Two Days Clearly Demonstrate the Peaks and Valleys of IWT Generation

Looking at IESO (Independent Electricity System Operator) generation data for two recent days clearly points out why CanWEA (now called CanREA) lobbied the McGuinty led Ontario Liberal Party so vigorously to be granted “first-to-the-grid-rights” for industrial wind turbines (IWT)!

The evidence becomes clear if one looks at how those IWT fell flat on March 12, 2023, delivering only 7,215 MW over the full day representing only 6.1% of their capacity. Thankfully Ontario’s natural gas plants were at the ready as outlined in a prior post delivering 43,653 MW so filled the gap on a low demand day.

Screenshot of March 12, 2023

Just two days later on March 14th those IWT were spinning with IESO forecasting they would generate 72,396 MW or 61.6% of their capacity. The foregoing was ten (10) times more than they delivered two days earlier and clearly highlights their intermittent and unreliable nature and why CanWEA lobbied long and hard for “first-to-the-grid-rights”!  Even with higher demand on the 14th, IESO appears to have curtailed about 3,450 MW of IWT generation and that added costs NB: of over $400K ($120/MWh) on top of the $9.3 million ($135/MWh or 13.5 cents/kWh) for grid accepted generation. 

Screenshot of March 14, 2023

It should be noted we currently have just over 2,000 MW of our nuclear plant capacity out for refurbishment, so currently, hydro coupled with natural gas plants are what we are most dependent on to keep the lights on and businesses operating.  Thankfully those gas plants supplied 26,206 MW on the 14th and at the peak hour (hour 20) when demand reached 18,446 MW, hydro supplied 5,568 MW, wind 2,822 MW and gas plants 1,550 MW.  The balance of our needs at that hour came from our nuclear plants and imports from Quebec Hydro.

We should be thankful it wasn’t a cold day or Quebec Hydro would have had much higher demand as over 60% of their households heat with electric furnaces and baseboards. Had that happened however our gas plants would have been able to supply what was needed.

When those refurbished nuclear plants are back up supplying more baseload power any excess IWT generation will drive up costs further and increase the renewable energy subsidy now absorbed via our provincial taxes. That will reduce the governments ability to spend more to improve our health and education systems and other necessary services with the money instead aimed at ensuring our costs of electricity remain competitive.

NB: IESO recently released their 2022 Year in Review and in it noted the “average cost of power” for Class B ratepayers was 9.98 cents/kWh after the excess cost of about $6.5 billion for what wind and solarare guaranteed to be paid, was absorbed by taxpayers and would have increased Class B prices by a minimum of 5 cents/kWh.

Author: parkergallantenergyperspectivesblog

Retired international banker.

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