IESO Creates and Promotes Hybrid Electricity Generation-What could go wrong?

Who knew?

IESO recently claimed by simply combining very old technology mankind would create hybrid electricity generation! 

The foregoing was stated recently by IESO in their September report “Enabling Foundational Hybrid Facility Models in the IESO-Administered Markets ”.  One example cited by IESO in the 46 page report, says combining batteries (invented in 1800 by Italian physicist Alessandro Volta) with electricity generated by wind turbines (created by Professor James Blyth in 1887) is “hybrid” generation.  The following from the report states: “Expiring wind and solar contracts along with declining technology costs for battery storage is expected to drive hybrid facility development over the next decade.”

It appears to be similar to mating horses and donkeys to create mules.  Considering how long batteries and wind generated electricity have been around perhaps IESO should name this new “hybrid” they claim now exists in Ontario?  The words “double-dealing” and or “chicanery” added to wind/battery or solar/battery would be a good descriptive for these hybrids!   

The foregoing implies IWT (industrial wind turbines) and solar with FIT (feed in tariff) contacts brought to us in Ontario by the McGuinty/Wynne governments will be renewed as long as battery storage is added by the owners. One should wonder if the Ontario Minister of Energy, Todd Smith has been played by Mark Carney, Vice Chair of Brookfield? A Brookfield subsidiary recently proposed a $300 million 161 MW (megawatts) battery storage unit that will reputedly contain four hours (644 MWh) of dispatchable energy and those batteries will be charged in the middle of the night and dispatched during the day when demand is high.  The benefit to Brookfield will translate to selling the power when the HOEP (hourly Ontario energy prices) market price is high while downloading it when prices are low. 

What looks to be somewhat confusing about this “hybrid” issue is the Energy Minister’s letter of August 23, 2022 wherein he states:  “I am pleased to see that through the first Medium-Term RFP (MT1 RFP) our government’s approach of competitive procurements has secured supply at a cost about 30 per cent lower than previous contracts.” It one believes he was referencing IWT contracts which are paid $135/MWh that would reduce the price for grid accepted wind to $94.50/MWh without including what we are also paying for “curtailed” generation of $120/MWh! 

Interestingly enough it appears the “30 per cent lower” quote from the Ministry letter is related to comments in the 46 page September 2022 report from IESO titled:  “Enabling Foundational Hybrid Facility Models in the IESO-Administered Markets”! The IESO report has the following two sentences: “Post-market renewal, there will be a locational marginal price (LMP) for the storage injecting resource and another LMP for the storage withdrawing resource. The LMP values may be different for the two (2) resources (e.g., $20/MW for the storage withdrawing resource and $21/MW for the storage injecting resource).”

The question becomes; had IESO negotiated the additional payment(s) with the IWT owners and made the Minister aware of the agreement reached before he penned his letter as it infers; due to the date of his letter proceeding the IESO report by one month?

Despite the foregoing question it seems interesting that the two additional payments added to the 30% reduction would bring the total cost of wind generation to $135.50 ($94.50+$20.00+21.00=$135.50).  The other question is whether the IWT owners can pick and choose when to sell their stored energy and if they will be allowed to choose hours when the HOEP market price is higher than the guaranteed price?

Another very recent announcement from Capital Power in Windsor suggests Ontario’s natural gas fired plants are keen to get in on the “battery” storage action as the September 21, 2022 article in the CBC suggests.  Capital Power is proposing to add a 40 MW battery storage unit particularly as IESO has forecast “demand in southwestern Ontario as a whole is expected to double over five years to about 2,000 megawatts”.  The article highlights a report from Power Advisory which amusingly recommends the City of Windsor ironically investigate “importing power from Michigan” whom the EIA (US Energy Information System) note in 2021 got their largest share (32%) of electricity from coal generation.

One of the principal reasons for the IESO projected demand increase is; “the announcement of the $4.9-billion Stellantis-LG Energy Solution electric vehicle battery plant, a massive facility slated to open in 2024.” The press releases from the Provincial and the Federal Governments don’t disclose how much taxpayers will be providing as the Federal Press Release notes: “Details of this agreement are subject to commercial confidentiality and cannot be disclosed at this time”.  Needless to say we taxpayers should expect government grants will be several hundred million of our tax dollars! Both press releases tout the wonders of converting from manufacturing ICE to EV automobiles in line with PM Trudeau and his minions seeking to achieve his target of “100% zero-emission vehicle (ZEV) sales by 2035”. The only announcement about grants was from the City of Windsor who have committed $68 million with the help of a $45 million loan from Infrastructure Ontario an Ontario taxpayer owned entity.

As IESO and the Federal, Provincial and Municipal governments here in Canada continue the push for batteries to be manufactured in Ontario and to also provide electricity it is interesting to note California has similar targets as those proposed by our various government bodies. Very recently PG&E (Pacific Gas & Electric) experienced yet another major battery fire at a large battery storage unit (182.5 MW) and that plant has now been shut down indefinitely!  

From the above summary of ongoing events here in Ontario and elsewhere it seems, in the minds of our bureaucrats and politicians charged with running our energy system (whose objectives should be reliable power), their view is:

“everything old is new again”!

Perhaps Voters Should Demand IQ Tests for Anyone Running for Public Office

Numerous events recently have caused yours truly, and hopefully many more, to wonder; are we are being led by elected politicians, federally, provincially and municipally with IQs (intelligent quotients) that would easily qualify them for a place in the “Dumb & Dumber” cast of the movie of the same name!  Those politicians take it upon themselves to direct bureaucrats; responsible for managing public services (entities paid with our tax dollars), to do what they are told. The bureaucrats do as they are told as they are well paid with lots of perks so they don’t “pushback” no matter the stupidity of the directives!

Let’s have a look at a few issues related to mankind’s need for “energy” firmly under control of politicians. Energy, until recently, has caused the world to become a better place; reducing poverty, climate related deaths, increasing lifespans, and damage from weather anomalies i.e.; not “climate change”!

Ottawa is a Great Example of Municipal Idiocy

With municipal elections just around the corner, Ottawa’s Mayoralty Candidates are having “eco-debates”!  The candidates include Bob Chiarelli a former mayor of Ottawa and when he was Ontario Minister of Energy is famous for suggesting the $1 billion cost associated with moving the planned Oakville gas plant was the cost of a Tim Horton’s coffee. It should come as no surprise the debates relate to the city councils approved; “Energy Evolution”, an 86 page document forecast to cost $57.4 billion and will reputedly transition Ottawa to a “net-zero” city by 2050. With a population of about 1.1 million that represents a cost per resident of about $52K or more than $200K for a family of four. An earlier article about Ottawa’s plan to get to “net-zero by 2050” strongly suggests it was written by Pollution Probe a group dedicated to convincing us all to abandon our use of fossil fuels to achieve the COP-26 targets. As if to exacerbate the push to spend those billions of dollars the City of Ottawa contracted Innovative Research Group to conduct a survey* that seems destined to produce favourable results for the Ottawa politicians due to the skewing of the questions. Perhaps Pollution Probe also had a hand in generating those survey questions?  It would be great if those municipal politicians running for mayor or council took the time to look at what has happened in the UK or Germany where energy prices have skyrocketed due to their push to “green” the electricity sector. This winter they plan to control the temperature households set to heat their homes! It seems apparent research isn’t something those seeking reelection or election to the City of Ottawa have bothered to do!

Province of Ontario Demonstrates Provincial Idiocy

From all appearances it seems almost conclusive the Premier Ford led government is simply carrying on with what Ontario experienced under the McGuinty/Wynne led government which brought us an almost tripling of the cost of electricity in the province.  While Ford did cancel the GEA (Green Energy Act), it is obvious they are still committed to eliminating fossil fuels completely which affects reliability and will surely drive-up generation costs. 

Beyond the announcement OPG would be adding a 300MW SMR (small modular reactor) which may be in service in 2028 at the Darlington site we have seen nothing from the current Ontario government aimed at ensuring we have a reliable supply of electricity in the future!  With the approximately 3,000 MW of the Pickering Nuclear plant scheduled to close by 2025 the Ford government (via his Minister of Energy, Todd Smith) is pushing the Pathways to Decarbonization (P2D)” which fearfully, doesn’t seem to project reliability. The latter is concerning, as via a recent directive Minister Smith “asked IESO to evaluate a moratorium on the procurement of new natural gas-fired generating stations in Ontario and to develop an achievable pathway to phase out natural gas generation and achieve zero emissions in the electricity system.”  From all appearances the directive has led to the upcoming (September 19, 2022), Ontario Energy Conference “Navigating to Net Zero” classified as “Ontario’s Energy Transition”!  According to the page describing the conference a key issue is; “Energy customers are demanding clean energy solutions with some urgency” but doesn’t disclose who those “energy customers” are. My (personal) guess would be they are not small/medium sized businesses or households suffering from inflation but may include eco-warrior charities like Environmental Defence, David Suzuki Foundation, etc. etc.  In reality, it appears to be simply Ontario’s politicians complying with the wishes of Prime Minister Trudeau and his Minister of the Environment and Climate Change, Steven Guilbeault; famous for his actions when he was an eco-warrior climbing on the roof of former Alberta Premier, Ralph Klein’s home and scaring his wife as well as his criminal action of climbing the CN Tower!

It is worth noting that IESO had previously been asked by Minister Smith to evaluate the phaseout of natural gas and their report indicated the cost to eliminate it by 2030 would be $27 billion and raise electricity prices by 60%.  Interestingly on the page with the link to the foregoing report IESO note; “Did you know that natural gas provides just 7% of Ontario’s electricity needs, but on the hottest summer days can provide up to 30%?”  This was a clear message from IESO that without natural gas, Ontario would have to increase its generation considerably to ensure reliability and prevent blackouts.

A clear message about vulnerability totally ignored by Minister Smith and the Ford Government!

Only a Few of Many Examples of Federal Idiocy

Looking back to August 19, 2021 and viewing a video of Trudeau announcing one of his handouts before the upcoming election is an interesting exercise! At the press conference in BC he promised to provide funding “to support the training of 1,000 new community-based firefighters and the purchasing of new equipment to continue to fight the impacts of climate change across the country”. A question presented to him asked about inflation and the Bank of Canada possibly loosening inflation controls and his response was: “You’ll forgive me if I don’t think about monetary policy”!  We should also suspect his Minister of Finance and Deputy PM, Chrystia Freeland, is of a like mind so, spending our tax dollars on the “net-zero” pledge requires no thoughts about the consequences on Canada’s future despite the federal deficit having reached $314 billion in the year that had just ended on March 31, 2021.

German Chancellor Olaf Scholz recently visited Canada with the presumed hope Canada might be able to supply some natural gas via LNG shipments but all he got was a promise that maybe, sometime in the future, we might be able to supply Germany with “green hydrogen” generated by IWT (industrial wind turbines) out of Newfoundland. An article out of Germany however about the latter titled“Will rescue come from Canada?”casts serious doubt on that possibility as the following from the article notes (from the Google translation):  “So does this prove the feasibility of LH2 imports from Canada? The technical possibility may be given. However, the profitability is more than questionable. If you look at the whole supply chain: wind energy – electricity – electrolysis – liquefaction – ship transport – distribution – storage – generation in fuel cells – feeding into the grid – then you have to be very skeptical. It would be maddeningly expensive. Maybe then the LH 2 tax will be introduced in Germany and the kilowatt hour will ultimately cost one euro.” This was the best PM Trudeau could offer as the Liberals have stifled the generation of fossil fuels and the pipeline that would have brought them to export terminals.

The Trudeau led government during their reign in Canada have continued their efforts to achieve “net-zero” crippling our natural resource sector, advocating for EV to replace ICE vehicles by subsidizing their purchase and increasing the carbon tax on gasoline and diesel fuels. He and his minions such as Steven Guilbeault, Minister of the Environment and Climate Change and Jonathan Wilkinson, Minister of Natural Resources, despite having some of the largest reserves of natural gas in the world, have refused to allow the building of the infrastructure needed to export our oil and gas resources!

TheBuild(ing) Back Better” advocacy pushed by the WEF (World Economic Forum) has become the recent version of the former communist “Five Year Plans” by the Liberal Government and enshrined in past budgets of the Trudeau government. It appears they haven’t realized Russia abandoned those Five Year Plans many years ago!  Canadians are now experiencing the results of those plans with inflation climbing, record Federal Debt, taxes rising and investment fleeing the country despite Canada’s abundance of resources.  It sure appears “Building Back Better”, by eliminating Canada’s exploitation of our natural resources is cripplingly us and harming those citizen’s who are not members of the elite’s of the Canadian Liberal Party.    

We should all find it fascinating a couple of months ago PM Trudeau was in Nova Scotia for a staged presence once again handing out $255 million of our tax dollars with $125 million destined for wind projects and $130 million for battery storage.  While making the announcement he was standing in a farmer’s field and in the background were several wind turbines that were totally dormant. We should doubt Trudeau actually noticed how those IWT demonstrated their intermittency and unreliability!  

The foregoing event occurred shortly after Trudeau displayed his new haircut patterned after Jim Carrey when Carrey stared in the movie series, Dumb & Dumber.  Now isn’t that ironic in how his new haircut and those dormant wind turbines enunciate how incredibly incompetent our current crop of elected leaders appear!

The time has come for politicians to take off the blinkers and do basic research before accepting what the eco-warriors incorrectly see as the end of the world unless we achieve “net-zero” emissions.

*Full disclosure:  I completed the survey twice using my e-mail address without pushback so eco-warriors from Pollution Probe or others may well have completed it dozens of times.

Conservative Conflicts Begets Confusion

Plato is credited with saying, “Strange times are these in which we live when old and young are taught falsehoods in school. And the person that dares to tell the truth is called at once a lunatic and fool.

A couple of recent events occurred that when viewed, should strike us all as “strange” but depending on one’s perspective who is telling the truth and who is the “lunatic and fool” may well differ.

Joe Oliver, former Federal Minister of Natural Resources and Minister of Finance under the Harper led Federal Conservative Party penned an article in the Financial Post on September 1, 2022 and it castigates the Justin Trudeau led Federal Liberal Party about the damaging consequences of its green policies. 

The opening two sentences of Oliver’s article were words of wisdom and common sense as he stated: “Prime Minister Justin Trudeau should be feeling isolated in his campaign against fossil fuels, especially Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG), as leaders around the world reduce their countries’ reliance on inadequate renewable energy and tone down their own rhetoric about lowering GHG emissions. But for political and ideological reasons his government cannot admit to the terribly damaging consequences of its green policies and the urgent need to fundamentally change course.”

When Greg Rickford was the Ontario Minister of Energy, Northern Development and Mines he appointed Mr. Oliver to the Board of Directors of IESO (Independent Electricity System Operator) and a couple of months later he was elected as Chair of the IESO Board of Directors. IESO is responsible for managing Ontario’s power system and defines their responsibilities as: “The IESO is the coordinator and integrator of Ontario’s electricity system. Our system operators monitor the energy needs of the province in real time – 24 hours a day, 7 days a week – balancing supply and demand and directing the flow of electricity across Ontario’s transmission lines.”

Ontario’s current Energy Minister, Todd Smith, (appointed June 18, 2021)  and formerly the critic on the “energy” portfolio when the Ontario Conservative Party were in opposition) on August 23, 2022 issued a directive to IESO which contained some surprising instructions to the President.  Needless to say, the directive was also copied to the Hon. Joe Oliver, P.C., Board Chair!

The directive from Minister Smith babbles on about how “Ontario is on track to acquire the electricity generation we need to power our government’s success in driving electrification and strong economic growth, including unprecedented investments that are creating new jobs in electric vehicle and battery manufacturing and green steel.”

Anyone who has followed the news about the foregoing investments in EV and battery manufacturing and green steel will be aware both the Ford led Provincial government and the Trudeau led Federal government joined hands and have handed out billions of our tax dollars to achieve those “unprecedented investments”.  It is also worth noting those “new jobs” are not new as the handouts to the various companies were simply to “retain” the jobs associated with the automotive and steel manufacturers that were already here in the province. 

The concept of a “net-zero” buy-in by Minister Smith seems evident with the push to both declare a moratorium on gas generation and “replacing natural gas with green fuels such as hydrogen and renewable natural gas, or the development of utility-scale carbon capture and storage” as a directive from October 27, 2021 via his “Pathway to Achieve Zero Emissions in Ontario’s Electricity System” suggests.  The above seems to have been confirmed based on his comments in a recent CBC article where he clearly states:

I’ve asked the IESO to speed up that report back to us so that we can get the information from them as to what the results would be for our grid here in Ontario and whether or not we actually need more natural gas,” Smith said Tuesday after question period.

I don’t believe that we do.”

No estimation of the costs of the “Pathway” are noted and no castigation of the Trudeau government by Minister Smith would strongly suggest he is on the same page as Trudeau and those in the Trudeau cabinet such as Steven Guilbeault, the Federal Minister of the Environment and Climate Change. The comment above: “I don’t believe that we do” implies he is obviously conflicted with the Honourable Joe Oliver, Chair of the IESO Board.

As Plato suggests and we Ontarians should wonder; is Oliver “the person that dares to tell the truth” and Smith the one who is calling him “a lunatic and fool” or is it the other way around?

Batteries + Industrial Wind Turbines or How to Increase Ratepayer Bills

The global push on coupling “battery storage” with wind generation to achieve “zero-emissions” appears to be a ruse to increase revenue for IWT owners while upping electricity bills for ratepayers. 

Evidence of the foregoing was obvious when Brookfield Renewable, via their subsidiary, Evolugen, disclosed they are trying to get Ontario’s Ministry of Energy to allow them to build the 161 MW Timberwolf Battery Storage System next to their existing 189 MW Prince Wind Farm.

The following will hopefully explain how Brookfield are doubling down to raise revenues at the expense of us ratepayers! Reviewing IESO (Independent Electricity System of Ontario) data for August 22nd provides a brief overview on how the above will be accomplished.

IESO data on generation for the first seven (7) hours of August 16, 2022 disclosed Ontario’s IWT generated 6,961 MWh which would have earned IWT owners $939,735 at the contracted price of $135/MWh.

If one examines the market price (HOEP) over those same hours the average price IESO sold surplus power into the market was $30.44/MWh suggesting the 6,971 MWh costing ratepayers $939,735 may have generated $211,893 from their sale; a net-cost to ratepayers of $727,842 for surplus generation.

If the battery storage owners purchased the above 6,971 MWh at the market price over those seven hours ($211,893) and sold it back over the next 10 hours as Ontario’s demand climbed and the HOEP price averaged $116.93/MWh they could have generated $783,314.  Had the latter occurred those 6,961 MWh in the seven hours would cost ratepayers of $1,511,156 ($939,735-$211,893+$783,314) ie; $216.77/MWh or 21.7 cents/kWh.

It is worth pointing out over the balance of the day (the 17 hours remaining) those IWT generated a total of 6,699 MWh or an average of only 8% of their capacity (another $904,365 cost) but in the first seven hours (when they were unneeded) they operated at 20.3% of their capacity!

IWT perform poorly in the warm summer months but normally generate at a much higher level in the Spring and Fall when demand is much lower so the opportunity to double-down on generating a greater return by battery storage during those seasons would surely drive-up costs for ratepayers. 

The other issue associated with the costs rising is our natural gas plants would be confined to less generation.  Many of those natural gas plant contracts guarantee them their capital costs at the rate of $10K per month per MW of capacity and when operating; they charge for the price of gas used and a small additional cost per kWh.  That $10K per MW of capacity will continue but ratepayers will forego the cheap cost of what they would normally produce offsetting the failure of wind and solar to power up for high demand. Those gas plants would however still be needed as battery storage at this stage; is only available for a maximum of four (4) hours whereas gas plants can ramp up and down at any time.

We ratepayers should hope the politicians and bureaucrats responsible for managing the electricity system in the province recognize the real reason for the Bloomfields of the world pushing battery storage to augment their revenue from their wind and solar farms.

Further enrich the rich while harming the poor and middle class!

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.

The EV transition in the eyes of the Beholden Part 3

Part 1 of the EV transition highlighted some of the costs associated with it and Part 2 of this series outlined some of the negative issues of EV and their batteries. In an effort to keep it readable at less than 1,500 words it was stated a Part 3 would be a requirement so here it is!

EV Fires

Should one do a simple Google search using the words “tesla car fire” and then hit the video button you will get dozens of videos of intense fires (presumably caused by the batteries) including some simply parked in a garage or stopped at an intersection. Some news story with videos where deaths have occurred note Tesla is being sued.  It surely makes one hesitant to consider their next vehicle should be an EV as it’s not just Tesla EV catching fire as another Google search discloses. As these happenings gain more publicity the push-back on the government decrees in the developed world, including here in Canada where the decree is; “all vehicle sales (cars and trucks) by 2035 will be electric” will surely grow!

Battery Storage Fires

An article by S&P Global on May 31, 2022 titled; “Battery blazes, breakdowns underscore ‘growing pains’ for energy storage” highlights the problems associated with battery storage and the fire occurrence in Southern Australia back in 2021 when it was claimed to be the largest battery storage unit in the world.  The article also outlines the latest problem with the 400 MW unit in California (Moss Landing Energy Storage) and now the largest unit in the world which recently experienced their second incident.  The article notes: “The breakdowns are among more than 50 known failures at medium- to large-scale battery storage projects in the U.S., Europe, Asia and Australia. Daily outage reports from the California ISO, which has more battery storage on its network than any other grid operator, point to additional frequent “plant troubles” curtailing capacity that the state is counting on to keep the lights on during critical periods of peak demand.” The article goes on to state: “Ranging from limited operational hiccups to catastrophic explosions, such incidents are likely to continue to accompany the proliferation of battery peakers, technology and safety experts said.” This certainly suggests the continued use of natural gas plants to back up the intermittent and unreliable nature of wind and solar generation will be with us for a few decades unless our politicians and the bureaucrats advising them are OK with frequent blackouts.

Transit EV Bus Fires

As the push to eliminate fossil fuel use for all the developed world continues the concept of electrifying all transit and transport vehicles gathers steam so, with lots of government support many transit authorities are working to convert their bus fleets.  As just one example the City of Ottawa under its $57.4 billion “Energy Evolution” transition plan, have a target aiming to have a zero-emission transit sector by 2030. One should presume the 944 transit buses currently in Ottawa will be converted to battery operated ones by that date. Ottawa isn’t the only city in Canada or around the world with these plans and many European cities are much farther ahead.  One example is Stuttgart (check out video) with two of EV transit buses and in the fall of 2021 one of them “is believed to have been the source of a massive fire that destroyed 25 buses in the city and also heavily damaged part of the depot they were parked in.” Once again there are dozens of videos and stories of EV bus fires from various locations around the world including one a few days ago in Connecticut which would make one somewhat reluctant to step on board for a trip or be content to allow your child to take an EV school bus.  Needless to say, investigations into these fires are going on wherever they occurred and many of the fleets have parked their EV buses until the investigations determine the cause of the fire(s) is complete and the cause known.

Child Labour mines for Cobalt in the Congo and Zambia

Cobalt is one of the principal ingredients in an EV lithium-ion battery and the Congo has the highest known cobalt reserves in the world representing close to 70% and another African country, Zambia has the 2nd highest known reserves.  Interestingly enough CNN back in May 2018 did some investigative work resulting in them posting a video titled “CNN FINDS CHILD LABOUR IN COBALT TRADE.” The video highlights the use of child labour to mine the cobalt and supply those EV battery manufacturers in China, the U.S.A, Europe and shortly, presumably Ontario. The latter have joined hands with PM Trudeau and the Province to provide grants for a new $1.5 billion plant to be built in Windsor with our tax dollars. Obviously, those tax dollars will be supporting the continued use of child labour in the Congo and in Zambia.

Supply Shortages Loom

Another major problem with the whole “energy transition” push is the probable upcoming shortages of key components required for the electrification of everything and one of those is copper.  As noted in an article in the Financial Post a couple of weeks ago, “Numerous metals and minerals have been hawked as “the next oil,” but according to veteran energy historian Daniel Yergin, only one metal represents the linchpin of the energy transition away from fossil fuels — copper.“ Yergin “sees a looming supply-demand gap in copper that risks “short-circuiting” the energy transition and stalling global ambitions to slash greenhouse gas emissions to “net zero” by 2050.” The article cites a report estimating copper supply would need to double from current production of 25 million metric tons to 50 million metric tons by 2035. The report concludes: “copper shortages could delay how long it takes to reach net-zero emissions; Yergin also acknowledged that various other critical minerals — lithium and cobalt, for example — could well have an impact on climate goals too.”

It sure looks as if the electrification of everything is a pipe dream that will continue to exhibit dire consequences on mankind except perhaps for the small but very rich segment of the population. The time has come to kill the wishes of the eco-warriors and those politicians who have consumed their Kool-Aid.

Wow, a Municipal Mayor has Determined Natural Gas is a Necessity

Back on November 23, 2020 the City of Windsor at their video Council Meeting passed: “Motion 7.1.6 Request that Council pass a resolution calling for the Province of Ontario to move toward phasing out gas-fired power plants”.  The motion came about as the result of a plea by Jack Gibbons of the OCAA (Ontario Clean Air Alliance).  The motion called to “phase-out all gas-fired electricity generation by 2030 to help Ontario and the City of Windsor meet their climate targets.” As a result, they became one of the 33 municipalities the OCAA had conned into their way of thinking and endorsed the“gas power phaseout”!

Now fast forward to March 23, 2022 and a gathering of municipal, provincial and federal politicians was held but it was not to discuss the gas power phaseout!

The politicians along with representation from LG Electronics North America and Stellantis were at an event to announce a CAD$5 billion joint venture (NextStar) EV battery manufacturing plant.  The Windsor Star on June 2, 2022 posted an article describing the joint venture and also stated: “The federal and provincial governments have also committed to investing hundreds of millions in the project while the City of Windsor will assemble the approximately 220 acres of land necessary for the plant and some additional servicing of the site.”*  The article went on to note: “The plant will be capable of producing 45 gigawatt hours of electricity and will employ 2,500 people” but doesn’t elaborate how it will produce those 45-gigawatt hours.

As a follow up to the announcement a contact informed me that Enbridge Gas had made a submission to the OEB (Ontario Energy Board) requesting approval to construct two pipelines to supply natural gas and on page 49 of the 604 page submission is a letter dated March 31, 2022 from the Mayor of the City of Windsor, Drew Dilkens, endorsing the $200 million cost of the pipelines to supply NextStar which presumably will allow the new battery plant to “produce those 45 gigawatt hours”.

Now, as Alanis Morissette might say; “Isn’t it Ironic”! 

Looking further at the submissions to the OEB one notes a submission by Elson Advocacy on behalf of ED (Environmental Defence) requesting they be allowed as an intervenor in respect to the Enbridge Gas application.  While ED are an eco-warrior group who frequently act as intervenors in respect to applications before the OEB involving fossil fuel applications this one has a twist!  The letter asks that the OEB also deliver electronic copies of “the pre-filed materials and all other documents in the proceeding be delivered to the following consultant” who is none other than Jack Gibbons of the OCAA!

No doubt Gibbons will shed a tear or two over the turnabout of the City of Windsor who may have suddenly realized without natural gas the city would lose jobs and the benefits of the tax dollars they will receive from NextStar and their employees as well the hundreds of millions from federal and provincial taxpayers helping to create those jobs.

Perhaps the other 32 municipalities who have endorsed the “gas power phaseout” will also come to their senses and the OCAA and Gibbons can rest in peace knowing they haven’t destroyed the livelihood of millions of Canadian workers as they have been trying to do as a (prepare to laugh) charity!

*The amounts committed by the Federal and Provincial governments have not been released.

Eco-Warriors Bubble Up Again

The Narwhal is pushing pumped storage on behalf of Northland Power and dear old Jack Gibbons of the OCAA (Ontario Clean Air Alliance) is excited.  They are also excited about battery storage.

I took a run at the Northland plans back on November 18, 2013 and didn’t like what it was suggesting at that time.  I wouldn’t think things have changed much except for the increasing capital costs which suggest it would be even worse now than it looked like almost nine years ago.

The EV transition in the eyes of the Beholden Part 1

A Bloomberg News author titled his recent article: Tipping point: U.S. crosses mass-adoption threshold for EVs of 5% of new car sales and went on noting; “Most successful new technologies — electricity, televisions, mobile phones, the internet, even LED lightbulbs — follow an S-shaped adoption curve. Sales move at a crawl in the early-adopter phase, then surprisingly quickly once things go mainstream.” The author’s prior sentence strongly suggested electric vehicles (EV) are a new technology but had the author bothered to simply Google search, “when was the first electric car invented” he would have discovered the date was around 1832 or about 190 years ago. There was no mention in the article about government grants handed out to EV purchasers for the cars or charging stations. The author obviously felt it was simply the “new technology” those buyers were endorsing to create that “S-shaped adoption curve” and not the taxpayer dollars supporting their sales.  Blinkers were fully on!

Another article from last week in the FP suggested EV sales in Canada in the first quarter of 2022 accounted for 8.2 % of new vehicle registrations and had the following chart to demonstrate that! 

What the foregoing article didn’t say was all light vehicle sales in Canada in the first quarter of 2021 had dropped by 12.3% to only 337,039 according to Automotive News meaning EV sales were about 27,600.

Cost to Taxpayer

The chart indicates the bulk of those sales were in the two provinces who provide grants BC (up to $3K) and Quebec (up to $7K) to EV purchasers. Most provinces also provide grants for home charging stations. In Ontario taxpayers have also joined with the Federal Government’s taxpayers providing Ford, GM and the Chrysler and Dodge factories in Brampton and Windsor collectively with over $2 billion in grants to manufacture EV in the province.

Another interesting and related issue was a video interview on June 29, 2022 by Financial Post’s Larysa Harapyn of Brian Kingston of the Canadian Vehicle Manufacturers Association in which he stated Canada would need 1.6 million public charges for the EV transition. Ontario has already provided funding for a number of charging stations as well as offering municipalities grants to assist them where and when needed but so far it’s only (term used lightly) $91 million. It is hard to determine the individual costs of those 1.6 million charging stations but looking at British Columbia the province is offering funding starting at “$20,000 per <50 kW DCFC installation, and ranges up to $80,000 per >100 kW charge port. These rebates can cover up to 50% of total project costs, including purchasing, planning, and installation costs.”  What that suggests is at the low end (assuming the price is similar in all provinces) those 1.6 million charging stations may cost taxpayers well over $32 billion dollars.  Totally mind blowing!

As if to underscore the uneconomical attributes associated with EV, another recent announcement by the Ontario Provincial Government and the Federal Government suggests the taxpayers of Ontario and the rest of Canada are a bottomless pit of funding.  The Press Release was headlined: “Umicore to build industrial scale battery materials manufacturing plant in Loyalist Township, first of its kind in North America” and stated: “Umicore plans to make a $1.5 billion investment to build a first of its kind industrial scale cathode and precursor materials manufacturing plant, in eastern Ontario.”  The release naturally rambles on about the benefits and only casually mentions what Mathias Miedreich, CEO of Umicore is quoted stating: “Moreover, we are most grateful to the Canadian and Ontario governments for their support and for their readiness to co-fund this planned project. The facility will help Canada and Umicore in their shared objective of achieving a carbon-neutral battery supply chain.” There is no mention of what the Canadian and Ontario taxpayers will be contributing but we should expect it will be at least a few hundred million.

Our Federal and Provincial Governments are both onside with their concept of satisfying the Canadian COP-26 commitments to eliminate fossil fuel use to achieve their net-zero targets. On the other hand, they seem immune to the fact many of the tax dollars they are using come from the Canadian oil and natural gas sector and taxes applied to us users of oil and gas. Their unprecedented spending and debt creation simply amlifies the negative effect on our economy causing energy poverty and job losses!

Stay tuned for Part 2 in this short series as we explore some of the issues that may make all of the spending highlighted above simply a waste of our tax dollars. 

The bad news could well be: Canezuela is just around the corner!

Weird Happenings as Eco-warriors keep pushing the envelope on climate-change

The eco-warriors around the world have amped up their push for the “net-zero” target recently as demand for those damn “fossil fuels” keeps rising along with their price! It seems apparent, without oil, coal or natural gas mankind will suffer immensely but that’s not stopping the push to get us all to abandon them.  The eco-warriors and their puppet politicians believe we can count on unreliable and intermittent production of energy from wind and solar; stored in batteries at a cost of trillions of dollars globally.  The following are just a few of the weird happenings pushed by the eco-warriors and endorsed by elected politicians we have stupidly voted for in the developed world!

India and China ramp up coal production

While the developed world is doing what our politicians tell us to do to ween us off of fossil fuels, India and China have both announced they are collectively ramping up coal production by 700M tons (300M by China and 400M tons by India) per year which is more than total US output.  In the latter case even though the U.S. is also ramping up their coal production slightly it will only amount to a total of 598.3 million st, (short tons) according to the EIA projections for 2022!  Surely India and China will be castigated by the eco-warriors for ignoring them and the politicians from the developed world!  They will then backtrack on their plans to ramp up their coal production or perhaps they won’t, as they are more focused on improving the livelihood of their citizens?

Prince Charles’ prize backs face mask that cuts methane emissions from cow burps

Back in January 2021 Prince Charles launched the Terra Carta (named after the Magna Carta) whose purpose was defined as; “provides a roadmap to 2030 for businesses to move towards an ambitious and sustainable future; one that will harness the power of Nature”.  He sought pledges from the business community of $10 billion by 2022 and recently handed out the prize of “£50,000” for the inaugural winner of the Terra Carta Design Lab competition. The winning design was a face mask for cows to cut methane emissions from cow burps!  Interestingly enough, if one researches “cow burps” versus “cow farts” an article in Forbes in 2017 suggests those cow farts are worse than cow burps due to the fact that manure is not used much for fertilizer as in the past when it was spread rather then stored in open pits.

Perhaps the time has come for Prince Charles to suggest another competition to capture the methane from those “cow farts” Surely that will be an interesting design and worth that £50,000 prize or more or would it simply be more “Bull Shit”!

New Zealand’s plan to tax cow and sheep burps

A very recent article appearing in the BBC news suggests New Zealand’s astute politicians have also focused on not only cow burps but also sheep burps!  As a result of their observations, they plan to levy a tax on farmers for emissions from those sheep and cows. New Zealand reputedly host 10 million cattle and 26 million sheep grossly outnumbering their 5 million people. At the same time as they plan on levying the tax; New Zealand is involved in the launch of a trade dispute under the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP).  The trade dispute is against Canada and associated with our “supply management system” which protects our dairy farmers from cheaper imports.  So, should New Zealand’s “burp tax” become law it will presumably raise the price of their dairy products so one wonders will those increased prices result in their products becoming uncompetitive with the same products from our dairy farmers?  It appears that New Zealand’s politicians are trying to shoot themselves in the foot if they implement the tax making their diary products priced higher. Perhaps they are secretly hoping Canada will impose similar “burp taxes” or under the trade dispute will insist Canada impose the same tax!

As a matter of interest, the Chinese City of Shanghai emits two and a half times more emissions (200MT) than the whole country of New Zealand does even with all those cattle and sheep.   

Take your pick: Clean Energy Credits, Carbon Credits, Carbon Offsets, Voluntary Environmental Credits or Renewable Energy Credits

If you run a business these days you are forced to comply with the wishes of the politicians elected to run the country. Those politicians attended COP-26 and signed up to reduce those invisible emissions we have been told for well over 50 years will surely decimate the planet! The choices you make will drive up your costs but you are told you must comply regardless of what China, India or Russia do.  To reduce those emissions, you will pick one of the listed “credits” or “offsets” in the captioned headline and hope the cost(s) can be passed on in pricing your products or absorbed by increasing your efficiency. Either is a choice impacting your business and those you employ. Bearing in mind the choice you make it is interesting to note not only are the costs and choices varied but many selling them have been called out as false.  

One recent report out of Concordia University is critical of the fact that companies will purchase REC (renewable energy credits) to offset their emissions but are using electricity generated by fossil fuels.  Other reports have criticized purchases of “carbon credits” or “carbon offsets” which as one example found Nature Conservancy reputedly selling unendangered tree offsets.

Now here in Ontario back in January our Minister of Energy Todd Smith suddenly recognized Ontario’s electricity generation is very clean with only about 6% of it creating emissions. As a result he issued a press release suggesting Ontario may be heading to creation of a “Clean Energy Registry” that will make the province attractive for investments. Companies will be able to purchase those CEC from our renewable generators and the money will “reputedly” be returned to Ontario’s ratepayers to reduce electricity costs.

The foregoing looks to be the epitome of the “Circular Economy” and perhaps is what PM Justin Trudeau had in mind when he flew to California and signed the “Canada-California Climate Action and Nature Protection Partnership” on June 9,2022.

Apparently, it’s OK for Trudeau and others in his entourage to create a huge carbon footprint while the rest of us are told to reduce ours!  Seems just a little weird!