Lorrie Goldstein of the Toronto Sun wrote a great article about how Premier Doug Ford is sucking up to Trudeau’s “woke” followers in order to win their vote in the upcoming Ontario election. The article described ways Ford and Trudeau have agreed on several different issues. One of those was to fight the efforts of Michigan Governor, Gretchen Whitmer and her push “to shut down Enbridge’s Line 5 pipeline under Lake Michigan and Lake Huron, which carries light crude oil and natural gas liquids, the closure of which would damage both the Canadian and Ontario economies.”
The fight with Michigan has been going on since November 2020 when Governor Whitmer ordered it shut down. Enbridge, supported by the Trudeau and Ford led governments successfully fought the order, pointing to a long-standing agreement between the US and Canada in respect to cross-border pipelines. Despite the prior win by Enbridge, Governor Whitmer has recently decided to try again using a different tactic which on the surface looks wimpy. We should all find it humorous that even our past and present “net-zero” advocates; Wilkinson and Guilbeault as Ministers of the Environment and Climate Change, support Enbridge, according to an interview reported by SARNIA News Today!
What is not understandable is why the Ontario Ford led government didn’t use the big stick at their disposal. If Doug Ford looked at IESO’s “Annual Imports and Exports by Destination” he would see that Ontario over the past ten (10) years has supplied Michigan with about 10% of their annual consumption according to the Michigan energy profile. That (approximately) 10% is supplied at prices that would make Ontario’s ratepayers and taxpayers jump for joy if they could keep it! During those 10 years we have supplied Michigan with 87,174 GWh (gigawatt hours) at bargain basement prices. Over those 10 years in almost every hour we provide them with 1,000 MWh or more of our “non-emitting” electricity allowing them to both save money and reduce emissions while we Ontarians are forced to absorb the subsidy.
As an example the HOEP in 2021 reported in IESO’s Year in Review was 2.85 cents/kWh and that year we exported 8,482 GWh to Michigan (49.3% of all exports). In 2020 we exported 9,835 GWh or 48.4% of all exports (about what 1.1 million average Ontario households annually consume) to Michigan when the HOEP was 1.39 cents/kWh. The cost to Michigan for 2019 was just under $137 million for our power resulting in Ontarians absorbing costs of approximately $1.026 billion.
Another very recent example was April 30th and May 1st when Ontario demand was relatively low with demand on April 30th peaking at 14,446 MW and on May 1st peaking at 15,255 MW. Nuclear and Hydro would have had no problem providing most of that power for either peak. What happened on both those days was atypical of our Spring and Fall seasons when the wind blows. On the 30th IESO reported IWT (industrial wind turbines) grid connected generation of 40,185 MWh and on May 1st it was 31,115 MWh. Additionally, it appears IESO also curtailed about 8,300 MWh on April 30th and 28,700 MWh on May 1st!
The combined cost of the two days for grid accepted IWT generation plus the cost of the curtailed IWT generation was approximately $14.065 million. Needless to say, with low demand we were busy exporting power and 68,890 MWh of it went to Michigan. Michigan had to ante up $146,000 on April 30th paying 0.0425 cents/kwh and 0.0823 cents/kWh ($284,000) on May 1st resulting in us generous Ontario ratepayers/taxpayers picking up a subsidy of $13.9 million over the two days.
It is also worth noting that approximately 65% of Michigan’s electricity generation is produced with fossil fuels and coal generation represents almost half of that generating about 30% or 30,000 GWh annually!
So, the question is, do we blame it on the senseless IWT contracts the McGuinty/Wynne government signed with “first-to-the-grid” rights or the Ford government for doing absolutely nothing to amend those contracts since being elected?
Without the latter Governor Whitmer’s Michigan ratepayers are simply enjoying the benefits so; why doesn’t the Ford Government instruct IESO to stop using the intertie lines with them until she agrees to stop pushing for closure of Line 5. Paying for all the unneeded wind and curtailing it might actually cost us Ontario ratepayers/taxpayers a little less!
The time has come for Ford and Trudeau to use the Big Stick!
NB: It is worth pointing out that Michigan has 320,000 households who use propane for heating and other purposes and they laid out a plan that will ensure their supply is not impacted if and when the Line 5 pipeline is shut down. The plan doesn’t mention how others like Ontario, Quebec and neighbouring states will handle the loss of propane however. The plan is dated November 3, 2021 so it is obvious Whitmer is determined to shut Line 5 down. Link to plan: https://www.michigan.gov/mpsc/-/media/Project/Websites/mpsc/consumer/propane/MI_Propane_Security_Plan_Overview.pdf?rev=90d4da17bbfb482a96fec64e2201b6c9
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