Brookfield Renewable Wants to Double Down on Ontario Ratepayers and Taxpayers

Evolugen is a subsidiary of Brookfield Renewable, a part of the Brookfield empire with over $750 billion in assets who happen to own, amongst other assets, the Prince Wind Farm, a 189 MW industrial wind farm located in Sault St. Marie (Soo), Ontario.  The 126 turbines spread over 20,000 acres were commissioned in 2006 in two phases so the contracts will presumably end in 2026.

Prince Wind Farm

A recent announcement out of the Soo suggests Evolugen has intentions to either “repower” those turbines and/or perhaps be granted an extension of the contracts. The article carried in the SOOTODAY stated Evolugen have proposed a $300 million massive battery storage project on a 10 acre site alongside their existing Prince Wind Farm about 15 km outside the Soo. Principals of Evolugen had a video conference call with the Soo city council seeking their endorsement of their plan and it was granted.  The mayor and council were told the “Timberwolf Battery Energy Storage System” would have a capacity of 161 MW of installed capacity and would contain four hours (644 MWh) of energy.

It seems clear the intent of Evolugen via the Timberwolf project is to purchase cheap surplus power during low demand hours (throughout the night) and sell it back during high demand while those Prince wind turbines are paid $135/MWh and frequently generating power when unneeded.  That would allow Evolugen to double down by purchasing the storage power at the HOEP (hourly Ontario energy price) rate which is always low during the night while still reaping the “first-to-the-grid” rights of the wind turbines!  One should rightly assume those actions will further drive up the cost of electricity for Ontario’s ratepayers and taxpayers but it will be great for Brookfield!

One of the major issues one would hope is that Minister of Energy, Todd Smith, IESO and the OEB will consider is; how those IWT (industrial wind turbines) performed over the past several days. They failed miserably to deliver any reliable power that could be stored! As earlier articles about their performance on August 12th and August 13th noted they were not generating power when needed.

They did the same on August 14th making it three days in a row where they were almost absent when needed.  Thankfully, we had natural gas plants that ramped up or down when needed. On the 14th the IWT delivered a total of 3,950 MWh over the full day averaging only 164.5 MWh each hour which was 3.3% of their capacity. They peaked at Hour 24 (hour ending at midnight) generating 399 MWh but at the peak hour of the day (Hour 18) they produced a meager 114 MWh or 2.3% of capacity and 0.64% of demand. 

Ontario’s natural gas plants were there when needed producing 2,334 MWh at Hour 18 representing 13.1% of demand and at Hour 14 when those IWT managed to generate only 74 MWh (0.4% of demand), they produced 1,787 MWh (10.8% of demand).

If we look at the past three days it becomes obvious, we need responsive generation instead of unreliable and intermittent power delivered by those IWT!  Over the three days grid connected IWT delivered 17,279 MWh which was 4.9% of their capacity despite their “first-to-the-grid” contracted rights. 

If one looks at the foregoing and examines the HOEP on an hourly basis it is obvious why Evolugen are seeking that battery storage contract! They are aware the Prince Wind Farm gets paid $135/MWh no matter what time of the day they generate that MW so if they are able to load up with cheap power via the market price and resell it during peak hours they will double down on the money they extract from us lowly Ontario ratepayers that will benefit the Laurentian Elites.

Surely, Energy Minister Smith, IESO and the OEB will recognize they are trying to “take us to the cleaners” and not allow this to happen!

NB:  The State of New York has recently found out battery storage companies who recently won contract awards have a cost of US $567/kWh making the Canadian equivalent cost $730/kWh or $730,000/MWh a surefire sign we should reject battery storage and retain our natural gas plants.

Author: parkergallantenergyperspectivesblog

Retired international banker.

6 thoughts on “Brookfield Renewable Wants to Double Down on Ontario Ratepayers and Taxpayers

  1. How much have politicians been paid to allow this economic insanity called “renewable” energy? The road to energy poverty and industrial decline.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Some more history of Brookfield/Brascan in the are of Ontario around Sault Ste. Marie: Brascan bought a number of hydroelectric stations in the area at the break-up of Ontario hydro. As far as I know the only transmission-connected generation in the vicinity not controlled by Brookfield are smaller industrial wind facilities (Bow Lake and Goulais).
    Prince’s contract wouldn’t be the first to run out on Brookfield as they also owned the “Lake Superior” natural gas generating station – which was a non-utility generator whose contract expired in 2014. Brookfield simply shut it down at that point (such is the private sector’s concept of an electricity “market”). It is my understanding that the plant eventually sold to the local steelmaker, Algoma – it has value to Algoma in avoiding global adjustment charges (using the province’s “industrial conservation initiative” program) – Algoma was in bankruptcy protection at the time so I presume the court needed to approve of that purchase.
    Algoma has since received funding from both provincial and federal governments to move production to electricity with arc furnaces.
    Maybe we need to fund expensive storage to assure electricity quality for subsidized steel production – while a functional gas plant sits idly by waiting to run maybe a down times a year to avoid a private company paying a proper share of the global adjustment.

    Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: