Wind and Solar forecast to Cost Taxpayers a tiny bit Less

The Province of Ontario just released the Third Quarter Finances report and seem happy as their press release noted they are “now projecting a deficit of $13.1 billion in 2021-22 – an improvement of $8.4 billion from the deficit forecast in the Fall Economic Statement.”

Revenue Surprise

In looking over the highlights from the report it appears one of the reasons for the improvement is they note revenue from OPG and Hydro One is now forecast to be $1,535 million versus the original forecast of $670 million so that alone produced $865 million or slightly more than 10% of the “improvement”!  Hmm, that presumably came from us ratepayers and the 129% contributed to the improvement was made without any appreciable increase in consumption!

Expense Shortfall

The other issue one should note is the costs contributed by taxpayers is forecast to come in at $112.3 million less or 1.7% below their forecast.  The original forecast for this expense suggested it would cost taxpayers $6,493.6 million but the revised forecast is now $6,381.3 million.  As most readers know the Ford government transferred responsibility for absorption of much of the costs of renewable energy (principally wind and solar) contracts to taxpayers. That move’s intent was to reduce the burden on ratepayers and presumably to also make Ontario’s electricity rates somewhat competitive with our neighbours!  The fact that the past year has seen slightly less output from wind and solar while some nuclear reactors were down for maintenance resulted in less curtailed wind generation and less hydro spillage saving taxpayers those costs.

The ups and downs of generation by IWT (industrial wind turbines) play a major role in the cost shifts from ratepayers to taxpayers and that is evident by simply comparing just two recent hours of IESO data.

Hour 9 on February 15, 2022 as the first example has IESO reporting IWT generated 384 MWh and the HOEP (hourly Ontario energy price or market price) which is what IESO sold our surplus power to our neighbours (NY, Michigan and Quebec) at that hour, was $111.64/MWh whereas at the same hour on February 16, 2022 the price we were selling surplus power dropped to  $43.23/MWh.  On February 16th those IWT were generating 4,387 MWh and we were exporting considerably more at that hour than we were the prior day!

If we then compare hour 12 those IWT on the 15th were generating a miserly 56 MWh and the HOEP price was $46.12 but on the 16th that price was only $14.36/MWh when those IWT were generating 3,566 MWh and another 400 MWh were curtailed.

Obviously, the hour of the day, if it’s a workday along with outside temperatures play a significant role in demand but IWT are insensitive and deliver power ONLY when the wind is blowing and also ignore seasonal swings which significantly affects demand.

Gas plants must be at the ready for our variably demand and they were; as at hour 9 on the 15th they were generating 6,610 MWh and at hour 12 they produced 5,606 MWh.    At hour 9 on the 16th, they delivered 3,108 MWh and by hour 12 only 1,733 MWh were needed.

What the foregoing points out is that without gas plants being at the ready on hour 9, as one example, we may been close to experiencing a rolling blackout or a brownout experience with low voltage power. 

Not only are Ontarians paying above market prices for contracted wind and solar generators but we are also obliged to pay for their penchant to fail.  What the latter means is, we pay for gas plants regardless of whether they are simply sitting at the ready or actually generating power due to the failure of IWT or solar to provide needed power!

Gas plants ensure we can keep the lights on.

Author: parkergallantenergyperspectivesblog

Retired international banker.

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