Many around Ontario are probably unaware all the units at the Pickering Nuclear plant have been shut down to perform an VBO. A VBO is usually conducted on a periodic basis for the purpose of confirming the integrity of the equipment and infrastructure of the vacuum buildings. In the past, VBOs have been cycled with one or two units out for three to four weeks in the Spring or Fall when Ontario’s “peak demand” is generally low, but the wind is frequently blowing. On this occasion OPG has apparently shut down all the Pickering Nuclear* units for the VBO.
The question becomes: is it the intention to demonstrate the viability of extending their life or to show the vulnerability of the energy system without the approximately 3,000 MW capacity of Pickering or both?
Since all the units have been fully shut down (the last units were shut early on October 6th), IESO data clearly shows even though Ontario peak hourly demand on October 6th was only 16,375 MW and 16,303 MW on the 7th we were importing significant power from Quebec. We imported the power despite the fact IWT (industrial wind turbines) eventually ran well above their annual average of about 30% of capacity and natural gas peaked at Hour 11 on the 6th at 3,147 MW while wind was on an upward move and generated 925 MW.
On the 6th, Quebec supplied 22,354 MWh and on the 7th we imported 26,731 MWh from them. As a matter of interest, the latter is about what 1,000,000 average Ontario households consume daily. It is worth pointing out Quebec is a “winter peaking” province principally due to the fact most households in the province heat with electric powered furnaces or baseboard heaters. Hydro Quebec therefore asks their customers to reduce demand during cold winter periods. For that reason, Ontario may well find its neighbour unable to supply any power during the winter so it would be expected Ontario might experience rolling blackouts without the Pickering units up and running.
The other interesting fact is; the HOEP (hourly Ontario energy price) market price over the two days has averaged over $60/MWh which will presumably affect the ICI (Industrial Conservation Initiative) ie: even picking some or all the top five peak hours over the year may not generate the same savings as in the past for those companies using a minimum of 500 KW per hour or as much or more then 5 MW per hour should the HOEP climb further.
From all appearances it seems the intention of the Pickering Nuclear shutdown for VBO purposes is clearly to signal the necessity of retaining the 3,000 MW of their capacity or subject the province to potential rolling blackouts as California has experienced.
The full “electrification” of the province as advocated by the Ford led Ontario Conservative Party may not be looking like the shining star to make the eco-warriors happy while bringing grief to the rest of us Ontarians. The Ford led government should remember we Ontario voters went through a similar experience under the Ontario Liberal Party and turned them into the “minivan” party and it was related to the “energy” file!
We should hope Ford and his Minister of Energy, Todd Smith have seen the light about the “net-zero” push and realize it may be the train in the tunnel heading for us Ontarians and will wipe out their current majority come the next election!
*I was informed by two knowledgeable engineers the Pickering Units must all go through the VBO process at the same time.
5 thoughts on “Pickering Nuclear Vacuum Building Outage (VBO), a Look at the Future, or a Demonstration of Ontario’s Energy Vulnerability?”
Thankfully, through the work of C4NE, the refurbishment of Pickering B is being investigated by OPG at the direction of the province. We clearly need the power.
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Knucklehead Ford will only respond to external threats. If he sees the desperation of Europe this winter, he might wake up and say enough is enough. On the other hand, he is a knucklehead and is being advised by con men (persons) who are quite aware he’s a knucklehead.
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What happens with Pickering will show how red Ford has become. He does not seem to realize that Canadians are asking more and more for true Conservatives in the Conservative party.
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Foolish Ford & the Ontario Conservatives did such a bad job of their 1st term I was sure Ontario voters would turf them. Ford succumbed to O’Sullivan’s law, & has abandoned the conservative principle he ran on. Unfortunately he’s got 4 more years to ruin Ontario & pair it with Trudeau’s socialist utopia. I’m wretching!