The unreliability of those industrial wind turbines (IWT), touted as a key ingredient to save the world from “global warming” by eco-warriors and obtuse politicians, once again demonstrated their uselessness!
Here in Ontario on December 28, 2021 at 4 AM (the middle of the night) they were cranking out power (when demand was low) generating 69.4% (3,072 MWh) of their rated capacity but by 4 PM in the afternoon when demand was much higher their output was a miserly 1.5% (65 MWh) of their rated capacity. To add further context to the foregoing at 4 AM IWT were generating about 22% of total Ontario demand but by 4 PM when demand was much higher those IWT were generating 0.004% of Ontario’s demand.
IWTs bad reliability habit means our grid operator, IESO, has a much more complex system to operate with a transmission grid connecting all of those IWT and requiring gas plants to remain “at the ready” when the wind dies down or picks up. Those manipulations add costs to our electricity system thereby helping to create energy poverty by driving up the per kWh (kilowatt hour) costs for households. It also serves to drive our manufacturing companies to other provinces and U.S.A. states with lower electricity prices meaning job losses are one of the outcomes.
As if the foregoing isn’t bad enough if one looks at just 9 hours starting at 10 PM (when Ontario demand falls) December 27th through to 7 AM (when electricity demand starts its daily increase) on December 28th we learn we exported 23,514 MWh to our neighbours in Michigan, NY, Quebec, etc. as that IWT generation was surplus to our needs. We sold those 23,514 MWh for the average price of $17/MWh (1.7cents/kWh) during those 9 hours. Co-incidently those IWT generated 22,617 MWh during the same timeframe and it also appears we curtailed another 1,100 MWh meaning Ontario’s ratepayers picked up the costs for 23,717 MWh of wind which highlights them as the cause of the exported power at the miserly price of 1.7cents/kWh.
The all-in costs (including curtailed) for the IWT generation over the 9 hours was approximately $3.2 million but we received only $400K in payment for selling a like amount of their generation to our neighbours so; Ontario’s ratepayers and taxpayers picked up the loss of $2.8 million ($311K per hour). Please note the foregoing loss is from only 9 hours out of 8,760 hours in a full year.
Perhaps as a UK website “Net-Zero Watch” recently suggested to the UK’s Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, Ontario’s Minister of Energy, Todd Smith should take heed and do as they recommend and; “compel wind and solar generators to pay for their own balancing costs, thus incentivising them to self-dispatch only when economic.”
Ontario’s electricity sector needs to rid itself of the costs of IWT’s unreliable and intermittent supply so now is the time to bring in some new regulations to stop the bleeding!