Did Jack Gibbons of the OCAA and Bruce Lourie Hijack the IESO via the Rural Ontario Municipal Association?

The IESO (Independent Electricity System of Ontario) on a weekly basis issue a Thursday afternoon bulletin and the latest came with a five (5) minute video executed by Carla Nell, VP of Corporate Relations.  It referenced the ROMA conference held on January 24th and 25th! Curious I wondered over to the ROMA site to view the agenda and postings related to the conference.  I found no postings and the agenda said nothing about what the video inferred.  I was able to find a January 17. 2022 post about plenary sessions and it specifically mentioned “timely issues such as climate change.“ as part of the upcoming conference. Reading further led to the discovery that: “Dr. Bruce Lourie, a best-selling author and environmental policy expert, will address delegates on Tuesday about mitigating climate risk and transitioning to a net-zero economy.”  Alarm bells rang!

Connecting the above mentioned video by Carla Nell of IESO with Bruce Lourie’s reputed “expert” policies immediately had me wondering; was Lourie’s address to the “delegates” related to the OCAA’s (Gibbons) success in getting approval from those 32 municipalities (including most of the largest ones) that Ontario should shut down all of the gas plants?  Those plants have been invaluable in keeping our lights on during the recent cold spells and 60% of Ontario households with natural gas furnaces warm?                      

Lourie and Gibbons go back a long, long way in their actions related to the energy sector. A hearing at the Legislative Assembly of Ontario in respect to the Power Corporation Amendment Act in 1992, has Gibbons delivering a preamble to his remarks saying: “I am Jack Gibbons, an economist with the Canadian Institute for Environmental Law and Policy, before I joined the Canadian institute, I was a staff member of the Ontario Energy Board. I have with me Mr Bruce Lourie

Back in 1992 Gibbons was in favor of natural gas stating to a question asked of him; Natural gas is so much cheaper than electricity. Look at space heating. If we just look at the financial costs — forget the environmental costs — the incremental cost of electricity for space heating is about six times that of natural gas.“ 

At some point Gibbons reversed his beliefs even though both he and Lourie were at that hearing!

So, was Lourie a substitute for Gibbons at the ROMA conference?  Unfortunately, ROMA’s website doesn’t seem to have posted what Lourie’s address was so we can’t really know what he said but with the “net-zero” mention we should be rightly concerned. The video, mentions several scary aspects including eliminating gas fired power plants mere months after IESO’s study clearly reported: 

Completely phasing out natural gas generation by 2030 would lead to blackouts and the system changes that would be required would increase residential electricity bills by 60 per cent.

Has IESO and the Provincial Government under Ford suddenly conceded control of the electricity sector to the 32 municipalities who bought into Gibbons sales pitch?

We voters need immediate clarification from all parties running in the Provincial election in June as to exactly what their position is in respect to what the video suggests!

We should not let the eco-warriors hijack the energy sector once again!

Ontario Peak Electricity Demand Without Gas Plants

No Problem, Simply Plug in Your EV

Curiosity piqued today about Ontario’s “peak demand” yesterday due to the cold weather!  Reviewing IESO data at hour 18 (ending at 6 PM) indicates the January 24th peak was an average of about 21,260 MW.  While searching data on the IESO website it led to the discovery of a letter Jack Gibbons, CEO and Chairman of OCAA (Ontario Clean Air Alliance) had sent to IESO dated June 17, 2021 pushing their agenda to shut down those gas plants.

The letter was humourous as it displayed the way eco-warriors think.  Here is one message from the letter Gibbons believes will work in the event Quebec has no surplus hydro to sell us and/or the wind is not blowing or the sun isn’t shining during one of those “peak demand” hours or days!

One of Gibbons recommendations to eliminate gas fired generation during peak winter and summer hours was:

We can harness our electric vehicles’ (EVs) batteries to provide power to the grid during peak demand hours. According to Ford, its new F-150 Lightning pick-up truck can provide 9.6 kW of power to the electricity grid. Currently, Ontario has 9 million vehicles. If we have 1 million EVs by 2030, they could provide up to 9,600 MW to our grid during our peak demand hours.

Hmm, wonder how that would have worked at hour 18 yesterday?

At that hour our source of electricity came from: nuclear 10,721 MW, gas 5,866 MW, Hydro 5,143 MW, wind 847 MW solar 1 MW and biomass 62 MW.

At that hour wind and solar were operating at about 16.9% of their capacity which wasn’t enough to even supply Quebec’s needs.

At that hour we were exporting (not importing) 1,381 MW to Quebec because their demand was high.

At that hour OPG’s Pickering Nuclear Plant (scheduled to close in 2025) was generating 2,534 MW.

The OCAA under Gibbons is suggesting we would have no problems because all those “electric” F-150 trucks would be fully charged in -25 C weather.  One hopes when the team at IESO read Gibbon’s letter and the above paragraph they burst out in laughter. 

One should wonder if Gibbons bothered to actually do some research as he would have discovered; “As of October 2021, there are 66,757 EVs registered in Ontario” Gibbons should perhaps set up a Ford dealership and get busy selling 933,000 (at a minimum) of those trucks.  He should perhaps also consider the fact not everyone can afford the $58,000 cost and the 370 km limited range which will be considerably less on one of those -25 C days in our Canadian winters! Gibbons and the “charity” he runs apparently want to see Ontarians freeze in the dark as blackouts arrive when those damn batteries don’t deliver those “KW of power” he promised!

The OCAA is Seeking Future Blackouts for Quebec in the Winter

The Ontario Clean Air Alliance (OCAA) under Jack Gibbons was busy throughout 2021 making the rounds of various cities and municipalities throughout Ontario convincing them they should tell the Ford government to close all the natural gas plants in the province.  A total of 32 cities and municipalities joined hands with Gibbons thanks to inept (the only descriptive that made sense) councils and told the government of Ontario to shut those gas plants.  Gibbons somehow convinced them Quebec has a huge surplus of hydro generation that will easily replace those gas plants when our power demand needs them.  Apparently, none of those councils bothered to investigate Gibbons claim.

Gibbons bio indicates he is an “economist” and reportedly “studied economics at the University of Toronto (B.A.), Queen’s University (M.A.) and the University of British Columbia“!  We should have serious doubts about his claim based on the rhetoric associated with his push to close the gas plants. Gibbons comes across like a pitchman selling snake oil in the 18th and early 19th centuries.

If any of the mayors or council members bothered to do even a little research they would have discovered Quebec’s peak demand occurs in the winter.  Hydro Quebec encourage their ratepayers to use less power during the December to March period as 61% of households use electricity to heat their homes versus only about 17% in Ontario.

If the Ford led government in Ontario responded to the OCAA desires the results would have a negative effect on households in both provinces but in particular Quebec due to their peak winter demand*. 

A recent four (4) days of cold winter weather in both Ontario and Quebec dispel the “Gibbons/OCAA” notion!  Ontario was called on to provide considerable power to Quebec over those four days and without the availability of our natural gas plants (most of which were built to back up intermittent and unreliable wind and solar generation) our ability to provide that power would have been close to NIL as our Ontario demand was also relatively high.

Over the four days commencing January 13th through to January 16th we exported just over 106,000 MWh (megawatt hours) to Quebec for an average of 1,104 MW/hour and the peak day was the 16th with an average of 1,410 MW/hour.  Over those four days Ontario’s gas plants generated just over 395,000 MW so we were able to provide our neighbours with what they needed (27% of our gas plant generation) to keep those electric furnaces and baseboard heaters operating so they would avoid blackouts and freezing households.  We provided those 106,000 MW at an average cost of less than 5 cents/kWh based on the HOEP prices over those four days so their cost didn’t drive up Hydro Quebec’s energy prices whereas Ontario’s ratepayers lost money on every kWh exported.

Carbon Credits please

Perhaps Hydro Quebec should either provide Ontario with “carbon credits” or pay the Federal “carbon tax” for the power supplied, allowing us to recover some of the costs for that natural gas generated power to keep them warm. Unfortunately, Ontarians should doubt that will ever happen!

* In Québec, peak periods occur during winter because so many of us heat our homes with electricity.

IWT for Three of 24 Hours didn’t cost Ontario’s Ratepayers

Alerted to a tweet of Scott Luft which stated (referencing January 11,2022); “noticed yesterday’s Ontario Demand high of 21,250MW. Checking I find that’s 2nd highest daily winter peak since 2015“ was intriguing.

Sure enough, when looking at Ontario Demand data at Hour 18, peak demand for the day, at interval 10 of that hour hit 21,522.9 MW (megawatts) and averaged 21,250MW for the full hour!

Looking further at IESO data one notes wind at that hour was operating at 84.6% of capacity and generated 4,024 MWh or 18.7% of that hour’s demand. We also exported 3,436 MWh to our neighbours during that hour!

With curiosity further piqued a look at the HOEP (hourly Ontario energy price) disclosed surplus generation traded at $44.58/MWh at Hour 18, so considerably less than what we were paying for wind power at $135/MWh guaranteed* whenever it’s generated.

While viewing the HOEP data however one notes prices at hours 9, 10 and 11 were respectively $151.60, $230.87 and $160.14 per MW or an average of $180.87/MW.  IWT generation over those three hours averaged only 891 MW (18.4% of capacity) so if one suggests they were all exported for those three hours we actually sold them for more than we paid! Hourly demand over those three hours was over 20,000 MW and thankfully Ontario’s gas plants were at the ready and generated an average of 5,718 MW providing the power needed to keep the lights on and avoid blackouts.

Yahoo, for three hours we ratepayers actually got back $22,700 more than we paid for IWT generation but too bad it wasn’t the full 24 hours as its much cheaper when the wind isn’t blowing!

*Guaranteed “first to the grid” rights.

IESO Reports IWT Delivered a Miserly 6 MWh at 1 PM on December 30, 2021

The IESO (Independent Electricity System Operator) reports the delivery of MWh (megawatt hours) hourly and also tell us IWT have a grid connected capacity of 4,783 MW representing 13% of all grid connected generation sources. IESO also reports what each generation source supplies to fill the needs of Ontario demand each hour of the day.  It comes as a bit of a shock to look at what happened at 1 PM on December 30th and note that all the IWT capacity generated only 6 MWh or 0.125% (one eighth of one percent) of their capacity at that hour.

IWT have special rights built into their contracts in Ontario granting them “first to the grid” privileges and the foregoing highlights the complete ineptitude of those who granted them those rights!

The foregoing wimpy action shouldn’t be considered the only aberration within the 24 hours as those IWT were exceptional at demonstrating their unreliable and intermittent habits for the full day.

Had those IWT performed at 100% of their capacity they would have delivered 114,792 MWh over the 24 hours but what they actually delivered was 6,185 MWh or 5.3% of their capacity despite their “first to the grid” rights!  To highlight their failures further they delivered 5,254 MWh (84.9%) during low demand hours from 1 AM to 7 AM* and from 8 PM to midnight.

Ontarians should be thankful we have the availability of reliable nuclear, hydro and natural gas plants to step up when wind and solar are absent. The availability of natural gas generated in Canada at affordable rates will prevent the calamities currently evident throughout the UK and EU countries where the cost of electricity has skyrocketed due to wind’s absence.

*Hourly output starts from the time noted by IESO.

Hour 19 on December 8, 2021 Shows Why Ontario needs Gas Generation

Should one bother to look at the Independent Electricity System Operator (IESO) data for hour 19 on December 8th one would note Ontario’s natural gas plants thankfully produced 30.4% (6,399 MWh) of the entire hour’s generation which was just over 21,000 MWh. Without gas generation Ontarians would have experienced rolling backouts much like California does on high demand days.

While gas plants were thankfully, at the ready, our nuclear (8,510 MWh) and hydro (5,076 MWh) plants were reliant as always, generating 64.7% of the hour’s needs.  Collectively those three dependable sectors produced 95.1% of the entire hour’s generation. The balance of 4.9% (1,033 MWh), largely unneeded, came from wind, and biomass as the sun had set so no solar generation was produced.

Ontario demand during the hour was a shade over 20,000 MWh so IESO exported the unneeded generation to Quebec (556 MWh), NY ((369 MWh) and Michigan (452 MWh) and thankfully because demand was higher due to the colder weather the market driven HOEP (hourly Ontario energy price) averaged $94.44/MWh meaning the cost of the surplus generation had a minor impact on costs paid by the ratepayers and taxpayers of the province.

It seems strange Ontario’s ratepayers are much better off when the sun isn’t shining or the winds not blowing hard but that is what the GEEA (Green Energy and Economy Act) brought us.

On an unusually cold day like December 8th we should be thankful for the readily available gas plant generation we have. Those gas plants (contracted to backup intermittent and unreliable wind and solar generation) ensured we would not be hampered by rolling blackouts.

So, all you municipal politicians in Ottawa, Toronto and elsewhere in the province, PLEASE tell us why you are demanding those reliable gas plants should be shut down! 

Energy Poverty the One Economic Activity Growing in Developed Countries

Four years ago, I penned an article about how the GEA (Green Energy Act) had driven up “energy poverty” in Ontario.  The article was supported by data from various sources with the principal one being an OEB (Ontario Energy Board) report from late 2014. The OEB report determined Ontario households experiencing energy poverty numbered either 606,000 or 713.000 based on the two data sets used and represented either 13.5% or 15.8% of all households! The report was initiated by the then Energy Minister, Bob Chiarelli, who was looking to launch a new support program as electricity prices had jumped and many households were seeing their electric power cut-off by their local distribution companies.

Now, fast forward to a report by CUSP (Canadian Urban Sustainability Practitioners) in October 2019 titled “Energy Poverty in Canada” who used 2016 Census data from Statistics Canada and noted households experiencing energy poverty in Ontario had increased to 1,138.065 or just over 22%.  The chart from CUSP’s report below highlights PEI as the province with the highest percentage of households experiencing energy poverty at over 41%.  PEI gets “roughly 98% of power generation from wind farms” with the balance from New Brunswick.  

It is worth noting Canada is not the only country experiencing an increase in energy poverty as reports out of the UK and the EU also highlight how the push to de-fossilize the electricity sector is doing the same thing to households in many other “developed” countries. 

One article dated November 29, 2021 was about Scotland, where the recent UNCOP26 “climate change conference” was held. The article noted there was “a 139 per cent increase in people seeking debt relief support,“ but only a “41 per cent increase in debt relief given out by energy firms, which has resulted in more people disconnecting from the grid year-round.“ The article went on to quote the chief executive of the Wise Group who prepared the report and quoted him stating: “Almost a quarter of Scots live in fuel poverty.”                                     

An article appearing in the magazine “Energy Industry Review” and their website from August 10, 2021 was headlined: “Energy Poverty: A Time Bomb Waiting to Be Defused“ suggests the UK and many EU members are already in dire straits in respect to energy poverty but it varies widely from country to country. The below chart notes some countries have less than 10% of their population experiencing “energy poverty” whereas other countries like Greece and Bulgaria experience over 40%.  The article stresses the geographical differences in EU member countries and how both heat and cold play a hand in causing energy poverty.  The article appears intent on ensuring the EU stick to its goals of reducing fossil fuel consumption and emphasizes money allocated (EUR 312.5 billion of the Next Generation EU [NGEU]) by the EU for improving buildings and homes to make them more fuel efficient is needed.

Yet another article, mere days before COP26 kicked off reported “4.5 million Britons are desperate, facing cuts to welfare, rising energy prices and a long, cold winter.“  It provided a few specific examples noting how energy costs had doubled.  The article also said; while the UK Energy Regulator, Ofgem, caps energy price increases the caps “only apply to households on a standard variable tariff. The rest have little protection. And those reliant on prepayment meters are particularly vulnerable“.  It appears the UK’s PM Boris Johnson’s push for net-zero emissions and renewable generation as the means to achieve his goal is failing miserably. The foregoing was clearly demonstrated by those off-shore industrial wind turbines failing to deliver power requiring coal plants to come back on line to avoid blackouts. It appears those coal plants will be needed for the future too!  The shortage of natural gas, evident in the fall, is not expected to improve until the new Nord Stream 2 Gazprom pipeline receives the blessing of Germany’s regulator followed by approval of the European Commission. Both approvals will take time.

It now appears obvious the push by most developed countries to achieve the “net-zero” emission target by 2050 is futile unless the reputed WEF (World Economic Forum) forecast “by 2030 you’ll own nothing and be happy ” has changed to “by 2030 you’ll own nothing and live-in energy poverty”!

CanREA pretends, “Here they come to save the day”

Mere days after COP 26 came to a close CanREA (Canadian Renewable Energy Association) issued a press release about their new 62 pages of gibberish.  The press release stated “Powering Canada’s Journey to Net-Zero: CanREA’s 2050 Vision presents an illustrative, but realistic, scenario to support this net-zero target by relying on Canada’s abundant and low-cost wind and solar energy resources to supply two-thirds of the new electricity required by 2050. This requires an almost ten-fold expansion in this country’s wind and solar energy capacity in the next 29 years.“

Reading the gibberish in the CanREA “Vision” had me reflecting back to my childhood and the “Mighty Mouse” cartoons with the accompanying song and the line in the song; “here I come to save the day“! Does CanREA really believe they can deliver on their claim(s) or do they think as adults we will buy into the BS they tout?  Industrial wind and solar generation won’t get us to “net-zero” emission reduction by 2050 and instead will cause blackouts and increase energy poverty when paired with battery storage as their 2050 Vision suggests.

The CanREA “Vision” doesn’t mention the blackouts caused by wind and solar generation’s failure in Southern Australia, California, Texas and of course the EU. The latter is not related to blackouts but the occurrences in the UK with fired up coal plants during the UN COP26 Climate Conference was due to the failure of those off shore industrial wind turbines to generate power.

It is also humorous to note CanREA’s Vision fails to mention the lifespan of typical wind and solar generation is about 20 years so, one-third of the “ten-fold” expansion they suggest, will require replacement before the 2050 target is met.  

The other issue only casually mentioned is the recyclability of industrial wind turbines, solar panels and EV batteries. The “Vision” suggests wind turbine manufacturers are working hard to come up with recyclable wind turbine blades which signifies existing blades are not recyclable.  An interesting article posted in “e&cn” (Chemical and Engineering News) in April 2018 examines the difficulties associated with recycling wind turbines, solar panels and batteries! The article suggests recycling all three is difficult and also refers to the need to use gas fired furnaces in portions of the recycling process which seems ironic if the aim is “net-zero” emissions.  The article concludes with this final sentence: “Industry experts and watchdogs agree that if old solar panels, wind turbine blades, and electric car batteries pile up for lack of good recycling options, waste will become a black eye for these supposedly clean industries.“

As one would expect the ‘Vision” says nothing about wind turbine’s harm to humans (audible and inaudible sound and shadow flicker) or how it often affects aquifers in rural communities causing a loss of clean water for households.  It only casually mentions birds and bats but in an affirmative way, suggesting IWT (industrial wind turbines) generators have focused on harm to them reputedly; “resulting in leading research and tools for the mitigation of impacts on birds and bats.

It seems obvious to anyone with even a narrow knowledge of “renewable energy” that IWT, solar panels and battery storage are not “here to save the day” and instead are focused on simply enriching the CanWEA members who both ignore their costs and harm to the rest of the human race. 

We Canadians need “Mighty Mouse” to swoop down and save us from those aiming to kill our economy.

Oops, They did it again and again—those Industrial Wind Turbines

Ontario’s industrial wind turbines (IWT) recently reminded me of the Britney Spears hit in the year 2000, “Opps…I Did It Again” and like she repeated in the song; Ontario’s IWT have, “done it again”!  How wind performed on November 9, 2021 is atypical! At the midnight hour those IWT generated quite a bit of unneeded power running at 37% of rated capacity (4,568MW) generating 1,693 MW but eleven hours later they were generating only 65 MW and running at 1.5% of rated capacity (4,307MW) when demand was considerably higher.

If we jump ahead to the following day November 10, 2021, at Hour 5 (5AM to 6AM) those IWT were running at 21.4% of their capacity generating 959 MW but by 11 AM their output had collapsed and they were running at only 1.7 % of capacity producing 72 MW despite the fact demand had increased quite a bit from 5 AM.

As one should surmise, unlike nuclear, hydro or gas generation; IWT (solar also) generation is dependent on the weather. As is obvious, from just the past two days, IWT are extremely intermittent and therefore should be considered unreliable. Thanks to the McGuinty/Wynne led Ontario Liberals IWT were granted special treatment commanding “first to the grid” advantageous rights.

Needless to say, Ontario’s grid operator, IESO, must deal with the vagaries of generation from IWT presumably causing much more intense scrutiny in situations where demand is increasing but variable generation from wind and solar is falling. The same situation applies when demand is falling but variable generation from IWT are quickly rising.  Their job would be much easier without variable generation and ratepayer bills would undoubtedly be quite a bit lower!

It would be a much better scenario without variable wind and solar instead of getting ready for the “Oops” when we in Ontario experience the problems they had to confront  in California, South Australia, the UK (in time for COP 26) and of course the Texas power crisis in February of this year that cost many lives.

Hey, Premier Ford, take away the special rights granted to those IWT and: “don’t, do it again”!

PS: A contact of mine sent me this graph that shows the ups and downs of industrial wind generation outlined above. A picture is worth a thousand words as the expression goes!

Sad News from Denmark about Industrial Wind Turbines

The “sad news” for the shareholders of two Danish companies will undoubtedly be “happy news” for those around the world who have experienced the nasty effects created by industrial wind turbines (IWT). Those nasty effects of IWT are significant and ignored by eco-warriors and politicians who are “climate change” advocates and believe IWT are one of the ways to achieve “net-zero” emissions.

Examples of those nasty effects are far and wide and include:

1.The health effects of the audible and inaudible noise of those swishing blades as well as shadow flicker have been noted in hundreds of studies which show conclusively a good percentage of the population are affected in a negative way.

2.The slaughter of birds and bats including the possible effect on some “at risk species” has been studied globally and IWT have been labelled as a major cause of those deaths and the resulting harm to nature.

3.Offshore wind farms have been found in various studies to have a damaging effect on commercial fishing and certain species as well as disorienting whales due to infrasound noises.

4.The detrimental effect on property values where IWT are located within sight of residential homes which leads to reduced “taxable” values in the municipalities where they are located.

5.The added cost to ensure power availability to back-up IWT due to their intermittent and unreliable nature requiring 90% support from coal or natural gas generation to prevent grid blackouts.

6.The added cost per number “5” above drove up the cost of electricity in Ontario to the degree that electricity rates more than doubled and many households were driven into “energy poverty” requiring huge support from taxpayers as well as ratepayers.

The Danish companies highlighted in the recent Financial Times article were: “Vestas and Orsted” and they were warning about, tough times for renewable energy”.  The basic message was, revenues and profits were failing to meet forecasts.  The result was share values dropped.  So sad!

Orsted, “the world’s largest offshore wind farm developer, said it had taken a DKr2.5bn ($389m) hit from lower wind speeds in the first nine months of this year compared with 2020”. Vestas “cut its full-year profit margin guidance before special items to 4 per cent, having trimmed it to 5-7 per cent in August from an initial 6-8 per cent. The turbine maker blamed a range of factors including global supply chain blockages and shortages of components, along with higher raw material and transport costs.”

The article goes on to highlight the “intermittency” of wind generation and laid the blame on; “the slowest wind speeds in decades have exacerbated a reliance on gas and coal for electricity—including in the UK, the world’s biggest offshore wind market.” The foregoing remark should remind one that E.ON, one of the UK’s energy providers back in 2008 stated the 15% UK target for renewable energy by 2020 “would require up to 90% of this amount as backup from coal and gas plants to ensure supply when intermittent renewable supplies were not available.”

It seems ludicrous politicians, spurred on by eco-warriors, have bought into the dubious claim, mankind is fully responsible for “climate change”. They ignore what many scientists state is principally caused by solar activity as it has in the past.  Mankind’s contribution to emissions is not the control knob they so firmly believe may be causing global warming in their efforts to reach “net-zero”!