Since late June, Ontario has experienced almost two weeks of very hot humid weather resulting in increased electricity demand as air conditioners throughout most of the province became almost a necessity. As a result, IESO’s “Peak Tracker” of high demand hours for the current year as of the morning of July 10th consisted entirely of 10 hours beginning June 29, 2020 with the latest happening at “hour 17” on July 9th. The latter was the highest, so far, in the current year.
Picking the “high five” peak hours plays an important role for Ontario’s largest industrial clients referenced as Class A ratepayers. If they successfully pick the hours and reduce their consumption during that hour they are rewarded with lower rates. Those lower rates have benefited the Class A ratepayers for many years as they avoid paying a portion of the Global Adjustment (GA). The Class B ratepayers have been obligated to pay for that portion of the GA which in turn raises their rates. The principal reason industrial ratepayers lobbied for lower rates was due to the above market contracts signed with wind and solar companies by the McGuinty/Wynne led government. In turn the “B” to “A” subsidy is affected by the amount of generation coming from the power produced by those expensive wind and solar contracts as it drives up the GA pot by hundreds of millions of dollars every month.
So a question arising about the recent 10 high demand hours IESO recorded is, how much power did those IWT (industrial wind turbines) generate to alleviate demand on the grid during those hours?
The total Ontario demand over the 10 hours was 224,826 MWh and in those 10 hours wind produced 4,329 MWh or 1.9%! What that meant is IWT generation was what one would call a “rounding error”. When demand is high IWT have this bad habit of being absent and in those 10 hours they demonstrated their failure. The 4,800 MW of IWT produced power at only 9% of their capacity. Thankfully nuclear, hydro and gas were available and generated the bulk of our demand. In several of those hours we also depended on imported power from Quebec paying as much as $203.46/MWh on July 9, 2020.
The current # 1 peak hour occurred July 9th ending on hour 17 when Ontario demand reached 24,446 MW. Nuclear (10,375 MWh) hydro (5,753 MWh) and gas (6,688 MWh) contributed the bulk of the power with wind producing only 389 MWh or 1.6% % of that hour’s demand. Grid connected solar contributed 217 MWh and the balance was provided by imports (principally from Quebec).
What the foregoing clearly demonstrates is IWT fail to deliver power when needed. It is a financial burden on all Ontario ratepayers and requires gas generators to be constantly at the ready as their backup, doubling up on the costs!
The Ford led Ontario government needs to deal with the fact that IWT fail to perform when needed and deliver excess power when it’s not needed which IESO then sell for pennies of their cost.
Ontario’s Minister of Energy, Northern Development and Mines should work to cancel those lucrative contracts and/or penalize them for their failure to perform during those “high five” hours and for the many times they produce unneeded power.