Ontario’s peak demand was 20,845 MWh on September 14, 2018.