Most Canadians from coast to coast look forward to Spring arrival as we get excited about warmer weather and watching mother nature show her stuff. Those Canadians living in Ontario however can be both happy and sad about Spring arrival as it has the bad habit of generating increased costs for one of life’s necessities which is energy with an emphasis on the cost of electricity.
Two recent happenings on March 19, 2023, bring the focus on the sad part of Spring arrival. The first is more sunshine which creates more energy from those solar panels which under the McGuinty led government received contacts at ridiculous guaranteed rates as high as 0.80/cents a kWh. Now apparently, they have embarked on more hits to our pocketbooks as the first six (6) hours of March 19th suggests they can now produce power even when the sun isn’t shining as this screenshot from IESO demonstrates!
Solar Panel Generation When the Sun isn’t Shining?
As if the foregoing wasn’t enough weird news, on the same day as solar power was generated in darkness, we note IESO data supplied more bad news. Normally at this time of year as the snow melts and water flows Ontario benefits from more generation from our hydro facilities which are also our cheapest and cleanest source of generation. As it turns out IESO data disclosed more bad news as the first three (3) hours of March 19th (two days before spring arrives ) those IWT (industrial wind turbines) generated more electricity than our hydro plants as evidenced in the following two screenshots.
Wind Generation Beats Hydro Generation!
To accentuate the foregoing those IWT did the same thing in the last three hours of the day as the following screenshots clearly show!
IWT Generation Hours 22, 23, 24!
Hydro Generation Hours 22, 23, 24!
Over the full 24 hours IWT generated a total of 92,447 MW or approximately 78.6% of their capacity and only slightly less than hydro which generated 94,511 MW but could have easily produced more. Ontario was busy selling off the unneeded power which we (logically) should attribute to IWT generation to our neighbours at an average price of $14.86/MWh. We exported 53,308 MW so generated revenue of around $792K while we paid $135/MWh for it, so it cost Ontarians about $6.4 million for unneeded power. We should also suspect IESO were busy telling OPG to spill hydro (we are obliged to also pay for) as demand was low and only peaked at 17,057 MW at hour 20.
The ups and downs of those intermittent IWT and solar panels are in the bad habit of generating lots of unneeded power during the spring and fall seasons when Ontario demand is low. They are the principal reason the Province of Ontario stiff taxpayers with annual additional costs of $6.5 billion in an attempt to hide the mess our electricity system is actually in.
Just one day’s data makes it obvious both of the foregoing sources of intermittent and unreliable electricity generation should be tossed in the garbage!
The many terms now spouted off by politicians, their bureaucrats and ENGO (environmental non-government organization) such as: The Great Reset, net-zero, climate change, electrification, Just Transition, ESG and stakeholder capitalism could have been used instead of the captioned “Circular Economy” but based on the following the latter highlights what we are seeing. So let’s look at how regulations coupled with your tax dollars are making it happen!
Gas Tax Funding for Municipal Transit
The Province recently and quietly announced it was providing $379.5 million to 107 municipalities for the 2022-23 year to be “used to extend service hours, buy transit vehicles, add routes, improve accessibility or upgrade infrastructure.“ The money came from those “provincial sales taxes” levied when you purchase gasoline or diesel fuel to keep your ICE vehicles running but apparently they came up short for the year as (we assume) due to Covid-19 lockdowns. As a result the province kicked in $80 million of Ontarians regular taxes to supplement the gas-tax funding. The foregoing $379.5 million appears to be additional to the $505 million announced and handed out only three months ago. So what are the municipalities doing with some of that money is the question and does it align with the most recent handout? Looking at Ottawa Transit who are destined to receive $37,804,511 (10% of the $379.5 million) it appears it will help them to pay for 13 of the 350 electric buses ($2.8 million per EV bus) they recently budgeted for with the $974 million their council approved to spend. In Toronto’s case they will receive $185,575,500 (48.9% of the $379.5 million). Back in 2021 the TTC (Toronto Transit Commission) reputedly ordered 300 electric buses with a price tax of $300 million after having earlier ordering 300 hybrid electric buses (HEV) at a cost of $390 million. One should wonder why is Ottawa Transit paying triple the price for their EV buses?
As an aside when all the cars, buses and transport vehicles are all electric powered where will the money now provided via those “gas taxes” come from? Surely the politicians know but refuse to tell us!
Brampton is getting a new electric fire truck this spring
The City of Brampton, where Patrick Brown; former contender for the Leadership of the Ontario Conservative Party, (booted out for using money to buy memberships similar to the CCP current scandal in the Federal Liberal Party) is the Mayor. Back in June 2021 the city announced with great fanfare they were buying a new electric fire truck. The announcement claimed it would be the first municipality in Ontario with an electric fire truck and that it would be delivered in late 2022. It now appears the delivery date has been pushed to this spring based on an article from late October. Needless to say Mayor Brown in the announcement bragged about Brampton by stating: “At the City of Brampton, we are working to build an increasingly sustainable community in everything that we do as a Green City.“ He went on to say he was delighted the Fire Department would secure “Ontario’s first fully electric fire truck.” As it turns out the truck is not “fully electric” as it also has a diesel generator on board to charge the battery beyond its two-hour limit. It is also interesting to note Los Angeles claimed it had received America’s first electric fire truck but before it was put into service it’s water tank sprung a leak as a short video demonstrated. Mayor Brown should pray this fire truck doesn’t spring a leak or taxpayers may simply “circle the wagons” at the next municipal election!
The Resource Productivity and Recovery Authority (RPRA) created to enforce Ontario’s Circular Economy Laws
The RPRA is the regulator mandated by the Government of Ontario to enforce the province’s circular economy laws. We should guess 99.5% of Ontarians have never heard of RPRA or have any idea of their responsibility or impact on our daily lives. The RPRA was a creation of the Ontario Liberal Government under Premier Kathleen Wynne “in November 2016 to support the transition to a waste-free Ontario”.
What the foregoing means is; “If you purchase batteries, electronics, hazardous and special products, lighting or tires in Ontario, you may see an extra charge added to your receipt called an environmental fee, resource recovery fee, environmental handling fee, tire handling fee, eco-fee, recycling fee or something similar.” In all cases the fee is generally hidden however in some cases your receipt may have a message embedded such as: “The tire producer/manufacturer of the tire and (insert retailer name) are responsible for the recycling fee charged on new tires. All fees collected go towards the collection, transportation and processing costs of recycling used tires.” Regulations such as “O. Reg. 522/20: ELECTRICAL AND ELECTRONIC EQUIPMENT“ give the province the authority to enforce the collection of those fees and as those fees are included it the price your paying you pay provincial and federal sales taxes. It is interesting to quickly review RPRA’s December 31, 2021 Annual Report and note they claim having 48 fulltime employees and their annual costs for “salaries and benefits” were $5,818,785. Wow, that indicates the annual average cost per employee for that year was in excess of $121K per employee.
This appears to be an example of the jobs our Federal and most Provincial Governments suggest will benefit from the “Just Transition”. Perhaps they forget to give any thought to where the money to pay those salaries and benefits originate if the private sector is decimated due to their net-zero plans!
Cow manure gives power to Ontario’s first carbon negative refuse truck
It now appears as the expression goes; “the sh-t has hit the fan” as recycled cow manure is now powering a refuge truck for Bluewater Recycling Association. The truck is reputedly “fuelled by renewable natural gas (RNG) produced by a local Ontario farm from largely cow manure.“ As farmers have known for decades manure will increase crop yields but not to the degree of mineral fertilizers. The problem of the switch to mineral fertilizers however, in a study over three decades, determined that manure is much better at SOC (social organic carbon) sequestration then mineral fertilizers. What that suggests is using manure to generate RNG may reduce carbon sequestration in soil. Maybe converting cow manure into RNG is not the panacea to achieve net-zero! Somehow however, it is seen by our politicians as a great event as noted by Ontario’s Minister of Energy , Todd Smith quoted in the article stating: “Renewable natural gas is making a difference in communities across Ontario and contributing to green innovation in our energy sector. Leveraging the power of RNG as a flexible and reliable energy source means less waste and lower emissions,”.
One should ask the question; is this simply more horse-sh-t from our politicians in their push towards the “Just Transition” and the creation of their perception of the “circular economy”?
Farmers illegally dismantle emissions system on “every single” tractor
For over a decade farm tractors have come with mandated “Diesel Exhaust Fluid” (DEF) which is urea, and modern machines have systems that inject the substance into the engine’s exhaust stream. A recent article appearing in the Farmers Forum suggests “for just as long, many farmers have been disabling the controversial systems, to save both fuel and maintenance costs.“ The article went on to note “on condition of anonymity, an Ontario diesel mechanic with knowledge of the subject expressed surprise that only 50 % of new tractors and combines might be undergoing a DEF-deletion after purchase. “Every single one is being modified,” he estimated.The mechanic couldn’t blame farmers for doing it. Current DEF systems are extremely expensive to repair and maintain, he said, describing the cost of replacement parts and filters as “atrocious.”He also explained that DEF systems just don’t work very well and cause a tractor to “burn a lot more diesel fuel” than it otherwise would.“
Apparently voiding the DEF system costs thousands of dollars but the money is recuperated in only two years from the diesel fuel savings and a reduction in maintenance costs. It’s hard to fault the farmers for protecting their livelihood and by doing so they are also helping to keep food costs down.
Great to see farmers are doing their part to stop the growth of the “circular economy” as it simply works to create more poverty in Canada and around the world.
It appears politicians in Ontario and elsewhere around the world are doing their very best to create economic sinkholes via the circular economy which continue to consume more and more of our tax dollars.
Inspired by a recent National Post article entitled; “A U.K. ferry company spent hundreds of millions on hybrid vessels that can’t be plugged in” and living close to two islands in the Bay of Quinte serviced by ferries proved to be an inspiration. The two islands are Wolfe Island and Amherst Island where 1,400 and 400 people respectively live and are dependent on ferries to reach the mainland for shopping, healthcare, etc. etc. Both of the islands are plagued with those IWT (industrial wind turbines) with Wolfe Island suffering from the 198 MW capacity of the 86 turbines owned by TransAlta and Amherst Island from the 26 turbines with a 75 MW capacity owned by Windlectric. Needless to say both projects were unwanted by those living on the two islands and the residents tried to stop them from getting approval. Nevertheless, due to the nature of the GEA (Green Energy Act) brought into being by the McGuinty led Ontario Liberal Government (with Gerald Butts as his principal advisor) the residents of both islands were unable to stop the projects.
Perhaps to soften the blow on March 16, 2018, the Ontario Liberal Government under Kathleen Wynne as Premier together with the then recently elected Federal Liberal Government under PM Trudeau stepped in to make a major announcement presumably meant to win back Liberal support from the citizens living on both islands.
The Press Release issued started off saying: “Ontario is building the first fully electric non-cable vessels in Canada with two new ferries to connect the mainland with Amherst Island and Wolfe Island.“ Later in the press release under “Quick Facts” it goes on saying: “Ontario is investing approximately $94 million and the Government of Canada is contributing up to a maximum of $31,271,905 towards building the new ferries through the Provincial-Territorial Infrastructure Component“.
Those statements suggest the two ferries were to be built in Ontario and as well the press release bragged: “Those ferries will now be electrified, reducing greenhouse gas emissions by an estimated 7.4 million kilograms of carbon dioxide per year, the same as taking 1,357 cars off the road, compared to conventional diesel ferries.“
The interesting part of the foregoing Provincial Press Release is, just four months earlier on November 6, 2017, two Liberal MPs, Mark Gerretsen and Mike Bossio along with Ontario Liberal MPP, Sophie Kiwala, had made a similar announcement. Included in this article was the following: “The new ferries will also take advantage of propulsion technologies and will run cleaner and quieter than the existing ferries,” said Kiwala”, Liberal MPP for Kingston and the Islands. Sophie Kiwala, went on to state “the province has awarded the contract for the two new ferries to Damen Shipyards from the Netherlands at a cost of $61 million.“ The article also said newly elected Liberal MP, Mark Gerretsen announced the federal government had committed to one third of the funding for the two vessels and it could be as much as $30 million. Additionally, the article noted, “The ferries – set to arrive in December, 2019 for Amherst Island and December, 2020 for Wolfe Island – will help alleviate tensions during service interruptions and inspections.“
Should one compare the November 6, 2017, announcement to the March 16,2018 press release you notice several major differences between the two!
1.The March 16, 2018, press release claimed the two ferries would be built in Ontario whereas the earlier announcement claimed they would be supplied by Damen Shipyards from the Netherlands!
2.The November 6, 2017, announcement claimed the cost for the two ferries would be $61 million whereas the March 16, 2018, press release stated the cost would be $94 million!
The cost for the two ferries was $94 million or more, not the $61 million originally announced. Additionally the new ferries created a need for major dock works perhaps to charge their batteries.
3.The November 6, 2017, announcement stated the ferries would take advantage of “propulsion technologies” (think Sea Doo) whereas the March 16, 2018, press release stated they would be “electrified”!
It is true the ferries are both “electrified” however, they both have twin diesel generators installed to allow hybrid and full diesel propulsion for maximum redundancy.
4.The November 6, 2017, announcement stated the Amherst Island ferry would arrive in 2019 and the Wolfe Island ferry would arrive in December 2020.
They are running well behind schedule as it was reported: “The Amherst Islander II and Wolfe Islander IV arrived at the Port of Quebec City yesterday, Sept 26, 2021.“ Since moving from Quebec City they have been moved to Picton Harbour where they still are docked presumably to allow time to upgrade the docks. Recall from above; that back on November 6, 2017, those politicians appear to have told the reporter; “The ferries – set to arrive in December, 2019 for Amherst Island and December, 2020 for Wolfe Island – will help alleviate tensions during service interruptions and inspections.“
5.The November 6, 2017, announcement also stated two of the existing ferries would remain in service to backup the new ferries during the busy tourist periods of the year.
Once again we should note the three Liberal politicians back in 2017 look to have made promises that were false as an article a few days ago noted in respect to the Wolfe Island ferry; “The Ministry of Transportation says that when the new ferry arrives, they won’t be able to run both ferries at the same time due to staffing issues“.
It is readily apparent those three Liberal politicians (presumably backed up by many bureaucrats), involved in making the critical decisions in respect to the acquisition of the two ferries messed up badly or kept key information locked up. We should also suspect the price paid due to the “hybrid” nature of the two ferries was well above the costs of diesel ferries with the same passenger/automobile capacity. The push to reduce those “greenhouse gas emissions” came at a huge cost with lots of delays. Word on the street is, they may be in operation by the current spring. So far, no emissions have been reduced!
This is another clear message to us taxpayers that our politicians have no regard for how they waste our tax dollars and prove that by continuing to spin those Ferry tales.
If one read a recent article in the Financial Post one would surmise Canada was on the cusp of becoming a super power in the mining and production of critical minerals needed in the manufacturing of EV batteries. The article’s headline claimed Canada had vaulted into second spot behind only China. No doubt, the claim was made at least partially due to the fact the Provincial government has been making noises about the wonders of the 2007 discovery of the “Ring of Fire”! The initial reports about the discovery indicated minerals available for mining had a value of anywhere from $60 billion to a high of $117 billion and contained a wide variety of what are now considered valuable minerals for manufacturing EV batteries.
Consistent with the foregoing is the billions of dollars being handed out to Ontario auto manufacturers (switching to EV manufacturing), potential battery manufacturers, Quebec bus and battery manufacturers, etc. etc. by federal and provincial governments and even some to the auto worker’s union by Ontario. Our politicians seem to believe handing out tax dollars will somehow eliminate the ICE (internal combustion engine) as they attempt to move the world to the utopia (in their eyes) of full electrification and achieve “net-zero” emissions while Canada becomes an EV manufacturer.
The handouts were in full bloom recently as both Premier Ford and PM Trudeau appeared at the GM plant in Ingersoll where they had each previously handed out $259 million of our tax dollars. They were there to celebrate the conversion of the CAMI plant to manufacture electric vans and the first rollout of a BrightDrop van. Needless to say Ford mentioned the “Ring of Fire” during his short presentation.
The Ring of Fire is it a yes or is it a no?
As noted above there have been many articles about the Ring of Fire since it was first announced some 15 years ago but it’s still not clear if, or when, we will ever hear of an actual mine being opened. An article just over a month ago in the Northern Ontario Business site was headlined: “15 years after Ring of Fire discovery, mining timeline no clearer“. The article went on to describe how field explorations were planned at a site with major nickel minerals along with an environmental assessment, a feasibility study, First Nations consultations, etc. etc. The acting CEO for the Ring of Fire Metals when asked about time frames as to when the nickel mine might open, stated they wanted to do more exploratory work but were awaiting provincial exploration permits. He stated the biggest issue related to knowing when the 200-kilometre north-south road to the Ring of Fire will be built. One issue also mentioned in the article and a key to mining, is the availability of electric generation. The article suggests the province reputedly has “a strong desire to extend the power distribution network to the James Bay region”. We taxpayers should suspect both the road and the power distribution network will cost billions to complete and “save the planet” from climate change (sarcasm intended)!
The Ring of Fire has been touted by our politicians as a major benefit to Ontario as it is said to contain many of the “key minerals” needed to manufacture EV batteries and as a major component in making the “transportation” sector emissions free in line with the wishes of the UNIPCC and ENGO!
As noted a key component to start the mining process is a road network and back in the Spring of this year Premier Ford announced the “Marten Falls and Webequie First Nations announced on April 14 that they will submit a Terms of Reference for the proposed Northern Road Link Environmental Assessment“ committing $1 billion tax dollars. Further details were contained in an earlier February 7, 2022 Provincial overview of the “Ring of Fire”!
Another recent article appearing in the Sault Star suggests the U.S. may even fund development in the Ring of Fire to offset the dominance of China in the production of EV batteries. The U.S. military has reported to have talked to some Canadian mining companies about some critical mining projects related to President Biden’s “commitment to cutting its reliance on China for the metals needed to build defence equipment and expand the electric vehicle (EV) market.“
Based on the foregoing one would assume development of the Ring of Fire is a foregone conclusion that will quickly push forward but we shouldn’t “hold our breath” expecting it will be soon.
Ring of Fire may just be smoking embers for years to come
The Globe and Mail posted an article just days ago with information from a top federal government official stating; “it’s possible no mines will be built in the region, and that there is no guarantee Ottawa will ever come forward with the roughly $1-billion in funding needed for development to proceed.” Jeff Labonté, assistant deputy minister for Natural Resources Canada suggested there is a standoff between the Feds and the Province of Ontario over funding as just one aspect. Labonté went on pointing out other obstacles including lengthy First Nations consultations, various environmental studies that take years etc.
One major incident involves the Neskantaga First Nation who have taken the province to court related to a “lack” of consultation and their continuing “boil-water” advisory which the Trudeau led government promised to fix but hasn’t done yet! An article from November 25, 2021 in Northern Ontario Business noted Chief Christopher Moonias said the following presumably referencing Premier Ford: “I live on the Attawapiskat River where the proposed so-called Ring of Fire is. There has not been any consultation. We will not let them cross our river. What a f—— idiot of him to say these things,”.
Another issue in the Globe article states the Marten First Nations applied for a three-and-a-half-year extension, to early 2029 for the environmental assessment, because of the impact of the pandemic. To top things off the Federal Government have failed to commit any funding to building the necessary road(s) into the Ring of Fire and match the $1 billion in funding, the Province of Ontario has committed.
Those Paying no Taxes Control the Politicians
If one looks back a few years to June 2019 the Aroland First Nation signed an MOU with Noront Resources to advance the planning process of the Ring of Fire and were promised 150,000 shares in the company, subject to the TSX approval. Just eight months later Aroland joined with Wildlife Conservation Society of Canada and the Osgoode Environmental Justice and Sustainability Clinic in a request to the then Federal Minister of the Environment and Climate Change, Jonathan Wilkinson, to seek a “regional impact assessment” which he granted. The assessment still has not been issued so one should assume the Federal government will not approve anything until the assessment is finished!
It is ironic the two parties who joined with Aroland are both substantial charities who receive a large portion of their annual revenue from the Federal and Provincial governments while the Aroland First Nation pay no taxes and are presumably dependent on us taxpayers for their well being.
If the Provincial Government under Premier Ford is intent on moving forward with mining development in the “Ring of Fire”, he should take a leaf out of Premiers Smith of Alberta and Moe of Saskatchewan and fight the Federal government on the issue of governance of the province in respect to our natural resources. Each province’s resources fall under the purview and control of the provinces so if Ford fails to fight that issue the billions of Ontario tax dollars he has handed out for development of the Ring of Fire will be seen as having been totally wasted and we will need to import those minerals from China.
Without the fight, we taxpayers will look back and see only the smoking embers or, as Johnny Cash, might say; “we fell into a burning Ring of Fire and it burned, burned, burned” our tax dollars!
The following is a copy of the e-mail I sent to Ontario Minister of Energy, Todd Smith October 4, 2022, seeking information related to the captioned press release. If, and when I receive a response, I will post it!
“The Ontario government is increasing funding for the province’s energy-efficiency programs by $342 million, bringing the total investment to more than $1 billion over the current four-year electricity conservation framework.“
I have read this over several times and fail to find anything other than the following that suggests rates will decline:
“This funding will support a new voluntaryResidential Demand Response Program with an incentive for homes with an existing central air conditioning or heat pump unit and smart thermostat to help lower energy use at peak times and lower bills.“
So turning up our air conditioners and turning down our electric furnaces (etc.) along with walking around in the dark will reputedly deliver these savings ($650 million) according to the following in your press release!
“By 2025, this expansion of energy-efficiency programs will help deliver enough annual electricity savings to power approximately 130,000 homes every year and reduce costs for consumers by over $650 million“
The release also says:
“Our government’s success in driving electrification of industry and transportation and strong economic growth is increasing electricity demand“
So demand will supposedly increase with the foregoing “electrification of industry and transportation” but by using less we Households “reputedly” will see a reduction in costs!
Am I missing something or will this annual “$650 million” of “reduced costs” be allocated to taxpayers or has your ministry suddenly discovered some cheap source of electricity generation via new technology or some “net-zero” imports from our neighbours for a cheap price?
As my local MPP and a taxpayer I sure would appreciate a little clarification!
A concerned resident of your constituency”
Response from Ontario Ministry of Energy:
“Dodsworth, Michael (ENERGY)<Michael.Dodsworth@ontario.ca>
to me, Todd
Good morning Parker,
Minister Smith forwarded me your message which I am pleased to respond to on his behalf.
I hope this addresses your question satisfactorily.
My response to the Ministry:
Thank you for your response but I fail to see how it will, as you state: “mean a cost reduction for ratepayers and a net system benefit of ~$300 million”!
Let’s examine your response bit by bit!
“Energy efficiency (1.) programming is a fast and cost effective measure that can save families money and reduce demand for electricity from the grid. These programs, which include supports for energy efficiency retrofits, (1.) Distributed Energy Resources (2.) and the Residential Demand Response Program (3.) you referenced, all will mean reductions in demand for electricity.”
1.Your claim on how “energy efficiency” will save families money ignores the fact “supports” for the programs are provided by taxpayer funds. I would guess ratepayers without the ability to provide the additional funds from those taxpayers will be unable to afford their portion of the costs. I would point out most ratepayers are also taxpayers so those unable to come up with the additional funds will be unable to invest in those “energy efficiency retrofits”
2.Distributed Energy Resources are those such as: “rooftop” or “ground mounted” solar, “wind turbines” “battery storage”, “small hydro” etc. and are contracted at rates well in excess of those of the likes of OPG, Bruce Power, etc. as they exist outside the purview of the OEB!
3.From my personal observation point this is the only one not supported by other ratepayers or taxpayers however the “installed cost” of a “smart meter” is a higher cost than an analog meter and the costs of those are spread throughout all ratepayers. It is also a fact smart meters have a shorter lifespan than an analog meter meaning they must be replaced sooner adding to the costs of this endeavour.
“These programs are a complement to the government’s comprehensive plan for addressing increased demand for power due to economic growth and electrification( 4.), including ongoing capacity resource procurements, rather than an alternative.”
4.While you and Minister Smith reference “electrification” and the OCP’s full support of the concept it appears the cost of that objective and the new capacity required by Ontario to meet that target have not had any serious focus. To look at just one study; NREL, a national laboratory of the US Department of Energy, in their study stated “Widespread electrification increases 2050 U.S. electricity consumption by 20% and 38% in the medium and high adoption scenarios,respectively and relative to the reference.” For Ontario let’s focus on the “medium” scenario! At the end of 2021 IESO reported total grid connected capacity in Ontario was 38,079 MW. If we assume Pickering Nuclear gets approval to extend its life that reflects the need to add 7,600 MW of NEW capacity (20% of 2021 capacity) or 10,600 MW (28%) should Pickering renewal not receive the green light! Please note the study states “consumption” which means both wind and solar plus storage would need to be at least triple that capacity level!
“By reducing demand and in particular peak demand (5.), we can offset the need for some new electricity generation resources. This will mean a cost reduction (5.) for ratepayers and a net system benefit of ~$300 million (the cost reduction of $650 million less the increased investment of $342 million).”
5.Should we assume a cost study has not been done based on the claim there will be a “cost reduction for ratepayers” or is this a false claim? Many of us ratepayers lived through the McGuinty/Wynne days and constantly were fed similar stories from them related to the GEA. Under pressure from the largest manufacturing companies in the province they reacted to the false message and came up with the ICI (Industrial Conservation Initiative) which allowed those companies to benefit from significant cost reductions by reducing demand during just five (5) annual “peak demand” periods which still exists today. The incentive was so great those companies invested heavily in a variety of gas generators to take advantage of the incentive. It should come as no surprise, due to this push by Ontario and many other jurisdictions around the world opining for “net-zero” that manufacturers of those generators have benefited greatly as a quote from a recent article suggests: “The global gas generator sets market is expected to grow from $7.82 billion in 2021 to $8.3 billion in 2022 at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 6.48%. The gas generator sets market is expected to grow to $11.15 billion in 2026 at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 7.57%.” It is equally important that you and Minister Smith should be aware that many stand alone administered “public sector” corporations such as colleges, universities, etc. are now ICI beneficiaries which equates to an indirect and hidden form of taxation.
In summary, I and my blog followers, would love to see some proof the recent moves by the Ministry of Energy (reputedly endorsed by IESO) will achieve that “net system benefit of $300 million” you allude to in your response!
It’s unclear how Ontario’s Minister of Energy got it to happen but he somehow managed to get some of those solar panels hooked up to the grid to generate power after the sun set starting late on September 3rd and through the early morning on September 4th as IESO data disclosed.
On September 3, 2022 during hours 20 to hour 24 (hour ending at 12 PM) those solar panels managed to generate 9 MWh each of the five hours and they continued to generate power during the early hours on September 4th managing to continue generating 9 MWh for the first four hours and in hour 5 they fell and only produced 6 MWh and fell further over the next hour producing only 2 MWh in Hour 6 but jumped to 7 MWh in hour 7. The total generation of those solar panels over the 12 hours of darkness was 96 MWh or about the average annual consumption of 10 Ontario households. If they managed to produce that much solar generation during just one of our summer days, we should try to imagine how much they could produce during the low sunshine winter months!
One should wonder if some new technology developed in Ontario has allowed the foregoing to happen or was the early Spanish model used?
In Spain’s early adaption companies operating solar farms under lucrative contracts somehow managed to generate solar power in the middle of the night but they were called out: “Spanish newspaper El Mundo found that between November and January, 4500 megawatt hours (MWh) of solar energy were sold to the electricity grid between midnight and seven in the morning.
It has been suggested that some plants in the regions of Castilla-La-Mancha, Canarias and Andalucía have been using diesel generators connected to their solar panel arrays to illegally benefit from government subsidies.”
Perhaps the concept of nighttime solar generation was what was visualized by the Ontario Minister of Energy, Todd Smith in his directive to IESO instructing them “todevelop an achievable pathway to phase out natural gas generation and achieve zero emissions in the electricity system”!
Were the results of September 3rd and 4th a demonstration of new technology developed that Minister Smith believes will help to achieve zero emissions in the electricity system or is someone firing up those “diesel generators” to take advantage of the “lucrative contracts” our past and present politicians have signed onto?
PS: What I got back on my query to IESO about this:
“Sorry for the delay in getting back to you. We had to reach out to a few people for this. There were issues in receiving data from Northland Power. These issues have been resolved on the IESO’s end.
Norway, in respect to “energy” is very similar to two of Canada’s provinces and the two provinces are Quebec and Alberta.
Similarities to Quebec
Norway are more similar to Quebec than Alberta as almost all of their electricity generated is hydro power and much of it is exported to the Netherlands, Germany, Denmark, Sweden, Finland and the UK. In 2020 Norway generated 154.2 TWh (92% hydro) and exported 20.5 TWh. Quebec has also been blessed with hydro power and in 2020 Hydro Quebec generated 202.7 TWh and exported 33.3 TWh to the USA.
Another similarity is both Quebec and Norway have embraced EV (electric vehicles) and Quebec have pushed sales via grants (including the Federal grant) and in Norway’s case by a stack of other incentives including free parking, approval to use bus lanes, etc. In addition, buyers pay no taxes as the following chart illustrates. One should find it humorous that the “scrapping fee” is identical in the chart but perhaps Norwegians have figured out how to deal with those EV batteries at end of their life?
In 2021 plug-in (EV + Hybrid) sales in Norway represented 90% of all auto sales. In Quebec EV sales were 9% of auto sales and the only province in Canada who beat them was BC whose EV sales were 11.6%. Quite the difference from Norway but the chart certainly shows why!
Yet another recent occurrence in Norway has led to the creation of another similarity to Quebec. it’s related to the lower snow and rainfall in the current year meaning Norway may reduce Its electricity exports to the countries with whom they have interties which are; Sweden, Denmark, Germany, the United Kingdom, Finland and the Netherlands. As noted in a recent article just several days ago, “reservoirs in Norway are less than half full, even though the average for this time of year is 74.4%.”
While Quebec doesn’t appear to currently have the “reservoir” problem Norway’s experiencing they nevertheless ask their consumers to reduce consumption during peak periods which occur during winter because most Quebec households heat their homes with the “emissions free” hydropower. In Quebec’s case they have firm contracts with US energy companies guaranteeing them supplies so it’s Quebecers who are affected rather than buyers of their electricity. Perhaps Norway is concerned all those EV owners will want to charge their batteries so to hell with the other European countries that will be in a power shortage come the winter?
Similarities to Alberta
Norway’s similarities to Alberta are related only to the fact they produce oil and gas and export much of it. In Norway’s case they have eleven (11) gas pipelines to Germany, the UK, France and Belgium and also have an LNG terminal as well as a number of oil pipelines. Pretty well all of these pipelines emanate from the offshore Norwegian continental shelf where Norway mines it’s oil and gas. Their access to oil and gas has benefited them to the extreme particularly since the Covid-19 pandemic and the Russia/Ukraine war! To wit: “In the last months of 2021, the value of Norway’s oil and gas exports amounted to more than 100 billion kroner (€10 billion) per month. That is almost three times more than in the same period in 2020. In the course of the year, production of oil increased to 102 million standard cubic meters and natural gas to 113 billion cubic meters.” Norway’s world ranking for oil and gas reserves are respectively 22nd (13th in annual production) and 17th (3rd in annual production).
Canada’s oil and gas reserves respectively rank; 3rd (4th in annual production) and 18th (6th in annual production) in the world however, Canada’s principal market for both is the U.S. The latter is unlikely to change as it is almost impossible to get pipelines approved and built due to control by Federal regulations and certain provincial politicians such as those in BC and Quebec as well as the Biden administration in the US who in his first day as President, cancelled the Keystone pipeline. Canada also doesn’t have an LNG export terminal yet built, meaning gas is for Canadian consumption only or sold to the US via pipelines far below market prices. US buyers convert it to LNG for sale to European and Asian countries at much higher prices. Canada also imports oil and gas for our eastern provinces as the one and only LNG terminal in Canada operates for import purposes only. Canada’s eastern oil refineries use mainly imported oil including a small amount from Norway with the highest imports from Saudi Arabia.
Due to Canada’s almost complete lack of pipelines to ports on both its Atlantic and Pacific shorelines we were, and still are, unable to achieve the benefits current world prices for both oil and natural gas could provide! We could have assisted European and Asian countries in obtaining those energy supplies if we had those pipelines but all except one of those planned were cancelled by the Trudeau government.
A recent editorial in the Sun newspaper chain referencing the lack of Canadian pipelines stated; “Estimates are this costs the Canadian economy $15 billion annually in discounted oil prices and $9 billion annually in discounted prices for natural gas.” Collectively the value of those two exports (two of Canada’s top three exports) in 2021 were US$97 billion but they could have been US$24 billion or 25% higher which could have gone a long way to, increasing revenue for oil and gas companies while producing additional taxes to service debt and (slightly) help reduce the Federal deficit.
Our politicians do this to Canada, a country 30 times larger than Norway, and watch them generate huge benefits from fossil fuels allowing them to reduce their debt while increasing benefits for their citizens while our leaders harpoon our economy!
The question is; why is our Federal Government under leadership of Justin Trudeau and his minions so intent on destroying the Canadian economy by pushing the “net-zero” emissions agenda? Canada represents 1.6% of global emissions which China and India will replace in a couple of months.
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!
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.
Yesterday, July 13, 2022, was one of those; not so hot summer days in most of Ontario so according to IESO (Independent Electricity System of Ontario) peak demand at hour 16 only reached 18,135 MW during a five (5) minute interval. At that hour those IWT (industrial wind turbines) with a capacity of 4,900 MW were contributing 108 MW or 2.2% of their capacity and 0.6% of demand. Had they been absent they wouldn’t have been missed!
The two generation sources the OCAA (Ontario Clean Air Alliance) insist the government shut down, ie: Nuclear, generated 9,430 MW and Natural Gas plants generated 4,093 MW at that hour. Had the latter two generation sources not been operating at that or any other hour Ontario would have experienced wide-spread BLACKOUTS with a negative effect on businesses and our daily activities.
Once again at hour nine (9) as daily demand was increasing on a regular work day, those IWT were generating 36 MW which was probably less than they were using just to keep their lights blinking!
The foregoing unreliability and intermittency of IWT is not an occurrence for Ontario only as it has been demonstrated around the world where they have been endorsed and promoted by politicians. On their own, without other generation sources, such as natural gas or coal fired generation backing them up, most of the developed world would find ourselves back in the dark ages.
It seems truly unbelievable the push to go fully “fossil fuel free” has gained so much momentum around the world collectively as one example: the push for EV (electric vehicles) to replace ICE (internal combustion engines) is occurring.
Plugging those EV in to recharge them without fossil fuels generating electricity is nothing more than a pipedream by the eco-warriors and their obedient and obtuse politicians as recently noted.