Wind power lobbyist spins numbers to its advantage

Too bad the facts show that actually, wind power isn’t needed in Ontario

Comber wind project with 72 turbines: add up ALL the costs for the truth

The trade association and lobbyist for the wind power development industry, the Canadian Wind Energy Association (CanWEA), loves to provide its audience with information that only shows them in a good light. Their audience, “environmental” organizations and gullible politicians are easily sold.

Once again CanWEA has put the spin out.

A recent short post is titled “A Canadian Success Story” and it claims “Wind energy met approximately 6 per cent of Canada’s electricity demand in 2017 – and more than that in jurisdictions such as P.E.I. (28 per cent), Nova Scotia (12 per cent), Ontario (8 per cent), Alberta (7 per cent) and New Brunswick (7 per cent).”

It is curious as to why CanWEA would have used 2017 as their “success story” as it was an expensive one for Ontario’s ratepayers. Wind generation, the curtailment of excess generation, the need for backup gas plants, and the inability of wind to deliver actual power when needed, all played a significant role in continuing to drive up costs for Ontario electricity consumers.

Power arriving on the grid when demand was low was a big factor in the creation of the Fair Hydro Plan by the former government. IESO reported grid-connected wind delivered 9.2 TWh (terawatt hours) which was only 6.4% of total grid-connected generation — not the 8% claimed by CanWEA. Another 3.3 TWh of wind generation was curtailed in 2017 which added costs.

The 9.2 TWh delivered to the grid cost ratepayers $1,242 million and the 3.3 TWh curtailed added another $396 million, bringing the total cost of wind generation to Ontario’s ratepayers to $1.638 billion or 17.7 cents/kWh! If spilled hydro of 6 TWh and 1 TWh of steamed-off nuclear caused by wind due to surplus baseload generation (SBG) conditions, their costs of about $330 million bring the total cost of wind generation to $1.968 billion. And that is without gas plant idling costs for when wind is absent.

The total costs for all grid-supplied electricity in 2017 amounted to approximately $16 billion. So, the cost of wind power generation, along with the wasted hydro and nuclear, represented about 12.3% of all costs for 6.4% of their grid-accepted generation. If costs of our exports were included, wind generation effects on our electricity bills would be even higher. In 2017, nuclear and hydro supplied 97.1% of Ontario’s demand; with the spilled (wasted) hydro of 6 TWh and the 1 TWh of steamed-off nuclear, they could have supplied 102%.

In other words, wind wasn’t needed.

Scanning stats for a couple of months in 2018 shows that during the hot and high demand summer months of July and August, wind generation does what it generally does — falls flat. Data supplied by Scott Luft and the IESO monthly summaries shows wind provided only 4% of Ontario’s demand in July and 4.4% in August. In May 2018, a low demand month, grid-connected wind supplied 5.7% of Ontario demand. It could have supplied 9.1%, but almost 40% of what it could have generated was curtailed due to the month’s low demand.

What this all demonstrates, again, is the intermittency and unreliability of power from wind turbines. Wind power forces ratepayers to simply hand out money without any benefit.

Our politicians need to recognize spin when they see it, and understand that wind turbines provide almost no value in reducing emissions, or providing a reliable supply of electrical power.



Author: parkergallantenergyperspectivesblog

Retired international banker.

5 thoughts on “Wind power lobbyist spins numbers to its advantage”

  1. Thank you Parker.
    So why is this government in Ontario continuing the subsidies to existing projects? Will they continue this for the full 20 years of these contracts?
    What about the legal liabilities for people being harmed because turbines were sited too close to and in some cases, surrounding their homes and rural neighbourhoods?
    When an expert on low frequency noise and infrasound radiation states publicly that, knowing what she now knows about the harm to the neurological and vestibular system in humans, she would not live within 20 km of a wind turbine, how on earth can this government continue to keep these turbines running?
    Dr. Mariana Alves-Pereira gave a presentation to professionals in Slovenia in May of 2018. Use these key words to access her presentation and listen to her credentials the first few minutes of her talk. Is there anyone in Ontario who has the expertise to argue her claim that the harm from LFN and infrasound radiation is both cumulative and irreversible?
    Also, knowing that engineers have declared that these turbines are not ‘fit for purpose’, why is this government not taking action?


    1. Ontario Power Generation only has one wind turbine, the one sited at the Pickering nuclear station, and it is slated for decommissioning and removal this summer. All of the other wind turbines are owned by private generators. I am not sure how they sell onto the grid, but for once it isn’t the province’s fault!


  2. Seriously Nick? Of course it’s the province’s fault! The Liberal government signed the contracts for above-market rates for wind generated power and for payments when their generation is constrained. And in so doing, they obligated you, and every other Ontarian, to pay these inflated rates.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Please keep up the fight Peter. These articles are not only needed, but great to read and understand what the real issues are. Please keep Alberta on your list as well. They are going down this road and need to be taught all the wrongs that Ontario has gone thru.


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