The recent headline on the website North American Windpower read, “CanWEA Applauds New Carbon Pricing: ‘A Great Day For Canada’ “!
The article below the headline, as one would expect, had a cheering section from Robert Hornung, the President of CanWEA as follows:
“This measure sends a clear signal to investors,” comments Robert Hornung, president of CanWEA. “Ensuring that new natural gas-fired electricity generation will have all emissions exposed to the price on carbon by 2030 means that more carbon-free options like wind energy and solar energy will be deployed instead of fossil-fueled electricity generation, creating thousands of jobs and bringing investments into Canadian communities while protecting our climate. This is a great day for Canada.”
Instead of luring investors with the hope of riches in the wind, one might hope that Hornung’s diatribe sends a clear message to politicians and those responsible for managing the electricity grid (in the provinces affected) that they shouldn’t buy into the rhetoric! The reason most provinces have gas plants is to ensure there is power available when the wind doesn’t blow and those turbines sit idle (those forced to live close to the noisy machines love when that happens).
Ontario has seen high demand in recent days as temperatures rose and air conditioners were fired up to cool homes and businesses. On July 2, total demand was 463,656 MWh and wind generation delivered to the grid from the approximately 4,500 MW of wind capacity in Ontario was 4,054 MWh over 24 hours or — that’s less than 1% of total demand.
While wind turbines were sleeping on that day, gas generators were required to fill in for them and supplied almost 34,000 MWh (7.3% of total demand).
In my view, all ratepayers (industrial, commercial and residential) should lobby the federal and (affected) provincial governments to alter regulations in respect to the “carbon tax” charge. The regulations should require both the wind and solar generators to produce power when required and if they are unable to do so, the applicable “carbon tax” should be charged to them during hours when producing power surplus to demand.
Presently that surplus generation is disposed of by either exporting it or curtailing it. Both of those actions currently come at a substantial cost to ratepayers. The regulation change would direct revenue from the charge applied to offset the additional cost ratepayers would be picking up from the carbon tax charge on gas generators when wind and solar are not generating needed power and they are called on to fill the gap.
To paraphrase CanWEA’s president, then a carbon pricing announcement would “send a clear signal” to the intermittent and unreliable wind and solar power generators that ratepayers are fed up with electricity rates that have soared in part due to costly and intermittent renewable wind.
That “carbon-free option” touted by Robert Hornung has cost ratepayers in Canada billions, to the benefit of mainly foreign owned companies.
It is time to reverse the trend!