Gas Plants Saved Ontarians from Rolling Blackouts During Peak Demand Month

While the month and year are not over yet it appears that August 2021 will win the prize for most peak hours. Despite being a few days away from the arrival of September, August looks set to dominate as eight (8) of the ten (10) peak demand hours have occurred in August. Based on weather forecasts; demand should fall over the balance of the month and into early September.

August 26, 2021 peak demand hour (ending at hour 15) looks set to be the second highest at 22,740 MW but may be subject to minor adjustment by IESO. August 24, 2021 ending at hour 17 currently stands as the highest (22,956 MW) peak demand hour so far this year.

It is interesting to pull together some of the data for those eight “peak demand” August hours to examine how we made it through without experiencing rolling blackouts or brownouts!

Cumulatively the eight August peak demand hours show total Ontario demand was 178,645 MWh and the bulk of that was provided by nuclear and hydro which we tend to think of as “baseload” power although hydro is flexible (we can simply spill it) and some nuclear (Bruce) can be steamed off.

Those familiar with the electricity system in Ontario and the GEA (green energy act) will recall industrial wind turbines (IWT) were granted “first to the grid” rights treating them as ranking higher than baseload power.  That changed as we were frequently flooded with excess power (particularly from IWT) due to their intermittent and unreliable output and had to pay our neighbours to take the excess! The ability of IWT and solar to produce power when it was actually needed escaped the politicians (McGuinty/Wynne) thought processes so eventually IWT generators agreed to be paid for “curtailing” their generation. Their tendency is to generate power in the low demand periods of the Spring and Fall!

So, the question is, how did IWT and solar perform during those (8) August “peak hours”?

As it turns out wind and solar managed (on a combined basis) to only produce 5,593 MWh (an average of 872 MW per hour) over the 8 peak hours which represented a mere 4.9% of demand.  Ontario gas plants which are referenced as “peaking plants” were thankfully at the ready and generated 47,808 MWh or 26.8% of “peak demand”.

What the foregoing highlights is that without gas plants Ontario ratepayers would have experienced both rolling brownouts and blackouts for those 8 peak hours along with many other August hours and days that were devoid of meaningful “renewable” (IWT & solar) generation.

Based on the foregoing we ratepayers would appreciate those thirty (30) municipalities and their elected representatives to explain exactly why they endorsed the OCAA’s (Ontario Clean Air Alliance) push to tell the Provincial Government to shut down all of Ontario’s gas plants.  As an alternative they should simply rescind their council motion(s) directing the Ontario Minister of Energy to shut the gas plants!

Do those municipalities have a solution for rolling blackouts and brownouts that would be caused by the lack of “peaking power” or are they simply delusional politicians?

You be the judge!

Author: parkergallantenergyperspectivesblog

Retired international banker.

2 thoughts on “Gas Plants Saved Ontarians from Rolling Blackouts During Peak Demand Month”

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